An aerial view of the work camp at the Cameco/Mitsubishi Development Kintyre uranium project.
An aerial view of the work camp at the Cameco/Mitsubishi Development Kintyre uranium project. (Photo courtesy of Cameco)

Cameco reported in early March that Western Australia’s minister for environment, Albert Jacob, conditionally approved Cameco and Mitsubishi Development’s Kintyre uranium project in the remote East Pilbara region of Western Australia. Cameco owns 70% of the project and is the operator; Mitsubish owns the remaining 30%.

Cameco Australia Managing Director Brian Reilly welcomed the approval, which followed a high-level environmental impact assessment and more than four years of extensive community consultation and rigorous environmental and technical studies. He also said that, while Cameco is continuing to take steps to develop its Australian projects, no development decisions will be made until market conditions signal new uranium production is required.

“For Kintyre, this means advancing the project through the environmental assessment process, continuing to build strong relationships with stakeholders, and identifying additional resources to improve the economics of the project,” Reilly said.

The Kintyre project is located 60 km south of Telfer and 260 km northeast of Newman at the western edge of the Great Sandy Desert in the East Pilbara region. Measured and indicated mineral resources are estimated at about 55 million lb of U3O8 at an average grade of 0.58% U3O8. A 2012 prefeasibility study suggested that the open-pit project might produce about 6 million lb/y of U3O8 over a mine life of seven years. However, the study concluded that to break even, the project would require higher uranium prices or greater total production.

A decision from Australia’s federal Minister for the Environment regarding the Kintyre project is pending.

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