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Alta Mesa uranium plant upgrades advancing swiftly – enCore

The Alta Mesa uranium processing plant.

The Alta Mesa uranium processing plant.

19th May 2023

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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Upgrades and refurbishments to the Alta Mesa in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium central processing plant (CPP), in south Texas, are progressing faster than originally planned and are under budget, enCore Energy reported on Thursday.

The NYSE American- and TSX-V-listed company in March announced a formal production decision for the resumption of uranium production from Alta Mesa early next year.

enCore stated that 90% of the piping and valves were operational with limited maintenance requirements. Of the 40 pumps and motors evaluated, including major pumps, 30 were being rebuilt and refurbished on site, mitigating some supply chain risks.

Longer lead time items ordered were not critical for initial plant production startup, the firm noted.

Alta Mesa, which enCore bought earlier this year from Energy Fuels, has a total operating capacity of 1.5-million pounds a year of uranium oxide. The operation produced nearly five-million pounds a year of uranium oxide between 2005 and 2013, when full production was curtailed as a result of low uranium prices at the time.

The Alta Mesa plant uses ISR technology to extract uranium in a non-invasive process using natural groundwater and oxygen, coupled with an ion exchange process, to recover the uranium.

Alta Mesa will be enCore's second producing location following resumption of uranium production at the South Texas Rosita uranium processing plant scheduled for 2023.

The company said that production from Alta Mesa CPP, in conjunction with Rosita, would cement its position as the early leader in ISR uranium production in the US.

Meanwhile, enCore also announced continuing positive results from the wellfield delineation drill programme and a newly discovered mineralised zone at the Alta Mesa wellfield.

There are six drill rigs working at Alta Mesa with a seventh to be added shortly.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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