Slower than expected ramp-up at the Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi has prompted Paladin Energy to reduce its expected 2011 uranium production to between 6.3 and 6.0 million pounds U3O8 (2308-2423 tU), 10-14% lower than its previous guidance.
|Kayelekera (Image: Paladin)
According to the Australia-based company's latest quarterly report, 2010 saw an overall increase in uranium production from its two operating African mines, Kayelekera and Langer Heinrich, in Namibia, of some 74% to 5,429,863 pounds U3O8 (2089 tU). Although the final quarter of 2010 saw record production from both mines, Kayelekera was hampered by intermittent power shortages when on-site diesel generators had to be shut down for maintenance earlier than planned. Three unused diesel generators from Langer Heinrich have now been installed at the mine.
According to Paladin, the reliability of the main power plant at the site had been "impacted by the logistics chain to Malawi," although it is now reported to be functioning well. "During times of consistent power operation the plant did operate at or near design levels," Paladin points out, adding that overall recovery levels have improved significantly, contributing to higher production levels.
The company says it is confident that its new guidance figures will be met, and has described the revision as "conservative".
The final quarter of 2010 saw Paladin complete its takeover of NGM Resources, which has exploration tenements in Niger. The takeover was completed after the Australian government's Takeovers Panel ruled that Paladin could not pull out of its bid to take over NGM despite the kidnapping in September of seven people including Areva employees in Niger's Arlit uranium mining area.
December 2010 also saw Paladin agree to buy Canadian uranium assets from Aurora Energy Resources Inc. Aurora's uranium assets lie within the Central Mineral Belt (CMB) of Newfoundland and Labrador in eastern Canada, with NI 43-101 compliant measured and indicated U3O8 resources of 83.8 million pounds U3O8 (32,233 tU) and inferred resources of 53.0 million pounds U3O8 (20,386 tU).
As well as its African mines and new Canadian interests, Paladin also has interests in various Australian uranium exploration and development projects.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News