Vimy breaks ground at Mulga Rock

14 December 2021

Vimy Resources Limited has announced the start of mining activities at Mulga Rock, where the excavation of a ramp at the Ambassador North pit is under way. The Government of Western Australia has confirmed "substantial commencement" of the project.

The Ambassador North pit ramp (Image: Vimy)

Excavation of the ramp began after the company received approval from Western Australia's Department of the Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) for the Mulga Rock Project Operational Radiation Management Plan. This allowed Vimy to begin mining activities and overburden removal in accordance with its Mining Proposal, which was approved by DMIRS in October.

Work has also begun on the construction of an 8.5 kilometre section of a 32.5 kilometre water pipeline from the future processing plan to the Kakarook North borefield.

Meanwhile, ion exchange testwork being carried out by Australia's nuclear science and technology organisation ANSTO facilities has delivered "above expectation" results with regards to loading and stripping of uranium on the resin being tested. Vimy previously said the testwork had shown uranium uptake on the new resin to be three times that of the resin tested in the Mulga Rock definitive feasibility study, with the potential to shave around AUD1 (USD0.74) per pound U3O8 from operating costs. The results from the study will inform the elution plant design and a pilot plant programme which is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2022 at the ANSTO Minerals facility in New South Wales, the company said.

"Commencing the starter pit at Ambassador North is another proud moment for the team and a milestone in the development of Western Australia's first uranium mine," said Vimy Executive Director Steven Michael. Vimy's development team will now focus on advancing Mulga Rock to the next development milestone, he said. The company also plans to begin exploration work at the Alligator River project in the New Year. "These are exciting times for Vimy and new appointments to our team will be announced soon to increase our capacity to deliver value to our shareholders," he added.

The Government of Western Australia's December 2016 approval stipulated that Vimy must begin substantial commencement of the project, and provide notification and supporting evidence, within five years. Vimy said it submitted this information on 26 November. The company announced on 16 December that the government has formally confirmed substantial commencement has now been achieved.

"Vimy can now advance Mulga Rock to the next stage of development and will continue to work closely with State and Federal departments to secure the remaining approvals required to bring the project into production by 2025 - when uranium market commentators are forecasting the commencement of a prolonged supply deficit," Michael said. The development of Mulga Rock will have significant benefits to Western Australia, including over 550 direct jobs during construction, and around 350 site-based employees when in operation. It is expected to generate over AUD200 million in state royalties over its 15-year life.

Vimy acquired Alligator River, in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, from Cameco Australia Pty Ltd in 2018.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News