Rosita Central Uranium Processing Plant is a licenced, In-Situ Recovery (ISR) uranium plant located near Corpus Christi, Texas, the US. The plant is one of the 11 licenced and constructed uranium processing plants in the country.
The facility is wholly owned by the uranium development company enCore Energy. enCore received the ownership of Rosita and Kingsville Dome Plant, also in South Texas, as part of an asset acquisition in December 2020.
A full refurbishment of the past-producing Rosita plant was completed in November 2022. It is scheduled to start production in early 2023 following wet commissioning activities in late 2022.
The Rosita plant will be used to process uranium feed from multiple satellite operations in the South Texas area.
The production capacity of the plant is 800,000 pounds of triuranium octoxide (U3O8). However, installing a larger second dryer can increase it to two million pounds U3O8. No additional permits will be required to expand the capacity at the Rosita Plant.
Rosita Plant and Kingsville Dome Plant will have a combined capacity of 1.6 million pounds U3O8.
Rosita Plant is located in Duval County, around 60 miles from Corpus Christi, Texas.
enCore owns a 200-acre tract of land for the Rosita Central Processing Plant (CPP). Additional property holdings include mineral leases from private landowners covering around 3,377 acres of mineral rights.
The adjacent Rosita South property includes mineral leases from private landowners covering 1,479 acres of mineral rights. It is partially included within the existing licence and permit boundaries.
Permits and Background
The project received Radioactive Material License from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The site has Class I Non-hazardous Injection Permit that authorises the operation of waste disposal wells.
The Rosita project has four TCEQ Production Area Authorizations (PAAs) that would help in reducing costs and reduce the time to production.
Initially, Rosita CPP began uranium production using the ISR process in 1990. It produced 2.64 million pounds of U3O8 until July 1999.
ISR is a uranium extraction method where uranium is pulled out with minimal disturbance to existing natural conditions.
During 2007-2008, the processing equipment was upgraded and new components were installed at the facility. This included modification to the elution and precipitation circuits, and the addition of a new drying system.
The plant remained idle since 2009.
Situated 35 miles southwest of Corpus Christi, the Kingsville Dome CPP also operated intermittently from 1988 to 2009, and remained on standby since then.
Rosita Central ISR Uranium Processing plant
The Rosita Central Processing Plant development will enable enCore to become a uranium producer in the US.
The company completed the installation of all wellfield monitor wells for its Rosita Extension Production Area Authorization (PAA) in August 2022.
Rosita Extension PAA is the first production area to supply uranium for the Rosita ISR Uranium Processing Plant, situated less than a mile away.
The work at Rosita Extension PAA involved installing 43 monitoring wells, including 38 perimeter and five overlying monitor wells.
It also features five baseline wells. This will indicate the grade of mineralisation in the PAA as well as help in maintaining groundwater quality standards within the mineralisation.
The wells showcased uranium values with Grade Thicknesses (GT) ranging from 0.932 to 5.139.
Uranium mineralisation at the Rosita project occurs as roll-front deposits located in porous and permeable sandstones of the Goliad Formation 125ft to 350ft beneath the surface.
Uranium properties in South Texas
enCore is working to bring multiple historic uranium properties toward production. These properties will deliver uranium loaded IX resin to feed the Rosita Central Processing Plant.
The Rosita South project is located approximately 6 miles from the Rosita CPP and is considered an optimal source for providing satellite feed to the CPP. Rosita South project is fully owned by enCore Energy. It also announced positive results from its uranium delineation and exploration drill programmes at Rosita South.
Butler Ranch Project
The Butler Ranch project is located in the southwestern Karnes County uranium mining district in Texas. It features non-contiguous fee leases across an area of about 438 acres of mineral rights.
enCore acquired the Butler Ranch project from Rio Grande Resources in 2014. The property is located about 85 miles from Rosita CCP.
Upper Spring Creek Project, Texas
The property consists of non-contiguous fee leases covering an area of approximately 510 acres of surface and mineral rights.
enCore intends to develop it using satellite ion exchange (IX) plants to provide loaded uranium resin for further processing at the Rosita CCP.
In April 2022, enCore appointed Red Cloud Securities and Red Cloud Financial Services for capital markets advisory services.
In December 2020, the company entered into an agreement with UG USA for the delivery of one-half of its actual production, for a total of three million pounds U3O8, from its properties in Texas.
In July 2021, enCore entered a new uranium supply contract with UG USA under which the latter will purchase up to two million pounds of U3O8 from 2023 to 2027.
The company has also signed uranium supply contracts with other utilities.