The Dewey Burdock Uranium Project is located in South Dakota and is a high-grade in-situ recovery deposit. Azarga Uranium owns 100% of the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project.
The Company’s 100% owned Dewey Burdock Uranium Project is an in-situ recovery (“ISR”) uranium project located in the Edgemont uranium district, in South Dakota, USA. Through property purchase agreements, mining leases and/or mining claims, the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project is comprised of approximately 12,613 surface acres and 16,960 net mineral acres. The Dewey Burdock Uranium Project is the Company’s initial development priority.
Uranium was found in the Edgemont district in 1952. Early discoveries were at surface. Later drilling revealed deeper uranium deposits. In the mid 1970’s, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) bought a major interest in the area and made Dewey Burdock their main exploration target. Silver King Mines was hired as the operator by TVA and explored the property until the mid 1980’s.
The Dewey Burdock deposit occurs in the Fall River and Lakota Formations of the lower Cretaceous age. The Fall River and Lakota formations consist of permeable sandstones deposited in a major sand channel system. The uranium occurs in the sandstones as classic roll front deposits favorable to ISR mining methods.
Summary of Mineral Resources
In December 2018, the Company filed an updated National Instrument 43-101 (“NI 43-101”) compliant independent resource estimate for the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project prepared by Rough Stock Mining Services (the “Dewey Burdock Report”) with an effective date of November 12, 2018.
|Dewey Burdock Project ISR Mineral Resource estimate|
|Average grade (% U3O8)||0.132||0.068||0.113||0.056|
|Average thickness (feet)||5.51||5.83||5.69||5.95|
|Average grade-thickness (“GT”)||0.73||0.396||0.64||0.333|
1. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
In addition to the ISR mineral resource estimate, the NI 43-101 resource estimate includes an additional 1,060,000 pounds of non-ISR (located above the water table) Measured resources at 0.057% U3O8. These resources are not included in the Measured resources presented in the table above.
Details of the assumptions and parameters used with respect to the Dewey Burdock Report, including information on data verification, are set out in the Dewey Burdock Report dated December 21, 2018, a copy of which is available under the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com.
The Company’s immediate objective is to complete an updated preliminary economic assessment based on the updated 2018 resource estimate and to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to advance the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project to the construction phase.
Regulatory and Permitting
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the “NRC”) issued the final Supplemental Environment Impact Statement (“SEIS”) for the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project in the first quarter of 2014. The Section 106 programmatic agreement (“PA”) was executed on April 7, 2014 by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the NRC, the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office and the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). Subsequent to the PA being executed, the NRC issued a final Safety Evaluation Report and the Company’s Dewey Burdock Uranium Project received its Source and Byproduct Materials License SUA-1600 on April 8, 2014, covering 10,580 acres. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the Company received approval from the NRC for the first amendment to the NRC license, which completed certain NRC license conditions. The Company controls the mineral and surface rights for the area pertaining to the NRC license.
In August 2014, the evidentiary hearing was held with the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (“ASLB”) in regards to the limited contentions raised with respect to the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project. These ASLB hearings are normal practice and are undertaken after the NRC license has been granted to determine whether or not the NRC staff has considered all issues related to the NRC license. In April 2015, the ASLB ruled on seven contentions raised by the consolidated intervenors and the Oglala Sioux Tribe (collectively, the “Intervenors”) regarding the NRC license for the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project.
For five contentions, including those related to groundwater usage, groundwater quality, ability to contain fluid migration, mitigation measures, and connected actions, the ASLB ruled in favor of the NRC staff and the Company. For the remaining two contentions, which relate to identification and protection of historic and cultural resources, the ASLB requested additional consultation between the NRC staff and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The ASLB also ruled inadmissible two new contentions that were filed by the Intervenors after the evidentiary hearing.
Subsequent to the ASLB partial initial decision in April 2015, the Company and the NRC staff filed petitions for review of the ASLB decision to the NRC Commission with respect to their ruling that additional consultation efforts were required between the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the NRC staff regarding the two contentions relating to the identification and protection of historic and cultural resources. The Intervenors filed petitions for review of the ASLB decision to the NRC Commission covering most of the contentions heard by the ASLB. Upon consideration of the information presented, the NRC Commission denied the party’s petitions for review of the ASLB decision, with the exception of 1) the NRC staff’s and the Company’s petition for review with respect to the ASLB’s direction to the NRC staff regarding the resolution of the outstanding two contentions relating to the identification and protection of historic and cultural resources, in which the NRC Commission ultimately affirmed the ASLB’s decision and 2) a petition for review filed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe claiming that the draft SEIS had been issued without the requisite scoping process, in which the NRC Commission affirmed the ASLB’s decision and dismissed the contention.
In August 2017, the Company received notice that the NRC staff filed a motion for summary disposition before the ASLB to resolve the remaining two contentions from the ASLB partial initial decision. The Company filed a brief in support of the NRC staff motion, while the Intervenors filed briefs opposing the motion. In October 2017, the ASLB issued a memorandum and order pertaining to this motion. With respect to the outstanding contention requiring additional consultation between the NRC staff and the Oglala Sioux Tribe under the National Historic Preservation Act, the ASLB granted the motion for summary disposition in favor of the NRC staff and the Company. With respect to the outstanding contention pertaining to the identification and protection of historic and cultural resources for the purposes of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), the ASLB did not grant the motion for summary disposition. As a result, the Company filed an appeal with the NRC Commission in an effort to resolve the remaining contention; however, the appeal was not successful.
In 2018, the Company, the NRC staff and the Oglala Sioux Tribe agreed, in principle, to a process for resolving the remaining contention, however due to differences in approach between the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the NRC staff, both parties filed motions for summary disposition. The Company filed a brief in support of the NRC staff motion. The ASLB denied the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s motion for summary disposition and its request to stay or revoke the Company’s Dewey Burdock Project NRC license and the NRC staff’s summary disposition motion to resolve the remaining contention. However, the ASLB established procedures for resolution of the remaining contention and provided the NRC staff with two options to conclude the remaining contention. The NRC staff have developed an approach, consistent with one of the options provided by the ALSB, to address the only remaining NRC license contention. The Company plans to support the approach developed by the NRC staff and looks forward to the successful resolution of the only remaining contention in a timely manner.
In February 2017, the Oglala Sioux Tribe filed an appeal of the decision made by the NRC Commission to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (the “DC Circuit Court”). On July 23, 2018, the Company reported that the DC Circuit Court issued an order dismissing most of the rulings challenged by the Oglala Sioux Tribe due to lack of jurisdiction; however, the DC Circuit Court remanded the decision to keep the Company’s NRC license in effect to the NRC Commission due to the unresolved NEPA contention. On January 31, 2019, the NRC Commission issued a decision upholding the effectiveness of the Company’s NRC license in consideration of the remand from the DC Circuit Court.
The NRC license for the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project continues to remain in good standing.
The Company continues to be in compliance with the existing conditions of the NRC license and other permitting/licensing requirements. Prior to commencing construction and operations at the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project, the Company requires regulatory approvals from two other major agencies, the EPA and the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (“DENR”). These approvals include the final Class III and Class V Underground Injection Control (“UIC”) permits from the EPA and three state permits to be issued by the South Dakota DENR. Additional requirements that need to be addressed prior to commencing construction and operations at the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project include the satisfaction of pre-operational conditions under the NRC license and the development and implementation of mitigation plans for protection of cultural resources under the PA, including resolution of the one outstanding contention related to NEPA. In March 2017, the Company received notice that the EPA issued draft Class III and Class V UIC permits completing a major regulatory milestone.
The Company submitted applications to the South Dakota DENR in 2012 for its Groundwater Disposal Plan (“GDP”), Water Rights (“WR”) and Large Scale Mine Plan (“LSM”) permits. All permit applications have been deemed complete and have been recommended for conditional approval by the DENR staff. The GDP and WR permits are subject to hearing with public participation. The hearing commenced on October 28, 2013 and continued through November 25, 2013, at which point it was determined that the hearing will resume once the NRC and EPA have ruled and set the federal surety. The LSM permit has been finalized subject to continuation of a hearing before the Board of Minerals and Environment, which commenced the week of September 23, 2013 and continued through November 5, 2013, at which point it was determined that the hearing will resume once the NRC and EPA have ruled and set the federal surety. Subject to improved market conditions, the Company plans to re-commence the regulatory process with the South Dakota DENR once the final EPA Class III and Class V UIC permits have been issued.
On July 8, 2014, the BLM requested additional information on the Company’s plan of operations for the Dewey Burdock Uranium Project. The Company submitted the requested information and anticipates that the BLM will approve the plan of operations subsequent to the successful resolution of the remaining contention on the NRC license, at which point it is also anticipated that the BLM will prepare an environmental assessment and issue its Record of Decision.
The Company’s immediate objective is to complete an updated PEA based on the updated 2018 resource estimate and to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to advance the Dewey Burdock Project to the construction phase.
John Mays, P.E. and Chief Operating Officer for Azarga Uranium is a Qualified Person under NI 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects and is responsible for and has approved the technical disclosure on this website.