Australian-based uranium miner, Paladin Energy has recorded a 23 percent decline in the production at its Namibia Langer Heinrich Mine during the fourth quarter ending in March 2018.During the period under review, the Langer Heinrich Mine produced 670,456 pounds (lbs) of uranium oxide compared to 873,107 lbs produced in quarter three which ended in December 2017.
The company noted in its latest quarterly activities report on Tuesday that production was down mainly due to lower plant feed grade and a decrease in ore milled.
Paladin Energy owns 75 percent of Langer Heinrich Mine situated in the Namib Desert 80 km west of the port of Walvis Bay in the Erongo Region.
Paladin Energy CEO Alexander Molyneux revealed that the company is reviewing the long-term future of the Langer Henrich including placing it in care and maintenance.
Paladin previously disclosed that the medium grade ore stockpile, which are currently the processing feed for the LHM’s processing plant are expected to be exhausted before mid-2019 and that a decision needs to be made at least six months prior to the exhausting of those stockpiles as whether to restart physical mining, process low grade stockpiles or place the mine on care and maintenance, the company stated in the report.
“The uranium market has failed to recover since the Fukushima incident in 2011, with the average spot price so far in 2018 the lowest in 15-years. It’s deeply distressing to have to consider suspending operations at LHM because of the consequences for our employees and the broader community. However, as there has yet to be a sustainable recovery in the uranium market, and with the aim of preserving maximum long-term value for all stakeholders, it is clearly prudent to consider these difficult actions,” Molyneux explained.
The open-pit Langer Heinrich uranium mine has been in operation since 2007.
It has a notional capacity of 5.2 million pounds of uranium production per year and produced 3.4 million pounds in 2017 with physical mining curtailed and the plant being fed by historically mined medium grade stockpile ore.
Langer Heinrich currently employs over 600 direct employees.
Source: Journal du Cameroun