WDEQ review of the IOR was a condition of the Permit to Mine (PTM) and Source Materials Licence (SML) amendments for the Lance Projects in Wyoming, US.
In December 2018, Peninsula initiated field trials of the proposed new low pH in situ recovery (ISR) process at the Lance Projects.
The field trials were designed to demonstrate the ability to comply with technical requirements contained in the approved PTM and SML amendments, the two overarching regulatory approvals which authorise commercial-scale low pH operations at the Lance Projects.
Following the successful outcomes of the field trials, the required IOR was submitted to the WDEQ on September 20, 2019.
With the approval of the IOR, Peninsula now has full regulatory authorisation for low pH ISR operations in Mine Units 1 & 2, the already-mined areas of the Lance Projects, subject only to meeting two pre-operational license conditions (revisions to the radiation protection program and updates to surety bond).
Peninsula managing director and CEO Wayne Heili said: “It is a significant milestone for the company and the U.S domestic uranium production industry to receive regulatory confirmation of the successful demonstration of both the low pH in-situ recovery and initial restoration activities at Lance.
“The approval of the Interim Operations Report is a key step in the progression of our ambition to be the first U.S. based uranium ISR project to utilise the cost effective and efficient low pH methodology.
“I would like to congratulate the site team in Wyoming on this impressive achievement.
“While we wait with a sense of optimism for the potentially positive initiatives expected to be brought forward by the President following the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group recommendations, the company will continue with its planned activities designed to de-risk and refine key technical aspects of the low pH transition at Lance.”
Over the next 6 to 9 months, the company will continue with the low pH de-risking and optimisation activities currently underway including:
- Tests on ion exchange resins and systems that have specifications better suited to low pH operations (as compared to resins and systems used in the low pH field demonstration which were the same as those used for alkaline-based operations since December 2015);
- Refinement of the system acidification process and the handling of fines material that is typically generated during in-situ recovery and groundwater restoration operations using low pH solutions; and
- Re-design of the acid storage and distribution system.