Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. TESLA! Cathy Wood ARK Funds Bubble BURSTS! - 12th May 21
2.Stock Market Entering Early Summer Correction Trend Forecast - 10th May 21
3.GOLD GDX, HUI Stocks - Will Paradise Turn into a Dystopia? - 11th May 21
4.Crypto Bubble Bursts! Nicehash Suspends Coinbase Withdrawals, Bitcoin, Ethereum Bear Market Begins - 16th May 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.Cathy Wood Ark Invest Funds Bubble BURSTS! ARKK, ARKG, Tesla Entering Severe Bear Market - 13th May 21
7.Stock Market - Should You Be In Cash Right Now? - 17th May 21
8.Gold to Benefit from Mounting US Debt Pile - 14th May 21
9.Coronavius Covid-19 in Italy in August 2019! - 13th May 21
10.How to Invest in HIGH RISK Tech Stocks for 2021 and Beyond - Part 2 of 2 - 18th May 21
Last 7 days
Overclockers UK Custom Built PC 1 YEAR Use Review Verdict - Does it Still Work? - 16th Oct 21
Altonville Mine Tours Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 16th Oct 21
How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
The Only way to Crush Inflation (not stocks) - 14th Oct 21
Why "Losses Are the Norm" in the Stock Market - 14th Oct 21
Sub Species Castle Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 14th Oct 21
Which Wallet is Best for Storing NFTs? - 14th Oct 21
Ailing UK Pound Has Global Effects - 14th Oct 21
How to Get 6 Years Life Out of Your Overclocked PC System, Optimum GPU, CPU and MB Performance - 13th Oct 21
The Demand Shock of 2022 - 12th Oct 21
4 Reasons Why NFTs Could Be The Future - 12th Oct 21
Crimex Silver: Murder Most Foul - 12th Oct 21
Bitcoin Rockets In Preparation For Liftoff To $100,000 - 12th Oct 21
INTEL Tech Stock to the MOON! INTC 2000 vs 2021 Market Bubble WARNING - 11th Oct 21
AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Wall of Worry Meets NFPs - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Intermediate Correction Continues - 11th Oct 21
China / US Stock Markets Divergence - 10th Oct 21
Can US Save Taiwan From China? Taiwan Strait Naval Battle - PLA vs 7th Fleet War Game Simulation - 10th Oct 21
Gold Price Outlook: The Inflation Chasm Between Europe and the US - 10th Oct 21
US Real Estate ETFs React To Rising Housing Market Mortgage Interest Rates - 10th Oct 21
US China War over Taiwan Simulation 2021, Invasion Forecast - Who Will Win? - 9th Oct 21
When Will the Fed Taper? - 9th Oct 21
Dancing with Ghouls and Ghosts at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 9th Oct 21
Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
Scan Computers - Custom Build PC 6 Months Later, Reliability, Issues, Quality of Tech Support Review - 8th Oct 21
Gold and Silver: Your Financial Main Battle Tanks - 8th Oct 21
How to handle the “Twin Crises” Evergrande and Debt Ceiling Threatening Stocks - 8th Oct 21
Why a Peak in US Home Prices May Be Approaching - 8th Oct 21
Alton Towers Scarefest is BACK! Post Pandemic Frights Begin, What it's Like to Enter Scarefest 2021 - 8th Oct 21
AJ Bell vs II Interactive Investor - Which Platform is Best for Buying US FAANG Stocks UK Investing - 7th Oct 21
Gold: Evergrande Investors' Savior - 7th Oct 21
Here's What Really Sets Interest Rates (Not Central Banks) - 7th Oct 21
CISCO 2020 Dot com Bubble Stock vs 2021 Bubble Tech Stocks Warning Analysis - 6th Oct 21
Precious Metals Complex Searching for a Bottom - 6th Oct 21
FB, AMZN, NFLX, GOOG, AAPL and FANG+ '5 Waves' Speaks Volumes - 6th Oct 21
Budgies Flying Ability 10 Weeks After wings Clipped, Flight Feathers Cut Grow Back - 6th Oct 21
Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
Will China's Crackdown Send Bitcoin's Price Tumbling? - 5th Oct 21
Natural Gas News: Europe Lacks Supply, So It Turns to Asia - 5th Oct 21
Stock Market Correction: One More Spark to Light the Fire? - 5th Oct 21
Fractal Design Meshify S2, Best PC Case Review, Build Quality, Airflow etc. - 5th Oct 21
Chasing Value with Five More Biotech Stocks for the Long-run - 4th Oct 21
Gold’s Century - While stocks dominated headlines, gold quietly performed - 4th Oct 21
NASDAQ Stock Market Head-n-Shoulders Warns Of Market Weakness – Critical Topping Pattern - 4th Oct 21
US Dollar on plan, attended by the Gold/Silver ratio - 4th Oct 21
Aptorum Group - APM - High RIsk Biotech Stocks Buy, Sell, Hold Investing Analysis for the Long-run - 3rd Oct 21
US Close to Hitting the Debt Ceiling: Gold Doesn’t Care - 3rd Oct 21
Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
Original Oculus VR HeadSet Rift Dev Kit v1 Before Facebook Bought Oculus - 3rd Oct 21
Microsoft Stock Valuation 2021 vs 2000 Bubble - Buy Sell or Hold Invest Analysis - 1st Oct 21
How to profit off the Acquisition spree in Fintech Stocks - 1st Oct 21
�� Halloween 2021 TESCO Shopping Before the Next Big Panic Buying! �� - 1st Oct 2
The Guide to Building a Design Portfolio Online - 1st Oct 21
BioDelivery Sciences International - BDSI - High RIsk Biotech Stocks Buy, Sell, Hold Investing Analysis for the Long-run - 30th Sep 21
America’s Revolving-Door Politics Behind the Fall of US-Sino Ties - 30th Sep 21
Dovish to Hawkish Fed: Sounds Bearish for Gold - 30th Sep 21
Stock Market Gauntlet to the Fed - 30th Sep 21
Should you include ESG investments in your portfolio? - 30th Sep 21
Takeda - TAK - High RIsk Biotech Stocks Buy, Sell, Hold Investing Analysis for the Long-run - 29th Sep 21
Stock Market Wishing Away Inflation - 29th Sep 21
Why Workers Are NOT Returning to Work as Lockdown's End - Wage Slaves Rebellion - 29th Sep 21
UK Fuel PANIC! Fighting at the Petrol Pumps! As Lemmings Create a New Crisis - 29th Sep 21
Gold Could See Tapering as Soon as November! - 29th Sep 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

America's Uranium Solution is In-Situ Recovery Mining

Commodities / Uranium May 31, 2007 - 03:21 PM GMT

By: Money_and_Markets

Commodities

Sean Brodrick writes: Last week, while at the U2007 Global Uranium Symposium, I visited three uranium projects. Two were on the conference agenda, one I was lucky to attend on a smaller, private tour. These tours taught me a lot about a particular type of uranium mining — one that will likely become the future face of uranium mining in the U.S.

Is there profit potential in this? You bet!

All three projects I visited use In-Situ Recovery (ISR). Basically, ISR uses water pumped under high pressure to extract uranium from rocks. At the Texas sites, the water is injected with a mix of either oxygen or carbon dioxide to dissolve the uranium from the surrounding rock.

It sounds weird, but it works. Oh, man, does it work! Using basically carbonated water, you can recover about 75% of a uranium resource and never dig a pit. Let me tell you why this technology is so important here in America …


Uncle Sam's Uranium Achilles Heel

America gets about 20% of its electricity from nuclear energy. But while U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors purchased a total of 67 million pounds of uranium oxide equivalent in 2006, U.S. mines only produced a little over four million pounds!

In other words, U.S. mines supplied about 6% of their country's uranium needs. That's even worse than our domestic supply/demand situation in crude oil, where we are at least able to produce 25% of our requirements!

America was once the world's biggest uranium miner. However, most of our deposits are in sandstone and tend to be lower grade than those of Australia and Canada. And because of the lower-grade deposits, many U.S. uranium deposits became uneconomic when the price of uranium declined sharply in the late 1970s.

Result: U.S. uranium production fell off a cliff.

And as fast and far as uranium prices have soared, until recently, it still wasn't economical to mine low-grade uranium deposits in the U.S. by conventional methods. Only when another metal was also recoverable in the deposit (vanadium, for example), was it worth it to start mining. Sometimes it still wasn't worth it!

ISR mining changes the whole equation because it's cheap — the projects I visited had production costs of under $35 per pound. Plus, the more uranium they mine, the more those costs-per-pound go down.

What's more, many of the sandstone deposits containing uranium in the U.S. are confined between impermeable geologic layers — mud, stone, shale or some type of clay. This makes them perfect for ISR projects.

Reason: ISR works best when there is clay above and below the sand-bearing ore body. Sandstone is very porous, so the clay layers help seal in the water you are pumping through the sand to suck out the uranium.

Let me break down ISR step-by-step …

First, you put a row of high-pressure water pumps into the sandstone …

Then, you inject the sandstone with oxygen or carbon dioxide to loosen the uranium from the rock …

You have a row of pumps on the other side to recover the resulting solution.

So, the clay layers above and below keep the uranium-rich water from bleeding off into the surrounding aquifer.

The more water pressure you can use, the more oxygen you can put in the solution, and the faster you can dissolve the uranium off the sandstone.

Now, About the Three Mines I Visited …

States including Wyoming and Texas have the right geology to be ground zero for America's ISR nuclear renaissance. And that's why I was able to visit three ISR projects within driving distance of Corpus Christi, Texas:

Mine #1: The first site I went to is under development. The company that owns the project is drilling like crazy to define its resource. It should have a new resource estimate coming out soon. But the drilling it has already done has revealed some rich finds. 

At the site, I got to look at drill core samples. The samples changed color from yellow sand to blue mud, showing that these projects do have the geology to make ISR work. Oh, and this is a public company trading at pennies on the pound!

Mine #2: This uranium producer just started up in the last year. It should produce about a million pounds this year using its main plant — which workers described as "basically a giant-sized Culligan Water Softener" — and satellite operations that recover uranium from the surrounding fields. This is another public company currently available at dirt cheap prices.

Mine #3: The third site I visited is a private operation, and was the most advanced. The company is called Mestena, and its project is Alta Mesa. Its uranium resources are so close that they don't even need satellite plants. Instead, the workers there use LO-O-O-O-NG hoses that are connected to the main water treatment plant.

As I mentioned earlier, each ISR field operation consists basically of a row of pumps pumping water in, a row of pumps pumping water out, and some big oxygen or carbon dioxide tanks to carbonate the water.

When the uranium-rich water comes out of the ground, it goes through a big vat of tiny plastic beads. The uranium attaches to the beads, forming a kind of slurry. This slurry is what is treated in the main plant.

The oxygen tanks (and everything else) are on skids resting on cement slabs. This makes it very easy to move the different pieces where they are needed and "tinker toy" them together. It also makes rehabilitation of the area very easy once the ISR operation is done.

That's basically it. Using this method, ISR operators I talked to have a 75% recovery rate, meaning they get three-quarters of the uranium resource out of the ground.

The end result is uranium oxide, which is put in large barrels. Each of the barrels contains 900 pounds of 83% pure yellowcake. In other words, each barrel is worth $93,735 at today's spot market price. I wonder what they'll be worth next week?

All in all, I learned some important things during my Texas trip. One especially useful lesson was that "pounds in the ground" aren't everything. Sure, when judging the potential of a uranium mine, it's important to know how many pounds of uranium they have in the ground. But that's just the start!

If it's going to be an ISR uranium producer, ask these three questions …

  1. Does it have plenty of water? And I don't just mean water nearby — it's important that the resource be in the water table so it is saturated with water. There are some nice resources around North America that are too far above the water table. The higher above water your resource is, the more expensive it is to get the metal out.
  2. How permeable is the aquifer? In other words, how readily can you move water through the formation? The more water you can pump, the more uranium you can get out.
  3. What is your ISR mining rate going to be? Two things determine this — the concentration of the uranium in the water coming out of the recovery wells and the flow rate. You multiply the flow rate by the concentration, also known as head grade, to find out what the mining rate will be. The higher the mining rate, the less the cost per pound.

Also, keep in mind that the small-cap miners are where you'll find the real values these days, especially because we've seen a wave of profit-taking. Hot money has rushed out of the sector recently on the perception that these stocks have gotten ahead of themselves. The hot money will be back. And smart investors who take positions ahead in advance will reap the rewards.

Of course, small-cap stocks can be extremely volatile. If you don't have the stomach for that, check out the Uranium Participation Corp. , a Canadian fund (run by Denison Mines) that holds physical uranium. The symbol on the Toronto Stock Exchange is U . In the U.S., the symbol is URPTF on the Pink Sheets. (On Yahoo, that would be URPTF.PK.)

Yours for trading profits,

By Sean Brodrick

P.S. If you're looking for my top uranium picks, check out my newest uranium report,
The Small Uranium Wonders . It highlights six great mining stocks to jump on right away. I'll also send you four updates throughout the year. In fact, I'm close to sending out an update, and I'm looking at a SEVENTH stock with an eye toward making it my NEWEST uranium pick. Just call us at 800-400-6916 and say you want "The Small Uranium Wonders" report or order online at my secure website .

This investment news is brought to you by Money and Markets . Money and Markets is a free daily investment newsletter from Martin D. Weiss and Weiss Research analysts offering the latest investing news and financial insights for the stock market, including tips and advice on investing in gold, energy and oil. Dr. Weiss is a leader in the fields of investing, interest rates, financial safety and economic forecasting. To view archives or subscribe, visit http://www.moneyandmarkets.com .


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

David Vitch
04 Jun 07, 12:13
Uranium

Watch as uranium is the commodity of the year. I have done very well with some uranium and I am looking for more juniors. Any ideas?

Thank you


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in