The cost of processing Australia’s carbonate-hosted uranium deposits could be significantly reduced under a new research program between NERA, Toro Energy Ltd, Cameco Australia Pty Ltd, and Separation Engineering Incorporated.
As of 2015, Australia held 29 per cent of the world’s identified recoverable uranium resources. While the country’s uranium industry has significant potential, mine development has been slower than anticipated.
Low uranium prices and high processing costs are significant barriers to the development of uranium projects such as Yeelirrie and Wiluna, with ore processing currently accounting for approximately 65 per cent of total production costs.
NERA’s Uranium Industry Competitiveness Assessment identified a number of opportunities to improve Australia’s overall competitiveness, including enhancing ore processing capability and mining operations by leveraging research to lower operating costs and reduce technical risks for future mining operations throughout the country.
This research program aims to address this opportunity.
The $384,000 research program will investigate opportunities to reduce processing costs while maximising uranium recovery for these projects. Results of the research will be shared across the uranium industry and will likely assist with the development of other carbonate-hosted deposits.
NERA will provide funding of $192,000, which has been matched by industry funding of $192,000.
* Funding excludes GST