Another Uranium Mine Planned


By Lesley-Anne van Wyk Another uranium mine is envisaged for the Erongo Region. A Bankable Feasibility Study is to be conducted at the UraMin Inc. uranium mining project 65 kilometres north-east of Swakopmund on Trekkopje farm. Steffen Robertson and Kirsten (SRK), a multi-disciplinary consulting firm that provides comprehensive engineering and environmental services, has begun the feasibility study. SRK estimates that the study will be completed in the second half of 2007 at an estimated cost of US$7 million. SRK is currently supervising confirmatory drill and bulk sampling programmes. This announcement has come on the completion of 1 240 metres of reverse circulation drilling in 69 holes, from a planned total of 1 800 metres. Following the completion of the drilling programme, SRK will prepare a NI 43-101 compliant resource statement on Trekkopje’s existing South African Mineral Resource Committee (SAMREC) compliant total resource of 120.8 million lbs of uranium known as U308. This form of uranium is an impure mixture of uranium oxides obtained during the processing of uranium ore. The mine life is expected to be 20 years and its average annual U308 production is set at 3.1 million lbs. Collection of six bulk samples at sites chosen by SRK is also underway. The samples will be sent to Mintek in South Africa for leach metallurgical test work to commence within the next two weeks. All field activities and associated exploration, hydro-geological and geotechnical investigations will be conducted by Turgis Consulting Pty Ltd, SRK and selected consultants. UraMin CEO, Ian Stalker, said “the commencement of the feasibility study with SRK represents a significant milestone in bringing Trekkopje to production, and we are pleased to be working closely with SRK to develop what we believe to be a world class uranium project.” Stalker went on to say: “The key decision point will be determining whether heap leaching will be a viable option, which may substantially reduce UraMin’s planned capital investment.” UraMin Inc was founded in February 2005 and established to acquire and develop mineral properties, predominantly uranium. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange in April 2006 and has since raised US$60 million. It currently has working capital of approximately US$54 million and a market capitalisation of approximately US$184 million on an undiluted basis. UraMin is currently focusing on the development of its advanced exploration projects at Trekkopje and Bakouma in the Central African Republic. The company’s strategy is to explore its existing projects, develop those on which favourable feasibility studies are completed and seek to acquire and progress further uranium properties at various stages of development. Uranium is used as fuel in nuclear power generation, which accounts for 16% of the world’s power. Nuclear power has grown in popularity because of declining oil supplies and the growing need to find cheaper and cleaner forms of fuel. There are currently 441 nuclear reactors in 31 countries, with Lithuania and France having the highest nuclear electricity component of 80% and 78% respectively. Sweden follows with a 46% nuclear electricity component, Hungary with 36%, Japan 34%, Germany 30% and the US with 20%.