Thursday, October 25, 2012

Australia's Fifth Uranium Mine Four Mile Project In South Australia To Begin

Published on Thursday October 25 2012 (AEST)  

It will be Australia's fifth uranium mine and comes as the Gillard government begins work on agreements to sell uranium to India. 

THE much-delayed Four Mile uranium project in South Australia - a joint venture between ASX-listed Alliance Resources (25 per cent) and US group Heathgate (75 per cent) - is finally being developed.

Shares in Alliance, 25.8 per cent owned by Ian Gandel's Abbotsleigh, shot 55 per cent higher to 29.5c on news of the go-ahead. That was despite plans for Four Mile to start at a much smaller scale than Alliance would have preferred - a situation that underpins ongoing litigation between the partners in the joint venture. 

Four Mile is one of the best uranium discoveries in recent times, at 32,000 tonnes, and was given environmental clearance by former anti-uranium activist Peter Garrett when he was federal environment minister in 2009. Squabbling between the partners over the best way to develop the resource delayed a go-ahead decision. 

Heathgate's operating subsidiary Quasar wanted to use its processing facilities at the nearby Beverley uranium operations, while Alliance pushed for a stand-alone operation on a larger scale. Litigation continues but Quasar, the project operator, has used its 75 per cent vote to push the button on a "start-up" proposal which will see Four Mile producing 2.12 million pounds of uranium a year from the third quarter of next year, using existing Beverley plant and equipment. 

Alliance has previously made the case for a 5 million pound-a-year stand-alone operation on the basis that it would generate greater returns, as well as giving it an ownership stake in a processing plant. But since it was out-voted by Quasar it will now contribute its $24.45 million share of the $97.8m development cost. Quasar has given Alliance reason to believe the initial project will in fact be a stage one development, the purpose of which is to allow production rates to be considered before full-scale facilities are constructed. 

According to Quasar, the cash operating cost at Four Mile will be $40.33 a pound. Despite the Fukushima disaster, Japanese trading group Itochu emerged earlier this year as a backer of Alliance in Four Mile. It struck a deal under which it could own about 40 per cent of Alliance's stake in the project once legal action in the joint venture is completed. 

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Japan To Begin It's Nuclear Start Ups With Areva Hydrogen Technology

Published on Sunday October 21 2012 (AEST)  

Areva is to fit all 23 Japanese pressurized water reactors with hydrogen recombiners that help to prevent the explosive gas building up in emergency situations. 

The French company announced a contract to provide a bulk order of its passive autocatalytic recombiners. The devices use catalytic oxidation to turn traces of hydrogen into steam, a process that works constantly and requires no power. 

They will be fitted in the reactor unit containment vessels to help prevent hydrogen explosions and "preserve the integrity of the reactor," said Areva. Many nuclear operators installed systems to manage hydrogen after the partial core melt at Three Mile Island in 1979. Unfortunately, this was not the case in Japan. During the accident at Fukushima Daiichi last year, many hours without power for cooling water pumps saw nuclear fuel in the cores of units 1, 2 and 3 overheat to the point that zirconium fuel cladding oxidised in the presence of steam, producing hydrogen and oxygen. At units 1 and 3 this was able to escape the containment and concentrate in the tops of the buildings, where it eventually exploded and caused extensive physical damage to those units as well as unit 4. 

Areva said it will install more than 100 of its devices at the Japanese pressurized water reactors, which make up 23 of the country's 50-reactor fleet. The reactor type is used at the following Japanese nuclear power plants: Ikata, Mihama, Ohi, Sendai, Takahama, Tsuruga, Tomari and Genkai. 

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Next Generation Nuclear Power VIDEO

 Published on Friday October 12 2012 (AEST)

Since we discovered the power of the atom, there's been great optimism for nuclear. We'll have to wait and see how this long-time love hate relationship works out. 

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

State Approves WA's First Uranium Mine - Toro Energy

Published on Wednesday October 10 2012 (AEST)  

Environmental approval has been granted for what could be Western Australia's first uranium mine. Environment Minister Bill Marmion today announced Toro Energy Limited's proposed uranium mine near Wiluna, in the northern Goldfields had been granted final environmental approval, subject to conditions. Mr Marmion said his decision followed three weeks' consultation with other decision-making authorities following the draft environmental approval. 

"In reaching this agreement I took into account comments made by agencies, including the Department of Environment and Conservation, resulting in even tighter conditions," he said. The new conditions are designed to strengthen protection of stygofauna; fauna that lives in groundwater systems and groundwater-dependent vegetation as well as better address surface water flows, dust management and rehabilitation. "Toro will also be required to research the water requirements of groundwater-dependent vegetation and more closely monitor stygofauna in the three calcrete ecosystems to be partially impacted by the proposal," Mr Marmion said. Toro Energy's Vanessa Guthrie who is the executive general manager of the Wiluna project said the company had seen the conditions and was comfortable Toro could work within them. The project still has a number of hurdles to pass before construction for the project begins. 

Ms Guthrie said the project was still subject to federal government approval which she anticipated would be completed by the end of the year. The mine would have to go through a project financing phase and go before Toro's board before a final decision on going ahead with the mine would be made. "This would be in mid 2013 and we anticipate construction could start at the end of 2013 before production could start in late 2014." Nuclear free campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, Dave Sweeney said there were concerns about the mining of uranium in general as well as the capacity of Toro to manage this project. He said the foundation would join with other concerned parties in an effort to convince the Federal Government not to approve the mine. 

 "There is no transport plan, no adequate water plan and no closure plan," Mr Sweeney said. "How can you sign off on a project if you don't know how to ship the product off? "They've acknowledged they'll be out of water within a decade but have no answer to that. "Our concern is corners will be cut." The mine is expected to produce up to 1200 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate per year across an anticipated mine life of 10 years. Currently, WA has no operating uranium mines. 

In 2008, the Liberal state government lifted a six-year ban on uranium mining that was imposed by the previous Labor government. The opposition still opposes uranium mining but says it will not stand in the way of any planned mine that has received approvals if the party wins the state election in March. There are no other uranium projects in WA that would be fully environmentally approved by the time of the election. 

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Deep Yellow Hits Highest Uranium Grade Of 11% at MS7 Deposit

Published on Saturday October 06 2012 (AEST)  

Australian Uranium Explorer Deep Yellow (DYL)has intersected 1 metre at 110,500ppm (11%) uranium from 288 metres at the MS7 deposit at the Omahola uranium project in Namibia, its highest ever grade it has encountered in the country. 

This result came from a hole that was drilled to undercut previous intercepts at depth that cut off shallow mineralisation to the north, with the company saying it represented a narrow vein system that was not entirely representative of the usual MS7 mineralisation. Other significant results include 33 metres at 1,325ppm uranium from 50 Meters, 3 Metres at 1,723ppm uranium from 26 metres and 8 metres at 633ppm uranium from 48 metres. Further outstanding intercepts have been submitted for chemical assay with results anticipated at the end of September. 

The consistent relatively shallow, frequently wide intersections with grades well above Deep Yellow’s 400ppm reporting threshold from the ongoing drill program confirm the MS7 deposit’s higher grade nature and continuity. The program is primarily designed to increase the size and confidence of existing resources as well as test for lateral and depth extensions. Deep Yellow is targeting a nominal 50 million pound resource before it resumes a Pre-feasibility Study it halted due to the discovery of high grade alaskite mineralisation. Interim results from the study had in early 2011 demonstrated the potential for a mine capable of producing 2.2 million pounds of uranium for 12 years. 

This would have a capital cost of about US$340 million including a 10% contingency with operating costs of about US$32 per pound of uranium. 

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