Deep Yellow receives clearance
Developers of the Tubas Red Sand project have received environmental approval from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism this week.
Deep Yellow, an Australian uranium exploration company, said the environmental clearance for the project meant the short development time frames for the project could be achieved.
“We intend moving the project forward rapidly. We are evaluating the final content of a pre-feasibility study, which will include engineering design, additional test work, resource drilling, mine design and scheduling, as well as more accurate capital and operating cost estimates. The pre-feasibility study should take no longer than 6 months and so at the latest should be finished by the end of this year,” Greg Cochran, managing director of Deep Yellow, told the Economist this week.
The Tubas Red Sand Project, located close to Swakopmund, is a measured, indicated and inferred Joint Ore Reserves Committee- (JORC-) compliant hard rock resource of 14 million tonnes at 160 parts per million (ppm) for five million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8). It will be a shallow, free dig open pit mine. The uranium ore would be upgraded by physical beneficiation to produce a high-grade uranium-rich concentrate open to acid or alkali leaching.
Cochran said as the Tubas Red Sand Project will be a shallow open pit (strip) mine, the developers will be able to rehabilitate the pit concurrent with mining activities.
“It is important to introduce a professional environmental management system to ensure compliance and minimisation of environmental impacts. We will introduce a system in accordance with the ISO14001 standard which is the world’s most recognised environmental management framework. It allows companies to demonstrate that they are operating in accordance with sound environmental management principles and encourages continual improvement,” he said.
The project will cost approximately U$135 million to develop, based on internal scoping and eternal consulting.
“Based on both internal scoping and eternal consultants work that we have received to date a 1,000 tonnes per annum U3O8 plant producing uranium loaded for transport and sale to one of the two existing uranium mines in Namibia will cost approximately U$135 million to develop. However, we do not envisage proceeding at that rate initially, it would more likely be at a rate of 250 or 500 tonnes per annum U3O8, which means that the capital would be a lot less,” Cochran said.
He added that the miner is also pleased with the progress made at its Shiyela Iron Project.
The company recently completed a scoping study and is currently conducting a strategic review while also doing additional test work.
“The company completed its most successful year yet in 2011, with increases in our high grade resource base at Omahola and the conclusion of an interim pre-feasibility study for the project. We also completed the test work that demonstrated the Tubas Red Sand deposit could be economically upgraded and submitted both EIA’s and mining licence applications for the INCA and Tubas Red Sand areas. We did the same for the Shiyela Iron Project as well, and so we are looking to maintain that momentum and make 2012 an even more successful year.,” Cochran concluded.
Deep Yellow is listed on the Australian and Namibian Stock Exchanges.. Its primary focus is in Namibia, where exploration is conducted by its wholly-owned subsidiary Reptile Uranium. Deep Yellow’s Omahola Project has a JORC compliant resource of 38.2 million tonnes at 441 ppm for 37.0 Mlbs U3O8 from three hard rock deposits, Ongolo Alaskite, MS7 Alaskite and the INCA uraniferous magnetite deposit.