AURORA URANIUM PROJECT
The Aurora uranium project is a volcanic-hosted uranium deposit located in southeast Oregon, USA. Previous exploration on the deposit, including detailed drilling, showed that a significant uranium resource occurs within a near-surface, flat-lying zone of mineralisation that is potentially amenable to extraction by open pit methods.
The Aurora project is located in a historical mining area, approximately 5 km to the north of the Nevada border and approximately 15 km to the west of McDermitt, where the Company has a base of operations. The project area comprises 116 federal unpatented lode mining claims and one State of Oregon Prospecting Permit application, covering an area of approximately 13.34 square km.
The project is located in a historical mining district and has excellent access to existing infrastructure. Technical feasibility studies on the viability of the deposit are in progress, in parallel with the advancement of environmental baseline studies and permitting of the project with both state and federal agencies.
Results of the previous feasibility work completed suggest that the Aurora project has potential to be developed as a low-cost conventional open pit mine with co-located processing plant producing around 2 Mt eU3O8 per annum over a 10 year mine life. The current uranium price would not support development at this point. However, given the level of new reactor builds and potential supply side constraints the Company remains optimistic for an improved outlook in the sector.
Mining is expected to be low cost due to the soft sedimentary rock overburden and low stripping ratio of the uranium deposit. A simple scrubbing beneficiation process appears to both upgrade the mineralisation and allow rejection of a coarse, low-grade waste component. Scrubbing could also potentially contribute to a reduction in crushing and grinding costs, with the majority of uranium occurring within finer size fractions. The Company continues to assess the leaching characteristics of the mineralisation to determine typical uranium recoveries.
Existing power and transport infrastructure, plus the nearby town of McDermitt, indicate reductions in typical capital expenditure requirements are possible and greatly simplify access to the project area. Furthermore, the project has access to skilled labour in the immediate region, which also has excellent services and support for a mining operation at the appropriate point.