A revised resource estimate for Paladin Energy's Manyingee uranium deposit in Western Australia puts total uranium reserves (indicated and inferred) at 25.9 million pounds U3O8, up from 24 million pounds in 1999.
Paladin Energy aims to develop the project into an operating in-situ uranium mine over a period of five or six years, according to an August 2013 brochure, althought the project will remain on hold until uranium prices improve.
Indicated resources for Manyingee are estimated at 15.7Mlb U3O8 (7127 tU), which Paladin Energy said represents "a minor reduction" from the 1999 estimate of 17.8Mlb (8080 tU). The estimate of inferred resources increased from 6.2Mlb U3O8 (2810 tU) in 1999 to 10.2Mlb (4613 tU) in the recent estimate.
There has been a reduction in the indicated mineral resource grade, as the 1999 estimate used a 300ppm U3O8 cutoff, while the 2014 study used a 250ppm cutoff. However, Paladin said that the overall grade of the deposit has increased.
Paladin said: "The validation of the historical data, along with Prompt Fission Neutron (PFN) probe logging of recent drill holes, has resulted in a change to the disequilibrium factor used to determine uranium grades."
"This change has resulted in a reduction in the Indicated Mineral Resource grade; however the overall grade of the deposit has increased due to revised geological modelling and estimation techniques."
The 2014 mineral resource estimate is based on a combination of recently validated historical drilling and 96 rotary mud and diamond holes drilled by Paladin in late 2012.
Project on hold until prices increase
Manyingee is scheduled as the next new project development for Paladin Energy, but the company said it "will not be considered until the uranium price is sufficiently incentivising." The spot market price for uranium concentrates has been fluctuating around $35/lb since July 2013.
In 2014, Paladin plans additional infill drilling that will enable the conversion of a portion of the current inferred resources into the indicated category.
Drilling also aims to identify areas of mineralization that are suitable for in-situ recovery (ISR) processing in order to select a location for a field leach trial. After gaining all the necessary approvals, a field leach trial is seen as the next major step in further defining the potential of the Manyingee deposit.
The Manyingee project, located in Western Australia, 85km inland from the coastal township of Onslow, is a sandstone-hosted uranium deposit. Paladin Energy aims to develop the project into a producing In-Situ Recovery (ISR) uranium mine over a period of five to six years.
Photo: Manyingee deposit, Western Australia (Source: Paladin Energy)