Vancouver, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 May 2009 – Equinox Minerals Limited – an international exploration and mine development company which is dual-listed on the Toronto and Australian stock exchanges, and which owns Africa’s biggest copper mine – is to re-assess a shelved US$200 million (R1.8 billion) uranium treatment plant at the project in Zambia, in the wake of re-bounding nuclear fuel prices.
“What we have been looking for is an improvement in the uranium price, and there does seem to be solid improvement there,” CEO Craig Williams said in an interview. “We will start to look seriously at that in the second half of this year. It’s a decent size uranium mine.”
Uranium prices have jumped 25% from a low of US$40 a pound in April as buyers returned to the market, UBS AG analysts said in a report last week. Construction of the plant at the US$814 million (R7.3 billion) Lumwana mine had been delayed in January due to a drop in prices and difficulty raising funds, the company explained.
“Before we push the button we need to put some off-take contracts in place and finance,” said Williams, adding that it is almost inevitable that the plant will be built. “It will probably take 18 to 24 months to build,” he added.
“The uranium mine at Lumwana will produce about 2 Mlbs annually,” Williams said. “Output of copper this year is on target to meet the company’s forecast of 170 000 metric tonnes, he added.
Equinox sold 23 966 tons of copper in the first quarter of 2009, according to a statement earlier this month. The company sold US$163 million (R1.5 billion) in shares last month to fund expansion of its Lumwana mine.