Production start for Texan uranium

The first new ISL project to start up in the USA in five years has begun with production at Uranium Energy Corp’s Palangana in-situ leach (ISL) uranium project. The first of three separate development phases at the 2500 hectare site in South Texas is now complete with 15 production wells and 30 injection wells on line. After a testing phase involving the circulation of water through the wells, production officially commenced when carbon dioxide and gaseous oxygen was added to the circulating water to activate the mining process. The resulting carbonate solution dissolves the uranium from the sandstone host, and the uranium-bearing solution is pumped to the surface, where it is concentrated on resin beads. The resin is then shipped 160km to Uranium Energy’s Hobson processing plant for processing. Work is also under way to bring the 45 wells in Phase II, which have been completed, to start production in the first quarter of 2011, while three rigs are working on completing a similar number of wells in Phase III, scheduled to come online in the second quarter of the year. The most recent technical report for the project, released in February 2010, shows measured and indicated resources totalling 1.057 million pounds U3O8 at an average grade of 0.135%, plus an additional 1.154 million pounds U3O8 of inferred resources at an average of 0.176%.

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