PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A scoping study for the eight-million-tonne-a-year Etango uranium project, in Namibia, has shown that the project would have a mine life of some 14 years.
Owner Bannerman Resources on Wednesday reported that the scoping study estimated a life-of-mine production of 51.5-million pounds of uranium oxide, with average annual production of 3.5-million pounds.
The project is expected to require a capital investment of $254-million, delivering an up-front capital intensity of around $71/lb.
The scoping study estimated a post-tax net present value of $212-million and an internal rate of return of 21.2%, with a pay-back period of just over three-and-a-half years.
“Last year we commenced a review of various project scaling opportunities that might exist for the Etango project. The Etango-8 scoping study represents the successful culmination of that work,” said Bannerman CEO Brandon Munro.
“Developing the world-class Etango project at an initial eight-million tonnes a year throughput offers significant advantages. It sharply reduces the upfront capital and funding hurdle compared to that associated with the original 20-million-tonne-a-year Etango development evaluated in 2012, and the definitive feasibility study optimisation in 2015.
“It also enables us to predominantly mine shallower, higher-grade ore, which significantly reduces stripping and lifts the average feed grade to the processing facility. The combined result is that the upfront capital intensity of the Etango project per pound of annual production capacity has fallen materially while maintaining robust project economics.”
The 2015 optimisation study estimated that the project would require a capital investment of $131-million, and would produce 7.2-million pounds a year over a 15.7-year mine life.
Munro noted that while the Etango-8 project provided a reduced scale of production entry, it did so without removing the option of subsequent expansion, including the originally envisaged 20-million-tonne-a-year scale.
“In short, the scalability of the world-class Etango resource remains robust even with a more modular approach to development of the project.
“We are now proceeding to undertake a prefeasibility study on the Etango-8 project. This process will benefit significantly from the fact that the Etango project has already been the subject of a definitive level of feasibility study, at a larger scale, in recent years. As a result, we are targeting completion of the comprehensive feasibility study in the second quarter of 2021.”