The Lance Uranium Projects in the US state of Wyoming are undergoing a transition from an alkaline to a low pH in-situ recovery operation.
The project was licenced and constructed by Strata Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Peninsula Energy.
With 53.7 million pounds (Mlb) of triuranium octoxide (U3O8) in JORC (2012) Resources, Lance is considered one of the largest uranium production development projects in the US.
In November 2022, Peninsula Energy announced a Financial Investment Decision (FID) to resume uranium production operations at the Lance Projects.
The project is expected to start uranium production in the first quarter of 2023 and commence deliveries to existing customers in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Lance Uranium Projects are located on the north-east flank of the Powder River Basin in Wyoming.
The project covers an area of approximately 38,416 acres of mixed surface and mineral right holdings. This includes private access agreements, state and federal mining claims.
According to Strata Energy, there are a combined total of 305km of known stacked roll fronts across an area of 120km². Only a small portion of this area was explored.
Drilling activities were primarily concentrated within the more advanced Ross, Kendrick and Barber areas.
Exploration and mining activity at Lance Projects
A joint venture between Nuclear Dynamics, Bethlehem Steel Corporation and later Pacific Power and Hydro (NuBeth JV) identified 13 substantial zones of uranium mineralisation between 1970 and 1979.
The exploration activity drilling more than 5,000 exploration and development holes.
Peninsula acquired the property along with the database of the historic drilling and pilot plant data in 2007. The property was further expanded through acquisitions in 2008 and 2009.
In December 2015, the company secured authorisation from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to begin in-situ uranium recovery operations from the Ross Permit Area.
However, the alkaline in-situ recovery uranium operations ceased in July 2019 due to lower recoveries.
Peninsula Energy announced its intention to change from an alkaline ISR operation to a low pH production method. A feasibility study on a low pH in-situ recovery process was published in September 2018.
The company carried out a low pH in-situ recovery field demonstration (MU1A) that began in 2020 and ended in 2022, with the primary objective to confirm the optimal operating conditions for the project.
In March 2022, Peninsula moved to update its 2018 Low-Ph ISR Feasibility Study.
Mineralisation and resource estimate
According to Peninsula’s 2018 update to the current JORC Compliant (2012) resource statement, the sandstone formations of the Lance uranium deposits were all deposited in a fluvial-marine environment as channel sand or overbank deposits.
They exhibit fining-upward sequences featuring thick, laterally persistent, tabular, sheet-like sandstones.
The uranium mineralisation occurs in the sand units of the Fox Hills or lower Lance Formations.
Lance holds a defined JORC (2012) Compliant uranium mineral resource of 53.7Mlb of U3O8.
The definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Ross and Kendrick production areas announced in August 2022 includes Measured and Indicated Resources.
According to the study, the Ross and Kendrick production areas are expected to produce 14.4Mlb U3O8 over an estimated 14 years of mine life (LoM).
It would have a steady state production of 2.0Mlb/year from Year 4.
The Ross Production Area comprises of Mining Units 1 and 2 where alkaline based in-situ recovery (ISR) mining was undertaken before halting production to switch to low pH ISR based mining.
Barber resource area contains an estimated resource of 31.9Mlb U3O8. It was not included in DFS but Barber Resource Area continue to remain an important part of the Lance Projects and offers significant opportunity for future resource growth.
Peninsula engaged TradeTech, a nuclear fuel price reporting and analysis firm, to prepare a proprietary model forecasting forward-looking uranium prices.
RSM Corporate Australia tapped SRK Consulting for an independent specialist report incorporating a technical assessment and valuation of Peninsula Energy’s Lance and Karoo projects.
Woodard & Curran’s subsidiary TREC led the pre-construction activities for the uranium processing plant for Strata’s Lance Projects.