On August 2, 2013, the Company began production activities at its Lost Creek Project. Innovative design and development have focused on employee and environmental safety, water management practices, and advanced instrumentation monitoring and data capture. First sales of Lost Creek yellowcake were made in December 2013 and during the second quarter of 2015, Lost Creek achieved the milestone of producing its one millionth pound of U3O8 since production activities began.
2016 Second Quarter Lost Creek Project Operations
For the quarter, 133,341 pounds of U3O8 were captured within the Lost Creek plant. 130,308 pounds U3O8 were packaged in drums and 148,714 pounds U3O8 of drummed inventory were shipped out of the Lost Creek processing plant. At June 30, 2016, inventory at the conversion facility was approximately 135,723 pounds U3O8. During the quarter, sales totaled $6.7 million with two contract sales totaling 137,000 pounds at an average price of $39.35 per pound, and one spot sale of 50,000 pounds at a price of $27.00 per pound.
Production rates at Lost Creek during the quarter were near projected levels as we continued to operate header houses 1 through 12 throughout the quarter and began to see initial production from header house 13 late in the quarter. As scheduled, the thirteenth and final originally-planned header house in Mine Unit 1 (MU1) was brought online late in May. The header house, and its related patterns of production wells, includes certain refinements in design and well completion techniques in an effort to increase injectivity for even greater well performance. Although many analyses are ongoing, results of HH 13’s first month of operation are thus far validating these refinements. Permitting of the Class V water treatment systems continues with the goal to enhance waste water capacities. We expect permitting to be completed in the third quarter. In addition, routine plant and wellfield maintenance continued as scheduled. While lower than the previous quarter, plant head grades from MU1 header houses continue to be significantly higher than originally projected. The decrease is related to normal projected declines as well as the addition of new production fluid from HH 13. Grades from HH 13 have subsequently risen to 88 mg/l.
Lost Creek currently employs approximately 46 full time employees. The Company holds long-term sales contracts with several U.S. based nuclear utility companies, spanning the time frame 2013-2021, and anticipates making additional sales into spot market sales agreements. The uranium produced at the Lost Creek Project will ultimately become the fuel that provides clean energy for the nation’s power grid.
Lost Creek Property Resource Estimate
The Lost Creek Property represents the composite of six individual contiguous Projects: Lost Creek Project, LC East Project, LC West Project, LC North Project, LC South Project and EN Project. The fully-licensed and operating Lost Creek Project is considered the core project while the others are collectively referred to as the Adjoining Projects. The Adjoining Projects were acquired by the Company as exploration targets to provide resources supplemental to those recognized at the Lost Creek Project. Most were initially viewed as stand-alone projects, but expanded over time such that collectively they represent a contiguous block of land along with the Lost Creek Project.
An amended preliminary economic assessment (PEA) was issued on February 8, 2016. The current mineral resource estimate for the Lost Creek Property, after subtracting 1.358 million pounds of uranium produced from MU1 through September 30, 2015, is 13.251 million pounds in the Measured and Indicated categories, and 6.439 million pounds in the Inferred category. The current resource estimate represents a net increase to all Lost Creek Property projects of:
- 3.146 million pounds eU3O8 in the Measured and Indicated categories (after adjustment for MU1 production), or 31% increase when compared with the previous resource estimate in the June 17, 2015 Technical Report; and
- 1.402 million pounds eU3O8 in the Inferred category, or a 28% increase to the last mineral resource.
The economic analyses within the amended PEA continue to demonstrate the potential economic viability of the project. The analyses have been revised to evaluate the impact of additional identified resources with information and data acquired through two years of ISR operations at Lost Creek. Total future life of mine production is modeled to be 13.8 million pounds and with production operations ending in 2031. This represents a nine year life of mine extension from the forecast contained in the previous PEA dated December 30, 2013.
Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors: The terms “mineral resource,” “measured mineral resource,” “indicated mineral resource,” and “inferred mineral resource” as used in this news release are Canadian mining terms that are defined in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”). These Canadian terms are not defined terms under United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Industry Guide 7 and are normally not permitted to be used in reports and registration statements filed with the SEC by U.S. registered companies. The SEC permits U.S. companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only those mineral deposits that a company can economically and legally extract or produce. Accordingly, note that information contained in this news release describing the Company’s “mineral resources” is not directly comparable to information made public by U.S. companies subject to reporting requirements under U.S. securities laws. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of the mineral resources in these categories will ever be converted into Mineral Reserves. U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 10-K which may be secured from us, or online at http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.
Cautionary Statement: This Amended Preliminary Economic Assessment is preliminary in nature, and includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. There is increased risk and uncertainty to commencing and conducting production without established mineral reserves that may result in economic and technical failure which may adversely impact future profitability. The estimated mineral recovery used in this Amended Preliminary Economic Assessment is based on recovery data from wellfield operations to date, as well as Ur-Energy personnel and industry experience at similar facilities. There can be no assurance that recovery at this level will be achieved.
Mr. James Bonner, Vice President Geology with Ur-Energy, C.P.G., American Institute of Professional Geologists and a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101, has reviewed and approved the technical disclosure contained on this webpage.