1. World Nuclear News – Newly revised figures have expanded resource estimates for Aura Energy’s Haggan project to 800 million pounds U3O8 (307,718 tU), making the Swedish project the second largest undeveloped uranium resource in the world.
Haggan, previously known as Storsjon, forms part of a large uranium field in central Sweden, with uranium occurring with molybdenum, vanadium and zinc in black shales. The newly published JORC-compliant resource estimate shows an increase of nearly 170 million pounds over the 631 million pounds (242,710 tU) reported by Australian company Aura in August 2011 and includes mineralisation in the separate Marby permit area for the first time.
The company expects future drilling to increase the resource base still further. Current exploration targets based on already completed drilling stand at 440-840 million pounds U3O8 (169,200-323,100 tU). The latest resource figures use drilling results from only 25% of Aura’s permit areas at Haggan, with the majority of its permits still to be tested.
The new figures put Haggan at number 2 in a list of the world’s undeveloped uranium resources, according to Aura. Continental’s Viken project, also in Sweden, takes the top spot with 1047 million pounds U3O8 (402,725 tU), with ARMZ’s Elkon project in Russia in third place with 705 million pounds U3O8 (271,176 tU). Both Viken and Haggan contain uranium at low concentrations, with grades of only 0.02%.
According to Beeson, Aura is “rapidly progressing” with development activities at the Swedish site and is in negotiations with a potential strategic partner in relation to the project.
2. World Nuclear News – The expansion of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine is in doubt after BHP Billiton put off approving the project in order to investigate less capital-intensive development options.
A decision on approval for the expansion had been scheduled for mid-December but BHP Billiton is not ready to make a positive decision. CEO Marius Kloppers said, “As we finalised all the details of the project in the context of current market conditions, our strategy and capital management priorities, it became clear that the right decision for the company and its shareholders was to continue studies to develop a
less capital intensive option to replace the underground mine at Olympic Dam.”
The expansion plans, which secured environmental approval in October 2011, would see ore recovered from an open pit operating alongside the existing underground mine. The new pit would be developed over a period of about 11 years and the whole site would eventually have a uranium output of a massive 19,000 tU3O8 (16,100 tU) per year, including that recovered under safeguards from copper smelters overseas. Existing operations have a nameplate capacity of 4500 tU3O8 (3800 tU) per year.