JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Dual-listed Berkeley Energia expects to pour concrete at its fully-funded Salamanca mine, in western Spain, in the new year, the company said on Tuesday, as it announced the award of major contracts for the uranium mine.
The company said that Sanchez y Lago, one of Spain’s major construction companies, was being appointed as the contract miner. Sanchez y Lago has over 35 years of mining experience around the world and currently operates at Atalaya’s Riotinto mine, also in Spain.
Amec Foster Wheeler has been selected to deliver a fixed price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) solution for the construction of the mine, plant and associated infrastructure.
The mining and EPC contracts are expected to be executed in the new year, with mobilisation of equipment to occur shortly thereafter.
"Having completed the financing, we have selected our preferred mining and construction contractors and will be pouring concrete in the new year. We are starting construction just as the industry leaders Cameco and Kazatomprom implement major production cuts at their tier-1 mines, which will tip the uranium market into the long-awaited supply deficit during 2018,” Berkeley MD Paul Atherley commented on Tuesday.
Berkeley is spending €82.3-million on building the Salamanca mine, which will produce 4.4-million pounds a year over ten years – placing the company among the top-ten global uranium producers.
The mine is funded by a $120-million investment by the sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman.
In addition to the selection of contractors, Berkeley is making key appointments to the owner’s team having recently appointed Sergio Arenas as process superintendent.
Further, Berkeley said that 50% of new staff required for the first phase of construction activity at Salamanca would be recruited from the local villages of Retortillo and Villavieja. The company has also identified a number of infrastructure improvements to neighbouring villages, which it would progress in the coming months.