SWAKOPMUND, Namibia (miningweekly.com) – Australian uranium exploration company Deep Yellow has removed its Tubas Red Sand (TRS) deposit from its Omahola project, in Namibia.
The company’s flagship project, located near Swakopmund, initially comprised three deposits, namely Inca, TBS and Ongolo Alaskite, which included the newly discovered MS7 satellite Alaskite deposit.
TRS was taken out of the Omahola resource base as studies showed the potential of an economical standalone operation, even at a smaller scale of 250 t/y, up to 1 000 t/y. Further, the project offered the best short-term potential of fast-tracking the development of a hard rock higher-grade resource into production, said MD Greg Cochran during a site visit.
The project had an aggressive timeline to production, which Cochran said may need to be updated. A feasibility study on TRS, as well as construction should the project be approved, would start in 2012. Commissioning was expected mid-2013.
The mining licence application for the TRS deposit, as well as the Inca deposit, was submitted to the Namibian Ministry of Mines at the end of 2011.
The TRS deposit, a measured, indicated and inferred Joint Ore Reserves Committee- (Jorc-) compliant hard rock resource of 14-million tons at 160 parts per million (ppm) for 5-million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8), would become a shallow, free dig openpit mine. The uranium ore would be upgraded by physical beneficiation to produce a high-grade uranium-rich concentrate open to acid or alkali leaching.
This follows wholly owned Deep Yellow subsidiary Reptile Uranium Namibia’s (Run’s) successful test run of its Schauenburg pilot plant. The plant beneficiates ore to a higher-grade sand concentrate with a simple, nonchemical process, recovering more than 80% of the uranium in less than 20% of the deposit mass volume.
A second processing phase, to be located near the Inca deposit, would produce an intermediate product for possible offtake to Namibia’s existing uranium producers, such as Rio Tinto’s Rossing or Paladin’s Langer Heinrich.
Meanwhile, the Ongolo Alaskite deposit tripled its indicated and inferred Jorc-compliant resources from 6.9-million tons to 20.5-million tons at 400 ppm U3O8 for 18-million pounds U3O8 at 250 ppm cutoff. The MS7 satellite deposit more than doubled to 5.4-million tons at 470 ppm U3O8 for 5.6 million pounds of U3O8 at 250 ppm.
With the company’s concentrated effort and focus on critical mass within this region, further success was expected from these deposits, said Cochran. Environmental assessments on the deposits were expected to start near the end of 2012 with the completion of drilling on the site.
Meanwhile, Cochran pointed to a possible joint venture for the development of its newly discovered Shiyela iron-ore project, in Namibia.
“The company wished to retain a stake in the iron project and was examining options of bringing a partner on board to develop the project,” said Cochran. The company was not yet in talks with any potential partners.
Cochran said that, while a number of models could prove successful for the company, further assessments were required to gain clarity on its strategy taking the project forward.
Drilling in Shiyela was completed mid-2011, while a scoping study and environmental-impact assessment were completed late in 2011. The company started on ports studies and a definitive feasibility study was due to start mid-2012.
The project had a Jorc-compliant resource of 78.7-million tons at 18.8% iron. Capital expenditure for the iron-ore project was expected to reach $467-million with an operational expenditure of $78/lb.