Paladin Energy has announced upgraded resource figures more than doubling the ore reserve for its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia.
|Langer Heinrich operations (Image: Paladin Energy)
The new figures, which comply with both JORC guidelines and NI 43-101 (the internationally recognised standards used for classifying uranium resources) show revised measured and indicated resources of 149.25 million pounds U3O8 (54,709 tU), a 106% increase on previously reported figures. A substantial portion of resources previously classed as inferred has been transferred to higher categories, resulting in a reduction in inferred resources from 91.6 million pounds U3O8 (35,234 tU) to 24.04 million pounds U3O8 (9247 tU).
Paladin points out that there remains the potential to increase the mineral resource base still further, with a considerable amount of mineralisation above 100ppm U3O8 and below the current ore reserve cut off of 250ppm U3O8, which has the potential to be of "significant value" should heap leach processing of calcrete uranium mineralisation prove to be viable. Heap leach studies are in progress to determine the feasibility of processing such material.
The ore reserve estimate, comprising proved and probable ore reserves and stockpiles, now stands at 134.1 million pounds U3O8 (51,581 tU), a 104% increase on the previous reserve announced in 2008.
The new figures have been released following a drilling program carried out in order to establish a sufficient mineral resource base to support expansion at Langer Heinrich. According to Paladin, the new figures are sufficient for a minimum 20-year mine life and will enable the company to plan for a fourth stage of upgrades to its processing plant which will see capacity increase to 10 million pounds U3O8 (3846 tU) per year, including 1 million pounds U3O8 (385 tU) per year from heap leaching.
Langer Heinrich is 50 km south-southeast of the long-established Rossing uranium mine. Operations began at the open pit mine late in 2006 with the processing plant reaching its 1000 tU/yr nameplate capacity in the third quarter of 2008. Since then, Paladin has announced two expansion stages, firstly to 3.7 million pounds U3O8 (1423 tU) per year which was reached in October 2009, and then to 5.2 million pounds U3O8 (2000 tU) per year, which Paladin is planning to ramp up to in early 2011. Paladin has not yet given any likely timing for the fourth stage of expansion.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News