Lower output at Langer Heinrich expected
Paladin Energy this week announced that it anticipates a lower output owing to its annual scrubber maintenance, the ion resin changeover, and an unexpected plant scaling problem identified towards the June quarter.
Said Paladin in a released statement, “Paladin advises that the September quarter production was anticipated to have a 15% shortfall due to annual scrubber maintenance, the ion exchange resin changeover which it [announced earlier in the year] and dealing with the unexpected plant scaling problem identified late in the June quarter.”
Added Paladin, “The scale has now been brought under control and management strategies to avoid a repeat of the problem have been successfully introduced. Production guidance for financial year 2015 remains at 5.4Mlb to 5.8Mlb U3O8.”
Paladin further said it anticipates a further 5 to 7.5% shortfall of uranium oxide for the September quarter.
At the end of its financial year, the Langer Heinrich mine produced in excess of 2,000 tons of uranium oxide, a 6% improvement on the preceding financial year. Quarterly production figures for June stood at 607 tons uranium oxide. In the preceding financial year, Paladin implemented cost cutting initiatives at its Langer Heinrich operation, turning its focus to what it deems an effective processing method known as nano-filtration technology employed at the mine which is expected to bear positive results for the financial year 2014/2015. The technology was originally developed for its Kayelekera Mine in Malawi which has since been placed under care and maintenance, effective 26 May 2014.
In the financial year ended 30 June 2014, cost cutting initiatives implemented at the Langer Heinrich mine resulted in costs decreasing 4% to US$28.8/lb. Paladin anticipates production costs of below US$26/lb by the end of the financial year 2015 and US$22/lb in the financial year 2017 [in 2014 terms] it reported earlier in the year.
“The focus remains on process innovation, where considerable success has been achieved to date, and further substantial gains are expected to improve unit costs for LHM in the coming year. In particular, leach and IX reagents, which represent a high proportion of the current C1 costs, offer a significant cost reduction opportunity.
The sustained reduction in operating costs and improved plant performance demonstrated over the past year is a reflection of the proven success of the twin strategies of optimisation and innovation,” said Paladin.