Colo. company wants to mine uranium in Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A Colorado company has submitted an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to mine uranium in southwestern Wyoming.It could take the NRC up to 18 months to review the application by Ur-Energy Inc. to produce uranium at the Lost Creek area in Great Divide Basin in Sweetwater County, according to company spokeswoman Dani Wright.Formed in March 2004, Ur-Energy is based in Littleton, Colo. The Lost Creek project would be its first producing uranium mine, Wright said. It took the company about two years to prepare the NRC application, she said.Ur-Energy hopes to begin uranium production at Lost Creek in late 2009.Prices for uranium have surged in recent years as worldwide demand has increased, attracting new interest in uranium mining. Prices rose above $130 a pound at one point this summer before falling below $100. In 2004, spot prices had been as low as $8 a pound.”Wyoming contains the largest uranium resources in the United States,” she said.Ur-Energy proposes to use the in-situ process to recover the Lost Creek uranium. The process involves injecting water and chemicals into rock formations where it dissolves the uranium. The uranium and solution are then pumped out of the ground.Ur-Energy’s proposal includes a plant to process the uranium into uranium oxide, or yellowcake.During the NRC review there will be several chances for public comment on the proposal, Wright said.The NRC application is one step in a complicated permitting process, she said.Wright said the company is currently preparing a separate application to be submitted to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality within the next month.Besides the Lost Creek project, Ur-Energy is studying the possibility of mining uranium at another site not too far from Lost Creek, she said.The Ur-Energy application is the second received by the NRC this year for in-situ uranium mining in Wyoming. Energy Metals Corp. submitted an application in October to mine uranium in Campbell County.
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