As the EU greens nuclear, A-Cap is ramping its uranium project back up again
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With the EU moving to classify nuclear power as green energy, the timing seems right for A-Cap to start a new development program to revitalise its Letlhakane Uranium Project in Botswana.
As part of this move, the company has appointed an experienced mining executive as its new Botswana country manager to drive the project’s revitalisation and manage government and stakeholder relations.
This is in line with chief executive officer Dr Andrew Tunks’ – the company’s original managing director – focus on bringing the project he helped discover into production.
A-Cap Energy (ASX:ACB) has designed a comprehensive beneficiation test work program, including ore sorting and gravity separation to improve the mill feed grade to the mill and reduce operating costs.
Drilling for metallurgical samples is expected to start in September or October while uranium extraction experts MinAssist Melbourne have been contracted to lead a review of hydrometallurgy and potential redesign of the process circuit.
Meanwhile, planning and permitting for a series of test pits across the deposit to test mining methods and obtain bulk samples for pilot scale beneficiation and uranium extraction testing is now underway.
“The significant rise in the uranium price and nuclear energy’s increasing role in decarbonising the world’s power systems meant it was time to revitalise Letlhakane,” Tunks said.
“We have recruited top quality personnel and technical partners to dramatically ramp up activities at Letlhakane, which already has a Mining Licence, approved Environmental Impact Statement, and Provisional Surface Rights.”
“Our primary focus is to update the project’s 2016 Feasibility Study to accommodate improved uranium pricing and a crucial radiometric ore sorting study from 2010 that was not ultimately included in the development plans for the project.”
He added that while the previous ore sorting study had demonstrated an average upgrade of 1.5 times and a significant reduction of more than 45% of material to the leaching plant, sorting technology had advanced significantly since then.
“We’re confident that if previous results can be repeated or improved upon, project economics will significantly improve and form the cornerstone of the first phase of test work,” Tunks explained.
Letlhakane already hosts a world-class resource of 822Mt grading 202 parts per million uranium oxide for 366 million pounds U3O8.
The previous Feasibility Study – completed as part of the Mining Licence application – had forecast that the project could produce 3Mlb U3O8 per annum.
It also benefits from having a low strip ratio, flat lying, shallow orebody that is amenable to free dig mining due to the relatively soft host rocks, which lends itself to lower mining costs.
A-Cap has engaged experienced multi-commodity process metallurgist Noel O’Brien to supervise its upcoming ore sorting test work, which will look at sorting techniques using radiometric, XRT and hyperspectral sensors, as well as beneficiation techniques by gravity separation using spirals and dense media separation.
This article was developed in collaboration with A-Cap Energy, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.