It’s been a busy summer for Energy Fuels, the company that hopes to build a new uranium mill in the Paradox Valley.
The Toronto-based company this summer became the nation’s largest uranium producer through the acquisition of all of Denison Mines’ U.S. operations, which included a handful of uranium mines as well the White Mesa Mill in Blanding, Utah. Now, the company has a letter of agreement to buy out its partner — Australian-based Aldershot — from the Sage Plain properties, 15 miles northeast of Monticello, Utah. The move would make Energy Fuels the sole owner of Sage Plain properties.
In a release, Energy Fuels said it will pay $750,000 in cash, forgive debts and offer 3.5 million shares of Energy Fuels common stock to Aldershot for the property. The two companies had been in a 50/50 joint venture to eventually produce uranium and vanadium on the property since November of 2008.
“It just represented a good buying opportunity for us, and it allows us to be in full control of that project,” Energy Fuels spokesperson Curtis Moore said.
Though the project property is not currently permitted for uranium mining, Energy Fuels anticipates the process will go smoothly.
A release states that permitting on the Sage Plain Project has been initiated, and the company anticipates receiving approvals within the next 12 to 18 months. The Sage Plain Project is estimated to contain 2.8 million pounds of uranium and 17.8 million pounds of vanadium, according to Energy Fuels.
The Sage Plain site has been mined for uranium in the past. Within the last 20 years, documents state a variety of different permits have been issued by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining in the area, including both mining and reclamation permits.
Program Director of Moab-based Uranium Watch Sarah Fields said she was unsure if any environmental concerns exist at or near the site, as she has not had a chance to visit it.
A Utah Division of Oil and, Gas and Mining notice of intention describes the site as a small uranium mine with a single mine portal with a sizable mine waste pile and two metal frame sheeting buildings.
In June, Energy Fuels acquired a major part of its current assets when it purchased the White Mesa Mill in Blanding, Utah as part of its Denison acquisition. In August, the company announced that it has transitioned from uranium developer to uranium supplier with the completion of two sales of yellowcake in July totaling approximately 200,000 pounds. The uranium was sold at an average price of $62.18 per pounds, according to the company, which would add up to sales of approximately $12.4 million.
In a release, Energy Fuels President and CEO Steve Antony said the Sage Plain transaction “represents another step in Energy Fuels’ ongoing strategy of value-added consolidation in our core area of interest, and will potentially provide more feed for our White Mesa Mill.”
The Sage Plain transaction has not officially closed.
Energy Fuels is currently waiting for the final approval of a state permit for the Piñon Ridge project in Paradox Valley. The permit is pending a court-ordered public hearing, which the Colorado Department of Public Heath and Environment has set for Oct. 15 and Nov. 7 in Nucla. Energy Fuels officials say its recent acquisitions will not detract from its efforts to build Piñon Ridge.