Production has commenced at the Alta Mesa in-situ recovery (ISR) central processing uranium plant and wellfields in South Texas, US.

The facility, in which enCore Energy has a 70% ownership, is expected to reach a steady-state production rate of 1.5mlb of uranium per year.

Boss Energy, which owns 30% of the project, retains the rights to sell and market its proportional share of the uranium produced.

In a statement, enCore Energy said that it is now the only US uranium producer with several production facilities in operation. The company expects first yellowcake shipment from the project in 60–90 days.

Alta Mesa encompasses more than 200,000 acres, with a central processing plant (CPP) and wellfields. The project uses ISR technology for uranium extraction in a non-invasive manner utilising natural groundwater as well as oxygen. 

Historically, the Alta Mesa CPP reported uranium production of around 5mlb from 2005 to 2013 before low prices led to production curtailment.  

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This latest development comes on the heels of production commencement at Boss Energy’s wholly owned Honeymoon project, where commissioning is advancing according to plan.

The Honeymoon project is expected to increase production to 2.45mlb annually.

With both projects moving forward, Boss Energy is set to become a significant contributor to the global uranium market.

In February this year, Boss Energy acquired a 30% stake in the Alta Mesa project from enCore Energy for $60m (A$91.62m) in cash.

The deal also included Boss Energy’s $10m investment in enCore common shares.

Boss Energy managing director Duncan Craib said: “The start of production at the Alta Mesa Project is another key milestone in the implementation of our strategy to be a global uranium supplier with a diversified production base in tier-one locations.

“With operations now ramping up at both Honeymoon and Alta Mesa, we are on track to hit our combined nameplate production target of 3mlb of uranium per annum. Our timing could hardly be better given the increasingly tight supply and demand fundamentals in the uranium market.

“This highly favourable outlook was underpinned by US President Joe Biden’s recent signing of legislation to ban the importation of uranium products from Russia. This was a game-changing event for the uranium market and in particular for uranium projects in North America and Australia.”