Fission underground-only PFS slashes capex

British Columbia-based Fission Uranium on Monday outlined the potential for “highly economic “ production at the Patterson Lake South (PLS) project in the Athabasca basin of Saskatchewan by focusing on an underground-only mining scenario. Shifting to an underground-only option, as opposed to the hybrid mine approach of underground and openpit mining outlined in an earlier PFS, Fission has reduced the construction timeline of the mine at the Triple R deposit at PLS by one year and slashed the capital costs by one fifth, while still enjoying a strong return on investment.

Denison installs commercial scale wells at Wheeler River

Uranium project developer Denison Mines has started installing higher cost, larger diameter commercial scale wells as part of the insitu recovery (ISR) field test programme at its Wheeler River uranium project, in northern Saskatchewan. The commercial-scale wells form part of the second stage of ISR field testing at the Phoenix deposit. It follows positive results from initial field tests, which have confirmed hydraulic connectivity within a significant portion of the ore zone tested.

New Hope starts redundancy process

Coal miner New Hope Group has started the process of reducing 150 staff at its New Acland mine, in Queensland, as the company continued to await approval for the Stage 3 expansion. New Acland General Manager Dave O’Dwyer said the difficult process of notifying the individual workers started Monday afternoon, with New Acland management holding one-on-one meetings with staff.

Nuclear industry urges Trump to revive uranium mining with Cold War-era rule

The US nuclear energy industry has called for the Trump administration to revive domestic uranium mining and enrichment by unlocking funds through a Cold War-era program, in a letter sent to a Cabinet-level working group. The August 18 letter from the Nuclear Energy Institute, or NEI, to national security adviser John Bolton and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, urges the Trump administration to authorize funds through the 1950 Defense Production Act to procure domestic fuel for defense requirements and boost federal reserves of uranium for nuclear power utilities.

Cameco may cut uranium output further as demand stalls

Canadian miner Cameco said it will hold down output until uranium prices recover and it could cut production further, although nuclear reactor life extensions in France and newbuilds in China, the UAE and Britain bring some hope. Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan, Germany and other countries have closed dozens of reactors, which has depressed demand for nuclear fuel and forced miners to close or mothball mines as uranium prices plunged.

Paladin remains optimistic about uranium market potential

ASX-listed uranium miner Paladin Energy’s two mines in Namibia and Malawi remain under care and maintenance to preserve resource and shareholder value in the current low uranium price environment; however, the company is positive that uranium demand will pick up in the near future. The company plans to restart production at the Langer Heinrich mine, in Namibia, within the next two years, and is selling the Kayelekera mine, in Malawi.

Denison reports positive ISR field tests at Wheeler River

Toronto- and New York-listed Denison Mines on Tuesday reported positive initial test results as part of the ongoing in-situ recovery (ISR) field test programme at the Wheeler River uranium project, in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. The additional field work is required to increase the confidence and reduce the risks associated with the application of ISR mining at the Phoenix deposit, as outlined in the prefeasibility study for Wheeler River.

Paladin hopeful of uranium price benefits despite market uncertainty

Uranium miner Paladin Energy expects to benefit should there be a substantial increase in the uranium price, following signs of recovery in late 2018, chairperson Rick Crabb said in the company’s annual report for the 2019 financial year, published on Tuesday. The miner owns 75% of the Langer Heinrich mine, in Namibia, which is said to have reserves that will support “many more years” of production if it resumes production. Paladin put the mine on care and maintenance in 2018, as a result of low uranium prices. It has now embarked on a prefeasibility study to assess options for restarting the operation.

Kazatomprom H1 profit falls 68% on one-offs

Kazakh uranium miner Kazatomprom posted a 68% drop in six-month net profit to 104-billion tenge (about $269-million) on Tuesday, which it said was due to one-off gains from transactions in the previous year. The company said that adjusted for those one-offs, net profit rose 51% as revenue grew 22%, helped by higher prices.

NexGen launches uranium drilling at SW1

NexGen Energy Ltd. [NXE-TSX, NYSE] on Monday said it has launched a maiden exploration drilling program on its SW1 property in the Athabasca uranium basin in northern Saskatchewan.

SW1 is approximately 10 kilometres northwest of the company’s flagship Rook 1 property where the company is developing one of the world’s largest uranium deposits. Rook 1 hosts the high-grade Arrow deposit, which is estimated to contain an indicated resource of 256.6 million pounds of uranium oxide contained in 2.89 million tonnes of 4.03% uranium oxide (U3O8), according to a resource update and prefeasibility study announced on November 5, 2018.

The estimate includes a high-grade core of 181 million pounds, contained in 0.46 million tonnes, of grade 17.85% uranium oxide.

On top of that is an inferred resource of 91.7 million pounds of uranium oxide contained in 4.84 million tonnes, grading 0.86% uranium oxide, the company has said.

On Monday August 26, NexGen said exploration at SW1 will consist of a minimum of 4,000 metres if drilling. The program is scheduled to begin in early September, the company said in a press release. It will utilize two drill rigs and is designed to test the highest priority anomalies, analogous to those at the Arrow Deposit, for uranium mineralization that has been highlighted by geophysical surveys and analysis of historical drilling.

NexGen shares were unchanged at $1.59 and trade in a 52-week range of $1.52 and $3.31.

NexGen says it has the most significant land position in the southwest Athabasca Basin where it holds over 259,000 hectares. NexGen is backed by one of Asia’s wealthiest investors, Li-Ka-shing

The SW1 property is situated on the western limb of a regional fold structure with the Patterson Lake Uranium Corridor and Arrow deposit situated on the eastern limb. Historical drill core shows that the area contains similar host rocks as the Arrow Deposit.

Due to this geophysical affiliation, NexGen commissioned the same airborne geophysical techniques that led to the discovery of the Arrow Deposit in February, 2014. A VTEM survey defined several discrete and disjointed conductive corridors on the property, similar to what was seen at Arrow.

NexGen said development of the property has led to high-confidence targets that are prime for focused exploration through drilling.

“We look forward to the SW1 maiden drill program commencing after completing an extensive geophysical analysis of the area over the past five years,” said NexGen CEO Leigh Curyer.

Uranium exploration juniors like NexGen are not getting much help from the underlying uranium price, which has defied predictions that is about to recover from the impact of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Before a powerful earthquake and tsunami disabled three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, spot uranium was priced at US$72.63 a pound.

But the spot uranium price has been trading recently at just under US$25 a pound.