Boss launches Honeymoon restart strategy

03 July 2018

Boss Resources has launched a three-phase restart strategy for the Honeymoon uranium project in South Australia, which it acquired in December 2015. The company said today it has de-risked the project commercially and technically, and has already begun work on the first phase of the programme which will take it to the point where it is ready to resume production.

The Honeymoon mine in South Australia (Image: Boss Resources)

Phase 1 of the restart strategy includes the generation of the final input data required for a definitive feasibility study including a drilling programme to deliver the measured and indicated resource, an optimisation programme to deliver further cost savings and/or process improvements and a preliminary execution plan, updated cost estimate and schedule for the re-start of the existing solvent extraction (SX) plant. The second phase comprises the DFS and permitting updates, while the third phase covers detailed execution planning and operational readiness including the SX plant recommissioning plan, in conjunction with the ion exchange plant detailed design.

On completion of the restart strategy the company will be ready to execute the programme of work required to bring the project back into production, "assuming a specified uranium price has been achieved", Boss Resources said.

Managing Director Duncan Craib said the company’s initial activities are focused on the planning and preparation of the infill and step-out drill programme. Consultants and engineering support for optimisation and trade-off studies have been identified and proposals are currently being finalised.

"The Company will provide ongoing updates as the re-start strategy progresses, with Phase 2 planned to commence in early 2019 and Phase 3 starting later that year," he said. "On completion of the three-phase strategy, we will be in a position to make a decision to proceed to mine, assuming a specified global uranium price has been achieved to satisfy the targeted IRR and NPV return to maximise shareholder value." The project will operate in the lowest cost quartile of world-wide producers, Craib said.

The fully permitted in-situ leach project started producing uranium in 2011, but was placed in care and maintenance by then-owner Uranium One in 2013. Boss acquired Honeymoon from the Rosatom subsidiary in 2015. The project has JORC-compliant uranium resources of 63.3 million pounds U3O8 (24,348 tU). Based on a March 2017 pre-feasibility study, the project is expected to produce an average of 3.2 million pounds per year at a cash cost of USD15.60 per pound U308 equivalent.

An ion exchange processing plant has been selected as the most efficient, lowest risk and lowest cost approach for the project. Extensive laboratory test work in 2017 with Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation led to a successful field leach trial, in which the modified leaching regime produced significantly higher uranium tenors than had previously been achieved at Honeymoon, the company said. "The outstanding Field Leach Trial results indicates significant potential for economic upside," it said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News