PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Uranium oxide (U3O8) production from the Langer Heinrich mine, in Namibia, fell by 26% during the three months to March as production was impacted by the first full quarter of a reduced mining plan.
Miner Paladin Energy on Wednesday reported that production from the Langer Heinrich mine reached 896 070 lb during the quarter under review, while C1 cash costs at $21.02/lb exceeded the guidance of between $17/lb and $19/lb.
Production compares with the December quarter’s output of 1.21-million pounds and the March 2016 quarter’s production of 1.30-million pounds.
Paladin attributed the decreased production to a 21% drop in head grade associated with mining curtailment, and a 7% decrease in ore processed owing to lower process water availability caused by several NamWater and Areva water supply interruptions. The miner also reported lower-than-expected tailings storage facility water recoveries.
No mining was carried out at Langer Heinrich during the quarter under review, with run-of-mine feed supplemented by high-grade ore until early March. Subsequent run-of-mine feed was reclaimed from medium-grade stockpiles.
Meanwhile, sales volumes for the March quarter were also lower at 730 642 lb U3O8, generating gross sales revenues of $14.3-million.
Looking ahead, Paladin expected uranium production to reach between 750 000 lb and 850 000 lb in the June quarter, in line with the reduced mining plan, while uranium sales were expected to reach between 1.1-million and 1.3-million pounds of U3O8.
The outlook for the full-year ended June has remained unchanged, with production expected to reach more than four-million pounds of U3O8, and C1 cash costs expected to be in the range of between $16.50/lb and $18.50/lb.