Uranerz Energy Corporation ("Uranerz" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has commenced uranium mining operations at its wholly-owned Nichols Ranch ISR Uranium Project, located in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, U.S.A., after receiving final clearance from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Construction and commissioning of the Nichols Ranch recovery plant and initial wellfield has been completed. Uranium mining operations have commenced by using the in-situ recovery ("ISR") mining method wherein groundwater fortified with oxygen, sodium bicarbonate and carbon dioxide is circulated through the sandstone-hosted uranium deposit by means of injection and recovery wells. Uranium is extracted from the groundwater using ion-exchange technology. The uranium-loaded resin from the ion-exchange vessels at Nichols Ranch will be transported to Cameco Resources' Smith Ranch uranium processing facilities for final processing into dried and drummed uranium concentrates pursuant to a toll processing agreement between the two companies. Uranerz will arrange for shipments of its uranium from the Smith Ranch facility to a conversion facility where ownership will be transferred to its nuclear utility customers.
"The start of mining operations at Nichols Ranch represents the achievement of a major milestone for the Company that was attained through the hard work and determination of Uranerz' highly motivated employees," stated CEO Glenn Catchpole. "This is an exciting time for our entire team as Nichols Ranch becomes the newest uranium mine in North America."
Uranerz Energy Corporation is a U.S.-based uranium company. The Nichols Ranch ISR Uranium Project is the Company's first uranium mine. ISR, or in-situ recovery, is a mining process that uses a leaching solution to extract uranium from sandstone uranium deposits; it is the generally accepted extraction technology used in the Powder River Basin area of Wyoming. Uranerz controls a large strategic land position in the central Powder River Basin. The Company's management team has specialized expertise in the ISR uranium mining method and a record of licensing, constructing, and operating ISR uranium projects. The Company has entered into long-term uranium sales contracts for a portion of its planned production with Exelon and one other of the largest nuclear utilities in the country.
For further information, please contact Derek Iwanaka, Manager of Investor Relations at 1-800-689-1659 or by email at [email protected]. Alternatively, please refer to the Company's website at www.uranerz.com, review the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov, or visit the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.