PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Africa-focused uranium developer Deep Yellow said on Monday that the release of a prefeasibility study (PFS) into its Omahola project, in Namibia, had been delayed to the second quarter of 2011.
The PFS was started in March last year and was scheduled to be released in December. But MD Patrick Mutz said on Monday that the timeline had been pushed back to evaluate the inclusion of material from the recently discovered Ongolo Alaskite project, as an additional source of ore for the Omahola project.
“The ongoing drilling results from the Ongolo Alaskite project discovered last April have been so positive that we decided to extend the completion of the PFS to incorporate this new high-grade mineralisation as a source of ore for the Omahola project.”
Mutz said that Deep Yellow was “confident” that the inclusion of this newly discovered mineraliation had the potential to positively impact on the overall PFS results.
A detailed reverse-circulation and diamond-drilling programme within the 2-km strike length at Ongolo was now ongoing in an effort to delineate a resource estimate.
Mutz said that a mineral resource estimate for the project was expected by the end of March.
The Omahola project currently contains the Inca and Tubas Red Sands uranium deposits. The Inca deposit hosts an inferred mineral resource of 14,9-million tons, grading at 405 parts per million (ppm), while TRS hosts a measured, indicated and inferred resource of 13,9-million tons, at 160 ppm uranium oxide (U3O8).
Meanwhile, an interim PFS has reported that it could cost between $324-million and $336-million to develop its 2,2-million-pound a year Omoholo uranium project.
The uranium developer said that the positive interim PFS results highlighted the economic potential of the Omahola project.
Mutz noted that the interim PFS has found that current resource would support a production rate of around 1 000 t, or 2,2-million pounds a year of U3O8, starting in 2014, with the resources providing an expected life-of-mine of 12 years.
Opencut mining at the Inca deposit would provide around 80% of the Omahola plant feed, while simplified surface mining and beneficiation at TRS would provide the balance.
“We are very pleased with the early results of the PFS and look forward to its completion, which is expected in the second quarter of this year,” said Mutz.
Detailed mine planning for the Inca deposit was currently under way, with the bulk of the mineralisation sufficiently shallow for opencut mining.
Mutz said that it was anticipated that that a conventional processing plant would be constructed near the Inca deposit, which would include crushing, grinding, sulphuric acid leaching, followed by solvent extraction, uranium precipitation, and the drying and packaging of yellow cake.
A mobile beneficiation plant would be located at the TRS deposit, and the satellite plant would be designed to concentrate around 90% of the uranium into around 25% of the mass, with the resulting concentrate grading around 400 ppm U3O8. This would then be transported through a slurry pipeline to the main processing plant near the Inca deposit, for uranium recovery.
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