Bannerman slashes Board fees, remuneration

By Hilary Mare

In response to COVID-19 and increased uncertainty, Bannerman Resources Limited’s Board and Management have agreed to reductions and restructuring of remuneration and board fees which will reduce the mine’s cash remuneration by between 20-50%.

The situation will be reviewed at 30 June 2020.

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Bannerman’s Chief Executive Officer, Brandon Munro said that this will reduce the Company’s already low cost base in the June quarter, in addition to suspending travel and associated costs.

“Bannerman is ideally positioned to withstand the current global market uncertainties, yet react positively to improvements in the uranium market as COVID-19 uranium supply disruption continues or expands. We have a strong cash balance, low cash burn and an advanced, permitted project – a combination that provides both extended operating runway without the need for additional capital and market-leading leverage to positive uranium dynamics,” extended Munro.

Government implemented an initial 21-day lock down in the Erongo Region, where Bannerman’s Etango Project and office is situated, from 28 March 2020. This decision, together with other decisive measures and border controls, are designed to pre-empt the transmission of COVID-19 within Namibia.

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“The Company does not anticipate any significant disruption to its business or operations as a result of measures taken in either Namibia or Australia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bannerman has taken various measures to protect Bannerman employees, their families and the broader community from transmission of the COVID-19 virus. All site testwork and operations were completed in February 2020 and the Heap Leach Demonstration Plant has been safely decommissioned,” said Munro.

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The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to production disruption at numerous mines throughout the world and across most commodities. Uranium production has to date been disrupted in Kazakhstan, Canada and Namibia, with the potential for uranium mines elsewhere failing to meet 2020 production guidance.

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The world’s largest uranium producer, Kazatomprom, announced on 7 April 2020 that production at all of its Kazakh uranium operations would be disrupted for three months, with staffing reduced to ‘minimum possible levels’.

Cameco Inc announced on 23 March 2020 that it was suspending production at its majority owned Cigar Lake, the world’s largest operating uranium mine, for an initial period of 4 weeks. During this period Cameco will assess the status of the situation and determine whether to restart the mine or extend the care and maintenance period.

In Namibia, CNNC’s Rossing mine and CGN’s Husab mine had normal operations disrupted after the Namibian government imposed lock-down restrictions for an initial 21-day period commencing 28 March 2020.

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The restrictions allow mines to only ‘maintain minimal mining operations and critical maintenance work’.

Bannerman has just completed a review of the most suitable membrane for the Etango Project.

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It is considered that acid resistant membranes are generally cheaper and available in a wider variation of rejection and operating pressure ranges. The alternative, acid proof membranes, are generally more expensive, have lower uranium rejections and require higher operating pressures.

Bannerman Resources Limited is an ASX and NSX listed exploration and development company with uranium interests in Namibia, a southern African country which is a premier uranium mining jurisdiction. Bannerman’s principal asset is its 95%-owned Etango Project situated near Rio Tinto’s Rossing uranium mine, Paladin’s Langer Heinrich uranium mine and CGNPC’s Husab uranium mine.

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A definitive feasibility study has confirmed the viability of a large open pit and heap leach operation at one of the world’s largest undeveloped uranium deposits. From 2015 to 2017, Bannerman conducted a large scale heap leach demonstration program to provide further assurance to financing parties, generate process information for the detailed engineering design phase and build and enhance internal capability.