Paladin Energy has outlined a number of value enhancement opportunities at its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia, as the company works to bring the asset back into production.
The company is looking into a range of strategies to get the most out of Langer Heinrich, including vanadium recovery and sales, application of ore sorting technology and the possibility of mine life extension through lower cut-off grade resource processing.
Paladin is also considering an optimised Langer Heinrich project execution plan, whereby it would self-fund early works during the 2021-22 financial year and fast-track production when a restart decision is made.
It comes as Paladin provided an update on its Langer Heinrich restart plans, highlighting amendments to production targets and cost estimates compared to its previous restart plan update in June 2020.
Paladin has increased its life of mine production target from 76.1 million pounds (Mlb) of triuranium octoxide (U3O8) to 77.4 million pounds.
The estimated life of mine C1 costs (direct costs incurred in mining) have been updated from $US26.9 ($36.1)/pound to $US27.4/pound, with Paladin citing increased projected contract mining rates.
The overall restart cost estimate for the Langer Heinrich restart plan is $US81 million.
Paladin reaffirmed its plans to deliver first production 18 months after project commencement, with full production achieved after a further 15 months.
Langer Heinrich remains on track for a 17-year mine life, supported by ore reserves of 84.8 million tonnes with an average U3O8 grade of 448 parts per million (ppm).
Having completed the necessary restart work technical projects, Paladin has consolidated confidence in the potential of the Langer Heinrich mine, given the right uranium price environment.
“The restart plan update is the conclusion of an extensive work stream aimed at further de-risking the ramp up and operational readiness of the globally significant Langer Heinrich uranium mine,” Paladin chief executive officer Ian Purdy said.
“The workstreams reinforce our confidence in Langer Heinrich as a low risk, robust, long-life operation that is poised for a restart to take advantage of the improving uranium market conditions.”
Paladin had unrestricted cash reserves of $US40.5 million by the end of the September quarter, further solidifying the foundations of the Langer Heinrich restart.
“As the world continues to move towards a decarbonised economy, Paladin is in a unique and enviable position of having a robust capital structure with no corporate debt and a project with a low-risk pathway to production with strong economics and importantly a well-known product from our 10 years of prior operation,” Purdy said.
“The improving structural outlook for uranium markets and Paladin’s opportunity to positively contribute to the decarbonisation of global electricity generation provides the platform for an exciting period ahead for Paladin and I look forward to updating you on our progress.”
A decline in uranium market conditions led Paladin to place Langer Heinrich into care and maintenance in May 2018.