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New Uranium Mining Projects - Zambia

(last updated 7 Mar 2017)


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General · Kawanga · Njame · Mutanga · Lumwana
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> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

In Zambia, uranium prospection and exploration is being performed by AIM Resources Ltd , Albidon Ltd , Energy Ventures Limited , Equinox Minerals Limited, Omegacorp Ltd, Denison Mines Corp., Zambezi Resources Ltd , African Energy Resources Ltd , Aldershot Resources Ltd., Jacana Resources Ltd , Kiwara Resources Ltd , Globe Metals & Mining Ltd

General

Council of Churches in Zambia calls for policy on uranium mining

The Council of Churches in Zambia says uranium mining should only commence when a specific policy on the yellow metal is in place.
Last week, Denison Mines announced plans to start developing its uranium mine in Siavonga once the price for the yellow metal rises to levels above US$65 per pound. Metal prices, which currently are hovering around US$50 per pound, are expected to start improving towards the end of next year.
"It is of great concern to us to learn that the only reason full-scale uranium mining has not commenced is because of the low prices that the commodity is fetching. What about the environment in which this ore will be mined? Should profit be our only motive?" wondered CCZ social and economic justice programme officer Nsama Chikwanka. "While profit is a fair motive for every business, we appeal for investments to have a sense of moral responsibility; successful enterprises do not neglect the moral imperative." Chikwanka said CCZ's concerns about the safety of uranium mining would not be put to rest until there is a specific policy that addresses the various concerns about the safety of the operations.
"We are worried about the government's silence on how far the process of developing a specific policy on uranium mining for Zambia has reached," he said. "CCZ has proposed the uranium mining policy and was submitted to government in November 2011 and yet there has been no feedback." Chikwanka said the government, as defender and protector of the people, needed to move fast to put in place adequate regulatory measures.
"With the current weak and inadequate ionising radiation legal and policy framework, the country will commence mining uranium at the detriment of its own people and the safety of the environment," he said. "The harmful effects of uranium cannot be disputed, and even if investors may argue that they will put in place safety measures, both ZEMA (Zambia Environmental Management Agency ) and the Radiation Protection Authority are very weak both institutionally and legally to effectively police this mining subsector." Chikwanka said Zambia was not yet ready to undertake uranium mining. (The Post June 29, 2012)

Christian Council of Zambia warns government over hazards of uranium mining

The Christian Council of Zambia (CCZ) says uranium is a serious danger to mines without a stringent safety policy in place. And Kitwe's Anglican Priest Fr Richard Luonde has said mineral resources were not a curse but poor management of these resources was. The duo was speaking during a MISA-Zambia programme on Catholic-run Radio Icengelo under the topic 'The extractive industry' on Friday (Sep. 3).
CCZ member Evans Lubala said that uranium mining was a dangerous venture to start without taking into consideration the safety measures on the ordinary citizens. "We are shocked by the way government is treating the uranium. There is no policy to safeguard the interests of the Zambian people. Which mother or father can start a family without a plan?" He asked. "Uranium is ranked the world's highly hazardous mineral and there is need to care of the dangerous factors before any contract to mine the mineral is signed." (The Post Sep. 5, 2010)

Zambia has issued two exploration licenses for uranium

Mines and Minerals Development Minister Maxwell Mwale told Parliament in Lusaka yesterday (July 27) that Government had issued two licences for the exploration of uranium. Mr Mwale said exploration licences had been granted to Denison Mines (Zambia) and African Energy Resources.  In addition to these, there are 140 large and small-scale prospecting licences which include uranium as one of the minerals to be explored.  Before mining for uranium starts, a developer would be required to come up with an environmental impact assessment report and consult with local communities where the mineral would be mined.  (Times of Zambia July 28, 2010)

Council of Churches in Zambia bemoans lack of public knowledge on uranium mining

The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has bemoaned the inadequate public knowledge on exploration and exploitation of uranium in the country. Speaking in Lusaka yesterday (July 8) during the launch of the uranium policy review report, CCZ president Lucas Mwale said the Church motherbody had actively embarked on social and economic programmes aimed at addressing the country's natural resource management and the mining sector. He said Government authorities charged with the responsibility of carrying out public awareness on atomic minerals had treated the matter with a lot of secrecy. "Even though exploration and exploitation of uranium has been going on for a number of decades, it has been treated with a lot of secrecy and not much has been said by the Government authorities responsible for atomic minerals in terms of education and awareness creation to the Zambian masses," he said. Reverend Mwale said it was regrettable that the country did not have policies formulated to specifically regulate the exploration, exploitation, processing, transporting and disposal of uranium. He said the country only had a legal instrument of 2008, and that the concern of the Church was whether the Zambian people were benefitting from the utilisation of the country's natural resources. Rev Mwale said the Church was also concerned about the social, economic and environmental impacts emanating from activities in the extractive industry being adequately addressed to safeguard the lives of the communities where exploration activities were being carried out. (The Times of Zambia July 9, 2010)

> Download: Prosperity unto death: Is Zambia ready for uranium mining? - Review of the uranium mining policy in Zambia , published by the Council of Churches in Zambia, July 8, 2010, 98 pp. (6.8MB PDF - Civil Society Environment Fund)

Zambia to issue two uranium mining permits

Four mining companies have applied for uranium mining permits under recently established legislation and two of these should be granted in the first quarter of 2009, said deputy mines minister Boniface Nkhata on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town. (miningmx Feb. 11, 2009)

Zambia to develop policy prior to issuing uranium mining licenses

Zambia has not given out any license for the mining of uranium because it is a dangerous mineral, the country's mines minister has said. Minister Kalombo Mwansa was responding to chief Munyumbwe's presentation to the House of Chiefs, The Post reported on May 31, 2006. The chief of Gwembe district told the house that his chiefdom has a lot of uranium deposits but that the government is not interested in requesting foreign investors to mine it. But the minister said Zambia is consulting the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) so that a policy could be framed and approved before any uranium mining could be done in the southern African country. (Angola Press May 31, 2006)

> See also: Regulatory Issues - Zambia

Kawanga project

Mining junior Kiwara Resources Ltd is targeting 2015 as a possible date for first production from its Kawanga uranium project, in Zambia. Kiwara CEO Peter Vivian-Neal reports that the company is in the prefeasibility stage of the project and that it will have enough data on hand by the end of the year to move into the bankable feasibility study phase. (Mining Weekly July 10, 2009)

Njame deposit (Chirundu JV)

> View deposit info

On Mar. 6, 2017, GoviEx Uranium Inc. announced the execution of a definitive agreement with African Energy Resources Ltd. to acquire African Energy Resources Ltd.'s uranium mineral interests in Zambia.

On Apr. 30, 2014, Karoo Exploration Corp. announced that it has elected not to proceed with its proposed acquisition of the Chirundu Project, along with a portfolio of uranium properties in Zambia, from African Energy Resources Ltd.

Chief Sikoongo not ready for uranium mining activities in his area: Chief Sikoongo of the Tonga speaking people of Siavonga District in Southern Province says he is not ready for uranium mining in his chiefdom. The tradition leader has since called on the new government through the Ministry of Mines to notify him and his people on the coming of a uranium mining company, African Energy Resources (AER) in Sikoonga area. The Chief said the previous government permitted the African Energy Resources to invest in the area without his knowledge. African Energy Resources is expected to start uranium mining on a joint venture, the Kariba Valley Joint venture project where it holds a 30 percent interest, with Albidon Limited holding 70 percent. (Lusaka Times Oct. 30, 2011)

African Energy Resources Limited project manager Wiscort Banda has said the company is ready to start mining uranium in Siavonga once the price of the metal improves. Banda said on Friday (Sep. 30) that the mine had prospected 11 million pounds of uranium [4,231 t U] in Kariba Valley. He said once in operation, African Energy would mine about 1.4 million pounds [538 t U] a year once the price was a bit favourable. He said currently, the price of uranium was about US$ 48 per pound. Banda said to break even, the price should be between US $60 and US $70. "Once price behaves, we will start mining," he said. (Post Zambia Oct. 4, 2010)

On Oct. 15, 2009, African Energy Resources Limited announced that the Zambian Minister for Mines and Minerals Development has granted Large Scale Mining Licence 12634-HQ-LML (ML) to Albidon Exploration Limited for the development of the Chirundu uranium project. The ML covers an area of 248 km2 and contains the Njame and Gwabe uranium deposits and the recently discovered Siamboka prospect.

On May 9, 2008, Albidon Ltd and African Energy Resources Ltd announced the completion of the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) on the Chirundu Uranium JV project. The PFS demonstrates that commercially viable mining is possible under the projected price and cost scenarios [however: the current uranium spot price of US$ 63/lb U3O8 is lower than the projected uranium price...]. Mining would employ open pit mining and acid heap leaching.

On Sep. 6, 2007, joint venture partners Albidon Ltd and African Energy Resources Ltd announced the beginning of a pre-feasibility study for the Njame North deposit and Gwabe prospect. Base case for the Study is 1.4 Mlb U3O8 [538 t U] annual production over an initial five year mine plan using a uranium price of US$65/lb U3O8.

Mutanga project

(formerly Kariba project)

> View deposit info

GoviEx Uranium Inc. acquires Mutanga uranium mine project: On June 13, 2016, GoviEx Uranium Inc. and Denison Mines Corp. announced the completion of the transaction to combine their respective African uranium interests, previously announced on March 30, 2016.
Under the terms of the Transaction, GoviEx has acquired Denison's wholly owned subsidiary, Rockgate Capital Corp., which holds all of Denison's Africa-based uranium interests, in exchange for 56,050,450 shares of GoviEx and 22,420,180 common share purchase warrants of GoviEx.

Denison further writes down value of Mutanga uranium mine project: "Since the Mutanga project's recoverable amount was determined to be lower than its carrying amount, the Company has recognized an impairment loss of $46,165,000 in the year ended December 31, 2013." (Denison Mines March 6, 2014)

Denison writes down value of Mutanga uranium mine project: "Since the Mutanga project's recoverable amount was determined to be lower than its carrying amount, the Company has recognized an impairment loss of $35,655,000 in the three months ended September 30, 2013." (Denison Mines Nov. 7, 2013)

Denison postpones development of Mutanga uranium mine - waiting for higher prices: Canada's Denison Mines will only start developing its planned uranium mine in Zambia when prices for the yellow metal rise to levels above $65 per lb, a senior company official said on Thursday (June 21). "We need prices that are above $65 per lb of uranium oxide to make the Mutanga project feasible," Andrew Goode, Denison's project director for Africa, told Reuters on the sidelines of a mining and energy conference. The company is undertaking further exploration work to find more resources and hopefully increase the ore grade to reduce its operating costs, Goode said. The company hopes the Zambian government will not revoke its mining licence following a three-year delay in developing the project, he added. (Reuters June 21, 2012)

Denison plans to start uranium mining at Mutanga project by 2012: It is reported that Canadian based Denison Mining Limited is planned to start uranium operations in Southern Zambia by 2012. Mr Fred Siasuntwe district commissioner of Siavonga said that plans for the US$ 118 million productions and mining of uranium in Southern Zambia were on schedule and that the company was ready to start operations by 2012 or the year after.
Recently Denison Mines Zambia Limited said that it is planning to open USD 118 million uranium mine in Zambia's Siavonga district in Southern Province, according to the state-run Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ). In its an environmental impact statement by the miner and submitted to the ECZ, the company plans to open 2 open pits, and the ore from those pits will be processed into uranium oxide for export. The proposed project site located around 175 kilometers south of Lusaka, the Zambian capital will cover 0.873 square kilometers and is expected to displace around 107 households.
According to official data, an initial scoping study has identified historical mineral resource estimates of up to 13.7 million pounds of uranium [5,269 t U]. The company is updating the scoping study. (SteelGuru Aug. 10, 2010)

Siavonga residents accept uranium mine project: Siavonga residents have accepted the proposal by Denison Mines Zambia Ltd to mine uranium ore from Mutanga and Dibwe open pits in Chief Sinadambwe's chiefdom.  The residents accepted the proposal during a public hearing organised by the Environment Council of Zambia (ECZ) in Siavonga on Tuesday (Oct. 27). 
A total number of 107 households with 342 people would be affected and relocated. These stand to lose their fields due to the clearance and construction of mine infrastructure in the area. During a question and answer session, Siavonga residents however, urged Denison Mines to ensure that the mining activities did not affect the provision of quality water in the area. (Times of Zambia Oct. 30, 2009)

Agreement signed on relocation of 107 households for Mutanga uranium mine: Denison Mines Zambia Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chief Sinadambwe of Siavonga district for the relocation of 107 households from a uranium mining site. The MOU will create terms and conditions for the relocation negotiation process of some households in the Muntanga and Dibbwii community. The relocation of the families follows Denison Zambia Limited's (DMZL) plans to start mining uranium deposits in the area. The mining activities will be concentrated in the two villages of Muntanga and Dibbwii in Chief Sinadambwe of Siavonga district, approximately 40 kilometres from Siavonga township. (Lusaka Times Oct. 14, 2009)

The Environmental Council of Zambia invites public comment on Denison Mines Zambia Ltd.'s uranium mine project in Zambia's Siavonga District, in Southern Province. The project will develop two open pits, one at Mutanga covering approximately 33 hectares and the other at Dibwe covering approximately 54.3 hectares. The ore will be crushed and then piled on two acid heap leach pads of 80 hectares each. After completion of leaching, the ore will be left on the leach pads.
During the mine operations, approximately 107 households will be displaced from Chiyobeka, Kasambo, Sinangosi, Kapita, Chilundu and Kumulilansolo villages. The investment cost of the project is estimated to be US$118 million.
The deadline for submission of comments is 23rd September, 2009.
> View Call for Comments (Environmental Council of Zambia)
> Download Environmental Impact Statement and associated Resettlement Action Plan

Denison Mines Corp. may start mining uranium in Zambia by 2012, the Times of Zambia reported, citing Andre Goode, the company's director for Africa. About 112 families will have to be relocated to make way for the mine, the Lusaka-based newspaper reported. Toronto-based Denison, which started uranium exploration in Siavonga in southern Zambia in 2007, has invested about $23 million in the project so far, the Times of Zambia said. (Bloomberg June 29, 2009)

The government will soon open a uranium mine in Siavonga - Southern Province, according to Mines Minister, Kalombo Mwansa. (Zambia National Broadcasting Cooperation June 26, 2007)

Omega Corporation has expressed interest in opening up a uranium mine in Siavonga with an investment of 60 million U.S. dollars. According to managing director Mattew Yates, uranium deposits have so far been detected in Muntanga and Dibwii areas of Siavonga. He said the exploration project started in June 2006 and is expected to end in July 2007. Project manager David Dodd said Omega intends to start construct the uranium mine between July 2007 and October 2008 when the government issues a mining operating license which the company has already applied for. Production of uranium from the mine is expected to start in October 2008 and end in 2015 after operating for a period of seven years. (People's Daily Online Oct. 19, 2006)

Lumwana copper project

> View deposit info

Caritas demands full disclosure on uranium mining in Solwezi district: Caritas Zambia says it stands in solidarity with the people of North Western Province and workers in local mines in demanding for social justice, environmental protection and equitable benefits. And Caritas has demanded for a full disclosure on the mining of uranium in Solwezi.
According to a statement of resolutions issued in Solwezi after a stakeholders meeting on the challenges and relationship between communities and mining firms, Caritas stated that mineral development and exploitation should not be a source of social and economic injustice for people of North Western Province. Caritas, in conjunction with the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection and Youth Alliance for Development, further called on the PF government to repeal some sections of legislation on mining and enact fair and equitable mine revenue sharing mechanisms. The civil society organisations questioned the continued challenges being faced by people in the area, including pollution of water sources and poor working conditions.
And the Catholic-run organisations demanded for a full disclosure of the mining of uranium in the province, saying the mineral was toxic and a threat to the wellbeing of people if not properly handled. (Post Zambia Oct. 16, 2016)

On Aug. 12, 2010, Equinox Minerals Limited announced that the uranium-copper ore stockpile on the ROM pad has increased to 4.2 million tonnes of 924 ppm uranium and 0.8% copper.

On Oct. 2, 2009, Equinox Minerals Limited announced that mining of the uranium zones at Valeria South and Valeria North within the Malundwe pit has produced a stockpile of 1.94 million t at 1,044 ppm U and 0.81% Cu to date. This copper-uranium ore is being diverted away from the copper concentrator, and is being classified as 'waste' to the copper project. This uranium-rich copper ore stockpile may be treated at a later date, if and when the company builds a uranium plant.

Zambia's Chambishi smelter processing Lumwana copper: Chinese-owned Chambishi copper smelter has started processing concentrate from Zambia's Lumwana copper mine, initially rejected by another smelter after claims it contained uranium, a senior official said on Saturday (Sep 26). Harry Michael, chief executive of Lumwana mine, a unit of Equinox Minerals Ltd, said Chambishi smelter would treat 55 percent of the company's annual output under a five-year agreement. Lumwana's copper concentrate was rejected by Mopani Copper Mines (MCM), majority owned by Glencore International AG of Switzerland, after Mopani claimed in March that the concentrate had high uranium traces. (Reuters Sep. 26, 2009)

Uranium-rich copper ore stockpiled at Lumwana copper mine for potential later processing: On July 3, 2009, Equinox Minerals Ltd announced that the pits currently being developed on the Malundwe copper orebody include the uranium zones at Valeria South and Valeria North. These uranium zones are being selectively mined and stockpiled. This uranium-rich copper ore stockpile may be treated at a later date, if and when the company builds a uranium plant.

Environment Council of Zambia dispels pollution allegations at Lumwana mine: Investigations conducted by the Environment Council of Zambia (ECZ) have revealed that Lumwana East river in Solwezi was not polluted by uranium discharged by Lumwana mine as alleged by media reports. ECZ Public Relations Officer Bwalya Nondo disclosed that ECZ have also dispelled reports of crops and other plants being burnt by alleged uranium contaminants . He explained that a comprehensive report submitted to Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Catherine Namugala today on the reported pollution incident by Lumwana mine has revealed that there was no trace of pollution.
The Public Relations Officer disclosed that Lumwana mine has not commenced any uranium production and that, the copper extraction process does not employ a method used that requires use of sulphuric acid which could be harmful to plants in the event of pollution to the environment.
Mr. Nondo further explained that the local community was informed that Lumwana mine would be discharging water into the river and advised them not to drink it because it was dirty and muddy. (Lusaka Times March 20, 2009)

Equinox Minerals Ltd., developing the Lumwana copper mine in Zambia, said a refining venture controlled by Glencore International AG has refused to accept its copper concentrate for delivery because of uranium contamination. Equinox has found buyers for the material on a short-term basis and is in talks with other Zambian parties for a longer-term agreement, Chief Executive Officer Craig Williams said. (Bloomberg Mar. 2, 2009)

On Jan. 7, 2009, Equinox Minerals Limited announced that "due to current difficulty in international project financing as well as current market prices for uranium oxide, the Company believes it prudent to defer the implementation of this uranium project until such conditions improve sufficiently to deliver appropriate shareholder value. In the interim, high grade uranium ore will be stockpiled at Lumwana in accordance with Zambian legislation and international best practice."

Lumwana Mining Company (LMC) said on Dec. 30, 2008, it has received the permission to proceed with its $200 million Zambia uranium project, but the decision to begin construction of processing facilities will be taken in January 2009. Managing Director Harry Michael said the environmental impact assessment report had been endorsed by the authorities, paving the way for the construction of processing facilities and also allowing the firm to seek separate licences for mining, storage and transportation of uranium. Michael said the board of Lumwana's owner, Australia's Equinox Minerals, would take a decision in January on whether to proceed with the project on the back of a difficult global economic climate. (Reuters Dec. 30, 2008)

An Environmental Impact Assessment ('EIA') has been prepared as part of the Uranium Feasibility Study ('UFS') and was lodged in July 2008 with the Environmental Council of Zambia for project approval.

> Download: Lumwana Uranium Project Environmental Impact Assessment, July 2008 (21MB PDF)
> Download: Lumwana Uranium Project Environmental Impact Assessment Appendices, July 2008 (53MB PDF)

On Apr. 29, 2008, Equinox announced a positive Feasibility Study for uranium extraction at its Lumwana copper mine project. Equinox plans to selectively mine 1 Mt per year of uranium ore within the much larger copper mining operation. Approx. 2 Mlb U3O8 (769 t U) per year are to be recovered from the ore.

With a uranium spot price in excess of $US50 per pound, Equinox Minerals Ltd is re-evaluating the potential for a significant uranium by-product from its Lumwana copper mine project in Zambia. The deposit contains 22 million pounds of U3O8 (8462 t U).
Equinox is looking to produce about 150,000 tonnes of copper annually from the Lumwana project when it comes online in 2008. The project has a mine life of 37 years. (Miningnews Net, Sep. 8, 2006)

On Dec. 22, 2003, Equinox Resources announced that it was granted a Large Scale Mining lease over its Lumwana copper project. Equinox, however, has abandoned the plan to recover uranium as a by-product:

"Discrete uranium zones have been defined within the copper orebodies. These uranium zones are discrete high-grade segregations and are not disseminated throughout the copper deposits. These zones will be separately excavated, stockpiled and returned to the Malundwe pit following completion of mining as it is uneconomic to recover the uranium." (Equinox Annual Report 2003)


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