Vimy reviews by-product potential at Mulga Rock

04 February 2021

Incorporating a circuit to produce by-product base metals has the potential to improve the "already strong" uranium economics of the Mulga Rock project in Western Australia, Vimy Resources CEO Mike Young says. Vimy plans to complete an assessment of the potential impact of the base metals plant during the first half of this year.

(Image: Vimy)

The Ambassador and Princess deposits at Mulga Rock East contain "appreciable quantities" of copper, zinc, nickel and cobalt mineralisation occurring within the uranium orebody. Recovery of these metals could provide a "by-product credit" of USD4.0-4.5 per pound U3O8, Vimy said in an update released today, and could create more funding options for the project.

"De-carbonisation of the global economy is seeing a significant step change in the long-term demand, pricing and security of supply for battery metals. As a result, it is clear that the base metals circuit has gone from marginal to potentially improving the already strong uranium economics of the Mulga Rock Project," Young said. "Mulga Rock is a world-class uranium project, but one that is likely to be enhanced by base metal by-product credits."

A 2018 definitive feasibility study on Mulga Rock investigated a stand-alone base metals plant for the recovery of copper, zinc, nickel and cobalt as mixed sulphide by-products from uranium plant tailings, but the ultimately focused solely on uranium due to the prevailing base metals prices at that time, Vimy said. The company was prompted to review the viability of a base metals plant by a "significant" rise in base metal prices.

As next steps, Vimy said it now intends to update the base metal resource estimate, the capital and operating costs for the base metals plant, and its economic model. It will also investigate potential financing options for the whole Mulga Rock project, including incorporation of the base metal endowment.

The Mulga Rock project has a total mineral resource estimate of 90.1 million pounds U3O8 (34,657 tU) and is located 290 km by road east-north-east of Kalgoorlie in the Great Victoria Desert.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News