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Langer Heinrich Mine targets high uranium production

November 25, 2022

 Australian uranium producer Paladin Energy expects its Namibian-based Langer Heinrich Mine to contribute at least 4% to global uranium production. 

“Our Langer Heinrich Mine in Namibia is on track to be a significant player in the decarbonisation economy of the near future. One uranium fuel pellet (the size of a fingertip) creates as much energy as one tonne of coal. One tonne of uranium can produce more than 40 million kilowatt hours of electricity, equivalent to 16,000 tonnes of coal or 80,000 barrels of oil,” Paladin Energy board Chairperson Cliff Lawrenson said. 

The company is expected to commence production in Namibia during the first quarter of 2024 after its mine was placed under care-and-maintenance in 2018 due to a decline in uranium market conditions. 

“Forecast production from Paladin’s Langer Heinrich Mine will ultimately represent around 4% of annual global uranium production–a considerable part of the evolution to a carbon-free energy economy,” he said. 

Lawrenson said Nuclear energy remains one of the most cost effective and lowest carbon emitting forms of energy generation now and these benefits are expected to continue in the medium and longer term, with its Namibian mine expected to contribute global supplies. 

“We understand that countries have different perspectives on nuclear energy and there is much ongoing debate about the comparative cost and applicability of different forms of electricity generation. In our view, all forms of electricity generation, and storage, will be needed to achieve net zero carbon by 2050, “Lawrenson said. 

“Nuclear energy remains one of the most cost effective and lowest carbon emitting forms of energy generation now and these benefits are expected to continue in the medium and longer term. Growing global demand for electricity, coupled with targets for reduced CO2 emissions, will ensure nuclear energy plays a key role in the decarbonisation of global power generation. Paladin continues to look forward to positively contributing to global decarbonisation.” 

He said the mine’s restart plans had been buoyed by securing strong uranium offtake agreement, amid rising global uranium demand. 

The significant and detailed planning for the recommencement of activities at the Langer Heinrich Mine has provided a detailed scope of the key work activities and critical path items for the successful commencement of production. Our well-defined restart plan and strong execution project capability provide a low-risk pathway to a return to production,” Lawrenson said. 

Langer Heinrich uranium mine has an existing uranium sales offtake with CNNC combined with the recent successful tender award and the continuing strong uranium market fundamentals. 

Paladin’s offtake agreement with CNNC Overseas Uranium Holding Limited is for up to 25% of the Langer Heinrich future life-of-mine production.

 

The uranium producer early this year secured a tender to supply uranium concentrates to a subsidiary of Duke Energy, a leading Fortune 150 North American power utility. 

Paladin Energy is expected to now spend N$1.96 billion (US$118 million) against the initial budget of N$1.44 billion (U$87 million) on Langer Heinrich mine restart due to cost escalations for labour, equipment and raw materials. 

According to the Bank of Namibia, the uranium mining sector is expected to contract by 3.4% in 2022 before expanding by 7% in 2023.

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Last modified on Monday, 28 November 2022 16:59