Boss Energy captures trace uranium from start-up wells at Honeymoon project
Boss Energy (ASX: BOE) has reached another milestone in its re-development of the historic Honeymoon mine in South Australia with the generation of production-grade uranium during pre-flushing of the start-up wells.
The procedure is conducted to facilitate efficient leaching of calcium and chlorides from the orebody and has captured trace amounts of uranium in the solution.
Once flushing is completed, Boss will start the leaching process with optimal lixiviant to achieve targeted tenors of uranium.
This will involve fortifying pre-conditioned groundwater with reagents prior to injecting the lixiviant into the orebody to dissolve the uranium content.
The uranium-rich solution will then be pumped to the surface via extraction wells and discharged to the pregnant leach solution (PLS) processing ponds.
Ion exchange circuit
Boss is aiming to fill the PLS ponds this year in preparation for commissioning the ion exchange (IX) circuit in January with the first drum of uranium scheduled for production in the new year.
The circuit is expected to drive efficiencies at Honeymoon, increasing production throughput to a nameplate capacity of 2.45 million pounds per year of uranium oxide while reducing ramp-up times and technical risks.
Uranium ore will be captured via IX before being precipitated and calcined to produce a high-quality saleable uranium oxide product.
Boss managing director Duncan Craib said the company is on track to fill the PLS ponds by year-end in line with the overall development timetable.
“To see production-grade uranium during well pre-flushing bodes extremely well for the start of commissioning and ramp-up,” he said.
“We continue to execute our development strategy in line with the timetable and budget [and] with the uranium price recently hitting a 15-year high of US$81 a pound, we are perfectly positioned to capitalise on this huge opportunity.”
The re-development has been strengthened by Boss’ current financial position, which includes cash at hand of $63 million.
“We have no debt and a strategic uranium stockpile worth $156 million based on current spot prices,” Mr Craib said.
“This represents a book profit of more than $100 million since we acquired Honeymoon in March 2021.”
Committed expenditure under the Honeymoon re-development program now sits at $98 million (or 92%) of the $106 million capital expenditure (capex) budget (excluding a $7 million contingency).
All critical path items remain on track for delivery in line with the project schedule.
More than 279 procurement packages have been issued following release of the front-end engineering design study in March.
Mr Craib said supporting infrastructure is operating to design specifications and includes a raw water system, a 25,000-tonne gypsum repository and reagent handling systems.