PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Uranium miner Paladin Energy has reported its best quarter yet for the 2015 financial year, with the miner on Thursday announcing a 340% quarter-on-quarter increase to $73.3-million in sales revenue for the three months to June 30.
The Langer Heinrich mine, in Namibia, produced 1.33-million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8) in the quarter under review, an 8% increase on that produced in the March quarter.
The March quarter results had been affected by a failure of the pre-leach thickener feed well at the plant, in February.
Production for the full year, at 5.04-million pounds U3O8, was within guidance.
Paladin noted that run-of-mine stockpiles at Langer Heinrich had decreased by the end of the June quarter, with the low stockpile levels expected to remain until mid-July, when high-grade ore would be exposed in Pit H4.
The miner further pointed out that the bicarbonate recovery project (BRP) at Langer Heinrich operated well throughout the quarter, achieving 115% to 120% of design capacity in terms of both volumes processed and sodium bicarbonate recovered.
Significant process optimisation took place during the quarter, which allowed the BRP to achieve 147% of its design capacity, which Paladin said could be maintained or exceeded throughout the September quarter. This would equate to a potential direct saving of around $16-million in reagent costs.
Further optimisation was, ultimately, expected to lift the BRP performance to higher than 200% of its design capacity by December of this year, without the need for the installation of any additional equipment.
Paladin noted that the high degree of success from the BRP augured well for the ongoing success of the company’s innovation programme, with the new technology acting as a key driver for further reductions in C1 costs at Langer Heinrich.
C1 unit cash costs for the quarter reached $26.03/lb, which was in line with expectations. During the month of June, these costs were further improved to $24.72/lb.
Paladin expected to produce between 5-million and 5.4-million pounds U3O8 in the 2016 financial year.
Meanwhile, the miner said the restarted feasibility study of its Kayelekera mine, in Malawi, was nearing completion.