Mauritania – This is following its recent successful UK listing and fund raising.
The Tiris uranium project in north eastern Mauritania is a shallow open-pit mining project with a 49 Mlb U₃O₈ indicated and inferred resource, 94% recovery rates and simple processing allowing a potential 500% grade uplift.
It is forecast to have C1 cash costs of US$30/lbU₃O₈ and low-capex costs of $45 million and has a development MOU signed with a Chinese engineering group. Since the fundraising in September 2016 Aura has continued planning and review for the re-establishment of the DFS programme which is now fully underway.
The activities have included the following:
- Appointment of Rod Unwin as the Tiris study manager, an experienced african study manager having completed studies for Mineral Deposits on the Sabodala gold mine and Grand Cote mineral sands projects in Senegal
- Permanent appointment of Dr Will Goodall as principal metallurgist for Aura Energy
- Establishment of the Tiris project peer review committee
- Commencement of down hole gamma logging of 2015 drillholes
- Ultra-detailed ground radiometric surveying of mineral resources
- Planning of geophysical studies for the review and drilling of regional water sources
- Re-commencement of the environmental impact study
- Continuation of metallurgical studies for leaching and beneficiation
- Preparation of documents for the mining lease application
- Meeting with Mines Ministry officials in Mauritania
Aura Energy’s Tiris project remains a small low capex development capable of significant uranium production based on the beneficiation step in the process. As part of the field activities Aura Energy will also commence an initial scoping sample programme on its Sabkha, or salt pan, for possible soda ash and lithium occurrences.
The location of the Sabkha between Aura Energy’s Tiris project east and west tenements provides a favourable location should a source of soda ash (Na2CO3) be identified.
The company’s 2014 scoping study identified the need for up to 16 000 t of soda ash which, including transport, would account for approximately 25% of Tiris’ operating costs. Utilising a nearby source of soda ash has the potential to significantly reduce these costs.
Additionally, potential for revenue from other minerals such as lithium or back-loading soda ash to port for export would further reduce the Tiris operating cost.
Peter Reeve, Aura Energy’s executive chairman says, “Aura remains extremely fortunate to have retained such a high-quality team of technical professionals to advance its Tiris project. With the DFS firmly back underway and field activities commenced we remain confident of completing the study by the end of 2017.”
“Aura maintains that with recovery of the uranium price over the coming two years and the strategic balance of its other minerals exploration programme it is perfectly positioned to fund and construct Tiris to coincide uranium production with an improved uranium pricing environment. To have this study back underway and finally towards completion and with the sampling of Aura’s new soda ash and lithium tenements commences an exciting period towards our ultimate goal of cashflow”.