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Aura Energy has announced another major milestone by validating
economic viability of its giant Häggån uranium deposit in central Sweden with
excellent results from a scoping study. These results give the green light for
Aura to move into pre-feasibility in 2012.
Aura’s news is timely after several uranium announcements including
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp declaring its offer for Kalahari Minerals
and readying itself for a takeover bid for huge uranium mine owner Extract
Resources, while Hanlong Mining Investment made an unsuccessful
cash offer to take over Bannerman Resources in October 2011. Canada’s Cameco
Corp has also announced plans to double its uranium production to 40 million
pounds a year by 2018 to accommodate extra demand from China and India.
Following are some key highlights from Aura’s
- 30 million tonnes per year operation with a 25 year initial mine life
- Target initial production of 6.6 Mlbs (2995t) uranium, 14.8 Mlbs nickel and 3.6 Mlbs molybdenum
- Operating costs of US$36/lb uranium and payback in 4.3 years
- Long term, secure supply of uranium very attractive to energy suppliers and consumers
- Uses low risk bioheap leach technology used extensively in the copper industry in Chile
Aura has the largest uranium resources of any ASX-listed uranium
company, exceeding even ERA (619Mlbs) and Paladin Energy (503Mlbs); only BHP
Billiton and Rio Tinto have larger uranium resources.
It is necessary to invest in uranium exploration now, as recently
the International Atomic Energy Agency predicted 5.4Mt of uranium will be
needed between 2000 and 2050 with a total shortfall of almost 1Mt.
In other uranium news, the United States Department of
Energy has announced a new funding initiative for manufacturing small model
nuclear reactors. Smaller models can be beneficial in diversifying safety and
environmental risks and require less time and cost to build, useful for the future
nuclear power generation.