Paradigm shift in uranium processing
A bicarbonate recovery plant at the Langer Heinrich uranium mine presents a paradigm shift in carbonate uranium processing and has tipped the scale in favour of Namibia’s second operational uranium mine.
Langer Heinrich owner, Australian miner Paladin Resources said this week the project’s success is bound to have far-reaching implications for the mine now and into the future.
The bicarbonate recovery plant was commissioned in early March and reached design capacity within the same day, Paladin reported.
Said Paladin, “The process performance of the plant is substantially better than predicted and bicarbonate recovery levels will be much higher than forecast.” Savings of up to 100% without the need for further commitment of capital expenditure will be achieved while exceeding design expectations, according to Paladin.
“In addition to the direct savings, there are a number of indirect savings and recovery improvements that were expected. These too are being realised at a substantially greater level. One of these indirect benefits is a reduction in soluble loss that has allowed the recognition of additional dissolved uranium inventory within the tailings dam which will now be converted to drummed product in the normal course of operations,” Paladin said on a very positive note. “With the bicarbonate recovery plant performing at levels well above the design expectation, some aspects of the innovation strategy for the site can now be realised earlier than expected. It introduces a new paradigm for the carbonate uranium process route that will continue to bear significant additional and sustainable recovery benefits and unit cost savings in the near to medium term,” Paladin said.