Langer Heinrich riding high – Kayelekera enters care and maintenance
Production for the just-ended quarter at Paladin Energy’s Langer Heinrich operation stood at 5.592 pounds per gram yellow cake for the period ended 30 June 2014, up 5.7% from the financial year 2013 while its Kayelekera operation in Malawi produced 2.350 pounds per gram yellow cake.
The Malawi mine, however, is scheduled to end on 6 May 2014, putting the operation into care and maintenance.
The operation is expected to resume should uranium prices rebound, with hopes of a spot price of at least US$75 per pound.
Sales for the quarter from 1,811,841 pounds yellow cake generated a revenue of US$69.2 million while total sales for the year equate to US$328.8 million from the production of 8,665,264 pounds yellow cake.
The quarterly production of 1,338,705 pounds yellow cake was slightly down on the preceding quarter while annual production of yellow cake was up 5.7% for a total of 5,592,206 pounds.
Langer Heinrich achieved a recovery rate of 88.5% for the quarter and a feed grade of 781 parts per million yellow cake.
“Run of mine ore stocks have been maintained at approximately four weeks´ supply and are being supplemented by medium grade ore from long term stockpiles in line with the mine plan,” Paladin said.
Paladin has embarked on cost reduction strategies in an effort to make productive and unit cost gains.
“The process optimisation strategy has focussed on continuous improvement during the year, seeking to better utilise existing equipment to make further production and unit cost gains where possible.
This process has also focussed on reducing unit water consumption with considerable success. Over the last two years, water consumption per tonne of leach feed has been reduced from greater than 1Kl/t to less than 0.5Kl/t,” Paladin said.
“Water supply to the project continues to be sufficient, stable and secure under the water supply agreement executed with NamWater in November 2013.
This initial one-year agreement which is based upon the supply of desalinated sea water from existing infrastructure is being re-negotiated to extend the term and rationalise the price” Paladin added.
Paladin has subsequently revised its production targets, with guidance for Langer Heinrich for the financial year set at 5.4 and 5.8 pounds per gram yellow cake.
Assuming a cautionary tone, Paladin said, “It should be noted that, as a result of the scheduled resin replacement programme and de-scaling works carried out, production for the September quarter is expected to be slightly lower than the pro- rata component of guidance.”