Energy Fuels was recently granted approval by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for a radioactive materials license for its planned 500-st/d Piñon Ridge uranium mill to be constructed 12 miles west of Naturita, Colorado, near the Colorado-Utah border. The license approval was the most significant hurdle to be completed before Energy Fuels can build the first conventional uranium mill to be constructed in the United States in 30 years. The mill is planned to produce about 850,000 lb/y of U3O8 and about 3.7 million lb/y of V2O5.
Energy Fuels has two fully permitted nearby uranium mines, the Energy Queen and the Whirlwind, which are currently on care and maintenance. The targeted production rate of the mines is about 450 st/d, and these mines will be the source of most of the uranium/vanadium ore processed by the new mill. The company has begun consolidation of some other known mines and deposits in the area and is in advanced discussions to acquire additional properties or arrange toll-milling agreements. Energy Fuels estimates there is more than 40 years of mill feed, at a production rate of 500 st/d, within economic trucking distance of the mill.
The Piñon Ridge mill flowsheet includes ore handling and grinding, leaching, CCD thickeners and tailings disposal, uranium solvent extraction, uranium precipitation, vanadium oxidation and solvent extraction, and vanadium precipitation.