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Home » News » Business » Letlhakane uranium project takes shape

Letlhakane uranium project takes shape

Publishing Date : 07 August, 2017

Author : AUBREY LUTE

A-Cap has said during the June 2017 quarter it continued to progress staged project optimization activities for the Letlhakane Uranium Project aimed to improve recovered uranium grade and reduce U3O8 process costs, focusing on acid supply and consumption.


Letlhakane has a high grade Resource of 83.7 million tonnes at 447ppm U3O8 for 82.5 million pounds of U3O8. It is also one of the top ten global undeveloped uranium deposits with a resource of 308Mlbs at a cut off at 100ppm U3O8. The Letlhakane Uranium Project is one of the world’s largest undeveloped Uranium Deposits. The Project lies adjacent to Botswana’s main North-South infrastructure corridor that includes a sealed all-weather highway, railway line and the national power grid, all of which make significant contributions to keeping the capital cost of future developments low.


According to A-Cap quarterly brief the project has the distinct advantage of having all the major infrastructure in place and is one of the few major undeveloped uranium projects in the world in a safe and stable jurisdiction. The strategy is to prepare the project for early development to enable the Company to fully capitalise on an expected recovery in the uranium price. On 12 September 2016 A-Cap was granted a Mining Licence by the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources over a portion of PL 45/2004 (Letlhakane). The Mining Licence is valid for a period of 22 years.


The brief indicates that the mining licence was granted on the basis of the results of an Environmental Impact Statement and technical study based on shallow open pit mining and heap leach processing to produce up to 3.75 million pounds of uranium per annum over a mine life of 18 years, incorporating the most up to date metallurgical results and process route, optimised mineral resources, mining, capital and operating costs developed by our feasibility specialists in Australia and internationally.


The SMU is defined by the proposed mining method utilising surface miners and the proposed grade control system using in-pit surface gamma radiation measurements. The Localised Uniform Conditioning (LUC) estimate best reflects the mining methodology envisaged, taking into account the surface miners selective mining capability combined with the proposed grade control methodology.


The accurate mining characteristics of surface miners and the ability to measure the gamma radiation on the surface during mining will ensure the optimum grade delivery to the process heap. The SMU of 20m x 4m x 0.25m forms the basis for the LUC estimation. Historic resource estimations were more reflective of conventional open pit mining and therefore had averaged resource data into blocks of bigger mining panels which smoothed or averaged the grade data.

Resettlement and compensation

Following the approval of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Letlhakane Uranium Project by the Botswana Department of Environment Affairs (DEA) in accordance with Section 12 (1a) of the Botswana Environmental Assessment Act, No.10, of 2011, A-Cap is now working on compensation and resettlement of those with land rights. The DEA formally approved the EIS on 13 May 2016. The study identified the overall environmental and social impacts associated with developing a uranium mine in Botswana. The EIS process and documentation was prepared by independent experts SLR Consulting (Africa) (Pty) Ltd (SLR), in conjunction with Botswana-based consulting firm Ecosurv (Pty) Ltd.


Surface Rights and Community Engagement Provisional surface rights were granted on 6 June 2016 over the 144sqkm area covering the Letlhakane Uranium Project. Environmental consultants Ecosurv, based in Gaborone, have been engaged to undertake the Resettlement action plan (RAP) as outlined in the approved EIS. The surface rights are provisional upon compensation for the affected land rights holders in the area being resolved. During the quarter, multiple consultations with the greater communities and directly affected parties were completed. An asset inventory survey was completed over the site to ascertain the number of properties and infrastructure within the area.

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