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Canada NewsWire

(All dollars USD)

  • Large, long-life project with 31.2 million pounds produced over 31 years
  • Low initial capital costs of $47.5M
  • Unit operating costs (including taxes and royalties) of $27.70/lb and ASIC (all in sustaining costs) of $34.83/lb
  • Pre-income tax IRR of 62% and NPV (8%) of $278 million (at $75/lb U3O8)
  • Post-income tax IRR 56% and NPV (8%) $239 million (at $75/lb U3O8)
  • Life of Project post-income tax cash flow exceeds $1 billion
  • Upside opportunities include:
    • Potential for accelerated development of the resource beyond one million pound per annum straight line case outlined in the PEA; existing license allows for a 3-million-pound capacity at planned CPP (Central Processing Plant);
    • Potential for enhanced recoveries (PEA assumes recovery of 68% of the resource in the production area) or expansion of the current resource through infill and exploration drilling;
    • Inclusion of Crownpoint resource in future production planning; and
    • Realized uranium prices more than $75/lb pricing assumptions used in the PEA; for example, at a spot price of $90/lb after-tax NPV (8%) is $294,497,000.

TORONTO, Jan. 11, 2024 /CNW/ - Laramide Resources Ltd. ("Laramide" or the "Company") (TSX: LAM) (ASX: LAM) (OTCQX: LMRXF), is pleased to announce the positive results of an independent Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for the 100% owned Churchrock In-Situ Uranium Project ("Churchrock Project") located in New Mexico, U.S. The PEA has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") by SLR International Corporation ("SLR"), an independent consulting firm with considerable expertise in mining and mineral processing, including uranium mining in the United States.

"Laramide is pleased with the results described in this PEA analysis of the Churchrock Project, which is the first economic study to consider the entirety of the large and robust resource amenable to ISR development.  The study confirms that Churchrock has the potential to be a long life, high margin project," says Marc Henderson, President and CEO of Laramide Resources. "Importantly, as a late-stage development project located in the western United States, Churchrock is well positioned to address some of the potential nuclear utility security of supply concerns clearly reflected in spot uranium prices which have risen dramatically and now exceed $90/lb."

Summary of Economics

The base case economic assessment results in a pre-income tax internal rate of return ("IRR") of 62% and a pre-income tax net present value ("NPV") of US$287 million when applying an eight percent discount rate and $75 uranium price.

The economic assessment reflects the development of a steady state 3,000 gpm (gallons per minute) in situ recovery (ISR) operation, which includes Churchrock Satellite Plants, Crownpoint CPP (Central Processing Plant), and associated wellfields near Churchrock, New Mexico. The PEA assumes recovery of approximately 68% of the uranium resource in the production area.

Following an initial capital cost of $47.5 million for the development of the initial wellfield and associated process infrastructure, subsequent wellfields are developed sequentially, the cost of which is accounted for in the PEA as sustaining capital. 

The capital and operating cost estimates for ISR mineral recovery and yellowcake production in the PEA are based on factored costs from other comparable ISR operations, judgment, and analogy. Although there was some previous commercial underground mining production experience at Churchrock area, this Technical Report concerns only the ISR method for the U3O8.

An economic analysis was performed using the assumptions outlined in this News Release. The SLR QPs note that, unlike Mineral Reserves, Mineral Resources do not have demonstrated economic viability. This PEA is preliminary in nature and is based on Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too geologically speculative to have modifying factors applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves, and there is no certainty that this economic assessment will be realized.

Summary of Capital Costs for 31.2 Mlb LOM Production Schedule (Q1 2022 US dollar basis)

Initial Capital Cost (Year -4 through Year 1)

Total (US$ 000)

Pre-production Permitting


Restoration Demonstration


Wellfield Cost (SE1/4 of Section 8 only)


Satellite IX Plant


Elution Plant




Total Direct Costs


EPCM / Owners / Indirect Cost




Initial Capital


Sustaining Capital (Year 2 through Year 37)


Total Capital


Reclamation and Closure


Total Capital + Reclamation and Closure


The LOM average operating cost includes mineral recovery, on-site yellowcake production with hauling cost to Laramide's Crownpoint Processing Facility approximately 22 miles from Churchrock, general and administration, and freight of the product from the CPP to a point of sale, along with various royalties and taxes.

LOM Operating Cost Estimate


LOM Operating Cost
(US$ 000)

LOM Unit Operating Cost
(US $/lb)     

Wellfield + Satellite IX Plant Ops



Well Field Development



Elution Plant Ops



Waste Management



Restoration Ops






Capitalized Operating Costs



Total Site Operating Costs



Product Transport to Market

Total Production Costs






New Mexico Severance Tax



Total Operating Costs



Project Description and Resources

The Churchrock Project and nearby properties represent one of the largest and highest-grade undeveloped ISR uranium projects in the USA. The Churchrock Project is located on the western end of the Grants Mineral Belt in the main portion of the historical Churchrock Mining District, approximately 10 miles north-northeast of Gallup, in McKinley County New Mexico. Churchrock is situated within the sub-district of the Grants Mineral Belt of northwestern New Mexico, the most prolific historical uranium district in the United States with cumulative production of 340 million pounds from 1948 to 2002.

The Churchrock Project consists of two groups of property parcels, Churchrock and Crownpoint, separated by approximately 22 miles. A single U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC) license (SUA-1580) covers parts of Churchrock and Crownpoint and is in timely renewal status. Further renewals of the NRC license and other permits, including a State of New Mexico aquifer injection permit, will be required before production activities can commence. This PEA evaluates uranium mineral recovery by ISR methods at the Churchrock location and processing in a proposed new facility at the nearby Crownpoint location where significant project infrastructure already exists. The purpose of this PEA is to assess the engineering, development, and operating design criteria and overall economic and technical merits of the proposed ISR mineral recovery operations at Churchrock. The potential ISR mineral recovery of other Mineral Resources on the Crownpoint property parcels was not evaluated and is not addressed in this PEA.

The history of exploration and mine development activities for the Churchrock Project dates to the late 1950s. Underground mine development occurred at the Section 17 property (Old Churchrock Mine), in the early 1960s by Phillips Petroleum and affiliates, and in the early 1980s by United Nuclear Corporation (UNC). Exploration and development activities continued through the early 1990s by Uranium Resources Inc. (URI). The properties were acquired by Laramide in January 2017 from URI (now Westwater Resources, Inc.).

As of the effective date of this report, Laramide and its predecessor companies have completed a total of 1,701 holes totaling 1,867,562 ft, from 1957 to 2023, of which 1,694 drill holes were used to prepare the Mineral Resource estimates. The Churchrock project area consists of all or portions of eight sections of land totaling approximately 4,683 acres. The properties are accessible from New Mexico State Highway 566, which crosses the Project, and locally via dirt roads.

Table 1 summarizes the Mineral Resource estimate for the Project (by Section) prepared by SLR, based on drill hole data available as of September 30, 2017, with an effective date of May 16, 2023.

Mineral Resources totaling 33.9 million tons at an average grade of 0.075% eU3O8 containing 50.8 million pounds U3O8 (inferred) were reported in 20171. The Churchrock Mineral Resource Estimate was based on results of several historical surface rotary drilling campaigns from 1957 to 1991 and completed utilizing the GT contour method, an industry standard for estimating uranium roll-front type deposits hosted within groundwater-saturated sandstones. The mineralization at the Project has been previously shown to be amenable to ISR techniques. No Mineral Reserves have been estimated for the Project.

Table 1: Summary of Mineral Resources by Section2


Sand Unit

Tonnage (Tons)

(% eU3O8)

Metal (U3O8 lb)


Section 4, T16N-R16W




Section 7, T16N-R16W




Section 8, T16N-R16W




Section 9, T16N-R16W




Section 17, T16N-R16W




Section 12, T16N-R17W




Section 13, T16N-R17W




Total Inferred






1 ASX: Laramide announces 51 Million Pounds Mineral Resource Estimate on the Church Rock Uranium Project, October 10, 2017

2 1. CIM (2014) definitions were followed for Mineral Resources.

2. Mineral Resources are reported at a GT cut-off of 0.5 ft-% eU3O8.

3. A minimum thickness of 2.0 ft was used.

4. A minimum cut-off grade of 0.02% eU3O8 (based on historical mineral recovery costs and parameters from the district) was used.

5. Internal maximum dilution of 5.0 ft was used.

6. Grade values have not been adjusted for disequilibrium.

7. Tonnage factor of 15 ft3/ton based on historical used by the mineral recovery operators was applied.

8. Mineralized areas defined by isolated or widely spaced drill holes, or located within the area previously subject to past production were excluded from the estimate.

9. Totals may not add due to rounding.


Technical Report and Qualified Person

Technical information contained in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mark B. Mathisen, C.P.G., Principal Geologist, and Stuart E. Collins, P.E., Principal Mining Engineer, SLR International Corporation, who are considered to be independent Qualified Persons ("QP") as defined in National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43-101).

This PEA demonstrates a business case for the further advancement of the Project. Certain licensing/permitting issues remain to be resolved and further technical studies are recommended to validate Mineral Resources and hydrological assumptions.

The Churchrock Project PEA has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of NI 43-101 by Mark B. Mathisen, C.P.G., and Stuart E. Collins, P.E., SLR International Corporation, Houmao Liu, Ph.D., P.E., Itasca Denver Inc., Lee (Pat) Gochnour, MMSA (QP), Gochnour & Associate Inc, Walter L. Niccoli, P.E., Telesto Solutions, Inc., and Benjamin J. Schiffer, P.G., WWC Engineering, who are QPs as defined under NI 43-101. The full technical report on the PEA will be filed on SEDAR at and Laramide Resources' website within 45 days of the issuance of this news release.

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About Laramide Resources Ltd.:

Laramide is focused on exploring and developing high-quality uranium assets in Australia and the western United States. The company's portfolio comprises five advanced uranium projects in districts with historical production or superior geological prospectivity. Each asset has been carefully chosen for their size, production potential, and are considered late-stage, low-technical risk projects.

The Westmoreland project in Queensland, Australia, is one of the largest uranium development assets held by a junior mining company. This project has a PEA that describes an economically robust, open-pit mining project with a mine-life of 13 years.  Additionally, the adjacent Murphy Project in the Northern Territory of Australia is a greenfield asset that Laramide strategically acquired to control the majority of the mineralized system along the Westmoreland trend.

In the United States, Laramide's assets include the NRC licensed Crownpoint-Churchrock Uranium Project, which is proposed to be developed using in-situ recovery ("ISR") production methodology. The Company also owns the La Jara Mesa project in the historic Grants mining district of New Mexico and an underground project, called La Sal, in Lisbon Valley, Utah.

Forward-looking Statements and Cautionary Language

This release includes certain statements that may be deemed to be "forward-looking statements". All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, that address events or developments that management of the Company expect, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as "expects", "anticipates", "believes", "plans", "projects", "intends", "estimates", "envisages", "potential", "possible", "strategy", "goals", "objectives", or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions. Actual results or developments may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Laramide disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, save and except as may be required by applicable securities laws.

Since forward-looking information address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors and risks. These include, but are not limited to, exploration and production for uranium; delays or changes in plans with respect to exploration or development projects or capital expenditures; the uncertainty of resource estimates; health, safety and environmental risks; worldwide demand for uranium; uranium price and other commodity price and exchange rate fluctuations; environmental risks; competition; incorrect assessment of the value of acquisitions; ability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources; and changes in legislation, including but not limited to tax laws, royalties and environmental regulations.

SOURCE Laramide Resources Ltd.

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