The Namibian Uranium Association says Rössing Uranium Mine produced
2 882 tonnes of Triuranium octoxide (U3O8) during 2021, representing a 16 per cent increase compared to 2020.
In his presentation during the just-ended mining expo, Gabi Schneider said the 46-year-old mine achieved a 0.29 rate of all injury frequency in 2021.
Schneider, whose presentation was titled the Resurgence of Namibia’s Uranium Sector, said this all-free injury rate was the best performance since the start of operations in 1976.
The presentation looked into the operations of all uranium mining operations in Namibia.
She said at full production, Swakop Uranium’s Husab Mine has a designed annual mining capacity of more than 100 million tonnes of ore fed into a processing plant with a nameplate capacity of 15 million tonnes per year and a yearly output of 6 000 tonnes of U3O8.
Schneider said the Husab Mine operations recorded the highest production since its inception when almost 103 million total tonnes were mined from the Zone 1 and Zone 2 pits, representing a 44 per cent increase above the 2020 production.
“The mine produced 3 902t U3O8 in 2021. Husab is on an accelerated path to reach nameplate capacity,” Schneider said.
Langer Heinrich Uranium, restarted in 2021 after a capital injection of N$1,25b, targets production in the first quarter of 2024. During its operations, Schneider said Langer Heinrichdelivered about 43 million pounds (Mlb) of U308.
Schneider said the restart scope of work focuses on general repairs and refurbishment required to return the existing process plant to operational readiness and the delivery of process upgrades to increase throughput capacity and operational availability.
Although Orano Mining Namibia’s Trekkopje Mine remains under Care and Maintenance, the company will be able to exploit the Trekkopje deposit once the recovery in the uranium market materializes at the required level.
He said Orano Mining 80 per cent of the investments to develop the mine have already been made in addition to advanced processing knowledge acquired through metallurgical testing has realized the further potential for efficiency improvements.
Bannerman Resources’ Etango-8 Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) is progressing to plan Flow sheet design, and they have completed the process plant geotechnical fieldwork.
“The target for the completion of the DFS is the 4th quarter of 2022. environmental clearance for the proposed Etango Mine and associated linear infrastructure is in place,” Schneider said.
She added that the environment clearance certificates are based on extensive environmental and social impact assessments and management plans.
According to Schneider, Bannerman Resources applied for a mining licence on 4 August 2022.
The company expects to deliver 3.5 million lbs U3O8 per annum over an initial 15-year operating life with upside potential from future life extension and/or scale-up expansion.
Another uranium mining company, Reptile Mineral Resources & Exploration, is currently busy with the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the Tumas project in the Erongo region.
“The DFS is expected to be completed in the latter half of 2022. Intensive resource upgrade drilling in support of the DFS resulted in an ore reserve increase for Tumas and increased the life of the mine from some 11.5 to 26 years,” Schneider said.
She further said that a mining licence application was submitted to the mines ministry and that work on the environmental impact assessment is at the near-final stage.
Schneider said Elevate Uranium was also actively exploring in the Erongo Region, where drilling has been ongoing since mid-2020.
She said an airborne survey was completed in the Namib Area in 2021 and the Central Erongo Project Areas in 2022 to locate paleochannels that potentially contain calcrete-hosted uranium deposits.
Zhonghe Resources (Namibia) Development’s activities focus on evaluating their resource, a diamond drilling programme was completed in May 2022, and a series of geological and geophysical surveys have been carried out on some anomalies.
The parent company CNNC is implementing a 20 000 m drilling programme on Zhonghe’s mining license area and the neighbouring RUL mining license area.
Forsys has a definitive feasibility study and a mining licence for the Valencia uranium deposit and is, therefore, construction-ready once the uranium price reaches the required level.
The company is presently busy defining the viability of the larger Norasa project, which comprises Valencia and the neighbouring Namibplaas uranium deposits.
The application will be made for an inclusive Norasa mining licence. Core drilling of more than 39 000 m was done on the licences of Headspring Investments in the south of the country, where the company is looking for in-situ leaching opportunities.
In addition, more than 9 800 samples were taken for analysis and a Pre-Feasibility Study and Mineral Resources Estimate reports were submitted to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
The Namibian Uranium Association (NUA) is the advocacy body that represents the uranium industry exclusively. The Association enables senior executives in the Namibian uranium sector to shape the context in which their industry operates.
It supports policies that will let uranium compete on its merits as an energy source appropriate for our modern society and the need for a low carbon footprint through research, factual information and advocacy.