enCore Energy Corp. announced continuing positive results from its uranium delineation drilling programs at its 100% owned Rosita Project in South Texas. The on-going drilling program is currently concentrating on the Rosita Extension PAA (Production Authorization Area), adjacent to enCore's fully licensed Rosita ISR (In-Situ Recovery) Processing Plant.
The drilling program has confirmed, expanded and upgraded the historic mineralized trends, which will be the initial source of uranium feed for processing at the Rosita Plant. enCore's Rosita Plant, located approximately 60 miles from Corpus Christi, Texas, is a licensed, past-producing in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium plant that is completing refurbishment. The final stage of refurbishment work will be completed with the delivery of six pumps that have been delayed due to unexpected supply chain interruptions.
They remain on budget and the delay is not expected to impact scheduled production startup in 2023. The Rosita Plant is designed to process uranium feed from multiple satellite operations, all located in the South Texas area, and is 1 of 11 licensed and constructed uranium processing plants in the United States, 2 of which are owned by enCore Energy. All drill holes are 5.625-inch diameter rotary-mud holes.
Each hole is logged with electrical and gamma methods upon completion. Any anomalous gamma readings are followed up with Prompt Fission Neutron (PFN) surveys which provide direct and accurate in-situ uranium values eliminating any concerns over disequilibrium. The Company owns and operates 2 logging trucks and 5 PFN tools.
Many uranium deposits have a degree of disequilibrium, whereby the radioactivity measured in drill holes using traditional gamma methods does not accurately correspond to ore grade, due to the continued decay of uranium daughter products including potassium, thorium, lead and bismuth relative to radium (Ra226), a significant gamma emitter. Traditionally, accurate uranium values are therefore determined by chemical assay of drill core which is time consuming and expensive. Without accurate uranium values, the potential for inaccurate estimates of mineralization on both the high and low side is ever present.
Real-time PFN analysis accurately eliminates potential errors by using neutron activation to directly detect and quantify uranium content in place down the drill hole. The PFN tool creates very fast neutrons (14MeV) and fires 108 neutrons per second. Therefore, the neutrons emitted by the PFN tool excite, at an atomic level, in-situ uranium atoms in the drill hole, creating fast (epithermal) neutrons and slow (thermal) neutrons.
The ratio of epithermal to thermal neutrons is proportional to uranium, allowing the U3O8 ore grade to be accurately calculated. This provides a relatively inexpensive and instantaneous means for accurate assaying of in-situ ore grades over large areas, and it allows for accurate ore body mapping, resource estimation, and wellfield planning.