Rikus Grobler | Oct 18, 2017 | 0
U-pgrade technology revolutionary
Designed to reduce capital expenditure by 30 to 50% as well as operating expenditure by up to 70%, Marenica is counting on its U-pgrade to revolutionise the uranium industry. The technology was developed by Marenica using ore from its Namibian project.
Murray Hill, Chief Executive Officer of Marenica recently gave an update on the progress made in commercialisation of the U-pgrade processing technology. He said, “Very encouraging results have been achieved from the testing of these samples. U-pgrade has a broad application to surficial ores in semi-arid to arid environments, not just calcrete deposits.”
Describing the technology as a quantum leap in performance, Hill said, “Most existing mines are marginal at best with owners seeking substantial cost reductions in order to secure their financial future. The uranium oxide price is now well below incentive price for most new projects seeking breakthrough to create viable projects and commercialise before competitors.” Murray explained that most resource owners were highly motivated to decrease costs and were seeking solutions to stay in business. According to Murray, the low uranium price improves the attractiveness of U-pgrade because owners are squeezed by price and cost imbalances. Murray believes these factors will motivate operators to consider the integration of U-pgrade into their operations.
The technology was designed with a view to apply to surficial uranium deposits and a number of Namibian uranium projects that have aided in the development of the technology include Areva’s Trekoppje deposit, and Deep Yellow’s Tumas project.
The encouraging results obtained from the U-pgrade project has allowed Marenica to shift its focus towards the development of its uranium project. The development of the project is dependent on Marenica securing investors for Uranium Beneficiation Pty Limited to initiate the development of its Namibian project.
Marenica is seeking a joint venture for the development of its Namibian project. According to Murray, a group of investors have been short listed and discussions are at an advanced stage. The group of investors have further been allowed to access the U-pgrade black box. Prying eyes are however being strictly controlled in an effort to control the intellectual property.
Murray believes that the technology has the potential to convert many uneconomic uranium deposits into strategically important production assets. Marenica’s primary objective according to Murray is to commercialise U-pgrade with a view to earning commercial interests in operating assets. He added, “We are making excellent progress in arranging funding for this process and working with resource owners to achieve this objective. We are pleased that the technology is standing up to rigorous due diligence.” Murray added that Marenica was working with a short-list of investors and strategic partners.