The Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine, which is still under care and maintenance and belongs to Paladin Energy Ltd in the Erongo region, is waiting for global uranium prices to pick up for it to restart its operations. Paladin Energy CEO Ian Purdy said this week at the mine that they continue to advance optimisation work, focusing on providing greater certainty on key operational performance metrics for the eventual restart plan. The decline in uranium market conditions led Paladin to place Langer Heinrich on care and maintenance in May 2018.
Purdy noted that they continue to engage consultants to provide optimised restart metrics to maximise operational efficiencies and shareholder returns upon the restart of the uranium mine.
“The extensive work packages that Paladin and our expert consultants are undertaking will ensure that when the right uranium pricing market prevails, the Langer Heinrich Mine can be successfully restarted,” he said in a quarterly activity report from the Australian Securities Exchange (ASE) for March 2021.
According to the CEO, the restart plan confirms that this globally significant mine is positively placed to take advantage in an improved uranium market.
“Even though the mine is on hold on the back of continued low uranium prices, upon resumption of mining activities, water utilisation within the mine remains a key input. The mine is on a wait for global uranium prices to pick up, hopefully this year. It is better to wait, and not waste Namibian resources with low prices,” said the general manager at the mine, Johan Roux.
The report further elaborated on the restart plan for the Langer Heinrich Mine, stating that advancing critical-path elements of the mine restart include the ongoing optimisation of tailings management, stockpiling and run of mine blending strategies, completion of the grade control dilution study, as well as validating dilution assumptions in the mineral resources model.
“The completion of detailed plant and equipment condition reviews and the commencement of task prioritisation for the restart is considered to add conditional assessment of instrumentation and completed systems’ integration,” reads the report.
The report furthermore stated that the updating of critical engineering documents must be completed to reflect restart requirements, dynamic modelling for potential plant surge capacity requirements nearing completion, and mining contractor expressions of interest to be issued.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein visited the mine on Tuesday whilst on a familiarisation visit in the Erongo region.
Paladin Energy holds a current valid mining licence and environmental clearance certificate, which permits the resumption of mining, processing and uranium exports from the mine.