Boss Energy advances global uranium strategy with first production at Alta Mesa

Go to Colin Hay author's page
By Colin Hay - 
Boss Energy ASX BOE first production Alta Mesa

Boss Energy’s (ASX: BOE) global uranium expansion is already reaping rewards, with the company achieving first production from its 30%-owned Alta Mesa project in Texas.

Boss paid enCore around $92 million in February to acquire a 30% interest in Alta Mesa as part of its plans to add international assets alongside its Honeymoon uranium mine in South Australia.

The key Alta Mesa milestone comes just eight weeks after the start of production at the 100%-owned Honeymoon project, where commissioning is proceeding to plan and production is forecast to ramp up to 2.45 million pounds a year.

Global uranium strategy

“The start of production at the Alta Mesa project is another key milestone in the implementation of our strategy to be a global uranium supplier with a diversified production base in tier-one locations,” said Boss managing director Duncan Craib.

“With operations now ramping up at both Honeymoon and Alta Mesa, we are on track to hit our combined nameplate production target of 3.0Mlb of uranium per annum.”

Mr Craib said the company’s success at Honeymoon—the first new uranium mine in Australia for many years—and now Alta Mesa, comes at a time when uranium prices are climbing in a tight supply and demand market.

Biden ban adds impetus

“This highly favourable outlook was underpinned by President Biden’s recent signing of legislation to ban the importation of uranium products from Russia,” Mr Craib added.

“This was a game-changing event for the uranium market, particularly for uranium projects in North America and Australia.”

“Given that we are ramping up production in both locations and have strong growth prospects at each one, Boss is very well-positioned to continue capitalising on this huge opportunity.”

EnCore chief executive officer Paul Goranson said the initial ramp-up of production at Alta Mesa will be a progressive process to advance and continually increase uranium production via direct feed to the central processing plant (CPP).

It expects to achieve its first shipment of yellowcake uranium from the project in approximately 60 to 90 days.

Infrastructure in place

The Alta Mesa CPP and well-field host a fully-licenced and constructed in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium plant located on more than 200,000 acres of private land in southern Texas.

The total operating capacity at the Alta Mesa CPP is 1.5Mlb uranium per year.

The Alta Mesa CPP historically produced nearly 5Mlb of uranium between 2005 and 2013, when full production was curtailed as a result of low uranium prices.

Return to production

In recent months, operator Encore has successfully set up the return to production at Alta Mesa with new work on the CPP and successful production area authorisation drilling.

Production from Alta Mesa will be increased as additional patterns are completed following the initial 59 wells and will duplicate the process used for the initial Alta Mesa start-up in 2005.

Drilling and well installation for the follow-on production patterns is already well underway and will continue as CPP capacity is reached.

Proven technology

Alta Mesa utilises proven ISR technology to extract uranium in a non-invasive process using natural groundwater and oxygen.

Currently, oxygenated water is being circulated in the well-field through injection or extraction wells plumbed directly into the primary pipelines feeding the CPP.

Expansion of the well-field will continue, with production steadily increasing throughout 2024 and beyond.