January 28, 2011

Australia's Energy Resources (ERA) Suspends Uranium Processing " 12 Week Stoppage "

Published on Friday January 28 2011

SYDNEY Jan 28 (Reuters) - Energy Resources Australia has suspended uranium processing at its Ranger mine in Australia's Northern Territoy as a precautionary measure during the region's annual wet season, the company said.

The 68 percent-owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto said the suspension was likely to last 12 weeks.

"The La NiƱa weather pattern, which has brought extensive flooding to the eastern states of Australia, has also brought significantly higher than average rainfall to Ranger mine since October 2010," the company said.

As a consequence of the suspension, ERA said it sees 2011 production of uranium oxide at this stage to be at a similar reduced level to 2010, when it produced 3,793 tonnes. 

 Readers Please Note!

I would like to also take special note that this may very well put upward pressure on the current Uranium Spot Market

During 2010, Energy Resources Ranger Mine currently supplied  approximately 8.8% of World supplies and is rated as the worlds Second largest Uranium producing Mine behind Cameco's McArthur River.

January 26, 2011

China National Nuclear Corp To Construct 10 More Mega Nuclear Reactors

Published on Wednesday January 26 2011

BEIJING: China will construct 10 more mega nuclear reactors with a whopping investment of USD 121.5 billion, in addition to 25 currently being built, to step up its atomic power generation to meet its rising energy demands.

China is expected to raise its 2020 target for the nuclear power industry to 86 GW or 5 per cent of its power generation with an annual investment of 70 billion Yuan (USD 10.6 billion), state run China Daily reported today.

To reach the capacity China will build 10 more nuclear power projects during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), Zhang Guobao, former director of the National Energy Administration said.

China, the world's second-largest economy, aims to get 15 per cent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

In line with the country's move to accelerate the development of the industry, China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), plans to invest 800 billion Yuan (USD 121.5 billion) in nuclear projects by 2020.

The investments have created a huge market for nuclear equipment, the value of which is estimated at 500 billion yuan. That equipment forms the largest part of investment in nuclear power stations, accounting for 50 to 60 per cent of the total.

Officials say China is planning a massive push into nuclear power in an effort to wean itself off coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel which was seen as a major obstacle for meeting emission reduction goals.

China now has 12 working reactors with 10.15 GW which roughly accounts to about 2.2 per cent of the total power production largely relied on coal and hydel projects.

According to official media reports 25 nuclear power plants were under construction.

Nuclear power will have to account for five per cent of power generation by then Xiao Xinjian, a researcher at China's Energy Research Institute said.

The massive expansion of the nuclear power plants, which perhaps also coincides with India's plans to expand in a big way, was expected to create a massive demand for uranium resources round the world.

According to the World Nuclear Association the demand uranium in China is expected to reach 20,000 tons annually by 2020, where as the country will be able to produce only 2,400 tons of uranium that year.

January 24, 2011

Australia Can No Longer Stay A Lone Nuclear Denier

Published on Monday January 24 2011

Last May, at a United Nations conference in New York, the veteran Japanese diplomat and director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, glowingly endorsed civilian nuclear power.

He said, "More than 60 countries are now considering the introduction of nuclear power to generate electricity. It is expected that between 10 and 25 new countries will bring their first nuclear plants online by 2030."

Nuclear power "must be accessible not only for developed countries but also for developing countries", he said.

Japan has 54 nuclear power stations, two more under construction and 12 planned. The nuclear share of its electricity generating capacity will increase from about 30per cent today to more than 41 per cent by 2017.

This in an Asian nation that has experienced the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and which is regularly tested by nature's destructive forces. When I visited Kyoto in 1997, my Japanese colleagues reminded me that the nation's 54 nuclear power stations averted emission of 287million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. Relying on Australian uranium fuel, this "carbon offset" was then more than all of Australia's emissions.

I recently addressed the World Renewable Energy Summit in Kuala Lumpur. High on the agenda was nuclear power for Asia.

An official paper from Korea entitled A Green Nuclear Utopia reminded delegates that in Korea 20 nuclear reactors produced about 17,700MW of electricity, meeting about 40per cent of the country's needs. Six more were under construction and six more planned.

This would ensure that the nuclear share of electricity generation would be in excess of 60 per cent by 2030.

Korea is now capable of marketing its own nuclear plant design to the world. Its order book for the construction of four advanced pressurised water reactors for the United Arab Emirates represents a contract worth more than $US20billion ($A20.2 billion).

Operation of these plants over the next 60 years is also worth about $A20.2billion. By 2050, the Korea Electric Power Corporation expects to have contracts worth more than $A506 billion.

China now contributes almost a quarter of the world's CO2 emissions.

Its volume of emissions over the past 10 years is greater than that of Brazil, Germany, France, Canada, Spain, Britain, Australia and Italy combined. 

China's energy policy is based on a 74per cent dependence on coal in 2010. By 2030, it is planned to reduce this to 50per cent, mainly by use of nuclear power. This will mean increasing the present nuclear installed capacity of 9000MW electric to about 190,000MW(e). Australia, in a similar bondage to the hydrocarbon industry, must learn from China's vision. It should start by introducing at least 5000MW(e) of nuclear power by 2020 and adopt a fixed carbon tax of between $10 and $20 over the next decade. Only in this way can we meet our United Nations emission reduction obligations.

In India 20 nuclear power plants supply more than 5per cent of its electricity. Four more reactors are being built, and the energy policy seeks at least 20 more by 2030.

A 2008 nuclear cooperation agreement with the US raises the possibility of foreign involvement in projects to generate as much as 63,000MW(e) of nuclear power by 2030.

Vietnam has firm plans for 15,000MW(e) of nuclear power by 2030. Indonesia is budgeting $A8.09 billion for four plants totalling 6,000MW(e) by 2025. The Philippines plans to rehabilitate an established but mothballed plant of 620MW(e) at a cost of about $A1.09billion.

Thailand plans to build at least 4000MW(e) of nuclear power commencing in 2014. Malaysia, which now produces almost two- thirds of its electricity from natural gas, has budgeted $A7.08 billion to build a large nuclear power plant by 2023.

As Asia "goes nuclear"  the new years's challenge for the Australian Government's Climate Change Committee is to tackle the problem of global warming with sound technology and informed realism.

This means re-examining and rejecting the pseudo-scientific and political attraction of "clean coal" and the semantically seductive utopian appeal of the costly "renewables".

Above all it means that the Australian Government must soon accept and endorse a now globally proven principle that at the heart of any successful emissions abatement project is the deployment of safe, secure and cost-effective nuclear power.

In Australia's case, an 80per cent historical base-load energy reliance on fossil fuels and chemical combustion must be replaced by the superb nano-technology of nuclear fission.

Recent polling clearly indicates that support for nuclear power in the Australian community is growing dramatically. Support for the technology is also beginning to emerge from both sides of Federal Parliament and from the offices of state premiers. Australia, the home of the world's nuclear fuels, can no longer sustain an appalling clean energy policy which makes it the sole "nuclear denier" among the planet's top 25 economies.

Professor Leslie Kemeny, a consulting nuclear scientist and engineer, is the Australian foundation member of the International Nuclear Energy Academy.

January 21, 2011

Deep Yellow To Follow Same Strategy Despite Change In Leadership

Published on Friday January 21 2011
The recent appointment of a new managing director will have no impact on the development of Deep Yellow Limited’s Omahola project, the company’s chairperson, Mervyn Greene said this week.

“As far as we and Reptile Uranium are concerned, there is no change to our strategy in terms of the development of the Omahola project. Greg Cochran, as the new Group MD, will be working closely with Dr Leon Pretorius, MD of Reptile, to ensure that Deep Yellow supports our business in Namibia to make swift progress as we have stated in our recent stock exchange releases. I believe that the appointment of the new MD will add momentum to the development of our flagship Omahola project, as well as our other prospects in Namibia,” he told the Economist.

Greene added that there is a general consensus amongst analysts that there will be a shortfall between supply and demand for uranium over the next few years, therefore new mines must be developed to fill this gap.

“Deep Yellow has consistently focused on finding higher grade deposits, generally 400ppm for primary deposits in hard rock or at least 200ppm for secondary deposits in calcrete. We did this because we believed that the capital and operating costs at lower grades would be too high and risky to make deposits commercially viable. 

We believe that this strategy has been the right one and in addition we feel that Namibia is an exceptionally good location for us to develop new uranium deposits and commend the government and the Ministry of Mines and Energy for their support of the uranium industry,” Greene said.

According to Greene, his company is looking forward to the further development of Omahola as well as ensuring that it continues to explore its EPLs in the country with the objective of generating positive results.

Greene refused to shed more light on the resignation of Patrick Mutz as MD of Deep Yellow as “the reasons are private to Mr Mutz”.

Mutz resigned from his position at the uranium company as of 12 January this year, citing “personal and family reasons”.
Cochran, the current CEO of Terramin Australia Limited, will take this position over as from 24 January.

“I am honoured and excited to have been given the opportunity to be Deep Yellow’s managing director. The company is highly regarded in the industry due to the quality of its assets, the professionalism of its team and the strength and credentials of its board. I am looking forward to joining them at this critical phase in the company’s history as it makes the transition from explorer to developer and producer,” said Cochran.

He is a registered professional mining engineer with 25 years’ experience in the international mining industry. Prior to his position at Terramin, Cochran held the position of executive vice president at Uranium One Inc., one of the world’s leading uranium companies, where he led the technical team in Uranium One’s C$3.8 billion acquisition of UrAsia Energy Ltd.

He managed the integration of UrAsia’s Kazakhstan operations into Uranium One’s business and represented the company’s interests on the Betpak Dala and Kyzlkum Joint Venture Boards.
Cochran was also responsible for Uranium One’s Australian business. During his tenure,

regulatory approval was obtained for the Honeymoon uranium project located in South Australia and he was instrumental in the establishment of the Mitsui Uranium One Australia Joint Venture.

Cochran also worked for Mitsubishi Development (Pty) Ltd, but built his15 years mining career at BHP Billiton, before he was appointed as the company’s vice president of business development for diamonds and speciality products after gaining experience in gold and coal operations, base metals projects and corporate finance.

DYL is an Australian-based pure uranium company with principal exploration and development activity in the country through its 100% owned subsidiary, Reptile Uranium Namibia (Pty) Limited.

Uranium Developer Deep Yellow Digging Deep In 2011

Published on Friday January 21 2011

Uranium developer Deep Yellow promises that the next 12 months will likely prove beneficial to the company, with the prefeasibility study on its Omahola project, in Namibia, due to be completed this year, and a likely initial resources estimate and scoping study results of a magnetite iron project on the same tenement.

MD Patrick Mutz tells Mining Weekly that the prefeasibility study on the Omahola uranium project, which was initially scheduled for release during December 2010, will be delayed owing to the discovery of a new uranium deposit, dubbed Ongolo Alaskite.

The Ongolo Alaskite deposit will add a third source of ore for the planned Omahola project processing plant, with the Inca and Tubas Red Sands (TRS) deposits providing the balance.

“This is mixed news; the good news is that we have another source of ore to add to our total resources, and that is always positive. “The bad news is that it will cause a delay in the completion of the prefeasibility study because we believe the new mineralisation at Ongolo has the potential to positively affect the prefeasibility study, but we need to demonstrate this with metallurgical testwork,” says Mutz.

He adds that preliminary tests on the new deposit suggest that it contains similar mineralisation to that found in the Inca deposit. However, Inca also contained magnetite, which can potentially be separated from the uranium ore during the processing for sale as a by-product.

An initial resource for the Ongolo Alaskite deposit is expected by the end of March this year and, if proven viable, the deposit will be folded into the Omahola project.

“Preliminary tests certainly suggest that [Ongolo] will fit nicely into the Omahola project, because it hosts very similar mineralisation to the Inca deposit.”

Once the viability of the Ongolo Alaskite deposit has been established, and the Omahola prefeasibility study has been completed, a definitive feasibility study on the project will be undertaken immediately, and will be completed within nine to ten months, says Mutz.

The Omahola plant, which is expected to start production in 2014, will initially produce at a rate of around 1 000 t, or around 2,2-million pounds of uranium a year.

The Inca deposit is estimated to host a mineral resource of 15-million Joint Ore Reserve Committee- (Jorc-) compliant tons, at 405 parts per million (ppm) uranium oxide (U3O8), for 13,4-million pounds contained U3O8.

TRS hosts an inferred resource of 10,7-million Jorc-compliant tons, grading at 158 ppm U3O8, and a measured and indicated resource of 3,2-million tons, grading 168 ppm.

Meanwhile, Mutz says that Deep Yellow has re-evaluated 2008 drilling which identified a 300-m intercept of magnetite iron near the Inca deposit.

Follow-up drilling, in 2010, has clearly identified a magnetite deposit, dubbed the Shiyela iron project, around 15 km south-west of the Inca deposit and closer to the export hub of Walvis Bay. Mutz says that the project is “taking on a life of its own”.

“It is at a point where we expect to have an initial resource on the iron magnetite in that area by the end of March. “We have done the initial testing, which has shown that the material can make a very high-quality magnetite concentrate suitable for export.”

While an initial resource is planned for the first half of 2011, Mutz notes that Deep Yellow will also be undertaking a scoping study on Shiyela during the year.

“We are not looking to shift our focus away from uranium to iron, but we can’t turn our backs on a nonuranium project that has the potential to significantly add value to the company’s bottom line. “So, if it develops into a stand- alone iron project, we will have to decide how best to deal with it so we can keep our focus on our uranium assets – this could mean a joint venture or spinning it off.” Deep Yellow will be attending the Mining Indaba 2011.

January 19, 2011

China Strengthens 2011 Rare Earths Regulation

The Ministry of Land and Resources has designated 11 rare earth mining blocks in Jiangxi as national planning centres

(Beijing) – China has drawn-up national planning regions for rare earth and iron mines to strengthen government regulation over the development of the metals.

According to the Ministry of Land and Resources, the national planning regions are comprised of 11 rare earth mining blocks covering 2,534 square meters in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province. It also includes 466.94 square meters of vanadium titano-magnetite mining areas in western Panzhihua in Sichuan Province.

Since 2010, the Chinese government has accelerated the consolidation of the country's rare earth resources. According to a plan set by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China will reduce the number of rare earth refining companies to 20 from the current number of more than 100 by 2015.

The Ministry of Commerce set quotas for 2011's first batch of rare earth exports at 14,446 metric tons on December 28, a 35 percent decline from the same period last year.

China accounts for more than 90 percent of the world's supply of rare earths, elements essential for high-tech electronics and electric vehicles.

January 18, 2011

China Says It Is At Least A Decade From Reprocessing Commercial Nuclear Fuel

Published on Tuesday January 18 2011

China's state nuclear power company says it's at least a decade away from beginning large-scale commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing.

The official China Daily newspaper cites an unidentified official with the China National Nuclear Corp. as making the remark at a news conference Monday.

That follows the announcement earlier this month that Chinese scientists had mastered a technology for extracting plutonium and uranium from fuel rods used in nuclear power plants that could potentially provide China with a significantly larger stock of those elements.

Several countries already possess the means to reprocess nuclear fuel, which costs significantly more than using it once and creates extracted plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons.

January 16, 2011

Japan Plans To Accumulate 120 tons Of Uranium From 2011 Through To 2015.

Published on Wednesday January 12 2011

Japan will begin this year to stockpile enriched uranium for nuclear power generation purposes in order to meet global demand for nuclear power expected to rise, Japanese media reported.

The Japanese government, in cooperation with the private sector, aim to secure a stable supply of fuels to enhance its energy security and pitch the country's nuclear power generation technologies to emerging economies, Nikkei said.

The paper noted that although utilities currently hold reserves for their own nuclear power plants, the new initiative will mark the first time the government has stockpiled emergency supplies of nuclear fuel, and it plans to accumulate 120 tons through fiscal 2015.

Japan consumes more than 1,600 tons of enriched uranium per year. Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. enriches about 4% of domestic demand, while utilities import the remainder from countries such as the U.S., Russia and France.

The government will use two to four storage facilities operated by uranium-processing companies and will cover costs to purchase uranium, as well as the interest on maintenance expenses, the paper said, adding that stockpiling costs are estimated to reach about 24 billion yen (about $290,000,000) over five years, of which the government plans to finance around 400 million yen.

Japan and Jordan signed an agreement in September for nuclear power cooperation, paving the way for the export of Japan's technology in that field. Japan hopes to win more deals to provide nuclear energy technology with other countries in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

January 12, 2011

ASX Listed Uranium Junior Deep Yellow Ltd Releases Prefeasibility Study (PFS) Into Its Omahola Uranium Project

Published on Wednesday January 12 2011
Australian Uranium developer Deep Yellow said on Monday that the release of a Pre Feasibility Study (PFS) into its Omahola project, in Namibia, had been delayed to the second quarter of 2011.

The PFS was started in March last year and was scheduled to be released in December. But MD Patrick Mutz said on Monday that the timeline had been pushed back to evaluate the inclusion of material from the recently discovered Ongolo Alaskite project, as an additional source of ore for the Omahola project.

“The ongoing drilling results from the Ongolo Alaskite project discovered last April have been so positive that we decided to extend the completion of the PFS to incorporate this new high-grade mineralisation as a source of ore for the Omahola project.”

Mutz said that Deep Yellow was “confident” that the inclusion of this newly discovered mineraliation had the potential to positively impact on the overall PFS results.

A detailed reverse-circulation and diamond-drilling programme within the 2-km strike length at Ongolo was now ongoing in an effort to delineate a resource estimate.

Mutz said that a mineral resource estimate for the project was expected by the end of March.

The Omahola project currently contains the Inca and Tubas Red Sands uranium deposits. The Inca deposit hosts an inferred mineral resource of 14,9-million tons, grading at 405 parts per million (ppm), while TRS hosts a measured, indicated and inferred resource of 13,9-million tons, at 160 ppm uranium oxide (U3O8).

Meanwhile, an interim PFS has reported that it could cost between $324-million and $336-million to develop its 2,2-million-pound a year Omoholo uranium project.

The uranium developer said that the positive interim PFS results highlighted the economic potential of the Omahola project.

Mutz noted that the interim PFS has found that current resource would support a production rate of around 1 000 t, or 2,2-million pounds a year of U3O8, starting in 2014, with the resources providing an expected life-of-mine of 12 years.

Opencut mining at the Inca deposit would provide around 80% of the Omahola plant feed, while simplified surface mining and beneficiation at TRS would provide the balance.

“We are very pleased with the early results of the PFS and look forward to its completion, which is expected in the second quarter of this year,” said Mutz.

Detailed mine planning for the Inca deposit was currently under way, with the bulk of the mineralisation sufficiently shallow for opencut mining.

Mutz said that it was anticipated that that a conventional processing plant would be constructed near the Inca deposit, which would include crushing, grinding, sulphuric acid leaching, followed by solvent extraction, uranium precipitation, and the drying and packaging of yellow cake.

A mobile beneficiation plant would be located at the TRS deposit, and the satellite plant would be designed to concentrate around 90% of the uranium into around 25% of the mass, with the resulting concentrate grading around 400 ppm U3O8. This would then be transported through a slurry pipeline to the main processing plant near the Inca deposit, for uranium recovery.