JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) − Amid continued uranium market weakness, Energy Fuels in 2017 became the largest uranium producer in the US, which president and CEO Mark Chalmers says is the culmination of a multiyear strategy for the company.
The company narrowed its net loss for the year ended December 31, to $27.77-million, compared with $39.41-million in 2016.
Revenue, however, decreased to $31.05-million, compared with $54.55-million in the prior financial year.
Energy Fuels recovered 1.57-million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8) during 2017, with 624 000 lb for the company's own account and 946 000 lb for the account of a tolling customer.
The company sold 520 000 lb of U3O8 at an average price of $47.05/lb.
Chalmers on Friday commented that, to remain strong amid the challenging uranium market environment, Energy Fuels continues to secure new sources of alternate feed material and to pursue opportunities in the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines to feed its White Mesa mill this year.
Energy Fuels is advancing certain permits at its conventional uranium projects and it plans to continue the licensing and permitting of the large, high-grade Roca Honda project, in New Mexico, with a record of decision expected to be completed in 2019.
It will also maintain the required permits at its conventional standby projects, including the La Sal and Daneros projects, while continuing to evaluate the Bullfrog property at its Henry Mountains project.
The projects are important pipeline assets for the company.
Further, the company has, along with UrEnergy, also filed a Section 232 petition with the US Department of Commerce, seeking an import quota that reserves 25% of the US nuclear market for uranium produced in the US.
"The remedies, if granted, would be expected to strengthen the US uranium mining industry, bolster national defence and improve supply diversification for US utilities and their customers," said Chalmers.
Meanwhile, Energy Fuels is also considering opportunities to produce other products, such as vanadium and copper.
"While our focus is on uranium, and we believe we are the best positioned company in the US to capitalise on a uranium price recovery, Energy Fuels is fortunate among our peers in that we have a wide range of capabilities that allow us to capture diverse revenue-generating opportunities that are not reliant on uranium price increases," stated Chalmers.
He noted that the company is evaluating a number of short-term opportunities to profit from recent vanadium market strength, with vanadium prices up about 400% since 2016.
Further, the company has completed shaft sinking at its Canyon project, while also having identified reasonable options for processing copper resources at its White Mesa mill as a by-product with uranium.
If successful, the recovered copper will provide a credit that will effectively lower the U3O8 production cost per pound at the mine.
Energy Fuels will, this year, continue to carry out engineering, metallurgical testing, procurement and construction management activities, including additional bench and pilot plant scale metallurgical test work of the uranium/copper mineralisation, as well as pursue any additional permitting actions that may be required to recover copper at the White Mesa mill.