Uranium and Nuclear Update


Namibia has several major expansions and new uranium mines which could bring it to over four times current levels to the 25,000 ton/year range.

There are plans to increase Rossing mine production to 4,500 tonnes by 2012.
At the end of 2008 Rössing had Proven and Probable reserves of approximately 65,000 tonnes uranium at an ore grade of 0.034% and Measured and Indicated resources of approximately 24,000 tonnes at an ore grade of 0.21%

Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine:

Stage I production for fiscal 2009, ending June 30, 2009 amounted to 2.6 million pounds U3O8, 200,000 pounds below target which had been based on an earlier completion of the Stage II production. However, the operation did successfully produce an annual surplus of 102,856 pounds above original plant design capacity. A new nameplate of 3.7 million pounds U3O8 is expected to be achieved during the September quarter. Stage III expansion is budgeted to increase production to 5.2 million pounds from the December 2010 quarter.

Trekkopje Uranium Project is located 70 kilometres northeast of Swakopmund and is expected to become one of the world’s 10 largest uranium mines. Expected to produce about 3,000 tonnes of U3O8 per year at an average grade of 120 ppm. The Trekkopje Uranium Mining Project has completed the first major phase in its development, producing an 80,000 tons bulk sample, and is currently busy with a second stage to produce a larger sample of 3 million tons. The third stage will be full production of some 8.5 million pounds of U3O8 over its 12 year mine life.

Rössing South, representing a 15 kilometre target zone, is located about 5 kilometres south and along strike of Rio Tinto’s Rössing Mine and has progressed rapidly from a “ concealed” discovery to a large resource definition target since the first drilling results were announced in January 2008.

Bannerman is focused on the feasibility assessment and development of a 5-7 million pounds per annum U3O8 open-pit mining operation at Etango at operating costs between UAS$ 23 ad US$ 26 per pound and capital costs of a maximum of US$ 450 million (not including acid plant).

Valencia Project: The reserve includes 39.1 million pounds U3O8 with an average grade of 211 ppm. The life of the Mine increased to 15 years from 11 years.

2. US DOE uranium transfers

The Department of Energy has a total of 59,000 tonnes of inventories of natural uranium built up for military reasons during the Cold War and is releasing the stocks gradually over about 25 years.

But it agreed to transfer an additional amount, up to 300 tonnes of uranium each quarter through 2010, to help pay for the cleanup of the Portsmouth uranium enrichment plant in Ohio.

3. Analysts expect Russia to keep selling uranium after 2013 at 66% of the rate of the previous agreement but direct to companies in US, China and India (higher prices than the warhead for fuel deal)

4. Kazakhstan uranium mining growth could slow because of issues scaling the acid plants for insitu leaching. If Kazakhstan seriously stumbles then more faster from Namibia and Niger etc… Imouaren in Niger was talking about slower scaling. they could scale faster Some news that might be turning out faster than expected a few weeks ago

5. Cameco’s cigar lake uranium mine in canada could be close to solvings its water issue.

If Cameco succeeds in doubling uranium production, then it would put Canada in a decade or so at about 20,000 tons

Which is above my high range estimate of 17000 tons (2011-2020 high estimate in the table in this article.

More detailed list of mine prospects and other mines.

6. South Korea plans 8 new reactors by 2016

7. India may have to defer its 40GW target to 2035

Updated projection for world uranium