Uranium companies plan Converse County operations

Uranium companies plan Converse County operations

DOUGLAS n Two pieces of a puzzle are coming together as two uranium companies ink a deal to fast-forward development in Converse County.

Together, they’ve formed the Sand Creek Joint venture covering a swath of 92,000 acres from Shawnee to Orin and up to Douglas. Eventually, the Sand Creek project should include in-situ leach fields and a processing plant, New Horizon Uranium Corporation President Bill Wilson said.

His company and Canyon Resources n both Colorado-based enterprises – teamed up several months ago as the Converse Joint Venture. Now, they’ve combined with High Plains Uranium, based in Cheyenne, creating the Sand Creek Joint Venture. High Plains brings surface and mineral holdings in the area, while Converse brings its holdings as well as historical geological data, drill logs and engineering studies done in the 1970s and 1980s.

That data has been on hold for two decades as uranium prices slumped, bringing exploration and development to a halt. With world prices on the rebound, Converse County and other areas in the Powder River Basin and Wyoming are being re-evaluated for uranium potential.

The Sand Creek Joint Venture will be owned 70 percent by Converse and 30 percent by High Plains, Wilson said. Converse will be the project operator.

”It makes a lot of sense (to combine efforts),” Wilson said. ”From a development standpoint there is more consistency if you have the same operator on everything.”

Ranchers and surface estate owners with whom Converse is negotiating have expressed relief to be working with one company, he added.

Claim staking performed by Canyon Resources last summer stirred up controversy in south Douglas, where landowners found the tell-tale flags marking potential drilling sites in subdivisions a few miles from the city limits. Canyon back-tracked, removing flags and apologizing for miscommunication. The south Douglas area does have historic uranium reserves, but Converse Joint Venture won’t conduct further work on most of those claims, Wilson said.

”Our focus is going to be in the Scott Ranch area (near Orin) and the Shawnee area,” he said. ”That’s where we have a lot of existing data. We don’t have any intention of doing any development in any of the inhabited areas.”

However, the new Sand Creek project will cover that territory, and Converse will hang onto the leases to prevent another company from staking claims. Wilson said some work might be done south of Douglas in a few areas which would avoid visual impact to residents and which do not have water flowing through them.

”We’re going to at least take a look at that,” he said. ”There’s still some anxiety over what happened there last year. We’re just going to have to establish ourselves as people who are responsible.”

Once geophysical data is ready, Converse will combine that with historical data and begin drilling this summer, Wilson said.

Source: www.casperstartribune.net

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