Lotus advances process optimisation work ahead of Letlhakane mine development

17th April 2024 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

Lotus advances process optimisation work ahead of Letlhakane mine development

Photo by: Bloomberg

ASX-listed Lotus Resources has developed a detailed initial programme of work to maximise the potential of its Letlhakane uranium project, in Botswana.

The company is working to update the project’s mineral resource model and is undertaking studies to determine the potential of upgrading the ore for a more efficient processing route.

Particularly, Lotus plans to increase the head grade of the feed material to the mill through a combination of updated mineral resource modelling and beneficiation testwork on run-of-mine material.

The company will develop an alternate process flowsheet to increase the uranium recovery rate and reduce acid consumption, which is a significant contributor to plant operating costs.

Lotus will also undertake an infill drilling programme to convert the inferred material to measured and indicated status, which will allow for more accurate definition of higher-grade zones within the measured and indicated resources.

Letlhakane currently has a mineral resource of 269-million tonnes grading 321 parts per million triuranium octoxide (U3O8), for 190-million pounds of contained uranium. Only 22% of the resource is in the measured and indicated category.

The project has a mining licence and water rights in place, as well as provisional surface rights.

Experienced uranium metallurgist John Baines is leading the technical programmes at Letlhakane, as the company targets defining a development pathway through a scoping study before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Lotus is also working to restart the Kayelekera mine, in Malawi, as soon as practically possible, to benefit from strong uranium prices in the market.

Lotus has an 85% interest in the Kayelekera mine, which historically produced about 11-million pounds of uranium between 2009 and 2014.

The company completed a restart study that demonstrates the project as viable to restart. It currently has an ore reserve of about 23-million pounds of U3O8.

Lotus also has a 55% interest in the Wilconi nickel/cobalt project in Western Australia.