POWERTECH URANIUM CORP. announce that, through its wholly owned subsidiary Powertech (USA) Inc., it has submitted its first major permit application for the Dewey-Burdock Project to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”). The EPA issues one of three major permits that will allow development of the Company’s Dewey-Burdock Project in the Edgemont Uranium District of southwestern South Dakota. The application filed with the EPA is for an Underground Injection Control Permit. The Company has completed preparation of the other two major applications for submission to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC”) and the South Dakota Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (“DENR”). The application for the license to be issued under the Atomic Energy Act by the NRC is currently being reviewed and refined by legal counsel and technical reviewers since it is the broadest in scope and the most complex of all the applications. The reviews are expected to result in an application that will minimize regulatory review delays and requests for additional information from the NRC staff. The completed NRC application will be incorporated into the Large-Scale Mining Permit application to be submitted to the DENR. The Company anticipates that both applications will be submitted within the next three to four weeks. Subsequently, a Plan of Operation will be filed with the US Bureau of Land Management to address the recently added claims acquired from Neutron Energy Inc.
Powertech began the process of acquiring background environmental data at Dewey-Burdock approximately 18 months ago. This analysis covered all the major baseline conditions to thoroughly characterize the project area, including the geology, hydrology, biology of flora and fauna, ambient atmospheric conditions, background radiometrics, cultural resources and socio-economics of the project area as several of the major disciplines studied. This body of work formed the foundation for the preparation of the application.
In situ uranium mining in the United States is governed under the Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA”) by the EPA. When the US recognized that a number of industries operate with wells that inject fluids into the subsurface, it created, through the SDWA, regulations that recognize the value of, and allow in situ production of underground uranium deposits. With the authority of the SDWA, the legislature established the “Underground Injection Control Program” or UIC. This UIC program was designed to allow identified ore bodies that were capable of production via the in situ process to be developed by the isolation of the operating area and creating a regional monitoring system that assures that no pollution of water supplies would ensue from the mining process.
The submission by the Company of an in situ uranium application directly to the EPA is unique in the US. Previous applicants worked within uranium districts of states who have taken primacy (responsibility) for the UIC permitting process. Since South Dakota has had no history of in situ uranium mining, the state never undertook the role of primacy for this type of mining. During the process of preparing the application the Company had numerous opportunities to interact with Region 8 of the EPA. While EPA Region 8 is the responsible regional office for Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Colorado, only Wyoming and Nebraska have elected to gain primacy for in situ uranium mining. Therefore, the Company applies directly to the EPA for its UIC permit. In Wyoming and Nebraska, the companies apply for their UIC permits directly to state agencies who in turn request concurrence from the EPA. Therefore, the EPA has extensive experience in reviewing in situ permits but only after the states have reviewed the applications. The Company believes that the process in South Dakota will be more efficient than applying through two levels of agencies before the UIC permit and aquifer exemption are granted.
Richard Clement, President and CEO of Powertech, states: “The submission of the UIC application for Dewey Burdock is a significant milestone and is the culmination of one and a half years of detailed data gathering and data analysis. We are pleased with the work accomplished by Knight Piesold, Respec and their subcontractors. The many disciplines that were contracted to compile the required environmental and engineering data worked together seamlessly, and we expect that the results of this extensive study will be the rapid processing of the applications yielding receipt of permits in a timely fashion.”