enCore Energy Corp says its US$3.2 million acquisition of Energy Fuels’ proprietary Prompt Fission Neutron (PFN) technology can give it a “competitive advantage” in its push to develop in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium projects in the US.
Toronto-listed enCore says PFN enables rapid uranium assays in certain geological settings where standard coring and assay methods can’t produce comparable results. It has also picked up firmware code, software and probes as part of its deal, which gives enCore the “sole right to utilise the licence of the PFN technology globally”.
“PFN technology is far superior to traditional downhole gamma measurements where an array of different elements emits a collective gamma signature which may or may not correlate well with the actual uranium content,” CEO Paul Goranson said.
“We have already seen the benefits of the technology in the past with reliable uranium resource estimates derived from PFN that were confirmed by historical production results.
“We are using this proven PFN technology right now as we install our production patterns in our soon to be producing wellfields.”
Goranson said PFN was particularly applicable at enCore’s southern Texas properties where in-situ geochemical conditions allowed some of the radiometric components, such as uranium, to be out of equilibrium with their gamma signatures. The same conditions occurred elsewhere in the US, including some deposits in Wyoming.
“Many geologically younger ISR uranium deposits in the United States, and particularly in South Texas, have a certain degree of disequilibrium,” Goranson said.
“Consequently, the radioactivity measured in drill holes using traditional total gamma and spectral 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, a significant gamma emitter.
“Traditionally, disequilibrium is calculated using mud rotary coring techniques and laboratory gamma and alpha spectrometry, all of which are expensive and time consuming.
“Without accurate in-situ measurement of uranium, significant high-grade ore has been missed using traditional downhole techniques.
“PFN technology solves this issue by instead using neutron activation to detect uranium in drill holes.”