Uranium Resources, Inc. announced today that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reactivated its Source Materials License to conduct in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium mining in McKinley County, New Mexico.
The license, which was originally issued in 1998 to Hydro Resources, Inc., Uranium Resources' wholly-owned subsidiary, has been in timely renewal status since 2003. The reactivation effectively enables the use of the license by the Company for the production of uranium as defined in the license.
“We are the only uranium company in New Mexico that possesses an NRC license authorizing current or new production and having it reactivated is a significant milestone which allows us to continue to move forward with our target production plans.”
URI will now proceed to renew the license for a standard 10-year term. During the renewal process, the active license may be utilized according to its present terms and conditions, which allows for the production of up to 1 million pounds per year from Churchrock Section 8 until a successful commercial demonstration of restoration is made, after which mining on other properties can begin and the quantity of production can be increased to 3 million pounds per year.
Don Ewigleben, President and CEO of URI, commented, "We are the only uranium company in New Mexico that possesses an NRC license authorizing current or new production and having it reactivated is a significant milestone which allows us to continue to move forward with our target production plans."
URI's focus in New Mexico is on the completion of its feasibility study by the end of 2011 to determine the options available to advance its Churchrock/Crownpoint project. URI holds the necessary NRC License, EPA Aquifer Exemption, State of New Mexico Water Rights and Underground Injection Control Permit to allow development of Churchrock Section 8, which has 6.5 million pounds of in-place mineralized uranium material. In June, URI received confirmation from the New Mexico Environment Department ("NMED") that its discharge plan is in timely renewal and that the NMED is currently conducting technical review of its renewal application. In July, Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining filed a complaint claiming NMED misinterpreted its own regulations governing the ground water discharge permits. URI has intervened in the case.
The feasibility study and its proposed options will determine the best mining method of the Companies various projects in New Mexico as well as the size, design and capabilities of its Churchrock/Crownpoint ISR wellfield and processing facilities. Construction and production will be dependent upon having necessary financial resources in place, the speed of construction activities, availability of capital equipment and a recovery in uranium prices. The Company plans to be in production in 2013.
URI has 27.4 million pounds of in place mineralized uranium material under its NRC Source Materials License. In total, the Company has 183,000 acres of mineral holdings in New Mexico and 101.4 million pounds of in place mineralized uranium material.