A definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Tumas uranium project in Namibia is advancing towards completion by the end of next year for owner Deep Yellow (ASX: DYL).
The study is targeting an annual production rate of up to 3 million pounds of uranium underpinned by a mine life of more than 20 years.
To achieve this, Deep Yellow has commenced resource upgrade drilling to convert the remaining inferred resources at the Tumas-3 and Tumas-1 East deposits to indicated status.
A total 755 reverse circulation holes were drilled for 14,955m during the June quarter to complete the Tumas-3 infill program, comprising 911 holes for 17,697m.
Approximately 46% returned uranium mineralisation greater than 100 parts per million uranium equivalent over 1m.
Drilling at Tumas-1 East is due for completion by month end.
Potential to further expand the project’s operating life beyond the study’s current scope could exist once untested areas along the Tumas palaeochannel system have been explored.
Tumas mining licence
Deep Yellow is also in the final stages of preparation prior to lodging a mining licence application for Tumas, using the project’s pre-feasibility study as the key supporting document.
Lodgement of the application will mark an important milestone in Deep Yellow’s plans to establish a maiden uranium production platform at Tumas.
Study components to be completed include optimisation and trade-off work recommended in the pre-feasibility phase, additional metallurgical testing, and any further work required as part of the mining application or environmental impact assessment (EIA) program.
The DFS remains on track for completion by the 2022 December quarter.
Deep Yellow said it will focus on progressing Tumas towards a development decision in preparation for an anticipated uranium price increase around the same time.
Baseline studies for the Tumas EIA process are also well advanced.
Despite restrictions caused by COVID-19, Deep Yellow said consultations with interested and affected parties (IAPs, as required by Namibian regulations) had been completed and a final scoping report submitted to the local government in July.
The EIA process design for Tumas aims to reduce the project’s short and long-term environmental impacts.
It includes water and reagent recycling to benefit rehabilitation of the site and reduce process operating costs.
Final tailings will be washed with water containing low levels of process reagents or contaminants, and all tailings will be permanently stored in a purpose-built facility by back-filling completed mine pits.
Deep Yellow strengthened its executive team with a number of new appointments during the June quarter.
In May, the company appointed metallurgical engineer Chris Salisbury as non-executive chairman of the board.
Mr Salisbury has more than 30 years of experience across a range of commodities including uranium and has worked in Australia and Namibia with Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO).
“The appointment of Mr Salisbury strengthens and diversifies the capabilities of our board at a critical time for Deep Yellow, as [we] embark on the next phase of a dual-pillar growth strategy to become a multi-platform, low-cost, tier-one uranium producer,” the company said.
Other appointments during the period were former Paladin Energy (ASX: PDN) finance executive Andrew Mirco as head of business development, and ex-GRD Minproc managing director Ben Zikmundovsky as chairman of the Tumas DFS peer review committee.