Paladin Energy is taking steps to progress the Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia in preparation for a decision to take the mine out of care and maintenance.
The company placed Langer Heinrich on care and maintenance in August due to low uranium spot prices.
Paladin announced that it was undertaking optimisation studies to maximise the potential value of the mine in the case that a restart eventually took place.
This optimisation will focus on two key areas. The first involves resolving certain operational issues to improve stability and reliability of both the mine and processing facility.
The second will capitalise on the latest technological developments to improve throughput, lower costs and allow for the potential recovery of vanadium as a byproduct.
According to Paladin chief executive officer Scott Sullivan, the company is positioning Langer Heinrich to be among the first significant global uranium producers once the price returns to “acceptable and sustainable levels”.
“[Langer Heinrich] is expected to have a relatively love cash cost of production based on current plans and relatively low capital expenditure needed to restart from [care and maintenance] and we want to improve our production strategy further through the optimisation studies,” he said.
Uranium traded at a spot price of $US29.15 ($40.10) a pound at the end of November, according to Cameco.
While prices have slowly improved on 2018’s low of $US21 a pound at the end of April — and some commentators, including Paladin, have pointed to a comeback for the metal — prices have fallen massively over the last decade.
In July 2007, the uranium spot price stood at a brief high of $US136 per pound before collapsing by late 2008.