Mega Uranium is hoping to boost the development of its Lake Maitland uranium project in Western Australia by gaining access to existing infrastructure and services at Navigator Resources’ neighbouring mine.
According to statement issued yesterday, the two companies have entered into discussions and signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding.
Mega’s Lake Maitland project and Navigator’s Bronzewing gold project, in the central goldfields region of Western Australia, are only 30 km apart.
The Bronzewing project includes facilities such as a certified airstrip, a power station, fuel farm, water supply infrastructure, accommodation and access roads.
The companies will investigate where they can share existing and planned infrastructure in order to reduce capital and operating costs.
“The move could reduce the duplication of facilities as well as the overall footprint of the projects,” Mega said.
“Mega regards this cooperative approach with Navigator as a way to improve performance and to efficiently utilise regional infrastructure and resources.
“It will also foster the maintenance and development of local facilities and services.”
Mega Uranium is currently carrying out definitive feasibility studies and an environmental impact assessment for the project.
The company aims to start up production in 2012.
The project is a joint venture with Japan Australia Uranium Resource Development and Itochu Minerals & Energy of Australia.
The news comes after the Australian Uranium Association last week reported that the value of uranium exports had exceeded $1 billion for the first time, during 2008-09.
According to the Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office’s (ASNO) annual report, Australia exported 10,114 tonnes of uranium ore concentrate last year, with a realised value of $1.033 billion.
The increase in value came despite a small drop in volume from the 10,140 tonnes of concentrate exported in 2007-08, which brought in $882 million.
ASNO said the increase in value comes as a result of expiring long-term supply contracts being re-negotiated at higher prices.
“Uranium prices have begun to increase in anticipation of the completion of the US–Russia Megatons to Megawatts program in 2013,” ANSO said in the report.
“It is clear that new mines will be necessary to meet current, as well as future increases in demand.”