Malawi president opens Kayelekera uranium mine

21 April 2009

Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has officially opened Paladin Energy's Kayelekera uranium mine in the republic of Malawi.

The project, about 40km west of Karonga, has been commissioned, is producing yellowcake, and ramping up to full production levels. A GRD Minproc feasibility study from 2007 estimates that the mine would produce an average of 1,493t U3O8 for its first seven years from a a feed grade of 0.109% U308, based on an annual production rate of 1.5Mtpa and 90% recovery. It would produce 530tpa U3O8 over the last four years using accumulated marginal material grading 0.039% U3O8.

The project has been marred by the deaths of two construction workers in March and April, and the serious injury of a third, when solvent cleaning fluid being used in a steel tank was ignited by an external source.

Total CAPEX from the project, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Australia's Paladin Energy, is expected to be US$185M and the project operating costs are expected to range from US$19.5/lb for the first 7 years to US$23/lb over the life of the project.

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