Consolidated Uranium Inc has announced the start of "comprehensive" work programmes including the reopening of the underground workings at its 100%-owned Tony M uranium mine, fifteen years after it last produced uranium. The Vancouver-based company also plans to investigate the vanadium potential of the underground mine in Utah.Preparing for the 2023 drilling programme at Tony M (Image: Consolidated Uranium)
Tony M is fully developed and permitted, and produced nearly one million pounds of U3O8 during two different periods of operation from 1979-1984 and from 2007-2008. It is one of three past-producing uranium mines in Utah owned by Vancouver-based Consolidated Uranium.
Historically, it had been thought that there was "no vanadium of consequence" at the mine, but in the process of completing an NI 43-101 technical report on the project, an inverse relationship between uranium and vanadium mineralisation had been discovered. This led to the recommendation by SLR International Corporation - who prepared the technical report - to reopen the underground for a sampling programme as well as carrying out a drilling programme.
"We view the reopening of the underground as a first step in the restart of the Tony M Mine," Consolidated Uranium President and COO Martin Tunney said. "Any vanadium mineralisation of economic value would allow us to reach that goal that much faster," he added.
The NI 43-101 technical report for Tony M, dated 9 September 2022, estimates indicated mineral resources of 6.6 million pounds U3O8 (2534 tU) and inferred resources of 2.2 million pounds. The 2023 drilling programme - which will include up to 59 vertical drill holes, totalling some 38,000 feet (about 11,600 metres) across the deposit - and the underground sampling programme are designed to collect detailed information on vanadium mineralisation with the ultimate aim of calculating a vanadium mineral resource, but might also allow for some of the current estimated mineral resources to be converted from the 'inferred' to the 'indicated' category.
"With uranium market fundamentals showing significant strength and the unquestionable need and political support for domestic US uranium production, we believe advancing the Tony M project toward a near term production decision is the correct course of action," Chairman and CEO Phil Williams said. "The programmes announced today will not only provide detailed information to guide ultimate mining of the Tony M resource, by potentially upgrading mineral resources into the indicated category and allowing us to evaluate the conditions of the extensive underground workings, but, if successful, could add meaningful value to the deposit through the possible addition of vanadium resources not previously evaluated."
Tony M - along with the Daneros and Rim mines - were part of a portfolio of permitted, past-producing conventional uranium and vanadium mines in Utah and Colorado which Consolidated Uranium acquired from Energy Fuels Inc in 2021. The company has an agreement with Energy Fuels for the toll-milling of uranium mined from the projects at Energy Fuels' White Mesa mill, which is the only currently permitted and operating conventional uranium mill in the USA.
The company last year agreed to buy Virginia Energy Resources, which owns Coles Hill - the largest undeveloped uranium project in the USA - in a transaction worth around USD32.2 million. It also has past-producing and development projects in Argentina, Australia and Canada.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News