Paladin Resources has been granted a mining licence for its Kayelekera uranium project in northern Malawi by the country's Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Resources. Having already received environmental approval, the project is set to move into the mine construction stage.
The mining licence covers an area of 55.5 square kilometres and has been granted for a term of 15 years, renewable for further ten year periods.
The Kayelekera conventional open pit mine is scheduled to be commissioned in September 2008 and to reach full production by mid-2009. Paladin plans to spend $185 million to develop the mine. Annual production will be 1500 tonnes U3O8 (1270 tU). The project has total inferred resources of 9.4 million tonnes of ore at 0.12% U3O8 containing 11,850 tonnes U3O8 (at 300 ppm cut-off). The Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) defined a project life of 11 years with a mine life of seven years. However, Paladin believes it can extend project life materially beyond the 11 years.
Previously, the Kayelekera deposit was the subject of a thorough feasibility study conducted by Wright Engineering Ltd for the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) of the UK in 1990. Paladin acquired the final feasibility study and all project documentation.
Paladin announced on 2 April that the Kayelekera project had received environmental approval from the Malawi government.
At the end of March, Paladin also reported that its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia, which started production in December 2006, was operating at 70% of design capacity. The mine is expected to reach full capacity (1180 tonnes U3O8, 1000 tU) by the end of June. Paladin said that the second shipment of yellowcake product is scheduled to Namibia in mid April.
Paladin has already announced sales contracts to US utilities for some 3400 tonnes U3O8 (2885 tU) for delivery between 2007 and 2012. The company says that total cumulative production from the Langer Heinrich and Kayelekera mines will be some 14,060 tonnes U3O8 (11,925 tU) by the end of 2012.
WNA's World Uranium Mining information paper
WNN: Langer Heinrich begins uranium shipments
WNN: Langer Heinrich mine starts production