Australia-based emerging uranium miner Peninsula Energy announced in December that it had completed its $50-million acquisition of South Africa-based nuclear company Areva Resources Southern Africa’s (Arsa’s) Karoo uranium projects.
The acquisition comprises a 74% interest in 36 prospecting rights over a 5 600 km2 area of the main uranium/molybdenum-bearing sandstone channels in the Western Cape’s Karoo basin.
Peninsula also acquired freehold farms, comprising about 320 km2, a large portion of which overlays areas of known mineralisation.
The company has paid $5-million, with the remaining $45-million payable once the company has completed a bankable feasibility study and has secured 50% of the funds for mining operations as debt.
“Most of the exploration for uranium in the Karoo basin was conducted by Esso Minerals, which drilled almost 9 500 holes since the 1970s. They did an enormous amount of work in the area, including feasibility studies and hydrological studies.
“Esso Minerals also sunk a 400 m decline shaft in the area of the Ryst Kuil channel and took out a large sample from an openpit mining operation,” explains Peninsula Energy executive chairperson Gus Simpson, noting that all the data and information were handed over to Peninsula Energy subsequent to the acquisition.
Meanwhile, South Africa-based project management company DRA has been contracted by Peninsula Energy to conduct a prefeasibi- lity study, which started in December 2013 and is due for completion later this year. DRA has worked with Peninsula Energy before, having completed a scoping study on part of the project areas in October last year.
Peninsula Energy has also contracted several drilling companies from Beaufort West, in the Western Cape, to conduct an expanded drilling programme over the next three to five years to increase the Joint Ore Reserves Committee- (Jorc-) compliant resource of the area.
Peninsula Energy has targeted 100-million pounds of uranium, which will undergo Jorc-compliance testing, to be completed over the next 12 to 18 months. Simpson points out that the company has successfully completed Jorc compliance for 56-million pounds of uranium at 1 201 parts per million.
“In early 2015, the company will begin its definitive feasibility study to be used to raise the debt finance and secure sales contracts for the delineated resources by 2016. Peninsula hopes to start construction in 2016/17 to commission the mine to produce uranium by 2018,” Simpson says.
The company owned mineral permits covering about 2 000 km2 of land in the Karoo basin prior to the acquisition, which it had been working on since 2004.
“In the past ten years, Peninsula Energy has been working on two large channel systems and has drilled and tested thousands of holes in this area,” concludes Simpson.