Deep Yellow, the uranium exploration company, says that $372 million (N$6.4 billion) capital investment is required for its The Tumas uranium project in the Erongo region.
The company recommenced with drilling in 2020.
Deep Yellow based the DFS on treating 4.15-million tonnes a year of ore to produce up to 3.6-million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8) a year, and 1.15-million pounds of vanadium by-product over a life-of-mine (LoM) of over 22 years.
The opencut operation is estimated to have a LoM all-in sustaining cost of $38.72/lb, an after-tax net present value of $341-million and an internal rate of return of 19.2%.
The capital cost of $372-million estimated in the DFS is higher than the $295-million estimated in the 2021 prefeasibility study (PFS), while LoM operating costs also increased from $32.89/lb to $39.39/lb.
Deep Yellow said the cost increases were reflective of the increased plant capacity, which increased from 3.75-million tonnes a year to 4.15-million tonnes a year, as well as inflationary forces experienced between the PFS and the DFS.
“We believe this is a very robust DFS and underscores the value of our conviction to apply effort in contrarian fashion, with a proven team, to discover the expanded Tumasproject that now demonstrates its potential to be a long-life, world-class uranium operation,” said Deep Yellow MD and CEO John Borshoff.
“Importantly, we have used appropriate assumptions and our costings are highly accurate, having been largely based on quotes received in the last quarter of 2022 and in January 2023, resulting in a very realistic outcome against the inflationary and supply headwinds that have hit the mining sector.
“We intend for Tumas to be a best-in-breed uranium operation with world-leading extractive technologies and sustainability initiatives applied, including a specific process route that will produce a benign tailings stream to allow for the eventual safe closure and rehabilitation.”
Borshoff said that the positive outcomes of the DFS has encouraged the Deep Yellow board to authorise the start of front-end engineering and design and to advance project financing and offtake discussions over the course of this year.
“We also anticipate our application for a mining licence will be granted by mid-2023 once the environmental-impact assessment is assessed and approved by the authorities. If the outcome of these workstreams is positive, and suitable uranium market conditions prevail, we will be looking to make a final investment decision by the first half of calendar year 2024.
“The development of Tumas is a cornerstone component of our long-held, dual-pillar growth strategy, which now also includes the Mulga Rock project in Western Australia, all to capitalise on the forecast improvement in uranium prices on the back of looming global uranium shortages from 2024. Our strategy encompasses organic growth of our own projects, and non-organic growth through consolidation in the sector,” Borshoff added.
“We remain strong believers in nuclearenergy for electricity generation what with its growing role and importance both in combatting climate change by reducing global gas emissions and securing electricity supply for the future.”