Fuel cycle roundup #9

17 June 2013

No appeals against Wiluna

A 28-day appeal period for Toro Energy's proposed Wiluna uranium mine in Western Australia has expired without any appeals lodged against federal approval of the project.

Toro managing director Vanessa Guthrie said the company would now be able to fully focus on bringing the mine to market, completing the technical and commercial studies to support an investment decision. The company is continuing to search for a strategic partner, but Guthrie noted that regulatory certainty and the end of the appeal period might make the company more attractive to potential project partners and financiers. Toro expects to complete a revised resource estimate for Wiluna in the third quarter of 2013.

"While the current spot market is soft, there are positive signals of an improvement in prices as the longer term market fundamentals for uranium pricing remain very strong," Guthrie said.

Resources up at Eco Ridge

An updated NI 43-101 resource estimate for Pele Mountain Resources' Eco Ridge uranium and rare earths project in Ontario has seen inferred uranium resources increase by 136% to 37.62 million pounds U3O8 (14,470 tU). Indicated uranium resources have been increased by 10% and now stand at 22.55 million pounds U3O8 (8674 tU).

The Elliot Lake area of Ontario, where Eco Ridge is situated, was at the centre of Canada's early uranium mining industry. The area has "outstanding regional infrastructure and enthusiastic local support" that could enable its development ahead of other rare earth projects, according to Pele Mountain.

US production up in 2012

The USA produced 4.3 million pounds U3O8 (1654 tU) in 2012 from six underground mines and five in-situ leach (ISL) operations, according to annual figures published by the US Energy Information Administration. The total is 5% more than produced in 2011. Ore from underground operations was milled at the White Mesa mill in Utah.

Total 2012 shipments of uranium concentrate from White Mesa and the ISL plants, at 3.9 million pounds U3O8 (1500 tU), were down 2% on 2011 figures. Over the year, US producers sold a total of 3.6 million pounds U3O8 (1385 tU) at a weighted average price of $49.63 per pound.

Etango licence renewal

The Namibian Ministry of Mines has granted a two-year renewal of an exclusive prospecting licence including the Etango uranium project to Bannerman Resources' Namibian subsidiary. According to Bannerman, the renewal reflects a 50% reduction in the previous licence area to 250 square kilometres, although this covers the Etango project itself and all targeted exploration prospects.

A deal that would have seen Namibian state mining company Epangelo take a 5% interest in the Etango project came to an end in 2012 when the parties were unable to agree terms.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News