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(last updated 15 Nov 2016)


South Australia


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General

South Australia State Government pursues exploratory drilling for uranium deposits

Drilling for new uranium deposits across South Australia will be pursued by the State Government as it declares its support for increased participation in the nuclear industry.
The Government said it would support nine of 12 recommendations made earlier this year by former SA governor, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, when he released his Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission report.
They include developing a "state-wide mineral exploration drilling initiative to support the discovery of new deposits". (ABC Nov. 15, 2016)
> View: Government delivers response to Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report , 15 Nov. 2016 (SA Gov.)
> Download: Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission report , May 2016

 

Mundaerno property

Struggling Australian uranium explorer to switch business and grow cannabis in Canada: The share price of ASX-listed Capital Mining doubled on Monday (March 9) as the company announced plans to divest of its exploration assets in favour of becoming the first ASX-listed company to hold a stake in a licensed cannabis grower. Capital Mining entered into a heads of agreement to acquire a 49% stake in Canadian medical cannabis grower and distributor Broken Coast Cannabis (BCC), which currently has the capacity to produce 720 000 g/y of cannabis. (Mining Weekly Mar. 9, 2015)
Capital mining owns the Mundaerno uranium property in South Australia, among other gold, base metals, and platinum exploration assets.

Exploration tenements near Honeymoon mine awarded to Russian state-owned company, in spite of current uranium export ban to Russia

A Russian state-owned nuclear energy company, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp, has secured the rights to exploration tenements near its mothballed Honeymoon uranium mine in northern South Australia even though Prime Minister Tony Abbott banned uranium sales to Russia during a diplomatic stoush last year.
Honeymoon has been through a series of ownership changes. It is now 100 per cent owned by a subsidiary of Rosatom, Uranium One, which has just been awarded exploration tenements near the Honeymoon mine by SA authorities in a competitive tender. About eight other local companies were advised by letter late last week they had been unsuccessful in the tender. Mr Abbott last September banned future uranium sales to Russia over its backing of pro-Russia rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine. Uranium One has kept the Honeymoon mine, about 75 kilometres north-west of Broken Hill, shut for the past 15 months because of low uranium prices and some operational problems. (Brisbane Times Feb. 10, 2015)

South Korea begins uranium exploration in South Australia

The South Korean government has begun to invest in the exploration of uranium in Australia. The Koreans have formed a joint venture with Cauldron Energy , a Western Australian company, which is exploring for low grade uranium in the far north of South Australia.
The Marree Project, located 550 kilometres north of Adelaide comprises five exploration licences covering over 2500 km in the Eromanga Basin. The Korean consortium is a make up of governemnt owned Korea Resources Corporation with Daewoo and LG International. (ABC Jan. 2, 2013)

 

Opening of Woomera weapons test range to mining

Australian parliament passes bill to open Woomera weapons test range to mining: The South Australian Government has welcomed the passage of federal legislation freeing up the potential mineral resources in the Woomera Prohibited Area. The defence zone covers 127,000 square kilometres and Geoscience Australia thinks it contains 62 per cent of known copper and 78 per cent of known uranium resources in Australia. The legislation passed by Federal Parliament this week will create a regulatory framework for access to the zone, although defence will remain a primary user. (ABC July 17, 2014)

South Australia in talks to open Woomera weapons test range for uranium mining: South Australian Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis on Tuesday that the state was working with the federal government to open up the Woomera prohibited area (WPA) for exploration and mining. Occupying some 127,000 km2, the WPA is mainly pastoral country used for weapons tests, rocket launches and other experimental programmes. Koutsantonis said that the area within and directly adjacent to the WPA is estimated to contain around 78% of the nation's uranium resources, and some 62% of Australia's known copper resources. (Mining Weekly Feb. 28, 2012)

Plan opens Woomera defence zone to mining: A plan has been finalised to open up the vast Woomera Prohibited Area in the outback to mining projects. A review of management options for the area has concluded there is potential for more than A$35 billion of mining development over the next decade, including iron ore, gold and uranium projects. The plan leaves defence as the primary user of the area in outback South Australia and would create zones to allow access for other interests. Defence Minister Stephen Smith says it is in the national interest to change the access to Woomera.
About two years ago, the Federal Government cited national security as a reason for blocking a joint venture between Western Plains Resources and a Chinese company. The [iron] ore deposit was in the Woomera Prohibited Area. (ABC May 3, 2011)

 

South Australian Premier rules out uranium mine at Myponga Reservoir

South Australian Premier Mike Rann has issued a statement ruling out uranium mining near the Myponga Reservoir; his Cabinet would never approve a uranium mine anywhere near the Myponga Reservoir and there will be no uranium mining established near the reservoir while he is Premier. Exploration company Marathon Resources wants to conduct soil tests near Yankallila on the Fleurieu Peninsula to explore for minerals. (ABC Oct. 2, 2006)
On Nov. 29, 2006, Marathon Resources announced to relinquish the exploration licence at Myponga.

South Australia's ALP blocks new uranium mines in the State

On Oct. 9, 2005, a South Australian Labor Party conference strengthened opposition to expanding uranium mining. The conference endorsed, unanimously and without debate, a platform motion that says: "Labor continues to be opposed to the establishment of any new uranium mines and any expansion into the enrichment process." The platform binds an ALP state government until 2010.
Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear campaigner David Noonan now called on the South Australian Government to stop subsidising exploration for uranium, saying this policy - which gives some explorers a 50 per cent rebate on drilling costs - was a waste of public resources, in light of the ALP platform. (Australian Oct. 11, 2005)

 

Mount Gee

> View deposit details

Marathon Resources withdraws from uranium business, penalized and sorely tried

Minerals exploration company Marathon Resources has turned its back on the uranium industry for good. The company says its experience suggests the "risks were more likely to exceed rewards" in a sector hit by low ore prices. "Both the political and regulatory regimes have deterred us permanently from the uranium industry," chairman Peter Williams told the company's annual meeting in Adelaide on Thursday (Nov. 21).
Marathon previously has been involved in exploring a section of South Australia's Flinders Ranges with a view to developing a significant uranium deposit. However, it fell foul of the South Australian government over the disposal of waste while the government eventually moved to ban all mining in the environmentally-sensitive area anyway. (Canberra Times Nov. 21, 2013)

Fate of drilling waste from former uranium exploration in Arkaroola wilderness sanctuary still unclear

It's the nuclear-waste facility that few people know about - 21 barrels of medium- to high-level radioactive material stored in a tin shed in South Australia's Outback paradise. The waste is in the heart of Arkaroola, the Outback wilderness sanctuary the State Government hopes will one day be included on the World Heritage list. The facility, known as Painter Camp, is not registered under the Radiation Protection Act and a management plan for its safe and secure operation is still being developed.
In a revelation likely to outrage environmental groups and anti-nuclear campaigners, responsibility for Painter Camp now lies with the State Government, which a decade ago took its fight against the construction of a national radioactive waste depository in our Outback to the High Court. An EPA spokesperson said DMITRE has applied to have the facility, which sits in a gully in the shadows of uranium-rich Mt Gee and Arkaroola's famed Ridge Top Track, registered under the Radiation Protection Act. The EPA did not elaborate on the radiation levels of the materials, however, it is known radiation levels of the materials stored inside the barrels were too high for it to be returned to the ground during a rectification clean-up Marathon was ordered to take by the EPA in 2009. Most of the barrels now in the shed had been buried by Marathon as a way of disposing of them. (The Australian Dec. 25, 2012)

Marathon Resources receives A$ 5 million compensation over Arkaroola mining ban

> View here

Marathon Resources commences court action over Arkaroola mining ban

> View here

Mining ban proclaimed for Arkaroola region of the Flinders Ranges

> View here

Marathon Resources' exploration licence in Arkaroola wilderness sanctuary reinstated after three year suspension for improper waste disposal; protests in Adelaide

In February 2011 the Minister renewed exploration licence EL4355. (PIRSA Feb. 7, 2011)
About 40 people gathered outside Parliament House in Adelaide on Monday (Feb. 7) to protest on news of renewal of the exploration licence. (ABC Feb. 7, 2011)

Marathon Resources to obtain new exploration licence in Arkaroola wilderness sanctuary

The State Government has announced it intends to renew Marathon Resources' exploration licence for one year, half the period sought by the company. Marathon was ordered to suspend drilling two years ago after it was found to have breached waste disposal conditions by burying waste at the mine site. The discovery of drilling core samples and other waste buried at the mine site in 2008 sparked a formal investigation.
Acting Mineral Resources Development Minister Jack Snelling said the Government would now hold discussions about new oversight with the company before granting exploration rights. The concession comes amid calls for a complete mining ban in Arkaroola due to biodiversity and environmental concerns. (Adelaide Now Dec. 20, 2010)

New frog species found at Mount Gee uranium exploration site

The owner of Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary says discovery of a new frog species is yet another reason to be wary of mining in the Flinders Ranges region of outback South Australia. Scientists say it is the first new species to be identified in SA in 45 years. The species was found this month at Arkaroola, where Marathon Resources is involved in a uranium exploration project at Mount Gee. Sanctuary owner Marg Sprigg says she is worried Marathon's initial drilling program could lead to it getting a full drilling licence later in the year. "I'm a geologist, I'm not against mining but I don't think you have to mine everywhere and there were a lot of geologists who put in submissions saying 'leave Arkaroola alone, it is too special, it's a brilliant geological teaching laboratory'." Ms Sprigg says mining could prevent more unique species being found in the Flinders Ranges. (ABC June 16, 2010)

Marathon Resources penalized upon contamination probe at Mount Gee uranium exploration site

On April 28, 2009, Marathon announced that the South Australian Government has approved the rectification works at the MtGee uranium exploration site.
> Download Closure Report (Independent Verification of Rectification Works EL3258) (6.5MB PDF - PIRSA)
> Download Formal notification letter following completion of rectification works EL 3258 (PDF - PIRSA)

A clean-up plan has been approved by the South Australian Government for a mining company caught dumping waste in Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges. Marathon Resources was forced to stop drilling in the wilderness area early this year after it was found to have breached sections of its uranium exploration licence by burying waste last year. It was ordered by the SA Government to clean up about 35 tonnes of waste buried in plastic and calico bags. The Department of Primary Industries and Resources has now formally approved Marathon's clean-up plan. (ABC Aug. 12, 2008)

The Government of South Australia suspended Marathon Resources exploration drilling operations at Mt Gee indefinitely for Exploration Licence EL3258 in February 2008. (PIRSA)

A uranium explorer which wrongly disposed of drill samples at an outback wilderness site has had its operations suspended indefinitely. Marathon Resources had been under investigation by the South Australian Government and police over work at its Mount Gee deposit in the Arkaroola wilderness sanctuary of the Flinders Ranges. SA Premier Mike Rann says the incorrect disposal of waste at the site was a significant breach of the company's exploration licence. The SA Government has told the mining company it will have to clean up the site and satisfy other conditions before it will be allowed to resume work. Police were called in to investigate in December when bags of drilling samples were found buried just below the surface. Marathon Resources chairman Peter Williams says the waste was wrongly buried at its exploration site in 2006. (ABC Feb. 12, 2008)

Alleged environmental contamination at the Mount Gee uranium deposit in the far north of South Australia are being investigated by SA Government and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). Police have reported alleged contamination at drilling holes on the site. Marathon Resources is alleged to have wrongly disposed of resource samples at the site. (ABC Jan. 16, 2008)

Pre Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Study commissioned for proposed Mt Gee uranium mine

On Dec. 18, 2007, Marathon Resources Ltd announced it had given the go-ahead for both a Pre Feasibility Study (PFS) and Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to begin.
"The purpose of the PFS is to cost the technical viability of underground extraction of uranium ore to a near-site processing facility," Marathon Director, Mr Denis Wood, said. On April 3, 2007, the company had announced the interim scoping report indicated the viability of an underground operation targeting a production rate of over 1,000 tonnes of U3O8 [848 t U] per year. The PFS is expected to be completed by March 2009.
Environmental issues that form part of the EIS include groundwater impacts, surface water management, flora and fauna, Aboriginal heritage management, air and noise quality, and land use impacts. The EIS is expected to take 12 to 18 months to be completed.

 

Olympic Dam (Roxby Downs)

> View deposit details

> View more recent issues

WMC Ltd have announced the more than doubling of production at Olympic Dam (Roxby Downs) to increase annual capacity to 3135 tonnes of uranium by 2001. The company will apply for environmental approvals for the proposed project plus a further possible increase in production in the future. The mine draws its water from the Great Artesian Basin and already has in place approvals for drawing 42 megalitres per day, which will cover anticipated needs. [UIC Weekly News Summary 19 July 1996]
WMC intends to increase Olympic Dam's output to approximately 8 million lbs U3O8 (3077 tU) in 1999 and 10 million lbs (3846 tU) in 2000, on completion of the expansion project, expected in March. (UI News Briefing 1/99)

WMC released its Environmental Impact Statement of the expansion on 12 May 1997: View WMC announcement , background info , EIS summary .
The EIS was open for public comments for a period of eight weeks.

In November 1997, Environment Australia published its Olympic Dam EIS Assessment Report.
> View full text of assessment (146k)

For details of the environmental assessment process, see the Australian Environmental Protection Agency Environment Assessment Branch notifications on the Olympic Dam Expansion project .

On 8 December 1997, the Minister of Environment, Senator Hill, gave environmental clearance for the project (press release 146/97 ). The approval of the Minister of Resources and Energy, Senator Parer, is still pending.

 

Honeymoon

> View deposit info
> View PIRSA announcements

> See also: South Australia to assess environmental impact of acid in-situ leach uranium mining

> View more recent issues

 

Commissioning at the Honeymoon Project commenced in September 2011. Commissioning will be completed when a pre-defined operating level, based on the design of the plant, is maintained. (Uranium One Inc. Nov. 7, 2011)

On Apr. 29, 2011, PIRSA released the Operational Mining and Rehabilitation Program for the Honeymoon Uranium Mine, as submitted by Uranium One on Mar. 25, 2011.
> Download Mining and Rehabilitation Program Honeymoon Uranium Mine (10.3MB PDF)
> Download Mining and Rehabilitation Program - Attachments (10MB PDF)

Commissioning of Australia's fourth uranium mine begins next month. The start to the long process should result in first production before the end of the year from the A$138 million Honeymoon project in South Australia, a joint venture between Canada's Uranium One (51 per cent interest) and Japan's Mitsui & Co (49 per cent). (The Age March 12, 2010)

Construction has begun on South Australia's third uranium mine. Preparatory work at the Honeymoon project in the state's far north-east will continue until the middle of next year, with mining to start after that. (ABC April 24, 2009)

On Dec. 12, 2008, Ausenco Limited announced that it has signed a deal with Uranium One Australia to use its engineering procurement and construction management services on Uranium One's Honeymoon uranium project in South Australia. The remaining development of the Honeymoon project would involve capital investment in the order of A$70 million to A$80 million. The contract award follows the completion of the initial feasibility study; technical reviews and engineering program completed earlier this year. Ausenco said the Honeymoon project was expected to produce about 880,000 pounds of U3O8 [338 t U] per year and the transition to this phase followed the successful entry into a joint venture by Uranium One with Mitsui.

On Oct. 15, 2008, Mitsui & Co Ltd said it has agreed to buy a 49% stake in six uranium deposits in South Australia from Uranium One Inc. Mitsui projected to spend A$104 million ($73 million) in the purchase and development of the deposits. One of the blocks, Honeymoon project, is expected to start commercial production in end-2009 or 2010, with annual production of 400 tonnes, for a production period of six years. (Reuters Oct 15, 2008)

On May 15, 2008, Uranium One announced it has decided to suspend development activities at Honeymoon "to allow for evaluation of corporate development opportunities for the project". The Corporation's production guidance for 2009 had previously included 600,000 pounds of U3O8 [231 t U] expected to be produced from Honeymoon.

Uranium One has received full approval for its mining operations at the Honeymoon mine, north of Olary in far north South Australia. The South Australian Government approved the company's mining and rehabilitation program 10 days ago, and now the state Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given its approval to the mine's radioactive waste management plan and radiation management plan. Approval comes with several stipulations and marks the beginning of mine construction, although the company will again go under review before production begins. (ABC Jan. 21, 2008)
> Download SA EPA documents

The South Australian Government has given final approval for construction of the Honeymoon uranium mine. Some conditions remain to be met by the company Uranium One, but production is expected to begin before the end of the year. The mine is expected to produce up to 400 tonnes of uranium oxide annually using an acid-solution method. The company forecasts the mine will have a life of up to seven years. The Department for PIRSA approved the Mining and Rehabilitation Program, under the Mining Act 1971, for construction of the wellfield process plant and related infrastructure. (ABC/Adelaide Now Jan. 11, 2008)
> Download Honeymoon Mining and Rehabilitation Program (PIRSA)

According to Uranium One executive vice president Australia and Asia, Greg Cochran, there would be around a three-month delay in the start up of Honeymoon in South Australia, expected to start in the second quarter of 2008. Originally the start up date was pegged for the first quarter of 2008. Cochran explained a different method of uranium recovery, known as pulse column technology, was behind the delay. Honeymoon will produce 880,000 pounds of uranium [338 t U] a year over a six year mine life. (MiningNews Aug. 9, 2007)

On Jan. 4, 2007, sxr Uranium One Inc. announced that the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Resources of Australia has approved Uranium One's request for a new Permission to Export Natural Uranium from the Honeymoon Uranium Project. The Export Permit has been granted for a period of ten (10) years, taking effect from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2016, inclusive. Uranium One is looking forward to bring the project into production in 2008.

On Sep. 29, 2006, South Australia's Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issued Honeymoon owners Uranium One, through its subsidiary Southern Cross Resources, a licence for commercial mining operations. The environmental approval was the final step in the process for Uranium One to proceed with mining at the Honeymoon site in SA's far north-east. EPA chief executive Paul Vogel said the licence permitted the owners to mine and mill uranium by the acid in-situ leach mining technique. (Sydney Morning Herald, 29 Sep. 2006)

On Aug. 29, 2006, sxr Uranium One Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved the development of the Honeymoon In-Situ Leach (ISL) Uranium Project in north-eastern South Australia. The decision is based on a feasibility study prepared by Mayfield Engineering Pty Ltd. and others. This study reduced the uranium resource estimate by 12% to 2460 t U.
The Mayfield feasibility study examined the development of a commercial uranium ISL project with an annual production capacity of 400 tonnes of U3O8 (339 t U) and a total project life of between 6 - 7 years. The basic wellfield design will be based on '7-spot' patterns consisting of six injection wells arranged in a 20 - 60 metre hexagon, with a centrally located production well. Project commissioning is expected within 17 months.
> Download Summary of Feasibility Study, July 2006 (4.3M PDF - SEDAR)

On May 25, 2006, SXR Uranium One Inc. submitted an application to the South Australian Environment Protection Authority for a commercial licence to mine and mill radioactive ore at its Honeymoon Project, South Australia. The company already holds a Federal Export License and State Mining Lease 6109 over the Honeymoon and East Kalkaroo project area. The company is in the final stages of completing a NI 43-101 compliant feasibility study on the Honeymoon Project due to be completed in June 2006, which will then be presented to the sxr Uranium One Board of Directors for approval and a commercial production commitment decision in the third quarter of 2006. (SXR Uranium One Inc., May 25, 2006)
Public comment can be submitted until June 30, 2006.
> View related SA EPA documents

The South Australian Democrats say they are concerned by reports China is negotiating the purchase of a share in the Honeymoon uranium project, located in the state's north-east. It has been revealed Chinese officials have held ongoing discussions with the mine's owner, Southern Cross Resources, who want the project to be fully operational by late next year. (ABC Jan. 12, 2006)
SXR Uranium One Inc., however, denied that the Honeymoon project is for sale. (SXR Uranium One Inc., Jan. 12, 2006)

Following completion of an analysis of development options for its Honeymoon project, Southern Cross Resources Inc. has announced the decision to delay development of the project. (SXR Nov. 1, 2004)

Honeymoon uranium mine's owners, Southern Cross Resources, is yet to find financial backing for the multimillion-dollar project. The mine is in care and maintenance mode after trial mining ended at Honeymoon, about 400km northeast of Adelaide, almost three years ago. The project has secured a mineral lease from the State Government, and federal export approval, but has yet to gain a commercial milling and mining licence from the radiation protection division of the state's Environment Protection Authority. (The Advertiser 21 Mar 2003)

An obstacle has emerged to plans for the Honeymoon Uranium Mine in South Australia to move from trial status to fully commercial production: While the mine does have full Federal approvals, it does not have the necessary approvals from South Australia's State Government and that's sparked a new call from conservationists for the State Government to follow Labor Party policy and shut down the mine. (ABC Oct. 2, 2002)

On Feb. 11, 2002, Southern Cross Resources Inc. announced that its 100% owned subsidiary Southern Cross Resources Australia Pty has concluded and registered a Native Title Mining Agreement with the Adnyamathanha people. With this finalization of claims, the South Australian State Government has granted Southern Cross Resources Australia Pty the mining lease for Honeymoon.

On Dec. 5, 2001, Planning SA released the Assessment Report for the Environmental Impact Statement - Honeymoon Uranium Report
> Download announcement (Dec. 5, 2001) (PDF)
> Download full Assessment Report (5.3M PDF)

On Dec. 5, 2001, only one week after receiving final government approval for the mine, Southern Cross Resources confirmed an acid excursion that occured in 1999. The leach acid solution, which is injected into a bottom aquifer at the mine site to dissolve uranium ore, escaped into an overlying middle aquifer. (The Australian 6 Dec 2001)

On Nov. 28, 2001, the South Australian Government has given the final go-ahead for the Honeymoon uranium mine. The last hurdle to be cleared by the mine is native title talks, which Minerals and Energy Minister Wayne Matthew said were close to being resolved.
> View Minister's press release

On Nov. 26, 2001, the Federal Government gave the final go-ahead for the mine project: Federal Industry and Resources Minister Nick Minchin announced he would issue an export permit for the project.
> View Minister's press release (Nov. 26, 2001)

On Nov. 21, 2001, the Federal Government has given the final environmental clearances to the Honeymoon Uranium mine.
> View Minister's press release (Nov. 21, 2001)

On Feb. 1, 2001, Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has decided that before he can make a final decision on the Honeymoon uranium mine proposal further detailed information is required on the hydrology of the Honeymoon aquifers. It is not clear yet whether the re-injection of waste solutions will have adverse environmental impacts.
> View Minister's press release (Feb. 1, 2001)

On 22 November 2000, Southern Cross Resources Australia released a supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) into the mine - which is expected to be assessed by the federal and SA governments by early 2001. The company had received 1,346 responses to its original EIS, released in August 2000.
> Download announcement of Supplemental EIS (52k PDF)

The Environmental Impact Statement for the Honeymoon mine has been publicly released on June 7, 2000. Public submissions had to be made by 2 August 2000.
> see Australian EIA Network Notification
> View Summary of the Honeymoon EIS

Legal action is taken against owners of Honeymoon uranium mine: The Adnyamathanha Lands Council is pursuing legal action against the Honeymoon Uranium Mine, because it claims the proponents have not sought permission from the traditional owners to mine the land. (ABC News 14 Feb. 2000)

On Nov. 11, 1998, Southern Cross Resources Inc. announced that the existing plant capable of producing 250,000 pounds of U3O8 (96 t U) per year will be expanded to increase U3O8 production to the rate of 1.1 million pounds (423 t U) per year during the third quarter of 1999.

The Draft Guidelines for an Environmental Impact Statement of the Honeymoon project were open for public comment until 3 November 1997.
> View Final Guidelines for EIS

For details of the environmental assessment process, see the Australian Environmental Protection Agency Environment Assessment Branch notifications on the Honeymoon uranium project .

A Field Leach Trial (FLT), which commenced in April 1998, was completed in August 2000.

Sedimentary Holdings NL has announced that it has reached agreement with MIM Holdings Ltd to acquire the Honeymoon and two adjacent uranium deposits in South Australia next to its own Chatfield deposits with a view to developing them. This brings together uranium resources of about 6800 tonnes U3O8 averaging 0.15% and amenable to in-situ leaching. [UIC Weekly News Summary, 14 Feb 1997]

 

Junction Dam

> View deposit details

Positive test results pave way for uranium field leach trials at Junction Dam: Uranium explorer Marmota Energy is preparing to do field leach trials at its Junction Dam deposit near Broken Hill after receiving positive test results. Before that starts, Marmota will have to do baseline studies on the environment in the area near Cockburn in South Australia. (ABC July 19, 2013)

 

Beverley

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The Beverley uranium mine in South Australia's far north was officially opened on 21 Feb. 2001 (ABC News 21 Feb. 2001)

The Beverley Uranium Mine has now officially started commercial production. The mine is expected to operate at its full capacity of 1000 tonnes U3O8 per year by early 2001. (ABC News 3 Nov 2000)

31 protesters were arrested at the Beverley Uranium mine site on 9 May 2000. Between 40 and 50 people entered the Heathgate mining lease without permission and refused to leave. (The Age 9 May 2000)
About 10 protestors were arrested at the mine site on 7 May 2000. About 80 protestors were blocking the main entrance to the site. (ABC News 8 May 2000)

Six anti-uranium protestors have been arrested at the Beverley Uranium mine site on 7 Nov. 1999. The protestors were arrested after they allegedly tried to stop construction at the mine. (ABC News 7 Nov 1999)
Five of the people arrested on 7 Nov. have been bailed to reappear at Port Augusta Magistrates Court on November the 16th, 1999. They were charged with trespass and obstructing a public place. They were given bail on the conditions they not re-enter the Wooltana lease nor go near the Beverley Uranium Mine. (ABC News 8 Nov 1999)

Construction at the Beverley uranium mine site in South Australia's north has begun with work starting on roads to the site as well as an airstrip. It is expected that construction on the well fields related to initial production will start from after the Christmas break and be completed by mid 2000. (ABC News 22 Sep 1999)

On 30 April 1999, Australian Industry, Science and Resources Minister Nick Minchin gave final approval for Heathgate Resources to proceed with its Beverley uranium mine in South Australia. Heathgate expects commercial production to begin in the second quarter of the year 2000, with production capacity of 1000 tonnes of U3O8 a year, and initial annual production of 500 tonnes.
> View Minister Minchin's press release of 30 April 1999

On 18 March 1999, Federal Environment Minister Hill gave the environmental approval for the Beverley project. He said he was now, after further assessment by the Australian Geological Survey Organisation , satisfied "that no hydraulic connection exists between the Beverley aquifer and other surrounding groundwater".
The final decision on the project has to be issued by Federal Resources Minister Nick Minchin. The South Australian State Government is set to grant the necessary mining licences within six weeks.
> View Assessment Of The Beverley Uranium Mine Proposal - Beverley Uranium Mine Environmental Impact Statement By Heathgate Resources Pty Ltd by Bureau of Rural Sciences, Land and Water Sciences Division (previously) Australian Geological Survey Organisation, Geohazards, Land and Water Resources Division, Canberra 1999

On 24 Dec. 1998, Federal Environment Minister Hill signalled the go-ahead for the Beverley project. Before issuing final environmental approval for the project, however, he requested some further tests on the project's likely impact on local groundwater. These tests are to show that the planned injection of waste liquids from the in-situ leaching operation into the Beverley aquifer won't endanger the surrounding groundwater. The tests should be completed within a few months. Upon issuance of environmental approval, Federal Resources Minister, Nick Minchin, would decide if approval is granted for the Beverley mine. (The Age/The Australian 25 Dec. 1998)
> View Environment Australia's Environment Assessment Report (133k) of the Beverley EIS (December 1998)
> View further supporting documents (Env. Australia)
> Download PIRSA Beverley Uranium Mine - Assessment Report: 150k PDF · 220k MS Word (Dec. 1998)

On 12 Nov. 1998, the government of South Australia announced that it has delayed the issuance of its environmental assessment of the Beverley project for one month. It is now being expected for early December.

During a public meeting held on August 7, 1998, Heathgate's project manager was forced to concede a spill that had occured on March 12 at the Beverley trial site. The uranium-bearing solution had escaped as a fine spray following the rupture of a pipeline carrying sulphuric acid uranium solution from extraction wells to the processing plant. ``It is estimated that the total loss was less than 500 litres over an area of about 50 square metres,'' he said. The contaminated site had been cordoned off – not cleaned up. (Reuters, Aug. 7 / The Australian, Aug. 8, 1998)

The new Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Beverley uranium mine was released for public comment by Heathgate Resources Pty Ltd on June 29, 1998.
The Supplementary EIS has been released on Oct. 3, 1998.

The Final Guidelines for an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed development of the Beverley Uranium Project were released in March 1998.

For details of the environmental assessment process, see the Australian Environmental Protection Agency Environment Assessment Branch notifications on the Beverley uranium mining project .

"At the Uranium'98 Conference, Heathgate Resources announced that the project's resources were almost doubled to 21,000t U3O8 at 0.18%, accessible by in-situ leaching. The current field trial is surpassing expectations. It consists of a 25m x 25m quincunx pattern of 4 injection wells and one production well with pump, delivering 75kg U3O8 per day to the pilot plant. Subject to its EIS and other approvals, production at 900 t/yr could begin in mid 1999." [UIC Weekly News Summary, 13 Feb 1998]

"A $5 million, 4-12 month field leach trial has begun at the Beverley uranium prospect in northern South Australia. The trial, using weak acid solution with oxygen, was approved by state authorities as part of the environmental impact assessment. Four injection wells and a single extraction well are involved. The pH of the aquifer will be lowered from 6.3 to about 3.5.
If the EIS is approved, Heathgate Resources will construct a $25 million wellfield and plant to produce 900 tonnes of uranium oxide per year by in situ leaching. Some 11,000 tonnes of uranium is contained in ore over an area of 4 km x 500 m, within a highly saline, radioactive aquifer at 110-140 metres depth.
From mid January, some 30-50 kg/day of U3O8 is being recovered in a small plant as a by-product of the trial. It remains the property of the SA government." [UIC Weekly News Summary, 9 Jan 1998]

The Bevereley uranium prospect in South Australia, owned by General Atomics of USA, is being proposed for development within three years. It would be an in-situ leach operation, with 6 Mt grading 0.27% U3O8 (16,200 t) resources, making it the largest Australian deposit of its kind. [UIC Weekly News Summary, 14 Feb 1997]

 

Beverley Four Mile ISL project

> View deposit info
> See also: Beverley ISL mine (Heathgate Resources Pty Ltd)
> View PIRSA announcements

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Alliance Resources to sell its share in Beverley Four Mile uranium in situ leach mine: On June 17, 2014, Alliance Resources announced that it has initiated "a global marketing process" for the sale of its 25% interest in the Four Mile Uranium Project.

Beverley Four Mile uranium in situ leach mine starts operation: On Apr. 14, 2014, Alliance Resources announced that final commissioning and start-up of in situ recovery mining operations at Four Mile East is to commence the same day. All required approvals to begin mining in the first stage mining area have been received effective 11 April 2014.
The mine has been officially opened on June 25, 2014 (ABC June 25, 2014).

Beverley Four Mile uranium in situ leach project commissioning: On Mar. 28, 2014, Alliance Resources announced that the Four Mile project is on schedule to commence production in April 2014.

Construction commences at Beverley Four Mile uranium in situ leach project: On Dec. 3, 2013, Alliance Resources Ltd announced that it has received notice from Quasar Resources Pty Ltd advising that construction at the Four Mile project has begun.

Beverley Four Mile ISL project obtains final federal environmental approval: South Australia's next uranium mine in the Flinders Ranges has cleared its final regulatory hurdle, receiving Commonwealth Government environmental clearance. The mine monitoring, closure and community engagement plans required under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act had been approved, Alliance Resources said.
The State Government last month approved its Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) which covers the safe environmental management of the mine during operation and its rehabilitation once mining is over. In addition to the PEPR, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has also approved a Licence for Mining and Mineral Procession at Four Mile, including Radiation Management and Radioactive Waste Management plans.
The project now has to submit modifications to existing PEPR at operations in Beverley and Beverley North to accommodate the integration of the Four Mile operations and pay a Rehabilitation Liability Bond. (news.com.au Sep. 3, 2013)

Beverley Four Mile ISL project obtains final state environmental approval: A new uranium mine in South Australia's north has been given the go ahead by the state government. The Four Mile mine has passed the final environmental approval process and Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis says it will create jobs both during the construction phase and for its ongoing operations. (SkyNews Aug. 16, 2013)
> Download Four Mile uranium mine - Program for environment protection and rehabilitation, and radioactive waste management plan, Heathgate Resources Pty Ltd, August 2013 (13.1MB PDF - DMITRE)

Decision to recommence development of Four Mile uranium in situ leach project: On Oct. 24, 2012, Alliance Resources Limited announced that a decision to recommence development of the Four Mile Project was made today with Quasar Resources Pty Ltd voting its 75% interest in favour and Alliance Craton Explorer Pty Ltd voting its 25% interest against Quasar's proposed Start-Up Plan.
The Start-Up Plan comprises: uranium capture at Heathgate Resources Pty Ltd's Pannikan satellite plant with elution, precipitation, drying and packing at Heathgate's Beverley processing plant; in-situ recovery (ISR) mining operations commencing at Four Mile East in Q2 2013 and at Four Mile West in Q4 2013, and first uranium sales are scheduled for Q3 2013.

Litigation on Four Mile uranium project settled: The junior partner in Four Mile, the ASX-listed Alliance Resources (25%), yesterday revealed that long-running litigation with its joint venture partner, US group Heathgate (75%) - has been settled. The terms of the settlement are confidential but are expected to clear the way for the long-delayed project to be developed.
Four Mile was meant to start production in April this year after winning clearance from then federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett in July last year. (Sydney Morning Herald Dec. 6, 2011)

Uranium developer Alliance Resources on Monday (Apr. 18) warned shareholders that the capital cost for its proposed Four Mile uranium project, in South Australia, could increase by as much as 25%.
The increase to the project cost was based on a new five-million pound a year stand alone in-situ recover (ISR) and uranium plant for the Four Mile project, taking the entire capital cost to around A$210.1-million, from the original estimate of A$168-million.
The increase in the capital cost estimates of the optimisation study compared with the previous scoping study estimates for the five-million pound a year processing plant, and was owing to the increases in the estimates for well fields, equipment and engineering, processing, construction and maintenance, as well as electrical works. (Mining Weekly Apr. 18, 2011)

Alliance Resources is investigating building a $168 million uranium processing plant at Four Mile, as the stalemate between the project's joint venture parties shows no sign of resolution. The announcement comes as Alliance launches further legal action against Quasar and affiliate Heathgate, accusing it of misleading practices under the Trade Practices Act. The two parties had been developing a $110 million uranium mine near Beverley, which was expected to be in production this year as the state's next major mine. The new mine was to be a "satellite" operation connected to the Heathgate-owned Beverley uranium mine, but last year the development was shelved because of a legal dispute over native title registration. (Adelaide Now July 20, 2010)

Court to review Federal approval of Beverley Four Mile ISL uranium mine: On Dec. 11, 2009, Alliance Resources Ltd announced that proceedings have been commenced in the Federal Court of Australia (Sydney Registry) by Alan Oshlack of the Indigenous Justice Advocacy Network seeking a review of Federal Minister Peter Garrett's decision in July 2009 to grant environmental approval for the Four Mile Project. (ABC Dec. 11, 2009)

On Sep. 21, 2009, Alliance Resources Limited announced that the schedule for commissioning of the Four Mile Uranium Project in South Australia has been delayed to April 2010 or beyond. The delay is due to the inability of joint venture partner and manager Quasar Resources Pty Ltd to begin on-site construction at Four Mile and placing project development activities on hold due to a delay in the grant of a mining lease. The offer of a mining lease by PIRSA is pending registration of the Native Title Mining Agreement (NTMA) covering the Four Mile uranium mine.

Uranium mining in the far north of South Australia at the Beverley location near Arkaroola Wilderness Resort is being openly challenged by Aboriginal Traditional Owner Mrs Enice Marsh. She is concerned that the new Beverly Four Mile uranium mine is destroying sacred sites, polluting the environment unnecessarily, and promoting a culture of bullying. "If mining continues to expand it will be a total disaster all round: what will happen to the land, the water, the bush tucker and the animals?" she said. "There's no independent monitoring up there," Mrs Marsh said and "the mine only has a life expectancy of eight to ten years but would leave a legacy of damage for generations to come." "Native Title has failed to protect our sites and the governing body that should be representing the interests of the whole community is failing in its duty of care." (Flinders News Aug. 21, 2009)

The chairman of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Land Association says the Four Mile Mine was inevitable and Aboriginal people have been disempowered. Vince Coulthard says the Adnyamathanha people have entered into an agreement with the developer Quasar, which gives some positive outcomes fo the community - unlike previous developments. He says many of his people are deeply hurt about the development but says it is out of their control. "Well I think people have come to the understanding that if they didn't support it- it's going to happen [in] any case so the best thing to do is to negotiate an agreement," he said. (ABC July 17, 2009)

Aboriginal elders want the federal government to defer its decision on a new Four Mile uranium mine in South Australia until an independent Aboriginal heritage investigation is completed. Adnyamathanha (Adnyamathanha) elders, who are the traditional owners of the land where the new mine is be to established, say the approval is in breach of regulations governing Aboriginal heritage protection. (SBS July 15, 2009)

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has given the go ahead for the operation of the Four Mile uranium mine, near the existing Beverley mine. Mr Garrett says waste from the mine will be processed at the existing Beverley mine. (ABC July 14, 2009)

On Jan. 8, 2009, PIRSA released the Beverley Four Mile Project Mining Lease Proposal for public comment.
The Beverley Four Mile Project entails construction of a satellite facility on Heathgate's existing Beverley mining lease, close to the Four Mile deposits, and construction of in-site recovery (ISR) wellfields of the same design as currently used on the Beverley mining lease. This satellite facility would remove the uranium from the ISR liquor by physical means, producing uranium bearing resin, which would be trucked to the Beverley processing plant. The resin would then be stripped of uranium, and trucked back to the satellite facility.
Minor modifications would be required at the Beverley processing plant to accept the uranium-bearing resin, however there would be no net increase in uranium processing capacity. The uranium stripped from the resin would be processed at Beverley, and the small quantity of liquid waste arising would be disposed of at Beverley.
Please respond by 20 February 2009 with any factors that should be considered in the assessment of this application.
> Download Beverley Four Mile Project Mining Lease Proposal (PIRSA)

On Sep. 25, 2008, Alliance Resources Ltd announced the decision to mine the Four Mile deposit by in-situ leaching. Uranium concentrate production is proposed to commence in January 2010, ramping up to 3 million lbs U3O8 [1,154 t U] per annum within three months. It is proposed to construct a satellite pre-processing plant close to the Four Mile deposits to recover uranium from ISL mining solutions for transport to the existing Beverley uranium processing facility for further processing, drying and packaging of uranium concentrate.

Traditional owners back more uranium mining: The chairman of the Adnyamathana Traditional Lands Association says he will support greater mining of uranium on his community's land. An affiliate of Heathgate Resources, Quasar, lodged an application last month for a mining lease just north of the Beverley uranium mine in outback South Australia. Vince Coulthard says while all the traditional Land is sacred, he must note the benefits from mining. (ABC June 25, 2008)

A native title applicant for the land surrounding the Four Mile uranium deposit in South Australia says she will not sign off on any agreement for mining to start. A member of the Adnyamathana community, Gillian Anderson, says she is seeking legal advice to help prevent what she describes as a devastation of sacred land. Ms Anderson has already been taken to court for not signing a lease for an extension of Heathgate's Beverley mine and says she will take the matter to court if necessary. But the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association say it is happy with the benefits the mines bring for its community. (ABC May 27, 2008)

An application has been lodged by Quasar Resources Pty Ltd, an affiliate of Beverley operator Heathgate Resources, to develop the Four Mile uranium deposit in South Australia. The mine at Four Mile would be about 10 kilometres north-west of the Beverley mine and use the same processing facilities. It is planned to be working by 2010 and employ 200 people. (The Age May 19, 2008)

On Apr. 28, 2008, Alliance Resources Ltd announced that project manager Quasar Resources is now planning to apply for a Mining Lease rather than a Retention Lease over the Four Mile project. A feasibility study consisting of the establishment of a mineral resource estimate at Four Mile East, and positive outcomes of hydrological and metallurgical studies, are anticipated to make redundant the previously planned field leach trial. This decision means that First Stage Mining at Four Mile is now scheduled to commence after grant of the Mining Lease (anticipated to be late 2009).

On Jan. 16, 2008, Alliance Resources Ltd announced the results of a Concept Evaluation Study for the Four Mile in-situ leach project. Uranium concentrate production is proposed to commence in 2010, at a projected start-up capacity of 1.5 Mlb [577 t U] per year, potentially increasing up to 4.5 Mlb [1731 t U] per year production capacity. A Field Leach Trial is scheduled to commence in June Quarter 2008 to assess the use of ISL at the Four Mile Project.

 

Beverley North Extension ISL project

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Crocker Well Uranium Field, Mt Victoria deposit

> View deposit details: Crocker Well · Mt Victoria
> View PIRSA announcements

On July 15, 2014, PepinNini announced the signing of a Sale and Purchase Agreement for its 40% interest in the Uranium and Mineral Resources Joint Venture between PepinNini Resources Curnamona Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of PepinNini Minerals Ltd, and Sinosteel SA Pty Ltd .

On Dec. 11, 2009, PepinNini announced that financial modeling indicates the Crocker Well project is not viable based on current market conditions. "Accordingly the joint venture alliance between Sinosteel Corporation and PepinNini Minerals Limited has decided to delay the finalisation of a BFS (Bankable Feasibility Study) until there is a substantial increase in the price of uranium and a substantial sustained improvement in the American dollar."

On Sep. 2, 2008, the Sinosteel/PepinNini Joint Venture announced that it has lodged an application for a Mining Lease with the South Australian Government for the development of a uranium mine at Crocker Well.

On Aug. 8, 2008, the Sinosteel/Pepinnini joint venture announced that it has lodged a Referral under the Commonwealth Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act for the development of a uranium mine at Crocker Well in South Australia.
> Download Referral: Sinosteel PepinNini Curnamona Management Pty Ltd /Mining/Plumbago Station, 62km S of Mannahill, 210km W of Broken Hill/SA/Crocker Well Uranium Project, Date Received: 13 Aug 2008, Reference Number: 2008/4386

Sinosteel Corporation and Pepinnini Minerals Ltd have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enter a strategic alliance for the joint participation and co-operation in the development and operation of the Crocker Well and Mt Victoria uranium deposits and other commodities in the Curnamona Province of South Australia.
Subject to appropriate legally binding agreements and government approvals, Sinosteel will pay Pepinnini A$30.5 million for a 60% stake in the newly formed company that holds the project and tenements. Subject to the successful completion of a bankable feasibility study to develop the uranium prospects, Sinosteel shall enter into an offtake agreement for 100% of the projected output on normal commercial terms to underpin an appropriate level of project debt.
The MOU is signifcant in that it represents the first direct involvement of a Chinese company in the potential development of a uranium deposit in Australia. (Pepinnini Sep. 13, 2006)
The Foreign Investment Review Board say they have no objections to China's Sinosteel Corporation acquiring a 60 per cent interest in uranium explorer, PepinNini Minerals Curnamona Pty Ltd. (The Sydney Morning Herald April 4, 2007)
The joint venture agreement between China's Sinosteel Corporation and Sydney-based Pepinnini Minerals Limited has been formalised at a ceremony in Beijing. (ABC Apr. 11, 2007)

 

Oban ISL project

> View deposit details
> View PIRSA announcements

Oban ISL uranium field leach trial

On Oct. 4, 2012, the referral for the proposed Oban in situ leach uranium project was withdrawn.

Curnamona Energy expects to start a mining trial at its Oban uranium project in the state's east next month. The Adelaide company has signed a contract for the construction of a well house to be used in an in-situ leach mining trial. Construction would take one month, after which the trial would start. (Adelaide Now Feb. 12, 2010)

On Sep. 17, 2009, Oban Energy Pty Ltd submitted a referral for the Oban Uranium Deposit In situ Recovery Mining Operation.
On Oct. 16, 2009, Environment Australia decided that the proposed action is a controlled action and the project will require assessment and approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed.

> View EPBC Referral 2009/5090

On Dec. 8, 2008, Curnamona Energy Ltd announced that it has lodged the Mining and Rehabilitation Program (MARP) document for the field leach trial with PIRSA. The Mining and Rehabilitation Plan was approved in March 2009.
> Download Oban MARP March 2009: Vol.1 (5.2M PDF) · Vol.2 (5.5M PDF) (PIRSA)

PIRSA invites comment on the Retention Lease proposal document for the Oban ISL uranium field leach trial.
Comments were due by April 11, 2008. This Retention Lease RL123 was granted on 25 July 2008.

The Federal Government will not stand in the way of Curnamona Energy proceeding with its Oban uranium mining trial in South Australia's northeast. Its Department of Environment and Water Resources has told the company the trial does not fall under the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Now only state approvals from the Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA and local government authorities are needed to progress with the trial.
Curnamona chairman Bob Johnson said if the trials were positive, then further environmental and other approvals would be sought from Canberra "to allow us to mine and export uranium . . . at the same time we will apply for a mining lease from the SA Government and proceed as quickly as possible to production". (Adelaide Now April 14, 2007)

On Feb. 14, 2007, Curnamona Energy Ltd. announced to commence a field leach trial at its Oban property. The planned key parameters of the field leach trial are:

 

 

Samphire ISL project

(formerly Mullaquana project)

> View deposit details

UraniumSA Ltd demerges Samphire Uranium Project

On June 30, 2016, UraniumSA Ltd announced the demerger of its Samphire Uranium Project assets. The Blackbush and Plumbush deposits are now owned by Samphire Uranium Limited .

"Robust Financial Models" announced for proposed Blackbush ISL uranium mine

On Sep. 19, 2011, UraniumSA Limited announced that the first financial models for the development of the proposed Blackbush uranium mine in South Australia have been released. "The figures indicate very favourable capital and operating costs and high potential rates of return on the investment over a range of scenarios."

State approval sought for Mullaquana uranium in situ leach project field leach trial

On Aug. 11, 2011, UraniumSA announced that it has lodged an application for a Retention Lease ("a type of mining tenement") over the Blackbush deposit within its Mullaquana uranium project. The purpose of the lease is to enable UraniumSA to undertake an In-Situ Recovery Field Trial to confirm the results of its metallurgical test work and establish design parameters for future uranium yellowcake production. Subject to the completion of all the processes associated with the application, UraniumSA believes that the lease could be issued by December 2011.
> View PIRSA Public Notice Sep. 5, 2011
Closing date for comment: 13 October 2011.
> Download Retention Lease Proposal (3.8MB PDF) · Appendices (19.1MB PDF)

Mullaquana uranium in situ leach project field leach trial receives positive federal referral

UraniumSA has received written notification from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities that the referral decision regarding the Mullaquana project field trail was "not a controlled action if undertaken in a particular manner".
This decision was the first step in the regulatory process administered by the Commonwealth and state agencies that UraniumSA had to complete to be allowed to start its proposed on-site recovery field trial at the Blackbush deposit.
Chairperson Russel Bluck said on Tuesday (Feb. 22) that the company was now progressing work on the development of documentation supporting an application for a retention lease, which would be sought under the South Australian government's Mining Act. (Mining Weekly Feb. 22, 2011)

Public comment invited on Referral for Mullaquana uranium in situ leach project field leach trial

UraniumSA Limited/Mining/20km South West of Whyalla and 400km North West of Adelaide/SA/Small scale uranium In-situ Recovery Field Trial
Deadline date for comments is 13 December 2010.
> Download Referral documents, Reference Number: 2010/5751 (EPBC)

First commercial production from Mullaquana ISL project expected end 2011

On Nov. 18, 2009, UraniumSA Limited announced it anticipated commencing by mid 2010 the expected 12-month regulatory process to approve a Field Leach Trial at the Company's Blackbush Prospect at the wholly owned Mullaquana project, 20-kilometres southwest of Whyalla on Eyre Peninsula. Subject to normal progression through the regulatory process, that would allow the trial to commence by mid-2011 and if successful, transition towards the end of 2011 into early 2012 into maiden commercial production from Blackbush.


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