Cameco has requested an extension to state-level environmental approvals for the Yeelirrie project and remains committed to it, the Canadian company said. The government of Western Australia previously set a deadline of 20 January this year for the company to demonstrate “substantial commencement” of the project.
The weak market conditions that have persisted since 2017, when the Western Australian government granted its approval, did not justify the investment that would have been necessary to achieve the substantial commencement benchmark, Cameco told World Nuclear News.
“As is a right under the original approval, we have subsequently requested an extension, which is presently before the state government for consideration,” the company said.
Federal-level environmental approval for Yeelirrie was granted in 2019 and extends until 2043, the company noted. “Cameco remains committed to Yeelirrie, the future development of which remains contingent on further improvement in the uranium market commensurate with the level of investment that would be required to advance the project.”
Cameco acquired Yeelirrie, which it describes as one of Australia’s largest undeveloped uranium deposits, in 2012. The deposit is in the remote Northern Goldfields region of Western Australia, about 420 km north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and 70 km south-west of Wiluna.
Cameco’s development plans envisage an open cut mine, metallurgical plant and associated infrastructure and facilities, expected to produce an average 8.49 million pounds U3O8 (3265 tU) per year over a 15-year ore processing period with a total mine life of 22 years. As of December 2018, the project’s uranium resources were estimated at 128.1 million pounds U3O8 in the measured and indicated categories.
Source: World Nuclear News