Our Nose Rock project is the site of a large uranium deposit that was extensively developed as a large-scale underground mine uranium by Phillips Petroleum, who abandoned the project during the early 1980’s uranium price down-turn. The project is situated on 6,400 acres of mineral rights that are owned outright by the Company.
The Nose Rock project is located in western New Mexico, approximately 94 miles (151 kilometers) northwest of the city of Albuquerque and 45 miles (72 kilometers) northeast of Gallup. Access to the project area is good, as New Mexico State highway 371 passes within 6 miles (10 kilometers) west, and Tribal highway 9, which connects with highway 371 is within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of the southern boundary of the project. A paved access road connects the project with Tribal highway 9.
The Nose Rock project is in an inactive status, awaiting a sustained improvement in the price for uranium.
We control an extensive package of mineral rights at the Nose Rock project, covering an area of approximately 6,400 acres (2,816 hectares), which we own outright, and there are no work requirements, royalty obligations or other payments required to maintain our ownership in the properties. The surface estate over our deeded mineral rights is reportedly owned by the Navajo Nation.
The uranium deposits at the Nose Rock project were discovered by geologists of the Phillips Petroleum Company in 1973 after a careful analysis of geologic characteristics of mineral discoveries along the western end of the Grants mineral belt. Prior to the discovery of the Nose Rock mineral system there were no uranium deposits known to exist in the general area. Phillips drilled more than 3,000 holes to define the mineralization prior to undertaking an extensive development program at Nose Rock. The development program included the construction of an extensive surface support facility, as well as developing three shafts, each with depths exceeding 3,200 feet (975 meters) below the surface. The project was abandoned in the early 1980’s, because of the uranium market downturn, and no commercial amounts of uranium were ever produced from the site.
Like most of the important uranium deposits of the Grants Mineral Belt, the uranium deposits at the Nose Rock project are hosted within sandstone units of the Westwater Canyon Member of the Morrison Formation. Unlike some of the other deposits in the mineral belt however, much of the mineralization at Nose Rock appears to be concentrated as in ‘‘C-shaped’’, or crescent-shaped, roll fronts that are reminiscent of the ‘‘classical’’ roll fronts of the Wyoming Basins and South Texas uranium province, but the Nose Rock features are of a larger scale. The nature and origin of the mineralization at Nose Rock remains a matter of debate. The overall trend to the mineralized zones at Nose Rock is northerly to northeasterly, and this orientation is distinctly different than the dominant west-northwest trend of many of the Westwater Canyon-hosted deposits of the Grants Mineral Belt. In a strict sense, the Nose Rock deposit is positioned in a manner that expands the northern-northeasterly boundary of the mineral belt nearly 10 miles (16 kilometers) or more to the north.
Environmental and Permits
Although Phillips Petroleum, developers of the Nose Rock project, carried out biological and cultural resource studies of the project area, we have not expanded upon that earlier work, and we do not hold any permits for the project.
Situated within the San Juan Basin, and with the mineralized zones at depths ranging from 3,000 to nearly 3,900 feet (914 to 1,189 meters) below the surface, there is a considerable volume of groundwater present in the deposit. Control of this groundwater will be a key to efficiently developing the project.