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Langer Heinrich's 2011 milestone on course


by Tirivangani Masawi
Mining

 

Paladin Energy, owners of Langer Heinrich, has confirmed the completion of its financial plan which entailed the buying back of US$250m worth of convertible bonds, acquisition of the Aurora uranium assets in Eastern Canada, and achievement of the all time production record of 355, 513lbs per month.
The mine also announced that they are impressed with the progress made so far towards the completion of phase four feasibility studies at its Namibian subsidiary, Langer Heinrich Mine, with the company confirming that its Phase four is within the set time frame.
Langer Heinrich has been one of the major producers of uranium from the Erongo Region since the inception of the Erongo Uranium Rush around 2004.
According to the company’s investor report, phase four’s expansion feasibility study is targeting to produce 8.7Mlb per annum from conventional ore processing and a further 1.3Mlb per annum from the treatment of low grade material.
Efforts to date have focused largely on the conventional ore treatment plant, plus optimisation of the mining sequence.
The completion of the study is expected by December.
After the completion, drilling will determine the total mineral resource while a new ore reserve using  phase  4 processing parameters is expected to be completed during the second half of 2011.
The investor report posted by the company  on their website further  shows that  the company has successfully completed phase three despite the projects sales revenue upping  32% from US$202m to US$266.8m, production increasing  32% from 4.3Mlb to 5.7Mlb U3O8 while exploration spend increased from US$17.1m to US$20m
The company also increased its total group employees to 1185 from 896 monthly from the previous year.
Commenting on the group performance Paladin Group Chairman Rick Crabb said, “We are very pleased with the improved safety results, achieved during a time of much activity at both mine sites and on our exploration projects. Safety of our workforce and achievement of the highest environmental practices remain top priorities of the Board and management.
“Due to various factors explained in the Company’s releases, the annual production target was downgraded during the year and the final result missed the target by some 250 000 lbs.”
He added that the company’s year to year production increased by some 33% overall.
The Company remains in a high growth phase and has the philosophy of setting ambitious yet realistic targets to encourage employees and contractors to work effectively and efficiently to ensure this growth. This approach will not change, but our expectations are that our Langer Heinrich and Kayelekera Mines will meet production guidance in the 2011/12 year.
Crabb added Paladin’s production centres in Namibia and Malawi, means that Paladin occupies a unique space in the global uranium industry.
Paladin purchased the Langer Heinrich project in August 2002 ,and  development and construction, commenced producing from the open pit mine with production of 2.7Mlb of U3O8 achieved in 2008/2009. Soon afterwards, the Stage 2 expansion increased production to 3.7Mlb pa in the 2010 financial year. Construction of the Stage 3 expansion is nearing completion and is expected to further increase production to 5.2Mlb per annum. Construction is expected to be completed in the September quarter 2011 with ramp up to nameplate late 2011/early 2012.
Langer Heinrich is a surficial, calcrete type uranium deposit containing a Mineral Resource of 74,415t in seven mineralised zones designated within the 15km length of a contiguous paleodrainage system.
The deposit is located in the Namib Desert, 80km from the major seaport of Walvis Bay.