NEWS ARCHIVE ◊ 2015
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2014
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2013
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2012
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2011
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2010
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2009
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2008
URANIUM WATCH SUBMITS CONCERN
ABOUT SHOOTARING MILL TRANSFER
Uranium Watch submitted Comments on the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control Notice regarding the transfer of the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill license from Uranium One Inc. to Anfield Resources Holding Inc. Anfield has stated that it intends to refurbish the Mill and start processing ore. Uranium Watch expressed concerns that the transfer of the license to another company that will not refurbish and reopen the Mill means that the Mill will not be reclaimed in the near future, nor will it be operated. It looks like the Mill, which has not operated since 1982, will remain on standby indefinitely.
Although Anfield has provided the required reclamation surety replacement bond, Anfield has never operated as a profitable company. They currently do not have sufficient capital to refurbish the Mill or permit, develop, and operate mines to supply ore to the Mill. According to the November 2015 Anfield Resources Inc. Management Discussion and Analysis, Anfield had a working capital DEFICIT of about $1.5 million and there were insufficient funds to meet all property commitments and agreements as they now stand. It could be many years before there was any Mill development.
CLOSURE OF ABANDONED URANIUM MINES NEAR MOAB
As part of the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program, 17 abandoned mines, including 11 uranium mines, have been remediated in the Klondike Bluffs area north of Moab. The remediation took place on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administered land. The hazards were remediated, but that is not the same as cleaning up radioactive contamination and fully reclaiming the uranium mines.
In the fall of 2017, the Program will close approximately 70 uranium mine openings in the Browns Hole area northeast of La Sal Junction, Hwy. 191, on the west slope of the La Sal Mountains. The work will include hand and machine backfills and construction of gates, grates, block or stone wall closures. The USGS study determined there were 64 open adits in the Brown Hole area.
During most of the uranium boom in the southeast Utah, DOGM and the BLM did not require reclamation bonds for the cleanup of mines, especially for small mines impacting less than 5 acres. There was little concern for the long-term impacts of uranium mining nationally, or in local communities.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued it Abandoned Uranium Mine Report to Congress in 2014. The Report only addressed mines associated with the federal nuclear weapons program. The DOE found 1,380 mines, approximately one third of the defense related AUMs, are found in Utah. There is still no
dedicated funding source for the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines or mines where the waste and contamination is considered to be “pre-law.” The federal government and the State of Utah do not have a radiological action standard for mine cleanup.
• Moab Sun News Article - December 10, 2015
• Assessment of Nonpoint Source Chemical Loading Potential to Watersheds Containing Uranium Waste Dumps Associated with Uranium Exploration and Mining, Browns Hole, Utah. SIR 2011-5230.
• DOE 2014 AUM Report to Congress
SHOOTARING CANYON MILL SALE
The Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control is considering the transfer of the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill license to Anfield Resources Holding Inc. The Mill, near Lake Powell northwest of Ticaboo, last operated in 1982. The DWMRC has made clear that their main concern at this time is the financial guarantee, so that funds are there to reclaim the Mill. Anfield has submitted a reclamation bond of $ 9,346,014.
Anfield, a Canadian Company, has plans to refurbish and restart the Mill. This would require the construction of a new tailings impoundment constructed to current standards.
In 2007 Uranium One Inc., the current licensee, estimated that it would take about $33 million to refurbish the Mill. Anfield has little cash and little overall capital to refurbish and operate the Mill and permit, develop, and operate a uranium mine or two. Anfield has also demonstrated a willingness to stretch the truth in promotional materialsfor investor consumption and reports to the Canadian Securities Administrators.
• Notice of Sale and Information
• DWMRC Shootaring Canyon Mill Webpage
◊ Utah Div. of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) decides to stop inspections at Dunn Uranium MIne on BLM land in San Juan County, Utah. The August 2015 Inspection photos show the hazardous, open decline adit that has not been remediated. There was no reclamation bond. Recently Piñon Ridge Mining Co. acquired the Dunn claims, which are in sage grouse habitat. Piñon Ridge is a subsidiary of Western Uranium Corp., the owner of the proposed Piñon Ridge Mill in the Paradox Valley, Colorado; Sage Mine, Utah; and other mining claims.
UTAH POWER COMPANY TEAMING WITH NUSCALE
FOR SMALL MODULAR REACTOR PROJECT
Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) has teamed with NuScale Power to develop Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). The Carbon Free Power Project is intended to replace coal fired power plants in western states. NuScale is in the process of applying for a Design Certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
NuScale Power has launched a Western Initiative for Nuclear (Program WIN) to study the demonstration and deployment of NuScale SMRs in six western states. The first possible location is "within the confines" of the Idaho National Lab in Idaho Falls, which is part of the UAMPS area. Other projects are contemplated in Utah, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Arizona.
• UAMPS General Manager speaks about their Carbon-free Power Project
◊ EPA seeks comment on Draft 2015 - 2000 Five-Year Plan to Assess and Address Health and Enviornmnetal Impacts of Uranium Mining and Milling in Grants Mining District. Comments due November 13.
◊ Rep. Raul M. Grijalva introduces legislation designating Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument to honor tribal history and culture and protect the land and water shed.
◊ Utah Court of Appeals to hold oral arguments on January 26, 2016, on the appeal of the State Engineer decision approving the withdrawal of water from the Green River for the proposed Blue Castle Project nuclear reactor.
URANIUM WATCH, LIVING RIVERS, HEAL UTAH
PROTEST KCWCD REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF TIME
TO PUT WATER TO BENEFICIAL USE
Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, and HEAL Utah have protested the Kane County Water Conservancy District's fifty year request for an extension of time to show proof of beneficial use of 29,600 acre-feet of water originally to be withdrawn from the Colorado River. The water was leased to Blue Castle Holdings Inc. (BCH) for the proposed nuclear reactor near Green River. It is unlikely that the reactor project will every happen. BCH last wrote to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2011, stating they would submit an Early Site Permit in the fall of 2012. The Grand Junction oil and gas pipeline company BCH bought has reverted to the previous owner, and BCH has no where near the funding needed to complete the ESP application.
KCWCD anticipates other developments over the next 40 years that would put the water to use, but provided no engineering assessment or other substantive data and information about those housing, agriculture, recreational and tourism projects.
• KCWCD Request
• HEAL Protest
• Living Rivers/Uranium Watch Protest
URANIUM WATCH JOINS GRAND CANYON TRUST PETITION FOR CHANGES
IN FEDERAL MINING REGULATIONS
Uranium Watch joined the Grand Canyon Trust Petition to the US Departments of Interior and Agriculture proposing changes to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service (USFS) regulations that have allowed uranium and other mineral mines on federal land to remain on standby for decades without cleanup and reclamation. The mines are permitted to restart under outdated and inadequate permitting and environmental reviews. The Petition was supported by the Havasupai Tribal Council, Hualapai Tribal Council, Zuni Tribe, Coconino County (AZ) Board of Supervisors, San Miguel County (CO) Board of Commissioners, Information Network for Responsible Mining, Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks, Sierra Club, and others.
This will impact Utah. For decades the Utah BLM and Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining have failed to enforce the existing, inadequate regulations applicable to uranium mines that have “temporarily” ceased operation. The Utah BLM failed to assure that Utah uranium mines had Interim Management Plans (IMPs) for periods of time when the mine was not operational. IMPs are supposed to be submitted as part of the mine Plan of Operations, but most uranium mines in Utah did not have such plans until this oversight was brought to the attention of the BLM by Uranium Watch. IMPs for the Rim and Sage Mines were submitted to the BLM in 2014, but the BLM did not provide an opportunity for public comment.
DOGM HOLDS INFORMAL HEARING ON URANIUM WATCH CONCERNS RE
ENFORCEMENT OF MINE STANDBY REGULATIONS
In June of this year Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining staff held an informal hearing on Uranium Watch’s concerns regarding the enforcement of DOGM’s regulations related to temporary cessation of operation at permitted uranium mines. Mine operators had neglected to notify DOGM of periods of non-operation beyond 5 years and had neglected to submit requests to the DOGM Board for approval of extension of non-operation beyond 10 years. DOGM’s inspections were infrequent and allowed unsafe conditions at the mines. DOGM regulations are vague and contribute to inadequate oversight of the mines during lengthy periods of nonoperation. DOGM staff has will provide a written reply the concerns Uranium Watch brought forward in the hearing.
GEORGE GLASIER MISLEADS THE PUBLIC REGARDING SUNDAY MINE RESTART
George Glasier, the President and CEO of Western Uranium Corp. (WUC), stated in a Material Change Report filed with the Canadian Securities Exchange, “The Sunday Mine complex is fully permitted and we expect production to begin in 2016 in accordance with the Company’s strategy to become the next near-term producer in the historic Uravan Mineral Belt of Colorado." A September 3, 2015, article in the San Miguel Basin Forum newspaper reports Glasier’s statements about the reopening of the Sunday Mine in San Miguel County and provide information on the proposed use of a new ablation technology that processes ore at the site and concentrates the uranium. Glasier expects to initially process Sunday Mine ore at the White Mesa Mill, even thought the mill has been placed on standby for an indefinite period.
Glasier’s claim that the mine can reopen in 2016 is exaggerated, at best. The fact is that the Sunday Mine is currently not permitted to operate. In 2009, the BLM remanded the Environmental Assessment (EA) for expansion of the mine back to the Dolores Field Office and required the gathering of new data. Once they amend the 2008 EA, it is possible that it will be published as a draft for additional public comment. The ablation process will require a modification of the Plan of Operation and a new EA. Ablation would also require a source material license and maybe a uranium milling license from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment. WUC has addressed the mine water that has accumulated in the mine since 2009 and how it will be disposed of. This may require a discharge permit or evaporation ponds. Again, requiring new or amended permits. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must also approve the construction of new or reopening of old radon vents. All these applications and approvals will take more than a year, particularly since WUC has not yet filed applications regarding mine water disposal, ablation, or radon vents.
WHITE MESA MILL RADON EMISSIONS
The EPA is still silent on assessment of radon emissions from liquid effluents at the White Mesa Mill. Uranium Watch (UW) and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe believes that the EPA should be taking emergency actions to protect the health of the White Mesa community, in light of the high levels of radon emissions from the White Mesa Uranium Mill. Both UW and the Tribe have brought the issue of the high levels of radon being emitted from radium laden effluents at Cells 1, 3, 4A, and 4B (135 total acres). The Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. Semi-Annual Effluent Monitoring Report stated that the radon emissions for the 1st half of 2015 from Cell 2, which is not receiving tailings and has no liquid cover, is below the emission limit.
EPA UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO ACKNOWLEDGE RADON EMISSION CONCERNS
AT WHITE MESA MILL
The Denver Region 8 Office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has delayed any real assessment of the radon emissions from the liquid effluents at the White Mesa Mill. The EPA'S July 27, 2015, letter responded to the June 10, 2015, Uranium Watch letter requesting enforcement action. Uranium Watch and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe believe that the EPA should be taking emergency actions to protect the health of the White Mesa community, in light of the high levels of radon emissions from the White Mesa Uranium Mill. Both Uranium Watch and the Ute Mt. Ute Tribe have brought the issue of the high levels of radon being emitted from radium-laden effluents at Cells 1, 3, 4A, and 4B (135 total acres) to the EPA.
The EPA does not require the measurement of radon from liquid effluents, based on their assumption that the emissions are “zero.” In 2011 the EPA developed a formula for determining the radon emissions from White Mesa liquid effluents based on local meteorological data and the radium content of the effluents. However, the EPA never used White Mesa liquid effluent data, which was readily available, to determine the radon emission.
Data from the White Mesa Mill 2014 Annual Tailings Wastewater Monitoring Report showed a dramatic increase in the radium content of the liquid effluents in Cells 1, 4A, and 4B in 2014. The high radium content means higher levels of radon emissions. Data for 2015 will not be available until December 2015, although the sampling event will occur in August 2015. The EPA states that they will continue to evaluate emission data from the Mill and information regarding the calculation of emissions from the liquid impoundments. The EPA has had over a year to evaluate this data. There is no indication that the EPA has requested new data on the radium content of the effluents, so that they can track the fluctuations in the radium content and radon emissions in a timely manner.
ENERGY FUELS REMOVES ROBERTS POND
AT WHITE MESA MILL
In 2014 Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. removed Roberts Pond, a small pond (about 10 acres) that had been used to store liquid processing wastes at the White Mesa Mill. The Pond liner was damaged by work done in 2012 when the Pond was drained the Pond and some of the accumulated sludge removed. Damage was repaired in 2012, but some went unobserved. In March 2014 Energy Fuels noticed additional damage. A remediation plan was approved by the Utah Division Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) (formerly Division of Radiation Control-DRC). Fluids, sludge, the liner, and contaminated soils have been removed and placed in another impoundment. There is now a 20-foot-deep hole that will be filled with clean soil. Tests were done to verify that the soils underneath the Pond met the cleanup standards.
The Pond was never approved by the EPA, as required by EPA regulation (40 CFR §§ 61.07-61.08). EPA approval, even an existing impoundment, was required for uranium mill impoundments holding tailings and processing effluents. The Mill owner never measured radon from sludge when there was no fluids in the Pond.
UW FILES NOTICE RE REINSTATEMENT OF EPA STANDARD
FOR NON-OPERATIONAL MILL TAILINGS IMPOUNDMENTS -
40 CFR PART 61 SUBPART T
On July 10, 2015, Uranium Watch submitted a Notice and Request for Relief to the Utah Division Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) (formerly Division of Radiation Control-DRC) regarding Uranium Watch's intention to submit a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to seek reinstatement of 40 C.F.R. Part 61 Subpart T at the White Mesa Uranium Mill.
The basis for the Notice and Request to the DWMRC is the failure of the State to assure timely emplacement of a permanent barrier to limit the release of radon from the mill tailings in Cell 2 at the Mill. In 2014, the DRC issued an Order announcing that Cell 2 was no longer operating and was in "closure." However, an approved Reclamation Plan for Cell 2 has not been incorporated into the Mill's license and there are no approved reclamation milestones for the placement of the final radon barrier, the placement of an interim cover, or dewatering, as required by EPA and NRC regulation. An approved reclamation plan and reclamation milestones are required by EPA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations (which are incorporated into Utah regulation).
On July 15. 1994, the EPA rescinded Subpart T, National Emission Standards for Radon Emissions from Disposal of Uranium Mill Tailing, based on the assumption than an Agreement State, such as Utah, would assure timely placement of a final radon barrier by enforcing reclamation milestones established to carry out the final Reclamation Plan for a tailings impoundment. Utah has failed to meet those expectations.
The Subpart T Rescission was preceded by a 1991 Memorandum of Understanding between the EPA, NRC, and Affected Agreement States. Although Utah did not sign the MOU, because Utah was not yet an Agreement State for uranium mills, the expectation was that Agreement States would adhere to the provisions of the MOU, which the DWMRC has not done.
UTE MT. UTE TRIBE CONCERNED ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACTS FROM
WHITE MESA RADON EMISSIONS
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe believes that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be taking emergency actions to protect the health of the White Mesa community, in light of the high levels of radon emissions from the White Mesa Uranium Mill. The Tribe continues to express concerns to the EPA regarding the radon emissions from the processing solution impoundments at the Mill. In the February 2015 Supplement to Calculation Brief, the Tribe provided new calculations of the radon emissions from the liquid impoundments. Data from the White Mesa Mill 2014 Annual Tailings Wastewater Monitoring Report shows a dramatic increase in the radium content of the liquid effluents in Cells 1, 4A, and 4B (135 acres). The high radium content means high levels of radon emissions. However, the EPA continues to maintain that the radon emissions from liquid effluents at the Mill are "zero," despite evidence to the contrary.
ENERGY FUELS RESOURCES SUBMITS 2014
CELL 3 RADON EMISSION REPORT
Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. has submitted the 2014 Annual Radon Flux Monitoring Report for Tailings Impoundment 3. The Report was submitted to demonstrate compliance with the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for radon emissions from operating uranium mills (40 C.F.R. Part 61 Subpart W). The Report, based on 4 quarterly monitoring events, found that Cell 3 radon emissions were within the 20 pico Curie per square meter per second (20 pCi/m2-sec) standard. The monitoring and calculations assume that the radon emissions from the liquid cover on Cell 3 are zero. However, if Energy Fuels used the recent EPA formula for determining the radon emissions from liquid impoundments and water covers and Energy Fuels 2014 data on the radium content of Cell 3, the radon emissions from Cell 3 would exceed the standard.
ANFIELD RESOURCES AND URANIUM ONE
DELAY SHOOTARING CANYON MILL DEAL
Anfield Resources Inc. issued a news release announcing an agreement with Uranium One Inc. to extend the closing date for the acquisition of the Shootaring Canyon Mill and uranium mines and assets from Uranium One for up to an additional 90 days. The transaction was originally scheduled to close by March 31, 2015. The definitive agreements, as amended, now calls for the transaction to close by June 30, 2015.
Anfield announced that it is working with a surety bond provider to replace the long-term reclamation bond for the Shootaring Canyon Mill. The current estimated cost of decommissioning is $9,346,014.00. Anfield is working toward a collateral reduction of 25% of the total reclamation bond, with an annual premium of 3% of the bond value. As part of the reduction, within 24 months following closing Anfield would make an additional deposit to cover the remaining amount of the reclamation bonds. Anfield would also have to replace the bond for the Velvet Mine.
The Division of Radiation Control must approve any surety arrangement. The DRC has given its preliminary approval of the license transfer, but has yet to issue a public notice of opportunity for public comment and a hearing. Anfield must submit a license renewal application by October 31, 2015. The DRC granted an additional extension of the renewal application on October 17, 2014. With the delay in the completion of the acquisition of the Mill and the process to finally approve the license transfer, it is doubtful that Anfield would be able to submit the required license renewal application by the end of October.
USFS SENDS LA SAL MINES COMPLEX EA
DECISION BACK TO DRAWING BOARD
On March 20, 2015, US Forest Service (USFS) ruled favorably on Uranium Watch et al.'s Objection to the La Sal Mines Complex Plan of Operations Amendment, the project EA, and the USFS draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). In the 38-page decision, the Objection Reviewing Officer found that the FONSI was not supported by the EA and the project record. He instructed the Forest Supervisor to hold the issuance of the Decision Notice until all concerns and instructions in the decision have been addressed. At the end of this process, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will issue its final decision.
Many thanks to Roger Flynn and Jeff Parsons of the Western Mining Action
Project in Lyons, Colorado, who represented Uranium Watch, Grand Canyon Trust, Living Rivers, Information Network for Responsible Mining, and Center for
The La Sal Mines Complex consists of the Beaver Shaft (private land) and
Snowball, La Sal, and Pandora Mines and a Beaver Shaft waste rock pile on BLM land. Intake and radon exhaust vents, exploration drilling and access roads are on USFS land.
The Beaver Shaft and associated radon vents are close to an elementary school, community center, store and Post Office in La Sal, on the south slope of the La Sal Mountains. The mines went on standby at the end of 2012.
• USFS Decision Cover Letter
• USFS Decision
UTAH DEQ ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT SYSTEM
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has established document system to providing electronic document information. Limited Division of Radiation Control historical documents and more recent and current documents are available.
• Link to Utah E-Docs Search - Click HERE
UTAH LEGISLATURE MERGES
DIVISIONS OF RADIATION CONTROL
AND SOLID AND HAZARDOUS WASTE
The Utah Legislature approved Senate Bill 244, which merged the Divisions of Radiation Control and Solid and Hazardous Waste and established a new, combined Board. According to SB 244, a Board member must now be knowledgeable about solid and hazardous waste matters and radiation safety. The bill was pushed through the Legislature in a very short time, with little opportunity for public input. The current Radiation Control Board was not consulted. The Board asked that there be separate boards, but it was too late.
DATA SHOWS NEED TO CONTINUE RADON
MONITORING AT WHITE MESA URANIUM MILL
In July 2014, the Utah Division Radiation Control (DRC) ordered Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. to monitor the radon emissions from Cell 2 twice yearly and report them in the White Mesa Mill Semi-Annual Effluent Monitoring Report (SAER). The SAER for the Second Half of 2014 includes the results of Cell 2 radon monitoring.
Energy Fuels conducted 2 monitoring events, in July and September. The July test shows a flux of 20.4 pico Curies per square meter per second (20.4 pCi/m2-sec). This is above the 20 pCi/m2-sec limit the DRC established for Cell 2. The DRC determined that Cell 2 was in "closure," so no longer subject to the Environmental Protection Agency 20 pCi/m2-sec standard, so the DRC adopted that standard for Cell 2. In August Energy Fuels added additional materials on the interim cover to reduce the radon emissions, then retested in September. The September radon flux was below the emission limit. This shows that the DRC must require the continued monitoring of the Cell 2 radon emissions during closure.
The mill continues to emit high levels of radon from the radium-laden effluents in Cells 1, 3, 4A, and 4B. The average emissions from Cells 1, 4A, and 4B (~ 135 acres) for 2014 was 1,749 pCi/m2-sec, up from 156 pCi/m2-sec in 2013.
ANFIELD CONTINUES TO PURSUE PURCHASE OF
SHOOTARING MILL AND
MAKES FALSE CLAIMS TO INVESTORS
Anfield Resources Inc. continues to pursue the purchase of the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill near Ticaboo in Garfield County, north of the Colorado River at Lake Powell. The Mill is currently owned by Uranium One. The DRC has given its preliminary approval, but has yet to issue a public notice of opportunity for public comment and a hearing. Anfield must submit a license renewal application by October 15, 2015.
Anfield has been providing misleading information in its news releases and a corporate presentation. Anfield claims that they have an ore stockpile in Lisbon Valley at the historic Patti Ann Mine. According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), there are no existing claims associated with the Patti Ann low-grade ore stockpile. The site is not on claims owned by Uranium One or other mining company.
Anfield plans to acquire the Velvet Mine and nearby unexploited Wood Mine in San Juan County as part of its purchase of the Shootaring Canyon Mill from Uranium One. The Velvet Mine, which supplied ore to the Atlas Minerals Uranium Mill in Moab, is only permitted for reclamation. However, Anfield claims (under the heading "Permits") that there is a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Commence Large Mining Operations Approved with the Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining (DOGM). Anfield claims a "Potential to recommence production within 12 months based on current permits in place." These statements are greatly misleading. The NOI is only associated with reclamation of the site, and it would take much longer than 12 months to permit and reopen the mine.
In order to reopen the long-closed Velvet Mine, Anfield would have to submit a new Plan of Operations/Notice of Intent to the BLM and DOGM. The BLM would have to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or Environmental Assessment (EA). Based on the current time it has taken to complete EAs for uranium mine projects in San Juan County, that would take 3 years or longer. Air Quality and Water Quality permits would need to be updated. Anfield would need Utah Division of Air Quality approval to construct or reopen the mine ventilation system. Anyone who read the Velvet-Wood Technical Report, would see that Anfield is making false statements to potential investors.
In a recent news release, Anfield announced plans to evaluate the processing ore from their Velvet Mine and nearby Wood Mine assets using vat or heap leaching. Vat or heap leaching would require a uranium mill license and the permanent disposal of the spent ore for perpetual care and maintenance on site, at the White Mesa Mill, or the Shootaring Canyon Mill. The Velvet and Wood claims are on BLM land. Creating a new uranium ore processing site and tailings disposal site on BLM land would present many permitting and environmental challenges, which Anfield fails to mention.
DATA SHOWS DRAMATIC INCREASE LEVELS OF
RADON EMISSIONS AT WHITE MESA URANIUM MILL
The 2014 Annual Tailings Wastewater Monitoring Report shows a dramatic increase in the Cells 1, 4A, and 4B radium content. The data in the Report was based on August 2014 sampling events. As shown in the Table, based on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formula for determining radon emissions from the White Mesa Mill liquid impoundments, the radon emissions from Cells 1, 4A, and 4B, have increased dramatically and average ~1,700 pico cures per square meter per second (pCi/m2-sec), when the standard for older tailings impoundments is 20 pCi/m2-sec. According to the Wastewater Monitoring Report:
> During June, July, and August operating period fresh water was not added to the Mill process. Re-circulated tailings liquids were used for process water. Re-circulated fluids were then returned to the tailings system or evaporation ponds.
> From August 2013 to August 2014, the Mill’s production was limited, resulting in less fresh water added to the Mill process and therefore to the cells. The decrease in the addition of fresh water resulted in concentration of existing fluids.
> Drought conditions resulted in less precipitation, therefore, less rainwater and storm water going into the cells. Drought also caused higher evaporation rates.
These conditions will continue, as Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. has announced that they will put the Mill on standby in early 2015. Therefore, there will continue to be high levels of radon emissions from the solutions in these 4 impoundments. Yet, the EPA and Utah Division of Air Quality (DAQ)have done nothing to address this situation. In fact, the EPA maintains that radon emissions from liquid impoundments are ZERO.
Last Updated March 2, 2016