SOUTH AUSTRALIA – The directors of SXR URANIUM ONE of Toronto and Johannesburg have given the green light to the US$35.9-million development of the Honeymoon in-situ leach (ISL) uranium project. Key points of the feasibility study include an indicated resource of 1.2 million tonnes grading 0.24% U3O8, at an average cash operating cost of US$14.13/lb, a net present value (at an 8% discount) of US$37.7 million, an after-tax internal rate of return of 40%, and a payback period of 2.9 years from the beginning of production.
The feasibility study looked at an annual production capacity of 880,000 lb of U3O8 and a total project life of between six and seven years. The basic design will consist of six injection wells arranged in a 20-60-metre hexagon, with a centrally located production well. The production plan is designed to bring the well field on-line in two stages during the first year; first year production is assumed to be 75% of design.
The Honeymoon plant will use solvent extraction technology to recover uranium from pregnant leach solution. While the ore shows greater than 90% recovery rate in laboratory leaching tests, the project model assumes a 70% recovery rate in commercial operation, based on published information on acid in-situ leach operations in central Asia. The 70% recovery rate is subject to qualifications relating to the efficiency of leach operations.
Uranium One (www.Uranium1.com) has already begun work on the Honeymoon project. Discussions are underway with potential suppliers for long-lead items and infrastructure development. Project commissioning is expected within 17 months.