Toro reports Wiluna cost reductions

05 December 2016

Toro Energy has redesigned the process flow sheet for its Wiluna uranium project in Western Australia to reduce the cost and size of the project's processing facility, following successful beneficiation and process design studies, the company announced today.

The change reduces the capital cost of the proposed hydrometallurgical plant to about AUD 78 million ($ 58 million), down from AUD 134 million - a reduction of more than 40%. Processing costs, previously estimated at AUD 53.8 per tonne of ore processed, are reduced to about AUD 16 per tonne of mine feed.

Guthrie leaves Toro

Toro managing director and CEO Vanessa Guthrie is to leave the company on 5 December, Toro's board announced today. Guthrie has held the position for nearly four years. "Under Dr Guthrie’s leadership, Toro has become a uranium company with additional strategic investors and a significantly enhanced asset base," the company said.

Beneficiation testwork was successful on each of seven samples selected from the Centipede/Millipede and Lake Maitland deposits, the company said. The success of the studies comes from improved understanding of the different lithologies and uranium associations of the Wiluna deposits, and the novel application of conventional technologies to the processing flow sheet.

Changes include: a beneficiation circuit which reduces the mass of the material to be processed through the plant; a filtration and washing step to remove saline water and produce a drier leach feed, reducing the consumption of reagents; recirculation of wash water to increase utilisation and reduce losses of reagents; and the introduction of an ion exchange step to remove the need for evaporation ponds.

The reduction in mass allows the hydrometallurgical facility to be reduced in size, and large counter current decantation tanks - estimated to cost AUD 37 million - are no longer required.

In September, the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority recommended for approval Toro's proposal to extend the Wiluna uranium project to include the Millipede and Lake Maitland deposits. Approvals are already in place for the construction and operation of a mine at Wiluna based on the Centipede and Lake Way deposits, with the processing facility is to be built near the Centipede deposit. 

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Filed under: Mining, Australia