The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism has given environmental approval for the Husab uranium project mining area - potentially the second-largest uranium mine in the world.
|Water bore monitoring at Husab
(Image: Extract Resources)
According to parent company Extract Resources Ltd, the ministry has approved the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed mining area submitted by Extract's Namibian subsidiary Swakop Uranium after a process involving public consultations and external reviews by independent environmental consultants. A separate EIA is in progress for the project's linear infrastructure, with public consultation scheduled for April and May.
Husab was known as Rössing South until Extract renamed the project late last year to avoid confusion with Rio Tinto's existing Rössing uranium mine, six kilometres to the north. Extract boasts that Husab would become the world's second-largest uranium mine after Canada's McArthur River.
An application for a mining licence for the project was lodged with Namibia's Minister of Mines and Energy in December 2010. Environmental approval is one of the requirements to be fulfilled before a mining licence can be granted.
Mark Hohnen, executive chairman of Extract subsidiary Kalahari Minerals, described the ministerial approval as a major step on the path towards production, while Extract managing director Jonathan Leslie said it was a key milestone. "We have undertaken extensive specialist environmental studies and we are committed to ensuring our environmental standards adhere to international best practice," he said.
Next steps will include the publication of a definitive feasibility study for the project, which is scheduled for commissioning in 2014. JORC and NI 43-101-compliant resource estimates for zone 1 and 2 of the project, released in August 2010, show indicated resources of 241 million tonnes of uranium at an average grade of 480 parts per million (ppm) U3O8, and Extract says there is extensive potential for further uranium discoveries in the region. It describes Husab as the fifth largest uranium-only deposit in the world and proposes an open-pit mine and conventional acid leach process plant producing around 15 million pounds of uranium per year.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News