PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Uranium hopeful Bannerman Resources has started the search for a project partner to assist in the development of its Etango uranium project, in Namibia.
The ASX- and TSX-listed company said on Wednesday that a number of parties have already visited the site, and conducted due diligence on the feasibility study work, which had been completed to date.
CEO Len Jubber said in a statement that Bannerman would now pursue a “sensible” and “value-accretive” development partner transaction at the project level that would facilitate both the provision of project debt as well as equity financing.
The feasibility study, which was currently under way, has estimated that the Etango project would produce, on average, between five-million and seven-million pounds of uranium oxide a year, over a 20-years.
A simple heap-leaching processing route has been selected as the most appropriate, lowest risk and lowest-cost approach.
Currently, the project development costs were estimated at $638-million, before mining fleet and working capital, but including a proportion of desalinated water infrastructure capital.
Jubber said that the accuracy of capital and operating cost estimates have been “greatly enhanced” by sourcing competitive supplier quotes for a large majority of the costed items.
“The extensive work completed in 2010 has substantially de-risked the technical aspects of the project and delivered a robust capital and operating cost estimate. Etango is a globally significant and low-risk project with unparalleled leverage to the rising uranium price,” Jubber said.
He added that Bannerman was well positioned to benefit from the nuclear power generation plans for numerous countries, particularly China and other Asian nations.
“In addition, our generative exploration work over the past six months has been very successful in identifying two new satellite deposits close the Etango project, while exciting drill targets have been identified immediately to the north of the Swakop river.”
Subject to Bannerman securing a suitable development partner, the company’s objective was to complete the feasibility study by early 2012, and to move the project to a development decision “as soon as possible thereafter”.
The uranium developer has already applied for an environmental clearance and mining licence for Etango at the end of 2009, and in April, the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism issued the company with an environmental clearance.
An updated environmental and social-impact assessment and an amended environmental clearance and mining licence application, incorporating an enlarged resource and site layout refinements, would be prepared during the March quarter next year, and would be submitted to the relevant Namibian authorities during the June quarter.
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