Aura Energy has landed a big fish, securing former Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group, Newcrest and Ivanhoe Mines executive David Woodall to lead its push to become a uranium producer at its Tiris project in Mauritania.

Woodall will step into the roles of managing director and chief executive officer at Aura Energy (ASX:AEE), which is working to become the African nation’s first yellowcake producer at a time when interest in nuclear energy and uranium prices are on the rise.

It brings to Aura a mining industry leader and mining engineer with over 30 years of rubber on the road across exploration, ops, project development and community engagement in a diverse range of commodities from rare earths and critical minerals to gold, copper, iron ore and nickel.

Aura’s non-executive chairman Phil Mitchell said his experience would be vital to fast tracking Aura’s uranium developments at Tiris as well as its battery metals complex at Haggan in Sweden, two projects that expose the company perfectly to the energy transition trend.

“We welcome David to the position of Managing Director and CEO of Aura Energy. His broad mining and corporate experience will be vital to fast-tracking to uranium production at the company both in Mauritania and Sweden,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell also paid tribute to outgoing interim CEO Will Goodall’s work in the role over the past nine months.

“During Will’s leadership we have crafted and progressed the implementation of a strategy that will facilitate the early development of the Tiris project and craft a realistic pathway to the establishment of a battery metals complex in Sweden based upon the Haggan resource,” Mitchell said.

“Will’s leadership has been at the core of advancing our projects. The board is thrilled that David and Dr Goodall will work together to continue the advancement of Aura.”

Top team

Woodall joins a top team with big game players including former Rio CFO Mitchell, former Deep Yellow and current Image Resources managing director Patrick Mutz, leading Australian social commentator Warren Mundine, Bryan Dixon, Peter Reeve and Dr Goodall.

Its shovel ready 56.8Mlb Tiris uranium mine, which bears a capital cost of just US$74.8m and could produce 3-5Mlb a year early in its life, could be one of the first uranium projects to benefit from a surge in demand for nuclear fuel.

Spot prices are now above US$50/lb, meaning contract prices, typically higher than spot, are approaching a level that would provide the incentive to bring new mines online.

A final investment decision is expected in the first quarter of 2023.

The vanadium rich Haggan deposit, meanwhile, provides an opportunity to tap into Europe’s rising demand for battery metals as European nations look to develop a large local battery manufacturing industry.

The election of a new, uranium friendly government has opened the prospect a nation-wide uranium mining ban in place since May 2018 could be lifted.

“I am delighted to be joining Aura Energy and being part of the team that will develop the Tiris Project and progressing the development of a battery metals complex at Haggan in Sweden,” Woodall said.

“The effort and work of the team has delivered a strong foundation for a company that will benefit all stakeholders.

“Tiris and the other Aura Projects will play an important role in the security and stability of energy supply globally.”




This article was developed in collaboration with Aura 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.