Photo by: Paladin Resources
Name of the Project
Langer Heinrich uranium restart project.
Namib Desert, Namibia.
Langer Heinrich Mauritius Holdings is the holding company of Langer Heinrich Uranium, which holds 100% of the Langer Heinrich tenements.
Paladin Energy owns 75% of Langer Heinrich Mauritius Holdings, with 25% owned by CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings.
Langer Heinrich has an estimated 17-year mine life, supported by ore reserves of 84.8-million tonnes with an average uranium grade of 448 parts per million.
Life-of-mine (LoM) production is estimated at 77.4-million pounds of uranium, up from a previously stated 76.1-million pounds.
Langer Heinrich was placed on care and maintenance in August 2018, owing to the sustained low uranium price.
Paladin completed a concept study on Langer Heinrich in February 2019, which identified multiple options to reduce operating costs, improve process plant performance and potentially recover a saleable vanadium product.
A two-stream prefeasibility study (PFS1 and PFS2) was started in March 2019 to improve the details of the restart plan and pursue further improvement options to clearly present a compelling investment case.
PFS1 focused on confirming effective care and maintenance plans, practices and costs while developing a more detailed plan to execute a rapid restart at Langer Heinrich in an improved uranium market.
Potential Job Creation
The project will employ about 300 staff.
Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Restart costs were previously estimated at $81-million; however, in July 2022, Paladin reported that restart costs had increased to $118-million, driven by:
- the industry-wide cost escalation in labour, equipment and raw materials;
- key utility infrastructure work packages having been brought forward to ensure the provision of water and power over the life of the operation;
- strengthening the project management team through expanded engineering, procurement, construction and management services;
- minor modifications to the scope of the project; and
- an increase in project contingency levels.
Planned Start/End Date
The project was restarted in July 2022, with target production expected in the first quarter of 2024.
Paladin Energy is continuing to execute its strategy of returning the Langer Heinrich mine to production, with the restart project well advanced, the company reports.
The project remains on track and on budget [$118-milllion] for first production in the first quarter of 2024.
Paladin has secured a strong uranium offtake portfolio with top-tier global counterparties that will underpin the restart.
In addition to Paladin’s LoM offtake with Chinese nuclear utility CNNC5, it has secured offtake agreements with five counterparties in the US and Europe.
The company says it will continue to layer its offtake contracts to ensure it provides a financially robust offtake position for the project.
“Importantly, our contract book remains overweight to market-related pricing mechanisms to ensure that our company continues to benefit from the strong demand and pricing outlook for uranium,” chairperson Cliff Lawrenson avers.
Meanwhile, Paladin’s owner team, alongside engineering, procurement and construction management partner ADP, continues to progress and execute activities focused on returning the Langer Heinrich mine to production.
The restart project site works remain focused on general repairs and refurbishment activities to return the existing process plant to operational readiness.
In parallel, ADP continues to provide engineering and procurement services for the delivery of the growth project's process upgrades to increase throughput capacity and operational availability.
Over full-year 2023, several activities have progressed, including the contractor workforce being fully ramped up to anticipated peak, with more than 1 000 personnel on site, many noted to be from local communities.
Critical construction materials, plant and equipment have also been delivered to site, including the Hydrosort classifier, agitators, thickeners, cyclones, structural steel, prefabricated tanks and tank strakes.
Paladin has progressed the growth project steel fabrication activities, including the construction of the Hydrosort structure, other structural steel plate works and leach surge tanks.
There was also the workshop site assembly and testing of the automated and dustless drumming plant; mobilisation of the project commissioning manager and commissioning team; and shipment of the ion-exchange resin, required for the uranium extraction process.
The company has also onboarded a general manager and a Langer Heinrich operations mining and process manager.
An independent operational readiness gap assessment has been completed, confirming that Langer Heinrich is well placed for operations to resume.
Recruitment strategies for the operational workforce and initial engagements with potential mining contractors have started.
Activities for full-year 2024 until first production include the completion of the repair, refurbishment and growth project works; the introduction of stockpile ore; the completion of the operational-readiness programme; and the completion of the commissioning and handover to Langer Heinrich operations.
Paladin reports that all permits and licences for the project remain in good standing and that the necessary water and power contracts have been secured.
Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Contact Details for Project Information
Paladin Energy, tel +61 8 9381 4366 or email email@example.com.