Licence application for Brazilian mine

21 October 2014

Mining is expected to begin at Brazil's Engenho uranium deposit next year, according to front-end fuel cycle company Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB). A licence application for the mine is currently before the national regulator.

According to INB, the new operation is expected to produce a total of 4730 tonnes U3O8 (4011 tU) over a 14-year mine life, which works out at slightly under 340 tonnes U3O8 (286 tU) per year. Output from the open pit operations at Engenho will be processed at the nearby Caetité mill. The project is awaiting environmental approval from national regulator the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA).

Caetité, also sometimes referred to as Lago Real, is Brazil's only operating uranium mill and currently processes output from the open-pit Caetité mine. INB is also pursuing a licence to implement underground mining at Caetité to enable it to exploit more of the resource, with a view to operation in 2015. The mill is undergoing a $90 million expansion program that will ultimately increase its capacity to 670 tU per year.

All of Brazil's uranium production is currently used domestically to help meet the needs of the country's two operating nuclear power plants after conversion and enrichment overseas, although the country has some enrichment capacity of its own.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News