PDN 1.11% 8.9¢ paladin energy ltd

article from mining weekly

  1. 55 Posts.
    Published: 29 Feb 08 - 0:00
    Commissioning of Malawi’s Kayelekera uranium project should start in December, says Paladin Energy MD John Borshoff.

    Production ramp-up is scheduled for early next year.

    The Kayelekera operation will be Malawi’s first uranium producing mine, and will have a nameplate capacity of 3,3-million pounds of uranium oxide a year.

    Paladin owns a 85% stake in Kayelekera, with the balance held by the Malawi government.

    “There are 600 people on site at the moment,” notes Borshoff.

    He says several milestones have been achieved in the construction of the project over the last few months.

    Plant area earthworks at the project are 95% complete.

    The project’s 10-MW containerised power plant has been factorytested, and delivered to the Dar es Salaam port, in Tanzania, for transport to site.

    The semiautogenous grinding mill has been delivered to Paladin Africa’s storage yard, in Karonga, near the mine site.

    Construction of on-site camp facilities for 500 people has been completed, and acid plant long-lead items have been bought.

    Mining fleet equipment has been delivered to site, and has been commissioned.

    “Within the next six months, we’ll have openpit mining under way,” says Borshoff.

    “We’ll have the primary roadworks completed, and the erection of the treatment plant will be under way. Group Five will be on site in two weeks to build the plant.

    “Also, a general manager of operations would have been appointed.”

    Borshoff says the road has been cleared for Paladin to go ahead with the project, following last year’s near court battle to halt mine develop- ment, as several non-governmental organisations voiced their concerns over uranium-mining in the Karonga region.

    Borshoff says the company has resolved all outstanding social issues in an amicable manner, enabling the Kayelekera project to proceed unhindered.

    The terms of the settlement include the establishment of a civil society organisation, which will form part of a monitoring team, which will ensure Paladin meets its environmental and health obligations.

    Also, at the request of the Karonga community, the government and Paladin have agreed to amend its social responsibility programme.

    According to the new programme, $8,2-million of the $10-million which was to be spent on building a school and boarding facilities three years after the start of Kayelekera production will now be applied to the urgent upgrading of the community water supply at Karonga.

    Borshoff also reports that Paladin’s only mine producing uranium currently, Langer Heinrich, in Namibia, has finally “achieved its nameplate production”.

    Production in the December 2007 quarter reached 390 807 lb, giving a total production of 650 562 lb for the six-month period, July 1 to December 31, thus meeting the company’s target of 650 000 lb for this period.

    This follows complications in the ramp-up process at the Namibian operation, after it officially started production in April last year.

    The initial ramp-up schedule – as announced in early 2005 – forecast a design production of 2,6-million pounds to be achieved by July 1 last year, which was subsequently deferred to January this year, owing to material failure of leach tank liners in late January 2007, which caused damage to the heat exchangers.

    Borshoff says work is progressing on the engineering design and specification for the stage-two production expansion project at Langer Heinrich to 3,7-million pounds of uranium oxide a year.

    Construction is expected to start during the first half of 2008, with mechanical completion scheduled for the end of the year.
    Borshoff says Paladin is “back on track”, and still “committed to becoming a major uranium supplier”.

    • Paladin was admitted to the Namibian Stock Exchange on February 14.

    “Last year was our rites to passage. We had some challenges and we overcame them.”
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