ASX- and Aim-listed uranium and polymetallic miner Aura Energy has engaged with engineering consultants DRA Global, and its wholly-owned subsidiary Senet, to start Phase 1 of the Mauritania-based Tiris uranium front-end engineering design (FEED) study.
The FEED study for its 85%-owned Tiris uranium project will focus on engineering enhancement, including the addition of a vanadium pentoxide by-product recovery circuit, aimed at maintaining low capital and operating costs.
The first phase of the FEED study will be completed by the end of this year, with the completion of all phases of the FEED study targeted for the first quarter of 2023, in support of Aura’s final investment decision to progress to initial uranium production at Tiris in 2024.
As such, DRA Global and Senet will act as lead engineering integrators, bringing industry-leading experience in design, construction and minerals operations throughout West Africa and globally.
Aura states that DRA’s and Senet’s engineering team have a wealth of experience in uranium processing and in the delivery of projects, particularly in West Africa, an ideal combination for the development of Tiris.
To support DRA, Aura has also engaged Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec (WGA) to apply its extensive experience to the design and development of the Tiris uranium and vanadium processing circuits.
In this regard, WGA will work closely with Adelaide Control Engineering (ACE) to engineer, design and deliver the Tiris processing plant using modular construction, enabling rapid, capital efficient site construction of the initial fast-tracked 362.87 t/y triuranium octoxide (U3O8) processing plant and rapid and cost-effective expansion of the plant to a target of between 1 361 t/y and 2 268 t/y of U3O8 within the first two to three years of the project’s mine life.
Aura acting CEO Dr Will Goodall says the appointment of a fit-for-purpose engineering team for the FEED study represents a significant milestone in advancing Tiris to initial uranium production.
“The work will focus on engineering optimisation opportunities with the aim of maintaining, or even reducing, the already low Tiris capital expenditure of $74.8-million and will also seek to identify opportunities to reduce the operating expenditure of the project,” he says.