The Pinion Ridge Mill will begin construction immediately and Energy Fuels hopes to be up and running in the first half of 2012. The location of the mill is in southwestern Colorado, although the specific site is not yet disclosed. It will operate 24 hours a day, year-round, and will initially employ 85 workers.
One of the major sources of uranium ore for the new mill will be from the Energy Queen mine located in San Juan County. Other feedstock will come from the Whirlwind Mine located in Mesa County, CO. Both mines are owned by Energy Fuels.
The final piece of the permitting process is a radioactive materials license issued January 5 by the Colorado Health Dept.
Opponents of the project said they are disappointed by the health department decision. The department said it spent 14 months reviewing the application and considered technical documents and hundreds of stakeholder comments before issuing the permit.
The new Energy Fuels mill joins the White Mesa Mill south of Blanding. New jobs and economic activity will come from the shipment of thousands of tons of ore from the county. Other San Juan mines may also find a market for their ore in the future.
The logjam in the enormously difficult and time-consuming permitting process for new uranium mills has at least sprung a leak. This new mill is finally approved after years of effort and gives hope to other proposed mills waiting to run the permit gauntlet.