Energy Fuels to start production at two new uranium mines

The mines are based in Colorado and Wyoming, US.

Alfie Shaw

US company Energy Fuels is expected to start production at two additional uranium mines in Colorado and Wyoming this year.

The new mines, known as Whirlwind and Nichols Ranch, could raise Energy Fuels’ uranium production to more than two million pounds (lb) of triuranium octoxide (U₃O₈) per year by 2025 if market conditions remain strong.

Uranium prices reached a 15-year high in January, owing to strong demand for the radioactive metal from the nuclear industry and predicted supply shortages over the next few years owing to lower than expected production by Kazatomprom, the world’s largest producer, based in Kazakhstan.

The strong market has encouraged Energy Fuels to conduct exploration drilling at its Nichols Ranch area properties and underground delineation drilling at its Pinyon Plain mine in Arizona. The company also plans to advance permitting on its large-scale Bullfrog, Roca Honda and Sheep Mountain uranium properties to boost uranium production in the future.

Energy Fuels also opened three new uranium mines in Utah and Arizona at the end of last year.

Mark Chalmers, Energy Fuels’ president and CEO, said: “We have a bullish long-term view on uranium prices, and we are investing to increase production. We are ramping-up production at several of our uranium mines, which continue to proceed on-time and on-budget.”

In 2023, Energy Fuels sold a total of 560,000lb of U₃O₈, deriving revenues of $33.28m and a gross profit of $17.96m, with an average gross margin of 54%.

Higher prices and strong uranium market conditions are largely caused by resurgent interest in nuclear power as a vital energy source across the world. Focus on nuclear has been particularly strong in the US, where the Biden administration signalled its commitment at the end of January, announcing that it was poised to lend $1.5bn to restart a nuclear power plant in Michigan.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, western nations are also looking to diversify away from Russian uranium to fuel their nuclear projects, with the US House of Representatives signing a bill in mid-December to prohibit imports of Russian low-enriched uranium to the US until 2024.

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