Uranium project moves ahead with license final

Backers of a proposed uranium mill in Montrose County have agreed to the license conditions set by state regulators, clearing a major governmental hurdle for the project.

Energy Fuels Corp., the Canadian company that plans to build the mill near Naturita, had until Friday to seek an appeal of the preliminary license, which was issued on Jan. 5. The company had 60 days to review the license and seek a hearing if it wanted to dispute any of the conditions.

The company did not appeal any provisions, so the license became final on Monday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said.

The license includes several conditions regarding construction, operations and maintenance. By not appealing the conditions, Energy Fuels agreed to them and now is moving forward, company founder George Glasier said, calling the development “pretty encouraging.”

The project, however, still faces difficulty in the form of a lawsuit filed by the Sheep Mountain Alliance against the health department, alleging that the public should have had more participation in the issuance of the license.

Topping the list of items now for Energy Fuels to get done are completing final engineering and construction drawings for the mill, said Glasier, a Naturita resident.

Company officials hope to have the mill in operation by the end of 2012, processing 500 tons of ore per day with the capacity to expand to 1,000 tons per day.

Energy Fuels Resources, listed as EFR on the Toronto stock exchange, plans to spend as much as $150 million to construct the mill on an 880-acre site.

The health department has sought summary judgment against Sheep Mountain Alliance, saying the alliance has no standing to bring the case and that the Denver District Court in which it was filed has no jurisdiction.

Colorado has no provision for residents to bring suit against such a project, the health department said in court papers, which alliance attorney Travis Stills of the Energy Minerals Law Center in Durango called “an astonishing position for a Colorado agency to take.”


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