Paladin Expanding Langer Heinrich, Again

Paladin Energy plans to initiate a third expansion of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia. The general
layout of the multi-pit operation is shown here, overlooked by the mine’s namesake mountain in the background.
(Photo courtesy of Paladin Energy)
Paladin Energy announced in late June 2009 that it is undertaking a Stage III expansion at its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia. The new project is planned to lift production at the mine to 5.2 million lb/y of U3O8 by late 2010. Paladin is currently rounding out a Stage II expansion at Langer Heinrich that targets annual production of 3.7 million lb of U3O8. The Langer Heinrich mine came into production in 2007 at a design capacity of 2.6 million lb/y of U3O8.

Capital cost for the Stage III project is estimated at $71 million, with no significant additional infrastructure required. Mine life continues to be projected at about 20 years, based on the assumption that drilling will continue to convert resources to reserves.

Elements of the Langer Heinrich Stage III expansion include installation of a second crushing and scrubbing line, with minor increases to the existing screening plant; addition of one leaching tank; addition of two counter-current decantation thickeners; and added adsorption and elution capacity. Some processing facilities required for Stage III were installed as part of Stage II construction, including expansion of pre-leach thickening, precipitation, product drying, and reagent dosing facilities. According to the company, the current power supply from the national grid and on-site generators is sufficient to provide for the expanded operation.

Paladin anticipates that implementation of the Stage III project will be driven largely by the procurement and delivery schedule for the new scrubber, which is likely to take about 12 months.

As featured in Womp 2009 Vol 06 -