Increased resource figures for the Etango uranium project in Namibia and plans to aggressively pursue its development featured in the quarterly report of emerging uranium company Bannerman Resources.
|Exploratory drilling at Etango (Image: Bannerman)
The final quarter of 2010 saw estimates for measured and indicated resources increase by 5% to 149 million pounds U3
(57,312 tU) and inferred resources increase by over 200% to 64 million pounds U3
(24,617 tU). The figures are both JORC and NI 43-101 compliant. The company also completed an update to its feasibility study, which provides for at least 20 years of production at an average of 5-7 million pounds U3
(1900-2700 tU) per year.
Etango, formerly known as Goanikontes, is about 30 km south west of the existing Rössing uranium mine. Approximately 70% of the Etango deposits are less than 200 m below the surface. The alaskite ore is similar to that found at Rössing and is very easy to leach. Mining would be by open pit methods, ultimately creating a pit 6 km long, 1 km wide and 400 m deep at its deepest part, and recovery would be by a simple heap leaching process. Bannerman estimates the initial capital cost at $638 million, with a life of mine operating cost estimated at $42 per pound U3
Recently identified satellite deposits at Ondjamba and Hyena, along with the inferred resources already identified within the Etango deposit, could offer the scope for further mine extensions, Bannerman notes.
The company is planning to complete a definitive feasibility study for the project during 2011, as well as securing a development partner and obtaining a mining licence, for which it lodged an application in late 2009 based on a preliminary feasibility study. As part of the licensing process, it plans to submit an updated environmental and social impact assessment (EISA) for the project, and amended environmental and mining applications reflecting the expanded resource and new site layout information, in the second quarter of 2011.
Namibia's two operating uranium mines, Rössing and Langer Heinrich, are already capable of supplying up to 10% of the world's uranium requirements. A third mine, at Trekkopje, is due to start up in 2012. Several more projects are in development, including the Husab mine which has recently received environmental approval from the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News