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Muntanga uranium project, Zambia – update

Image of uranium ore

21st July 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Muntanga uranium project.

Location
In the Southern province of Zambia.

Project Owner/s
GoviEx Uranium.

Project Description
Muntanga comprises three mining permits that cover about 720 km2 and contains five deposits – Dibwe, Dibwe East, Muntanga, Gwabe and Njame.

The project benefits from simple and straightforward operations, owing to low waste stripping, low acid consumption and low capital expenditure requirements.

A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) completed in 2017 evaluated the economic and technical viability of the project. The PEA envisages the development of openpits at the Muntanga, Dibwe, Dibwe East, Gwabe, Njame and Njame South deposits. Three heap-leach pads will be located at Dibwe East/Muntanga, Dibwe and Gwabe/Njame, and a central processing facility between Dibwe East and Muntanga.

The deposits are amenable to conventional, shallow opencast mining methods using excavators and trucks, with relatively low stripping ratios. The base case envisions an average production rate of 2.6-million pounds of yellowcake a year over an initial 11-year mine life, with an 88% ultimate uranium recovery rate and a total forecast of 26.4-million pounds of uranium.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
At a long-term uranium price of $58/lb uranium, the base case economics for the project are positive and indicate an after-tax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of $112-million and an internal rate of return of 25%, with a payback of three years.

Capital Expenditure
Initial capital costs have been estimated at $123.4-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Not stated.

Latest Developments
GoviEx Uranium has announced an updated mineral resource estimate for Muntanga project.

There is also additional potential for further upgrading the inferred resources, thereby expanding the resources that can be included in the feasibility study.

The mineral resource update includes a comprehensive reassessment of previous work, and a revised correlation between down-hole radiometric probe data and chemical assays used to convert downhole radiometric data into equivalent uranium grades for mineral resource estimation.

Based on the $50/lb uranium used to define the mining schedule in the 2017 PEA, constrained total pit resources are 36.5-million pounds equivalent uranium grades, comprising 34-million tonnes at 374 ppm equivalent uranium grades for 28.4-million pounds in measured and indicated resources and 11-million tonnes at 348 ppm equivalent uranium grades for 8.1-million pounds of inferred resources.

The company is optimistic that the updated mineral resources estimate will be favourable to the project economics previously estimated for Muntanga in the PEA.

This is owing to the quality of the resource estimate, higher measured and indicated mineral resources, higher-grade estimated resources  and a notable increase in these resources within the constrained openpit area, and especially as the ongoing drilling is targeting the conversion of more inferred resources into indicated resources.

As per the regulations applicable in 2017, when the company released its NI 43-101 technical report, the mineral resources estimate reported did not need to be constrained by pit shells based on any particular uranium price.

Almost all mineralisation at the time occurred within 125 m of surface with uranium grades that were, in general, considered to have a reasonable prospect for eventual economic extraction (RPEEE) by openpit mining.

The cutoff grade used for reporting the 2017 mineral resource estimate was 100 ppm equivalent uranium grades.

The 2023 mineral resources estimate is reported within a constraining openpit shell, based on a uranium selling price of $70/lb uranium and a 100 ppm equivalent uranium grades cutoff grade.

The 2017 constrained mineral resources are based on a fixed uranium price, and should uranium prices increase, a conversion of additional material into a constrained mineral resource is anticipated.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Ukwazi Site Services (project manager and mining), SGS Bateman (process design) and SRK UK (power, hydrogeology and heap-leach design).

Contact Details for Project Information
GoviEx Uranium, tel +1 604 681 5529 or email info@goviex.com.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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