Aura’s pilot scale testing has confirmed a remarkably simple method by which to upgrade uranium ore from its Tiris project in Mauritania.

Aura has now confirmed at pilot scale that simple screening could on average reduce the amount of material mass reporting to the leaching circuit by 80% while still containing about 90% of the uranium at 1,572 parts per million – an increase of about 550% from the mined grade.

Adding further cause for Aura Energy (ASX:AEE) to celebrate, ongoing bulk leach testing by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation on this upgraded material has confirmed rapid uranium extraction of over 95%.

Both findings are expected to result in a smaller, more efficient leach circuit with lower capital and operating costs, which will be incorporated into the upcoming Front End Engineering Design (”FEED”) study.

“This is a huge step in advancing Tiris to production by showing that lab results can be successfully replicated and even improved at pilot scale, using proven, simple, and low-cost screening techniques,” acting chief executive officer Will Goodall said.

Low-cost uranium producer

Goodall added that the ability to increase the feed grade so substantially is a key differentiator from other uranium deposits and places Aura in a strong position to advance Tiris into production with low capital and operating costs.

This keeps the company on track for a final investment decision in the first quarter of 2023 with ongoing work to further de-risk and optimise the flowsheet over the coming months.

While the project is being fast-tracked as an 800,000lb per annum project, Aura expects to expand production to between 3Mlbs and 5Mlbs U3O8 per year early in the mine life.

Previous studies had already outed Tiris as a robust uranium project with low CAPEX of US$74.8M and estimated cash costs of just US$25.43/lb of U3O8.

Resources are defined at 56Mlb U3O8 though drilling is underway to move more of this into the higher confidence Measured and Indicated categories.

Next steps

The ANSTO test program is ongoing with completion expected in the third quarter of 2022.

Aura will then utilise leach solution generated from the bulk leach tests to complete optimisation and modelling for the uranium ion exchange circuit.

This will then flow into precipitation optimisation test work, which will result in final yellowcake product samples to support uranium marketing discussions with nuclear utilities.

Test work into the vanadium by-product recovery is also ongoing.




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.