Strata Energy’s Lance Uranium In-Situ Recovery (ISR) Projects in northeastern Wyoming include nearly 30,000 acres of mineral rights and proposed uranium recovery wellfields covering an area of approximately 1,445 acres. The Ross Production Site is the first phase of the Lance Uranium ISR Project. TREC, a Woodard & Curran company, led the design and construction activities for the Ross Permit Area processing plant under a design/build contract and provided conceptual designs, detailed engineering design support, procurement, and construction services.
The Ross Production Site uses ISR to extract uranium, rather than an open pit or underground mine. ISR at the Ross project involves a number of injection wells that pump a solution of groundwater mixed with oxygen and sodium bicarbonate (lixiviant) into sandstone that holds the uranium. The lixiviant oxidizes and dissolves the uranium, which is then drawn up by recovery wells. The solution is pumped to the 3,750 gallon per minute central processing plant, where the uranium is extracted through an ion-exchange circuit, where the ion-exchange resin can then be transferred to a trailer-mounted tank for transfer to another facility for further processing. The water used to bring the dissolved uranium to the processing plant is then re-fortified and returned to the aquifer in the closed loop process. The entire wellfield is surrounded by a series of perimeter monitoring wells to guard against the migration of mining solution outside of the recovery area. ISR requires minimal surface disturbance, and the affected area—including the groundwater—is restored when the mining operation is concluded.
The TREC team designed each component of the ISR processing plant and ancillary supporting facilities—administrative space, maintenance space, and a construction shop. The project design included mass balance, piping and instrumentation diagrams, and process layouts, as well as structural, electrical and instrumentation and control engineering. We also managed the laboratory, plumbing, HVAC, and architectural design work for the facilities and generated specifications for the building, construction, equipment, pumps, tanks, and process, mechanical, structural, and electrical controls. The design/build approach significantly reduced design costs and expedited the building process, due to the efficiencies gained by having the design engineer and builder within one entity, while also minimizing the effort required from the owner due to having a single point of contact for the entire project.
“We are really pleased with the operational performance at Lance. Flow rates are very good; uranium recoveries are steadily increasing in line with expectation and the Central Processing Plant (CPP) and associated systems are running smoothly and to specification. Project performance to date goes a long way to removing the key risks associated with in-situ recovery projects and will reduce the project costs going forward.”
- Ralph Knode, CEO, Strata Energy, Inc.