A pre-feasibility study indicates that a planned rare earth element and uranium project at Kvanefjeld in Greenland would be cost competitive with a mine life over 30 years.
| Greenland view (Image: Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd)
According to Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd, construction is scheduled to begin at Kvanefjeld in 2014, with first production in 2016. Its location in southern Greenland is described as one of the most logistically favourable development scenarios of any mining project in the country.
The newly released pre-feasiblity study shows unit production costs of less than $31 per pound U3O8 and less than $8 per kg of total rare earth oxide (TREO). This, says Greenland Minerals and Energy, places Kvanefjeld among the bottom half of uranium producers in terms of cost, and would make it one of the lowest cost rare earth element producers in the world.
Resource figures for the project have recently been updated to include a new discovery. Zone 2 inferred resources in the same geology of 62,440 tU at 0.015% cut-off (with an average ore grade of 0.03%) and 2.67 million tonnes of REOs, taking the project total to 197,000 tU, 1.98 million tonnes of zinc and 9.2 million tonnes of REO including 330,000 tonnes of heavy REO with 740,000 tonnes of yttrium oxide. Resource figures for Zone 3 in the same geology are expected later this month, and drill results so far show that its similar mineralisation outcrops extensively, with higher grade portions near surface. This could potentially extend the project mine life to over 60 years.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News