Berkeley granted land use permit for Salamanca

12 August 2020

The Municipality of Retortillo has issued Berkeley Energia a land use permit, known as an Urbanism Licence, for construction works at the Salamanca uranium project in western Spain. The project still requires a construction permit for the uranium processing plant before full construction of the mine can begin.

The Salamanca project in western Spain (Image: Berkeley Energia)

Berkeley said the permit - issued under the terms established in the Urbanism Law and Urban Planning Regulations of Castilla y León - is "a significant permitting milestone for Berkeley and a positive step in the development of the project". It noted that the Authorisation for Construction for the uranium concentrate plant as a radioactive facility (referred to as 'NSC II' authorisation) is now the only pending approval required to commence full construction of the Salamanca mine.

In late March, Berkeley Energia formally submitted updated official documentation in relation to the NSC II and has since held a number of meetings with the Nuclear Safety Council (Consejo De Seguridad Nuclear, CSN) technical team to discuss and clarify minor queries on the updated documentation. As requested by the CSN, the company is preparing written responses to these queries and will complete this task in the coming weeks. Following submission of these, the next step is for the CSN technical team to finalise its report and submit it to the CSN Board for ratification.

Last month, the CSN issued a favourable report for the extension of the validity of the Initial Authorisation for the uranium concentrate plant as a radioactive facility ('NSC I'). NSC I was granted in September 2015, with a 5-year validity period. The next step is for the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge to approve this authorisation and set its duration period.

The Salamanca project has 59.8 million pounds U3O8 (23,000 tU) of measured and indicated resources as well as inferred resources of 29.6 million pounds of U3O8. According to a definitive feasibility study published by Berkeley in 2016, it would be capable of producing an average of 4.4 million pounds of uranium per year at a cash cost of USD13.30 per pound over an initial ten-year period.

The Retortillo deposit, together with the Santitad and Gambuta deposits, forms Berkeley's Salamanca project and is the first resource from which production is scheduled to begin.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News