Uranium-Mining Practices and Costs at Ten Salt Wash Lease Operations of Union Carbide Nuclear Co. Page: 7
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production, the charge was spread between labor and supervision, so that 20
percent of the total (actual labor expense plus the charge allowed for lessee's
service) was assigned to supervision.
There were many reasons why mining costs at the 10 lease operations dif-
fered. The most important were variations in the thickness and continuity of
the ore. Other reasons were the way a mine was developed and its influence on
the cost of bringing the ore to the surface; the difference in underground
tramming conditions, particularly the number of inclines up which ore had to
be hoisted; the type of ground, which determined bit, steel, and powder con-
sumption; and the type of equipment used.
Although the other reasons undoubtedly affected the direct mining costs,
it is surprising how closely the direct unit mining costs are related to ore
thickness, despite the fact that each operator stressed some particular tech-
nique or had a different underground transportation problem. One curve on
figure 2 shows this cost-thickness relation. The factor of ore continuity
does not affect this curve, as development costs are separate from mining
costs. The other curve on figure 2 shows the relation between the total di-
rect costs per ton (which include both unit development and mining costs) and
the tons produced per man-shift for all labor and supervision. The idealized
curves are based on actual cost data compiled from records of each lessee. It
is conceded that, if costs were obtained from more operations, the rate of
change of the curves might be modified. It is also conceded that data points
from a large number of Salt Wash mines will not fall directly on the curves
but will lie on either side, depending on the peculiarities of each operation.
It is believed, however, that these curves are generally representative of
cost experience in mining Salt Wash deposits. Indirect costs, such as depre-
ciation, payroll taxes, workmen's compensation insurance, and accounting,
were not included in the data from which the curves were plotted.
Cost data are included in this report and follow the description of the
operation to which they apply.
Tables 1 and 2 show the weighted and arithmetical averages of the direct
and indirect unit costs of producing 1 ton of uranium ore from the 10 opera-
tions. In both tables an additional charge of $0.45 per ton was spread be-
tween mining and development supply costs to reflect the cost of pipe, rail,
ties, and timber furnished by the lessor. Other costs that are borne by Union
Carbide Nuclear Co. are not included in the cost breakdowns. These costs are
for items such as exploratory drilling, engineering, administration, taxes and
amortization of capital for certain initial development and construction of
some small mine plants. Across the Salt Wash producing area these costs have
been reported to average $2.00 to $3.00 per ton. In table 1 the mining costs
of each lessee were weighted according to tonnage produced, then adjusted to a
15-month operating period. The resultant total is the average cost of produc-
ing 1 ton of Salt Wash ore from the 10 mines considered as a unit operation.
Table 2 shows the arithmetical averages of the unit costs; therefore,
time and tonnage were not considered. This table is more representative of
the cost of producing uranium ore from a typical Salt Wash mine. The costs
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Dare, W. L. Uranium-Mining Practices and Costs at Ten Salt Wash Lease Operations of Union Carbide Nuclear Co., report, 1959; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc170712/m1/13/: accessed March 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.