South Texas Regional Strategy
Uranium Energy Corp’s regional strategy in South Texas is focused on consolidating assets along the re-emerging South Texas Uranium Belt.
UEC controls a portfolio of uranium projects along this belt, including the Palangana in-situ recovery mine, which is ramping up production, and the Goliad in-situ recovery project which is currently under construction. The Company also owns the fully licensed and permitted ISR Hobson Processing Plant, which is central to all of its operations in South Texas.
By utilizing the Hobson Processing Plant as a central processing site, the Company’s eliminates the need to construct a new processing plant on site at each project.
The Texas Uranium Belt
The Texas uranium belt extends along an approximately 300-mile belt that extends from east-central Texas to South Texas. This area holds significant known uranium that are amenable to low-cost in-situ recovery.
With the use of historical exploration databases that document decades of South Texas-focused uranium exploration and mining, UEC has been able to target projects that have already been the subject of significant exploration and development by senior energy companies in the past. The Company will continue to aggressively pursue this formula on an ongoing basis, thus providing a diversified pipeline of advanced development and exploration-stage projects for expanding production.
Texas is America’s energy capital, and has a unique streamlined permitting framework for uranium mining.
In-Situ Recovery (ISR)
Today, in-situ recovery of uranium accounts for about 37% of global uranium production in districts where uranium deposits meet very specific geological requirements, including a permeable sandstone host.
UEC’s focus on developing ISR amenable uranium projects is strategic. ISR mining generally requires lower capital and operating costs with shorter construction and permitting time lines compared to conventional mining methods.
The ISR process is the most environmental friendly method of uranium mining and essentially reverses the natural occurrences that deposited the uranium in the sandstone. Specifically, on-site ground water is fortified with gaseous oxygen and is introduced to the uranium ore body through a pattern of injection wells. The solution dissolves the uranium out of the sandstone host rock. The uranium-bearing solution is recovered from production wells and then pumped to recovery ion-exchange columns. This pattern of injection and production wells, plus surrounding monitor wells that serve as a safeguard, is called a wellfield.
The subsequent ion-exchange process involves removing the uranium from the pregnant well field solution and loading the uranium onto millions of synthetic resin beads. When the resin in an ion-exchange column is loaded to capacity, it is transported to a processing plant for stripping, filtering, drying, and packaging into yellowcake.
This process of uranium extraction was initiated at the Company’s Palangana ISR Mine in South Texas on November 17, 2010 making UEC the newest emerging uranium producer in North America.