Lotus Resources (ASX: LOT) has received “strong government support” for its plans to restart the Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi “as early as possible”.
During a recent trip to Malawi, Lotus held “positive talks” with senior members of the Malawian Government along with stakeholders from ESCOM (Malawi’s power utility) and local communities regarding re-starting production at the project.
“After a two-year hiatus in travel due to COVID restrictions, it was great to get back in-country again to visit site and meet with various government officials,” Lotus managing director Keith Bowes said.
Mr Bowes said he was “extremely pleased” with the reception he received from all parties he met.
“It is obvious there is strong support from government, communities and NGOs for Kayelekera to re-start production as soon as possible.”
Advancing Kayelekera to production
A definitive feasibility study into re-starting production at Kayelekera is on track to be delivered mid-year.
In parallel, a mine development agreement has reached an advanced stage of negotiation.
Lotus is attempting to lock in a similar agreement to the project’s previous owner Paladin Energy (ASX: PDN) when the mine was operational between 2009 and 2014 and produced 11 million pounds of uranium.
Under this arrangement, Paladin transferred 15% ownership to the Malawian Government.
Lotus is attempting to connect to the Malawian national grid, where 90% of the power comes from hydroelectricity and biofuels.
During Lotus’ meeting with ESCOM, the utility indicated about 5MW of power would be available for the company to draw on at the Karonga substation.
Lotus plans to combine this with 2.5MW from a steam turbine that will be fitted to the on-site acid plant.
This is expected to lower both operating costs and “significantly reduce” carbon dioxide emissions compared to when the asset was operating under Paladin.
Kayelekera has 46.3Mlb in contained resources grading 500 parts per million uranium.