Having commenced production in late 2015, Ross is the fully-permitted flagship of Strata’s greater Lance Projects. Combined with other areas of the greater Lance Projects, Ross constitutes the largest JORC-compliant* in-situ recovery resource in the USA at 54 million pounds U3O8. As an in-situ recovery (ISR) operation, Ross includes the traditional ISR components of wellfields and central processing infrastructure. Where things get less traditional is in Strata’s use of a scalable development plan, which allows Strata the flexibility to expand operations in response to market conditions while reducing up-front capital costs.
In short, Strata’s large resource and scalable infrastructure mean the company is optimally poised to capitalize on a growing global uranium market, with the Ross Project serving as the foundation.
*Joint Ore Reserves Committee, Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves.
Ross Project Construction and Development
Stage 1 construction of the central processing plant (CPP), construction of the first wellfield production unit, including installation of final pipework and control systems within the CPP and the installation of all key operating equipment and systems was completed and commissioned at the Lance Projects in November 2015.
Administrative and workshop structures were completed in October 2015 with the project and operations team now working from this building.
Scalable Plant Development
Strata’s approach at the Ross Project is that of a multi-stage, scalable development plan. This plan allows for optimal capitalization of market conditions while supporting the long-term development of the greater Lance Projects.
The scalable production development plan comprises a three stage ramp up strategy:
- Stage 1 – construction of Ion Exchange system and initial well fields with production up to 500,000 lbs U3O8 per annum ;
- Stage 2 – expansion of the Ion Exchange system and completion of the remainder of the CPP allowing for on site production of final yellow cake product with production up to 1,200,000 lbs U3O8 per annum; and
- Stage 3 – expansion of the CPP processing plant and construction of a satellite with production up to 2,300,000 lbs U3O8 per annum.
Strata believes a scalable uranium extraction development plan significantly reduces the initial funding required to initiate sustainable uranium extraction at the Lance Projects, allowing the company to produce enough product to fill existing contracts at prices substantially above today’s price, while waiting to sign additional contracts when prices increase. Initial capital expenditure required to reach positive cash flow at the Lance Projects is also substantially reduced.
Commissioning of the processing facility and wellfield operations in Stage 1 also significantly de-risks the Stage 2 and Stage 3 upgrades. Timing of development of Stages 2 and 3 will be driven by uranium market conditions.
Construction – Stage 1
Construction for Stage 1 of the Lance Projects comprised:
- CPP that has capacity to treat 3,750gpm of pregnant lixiviant in 6 x ion exchange columns (production rate 500-700,000 lbs pa capacity);
- Initial wellfield development capable of delivering up to 3,750gpm to the CPP;
- 1 x deep disposal well; and
- Site administration and laboratory facilities.
Stage 1 of the CPP is highlighted in green in Figure 3 below.
All wellfield development activities are being carried out by Strata’s experienced in-house uranium ISR wellfield and geology team, supported by local drilling contractors.