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Uranium the next big commodity
16 Sept 2015
  Hartbeesfontein – Within two years there will be a 50-million pound shortfall in uranium resources, Varun Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of Oakbay Resources & Energy, said during a recent visit to the company’s Shiva Uranium mine.
He reckoned this will lead to a rise of 65% to 85% in uranium prices, placing Shiva in a very good position.
The mine has one of the largest uranium orebodies in South Africa, with a total uranium resource of 196-million pounds. Furthermore, it is well positioned for low-cost uranium production as it can profitably mine low-grade gold resources.
Oakbay’s uranium plant is the only reverse-pressure-leaching uranium plant in Africa, enabling Shiva to achieve uranium yields of up to 92%. Gupta said this is 30% higher than other plants using traditional leaching methods.
The company will soon commission a new bankable feasibility study for Shiva’s uranium operation and is also planning a capital-rasing program to finance expansions – which it expects will cost at least R800 million.
According to the curentBFS, the mine can produce uranium at a cost of $41/lb – and extract gold from the same seam at no extra cost.
Shiva has about 1 000 employees and when uranium productions starts, there will be significant potential for job creation.
Shiva had been placed on care and maintenance in 2008 and when Oakbay bought it two years later, $1 million per month was spent on maintenance. Oakbay started opencast gold mining to provide cash flow. The mine has a total gold resource of 5.2-million ounces and an estimated 16-year mine life, with potential to extend this to 100 years.