Langer Heinrich restart to cost N$1.2b

By Hilary Mare

URANIUM hopeful Paladin Energy last week confirmed the restart cost estimates for its Langer Heinrich mine to be N$1.2 billion.

Paladin told shareholders that since the release of the updated restart plan in June of last year, the company had continued an extensive work stream to further de-risk restart activities at Langer Heinrich.

As such the estimated life-of-mine (LoM) production target has increased from 76.1 million pounds to 77.4 million pounds, over the 17-year mine life, with the estimated LoM costs now estimated at N$405/lb, up from N$255/lb previously estimated, owing to increased estimated contract mining rates.

“The restart plan update is the conclusion of an extensive work stream aimed at further de-risking the ramp-up and operational readiness of the globally significant Langer Heinrich uranium mine. The work streams reinforce our confidence in Langer Heinrich as a low risk, robust, long-life operation that is poised for a restart to take advantage of the improving uranium market conditions,” Paladin CEO Ian Purdy said.

“As the world continues to move towards a decarbonised economy, Paladin is in a unique and enviable position of having a robust capital structure with no corporate debt and a project with a low-risk pathway to production with strong economics and, importantly, a well-known product from our 10 years of prior operation.

“We will continue to position Paladin to be ready to restart operations under the right uranium price environment. The improving structural outlook for uranium markets and Paladin’s opportunity to positively contribute to the decarbonisation of global electricity generation provides the platform for an exciting period ahead for Paladin and I look forward to updating you on our progress.”

Paladin has confirmed that the execution time for the restart project would remain 18 months from project commencement to first production, with full production achieved after a further 15 months.

Purdy said that the company continues to engage with global nuclear energy utilities with the intent of securing uranium off take contracts with sufficient duration and value to underpin the restart of the Langer Heinrich operation.

Meanwhile, concept studies are underway for potential value enhancement opportunities, including vanadium recovery and sales, increased low grade stockpile phase production rate, application of ore sorting technology, mine life extension through lower cut-off grade resource processing, resource expansion, further cost optimisation, and recovery improvements

Paladin is also considering an optimised project execution plan exploring the possibility of self-funding early works in 2022 and to fast-track first production when a decision to restart is made.