TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Namibia-focused uranium explorer Forsys Metals, which is developing the Norasa project, comprising the Valencia main, satellite pits and Namibplaas deposits, on Tuesday announced a 30% rise in the project’s compliant reserves and grade.
The Toronto-based firm said it had completed an updated mineral reserve estimate based on the revised and upgraded October 2013 resources and the results of ongoing technical studies.
Forsys said it had lifted the total Canadian National Instrument 43-101-compliant reserves of uranium oxide (U3O8) to 79-million pounds from 60.5-million pounds. The company had also lifted the average grade to 202 parts per million (ppm), through using higher cutoff grades of 100 ppm for the Valencia pit and 160 ppm for the Namibplaas pit.
"Strengthening the economics of our Norasa uranium project has been our top priority over the past two years. We are very encouraged by our recent efforts that resulted in an improved grade and an increased mineral reserve estimate.
“These latest milestones add to the momentum we continue to build. In less than 18 months, we have consolidated our deposits in Namibia, optimised our planned process plant, identified a new high-grade zone at Valencia East and improved our recovery rates from metallurgical test programmes.
“This progress paves the way for further development of our Norasa project in tandem with the positive signals we are seeing for the recovery of the uranium sector, including higher spot prices and supply-demand deficits,” said Forsys president and CEO Marcel Hilmer.
In determining the latest cutoff grades, the company assumed that mining costs would average $2.08/t for Valencia and $2.45/t for Namibplaas, adjusted for mining depth.
The company said that processing would cost $7.84/t of ore milled, overheads would total about $0.83/t milled, and revenue were based on an expected U3O8 price of $65/lb. There was also a mineral royalty of 3% on the revenue stream.
Forsys said it had designed the Valencia main pit to be 1 600 m long on strike, 1 000 m wide and 430 m deep, to a depth of 300 m above mean sea level.
Valencia’s satellite pits had also been designed to measure 380 m across and to reach a depth of 160 m. At Namibplaas, the pit was designed to be 1 900 m long on strike, 500 m wide and 210 m deep, to a depth of 500 m above the mean sea level.
The pit optimisations and designs were conducted on measured and indicated resources only, and 3.3-million tones, or 1.5-million pounds of U3O8 of inferred material, remained inside these pits.
This material would eventually be upgraded in classification during mining operations, indicating significant potential for further pit expansion.
For both the Valencia and Namibplaas deposits, the mineralisation remains open-ended both on strike and at depth, providing more potential for expanding the overall resource and extending the life-of-mine in the future. Other satellite deposits in both licence areas had also been identified and held further expansion potential.