Optimisation studies underway
Paladin Energy Ltd, the majority shareholder in the Langer Heinrich in Namibia, is processing several key initiatives to optimise the uranium mine in preparation for a restart decision, the company said in a statement yesterday.
A decision was taken to place Langer Heinrich on care and maintenance in May due to the sustained low uranium spot price.
Paladin yesterday said is it undertaking optimisation studies to ensure it can maximise value from the mine once a restart decision is made.
“The company will consider multiple processing options for the mine in a pre-feasibility study to be completed in 2019, which would give priority to initiatives to strengthen Paladin's plan for a rapid, reliable restart of Langer Heinrich once the uranium price has improved,” the chief executive officer of Paladin, Scott Sullivan, said.
Sullivan said the optimisation studies have two focus areas.
Current operational issues must be resolved to improve the stability of the mine and processing facility to increase productivity and reduce risk. The mine must also capitalise on the latest technological developments in the industry.
This will enable it to release further value by lowering production costs, improving throughput and potentially recovering vanadium as a bi-product.
“We want to position Langer Heinrich to be among the first significant global producers to return to production once the uranium price recovers to acceptable and sustainable levels, which it is moving towards currently.
“It is expected to have a relatively low cash cost of production based on current plans and relatively low capital expenditure needed to restart from care and maintenance and we want to improve our production strategy even further through the optimisation studies,” Sullivan said.
Paladin has formed a studies team of highly experienced operational, technical and project personnel, including expert third-party metallurgical and mining consultants who were historically involved in the design and expansion of Langer Heinrich. Employees who were involved in operating the mine are also working as part of the team to ensure plans are optimised for implementation, Paladin said.
Paladin owns 75% of Langer Heinrich, while Chinese Overseas Uranium Holdings owns the rest.