Swakop Uranium reports that construction is in progress at its $2.5-billion Husab uranium project in Namibia, following an official ground-breaking ceremony on April 18. The Husab project is located 60 km northeast of the major deep-sea port of Walvis Bay. The project feasibility study, reported in April 2011, was based on an initial reserve of 205 million mt grading 497 ppm U3O8 for a total of 225 million lb of contained U3O8.

Husab production capacity is targeted at 15 million lb/y of U3O8, which will rank it among the largest uranium mines in the world.

Pre-stripping ahead of mining will total 85 million mt. The mine plan for open-pit mining from two pits assumes mine production of 15 million mt/y at an average strip ratio of 7:1.

The Husab process flowsheet is based on conventional technology, with crushing and grinding producing a coarse product for agitated-tank sulphuric acid leaching, followed by solid-liquid separation, ion exchange, solvent extraction, and precipitation before drying and packaging of the final product.

Swakop Uranium is 90%-owned by a Chinese consortium headed by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co., a state-owned enterprise. The remaining 10% is held by Epangelo Mining, a Namibian state-owned mining company.

The engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract for the Husab project is held by a joint venture of AMEC and Tenova Bateman. Bulk earthworks have commenced, construction of the temporary road to the Husab mine is well under way, Nampower has approved a guaranteed power supply of 50 MW for the mine, and the first water from a temporary pipeline has been delivered from the Rössing reservoir into a newly-built pond at the Husab mine.

Current scheduling calls for Husab project completion in October 2015.

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