Paladin Energy Ltd

Paladin Energy Ltd

October 19, 2010 08:31 ET

Paladin Energy Ltd.: Quarterly Activities Report for Period Ending-30 September 2010

PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 19, 2010) - Paladin Energy Ltd. (TSX:PDN)(ASX:PDN) – Paladin Energy Ltd. ("Paladin", or the "Company") is pleased to announce its quarterly activities report for the period ending 30 September 2010.


  • Quarterly production of 1,362,713lb U3O8 vs 1,442,842 from previous quarter

  • Kayelekera delayed in achieving sustained nameplate until mid September

    • higher efficiencies and sustained nameplate production achieved after introduction of a resin cleaning circuit 
  • Langer Heinrich Reserve increase of 104% to 134.1Mlb, backstopping Stage 4 expansion studies targeting annual production of 10Mlb pa

  • Sale of 1,043,000lb U3O8 at an average realised price of US$46.50/lb biased towards a predominance of spot sales in the quarter

  • LHM Stage 3 tracking early 2011 mechanical completion and start-up of commissioning.


The implementation of the NOSA safety system at both Langer Heinrich Mine (LHM) and Kayelekera Mine (KM) continues its positive impact with both operations recording no Lost Time Incidents (LTI) for the quarter. The various site initiatives associated with vehicle safety have commenced to show results with significantly fewer vehicle incidents being recorded. 

With the LHM's Stage 3 expansion now in full construction mode, there has been a major increase in the number of contract workers at site. As such, an external safety audit by NOSA of all contractors was undertaken with overall results satisfactory and all key deficiencies noted and addressed.


Sales for the quarter were 1,043,000lb U3O8 generating revenue of US$48.4M representing an average sales price of US$46.44/lb U3O8 (average Ux spot price for the quarter was US$45.50/lb U3O8). The lower average sales price (US$55.50/lb U3O8 in the June quarter) reflects variations in quarterly delivery volumes in some sales contracts and the predominance of spot sales.

As nameplate production was not achieved at Kayelekera in July and August, this resulted in a higher unit cost of production for the September quarter. Taking a prudent approach it may be necessary to review the stock cost of material produced in the early part of the September quarter and to adjust the value down on a one-off basis. Any adjustment, if made, will be small and is not expected to be more than 5% of Kayelekera's finished goods stock value for that period. Unit costs are expected to rebalance in the forthcoming quarter as nameplate production starts to take effect.


Combined Site Totals Sept Qtr Dec Qtr Mar Qtr June Qtr Sept Qtr
Production lb 728,598 987,310 1,157,375 1,442,842 1,362,713

To view the Quarterly production - LHM and KM bar graph, please visit the following link:



LHM (Monthly) July Aug Sept Sept Qtr
Production lb 308,340 270,245 321,150 899,735
LHM (Quarterly) Dec Qtr Mar Qtr June Qtr Sept Qtr
Production lb 841,995 928,370 927,373 899,735

Processing of ore was slightly below target achieving 97.3% of design nameplate production for the quarter. The shortfall essentially arose in August with change of pit ore running through the plant. These issues have been overcome and the plant is now operating at slightly above design performance as exhibited in September.

The September quarter results represent an annualised 3.6Mlb U3O8 production level versus an installed nameplate of 3.7Mlb.


The mining and plant ore feed was as follows:

  July Aug Sept
Ore mined (t) 116,706 363,344 746,818
Grade (ppm) 744 930 864
Additional low grade mined (t) 52,291 38,648 132,256
Grade (ppm) 286 327 344
Waste/Ore ratio 5.9 2.4 0.59
  July Aug Sept
Ore crushed, t 182,072 179,714 186,080
Grade, ppm U3O8 994 881 1048

The variance in strip ratio on a monthly basis was only necessitated by the requirements to have sufficient waste rock available for the tailings storage facility (TSF) construction.

Process Plant

Tonnage through the process plant remained consistent with the previous quarter with a throughput of 547,866t of ore crushed.

Performance of the front end circuits suffered some challenges during the quarter with the ore commencing from the new Pit F area resulting in significant scaling of screens, piping and heat exchangers, especially during August. By the end of August the problem had been successfully addressed and the plant now treats the Pit F material without any significant scaling problems.

The leaching circuit had a slightly reduced extraction rate of 91.5%. The insulation of the leach tanks has now been completed. The December quarter will be the first quarter with all the tanks insulated thus enabling the actual energy savings to be reviewed.

The ion exchange resin cleaning system made a positive contribution later in the quarter, with significantly improved flow rates through the IX columns and lower barren solution grades. This improved performance has continued into October.


The construction work on TSF 2 is expected to progress according to schedule with the facility planned to receive tailings by the March quarter 2011.

Stage 3 

Construction of Stage 3 at LHM, expanding production to 5.2Mlb pa, is essentially 70% complete and tracking for mechanical completion early in the March quarter 2011 as planned. The budget remains within 10% of expectations.

  • Earth works and civil works are substantively complete
  • All major long-lead equipment items have now arrived at the site
  • Major equipment installation at the site is well advanced with the scrubber, crusher, flash splash, Leach tank, CCD tanks and tailings thickener equipment now being installed and assembled at site. 
  • Off-site fabrication of the IX columns is underway and remains the only critical path item under delivery pressure.

Stage 4 - Resource/Reserve Upgrade

Following the completion of approximately 40,000m of drilling during 2009 and 2010, a revised Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve estimate for the Langer Heinrich Deposit conforming to both the JORC (2004) guidelines and the requirements of NI 43-101 has now been finalised and the results are reported below at a 250ppm cut-off. The upgrade has increased Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources sufficiently to justify the planned Stage 4 expansion, for which the feasibility study is currently underway.

Revised Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves

Updated Mineral Resource Estimate (depleted for mining)

250ppm Cut-off U3O8 Mt ppm t Mlb
Measured Resources 46.7 530 24,838 54.71
Indicated Resources 77.6 550 42,921 94.54
Measured + Indicated 124.3 550 67,758 149.25 (106% increase)
Inferred Resources 18.5 60 10,910 24.04

Resources are depleted for mining to 30 June 2010 and include stockpiled material.

The updated 2010 Mineral Resource estimates outlined herein represents a 6% increase in contained U3O8 after depletion for mining and importantly a 106% increase in the Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources from 32,858t (72.4Mlb) to 67,758t (149.2Mlb) contained U3O8, after depletion for mining.


Updated Ore Reserve Estimate

250ppm Cut-off U3O8 Mt ppm t Mlb
Proved Ore Reserve 31.4 550 17,360 38.3
Probable Ore Reserve 66.5 570 37,570 82.8
Stockpiles 12.3 490 6,021 13.2
Total Ore Reserve 110.2 550 60,830 134.1 (104% increase)
Ore Reserve has been depleted for mining, and may not add due to rounding

Key takeaways from this resource update:-

  • A 104% Reserve increase to 134.1Mlb or 124.3Mt at a grade of 550ppm U3O8
  • Reserve provides a minimum 20 year LOM at Stage 3 design rates
  • Reserve backstops Stage 4 expansion studies targeting 9Mlb pa conventional with an additional 1Mlb from heap leach using a lower grade ore component.

These Ore Reserves form the basis of the detailed mine planning for the Project. The revised mine model will allow a minimum mine life of over 20 years, based on a processing feed capacity of 3.45Mt pa, but does not include any contribution from the Inferred Mineral Resources within the open pit area. 

The Ore Reserve is quoted inclusive of ROM stockpiles which, at the end of June 2010, contained 12.3Mt at a grade of 490ppm U3O8 for 6,021t (13.2Mlb) U3O8



  Dec Qtr March Qtr June Qtr Sept Qtr
Production lb 145,315 228,996 515,478 462,977

To view the Quarterly production - Kayelekera bar graph, please visit the following link:

As previously released, Kayelekera installed and commissioned a secondary resin cleaning circuit during the September quarter. An ever increasing buildup of sand and foreign material in the resin caused a loss of efficiency in the elution circuit, restricting solution flow and hence plant capacity. However an approximate two week commissioning period for the cleaning circuit in early September has successfully resulted in the anticipated improvements of the process plant. Since mid-September, the plant is more consistently achieving nameplate design performance.  


The mining and plant ore feed during the quarter was as follows:

  July Aug Sept Sept Qtr
Ore mined (t) 105,108 132,720 82,054 319,882
Grade (ppm) U3O8 1906 1555 2111 1813
Additional low grade mined (t) 39,680 33,473 49,073 122,226
Grade (ppm) U3O8 513 509 515 513
Waste/Ore ratio 1.2 1.75 2.3 1.7

Operating data - Process

  July Aug Sept
Operating time hrs 591 587 478
Mill feed, dry tones 104,996 101,454 77,723
Grade (ppm) 1,306 1,093 1,330
Leach extraction % 83.7 84.1 86.3
RIP efficiency % 84.7 82.6 92.1
Overall efficiency % 68 64 76

Process Plant

Ore processing performance experienced a plateau from the beginning of the quarter and was further hampered by a reduction of operating hours in the earlier part of September due to the secondary screen implementation and maintenance. 

The need to clean up the resin ahead of elution had been previously identified, as there had been a gradual increase in grit material within the plant which was having a detrimental effect on elution capacity, as highlighted by the drop off in production since June 2010. The new equipment installation was completed early in September and took 2 weeks to commission and optimise. Once operational, the impact was immediate, resulting in:

  • Significantly cleaner resin being fed to elution

  • Increased flow rate capacity

  • Downtime elution reduction

  • Efficiencies in excess of 95% being continuously achieved

  • Increased grade of eluant going to precipitation

  • Reduced RIP transfer time.

The table below presents key performance parameters for both the second half and the final week of September following the resin cleaning plant implementation.

  16-30th Sept 24-30th Sept
Leach Efficiency % 88.8 89.6
RIP Efficiency % 95.5 96.8
Overall Efficiency % 79.8 82.3
U3O8 to Precipitation lb/day* 8,363 9,571

*Nameplate is 9,041lb/day

This performance has continued into October and with steady state operations, both production levels and efficiencies are to design.

The crushing plant has been streamlined utilising both a mineral sizer and jaw crusher. This flexibility will allow for continued efficiencies and is expected to benefit ore handling going forward especially during the wet season.

Leach efficiency improved significantly over the month of September as a result of an on-going reagent dosing optimisation program. With steady state conditions and design throughput now continuous, unit reagent usage will normalise and reduce operating unit costs.

Resin-in-Pulp efficiency showed a dramatic improvement in September and the circuit is now considered quite robust and capable of very high operating efficiencies.

As a result of the cleaner resin the elution plant was able to operate at improved (nameplate) eluant flow rates and with less downtime for blockages. Consequently, overall uranium transfer to precipitation and elution efficiency both showed great improvements in the second half of September (transfer above nameplate for last 7 days and elution efficiencies consistently +/-95%).


Infill RC drilling to the west and north of the mine site was completed. A total of 113 holes for 11,933m were drilled. The drilling was aimed at upgrading the Inferred Resources outside the current pit to the Indicated and Measured Resource categories, to be included in pit optimisation studies, and a reserve upgrade which is expected late in the December quarter.

Drilling revealed an extension to the known mineralisation and it is expected that a considerable amount of the inferred resources in this area will convert to the indicated and measured categories.

The drilling also located some new mineralisation at depth west of the pit. The depth of the mineralisation is 80m – 90m below the known economic mineralisation and, under current conditions, not economic so will not be further investigated in the foreseeable future. 

Post Quarter Trend

As described above, U3O8 throughput has advanced significantly since mid-September and this performance level has continued through mid-October.

A programme has been underway for sometime upgrading materials of construction in areas highly susceptible to acid corrosion and abrasion which have contributed to plant downtime in the past. This programme is now well advanced and should be completed by the end of the December quarter. Improved plant availability and reduced maintenance costs are anticipated.


Work in the quarter included a resource upgrade for the Valhalla orebody. The resource drilling programme at the Odin Prospect was completed late in the quarter and drilling has commenced on the Bikini Prospect.

MOUNT ISA URANIUM JOINT VENTURE (Paladin Energy Ltd 50%, Summit Resources (Aust) Pty Ltd 50% Operator)

Valhalla Uranium Deposit

A Mineral Resource estimate conforming to both the JORC (2004) guidelines and the requirements of NI 43-101 has now been completed for the Valhalla uranium deposit following validation and compilation of data from drilling undertaken earlier in the year. The estimate covers the main Valhalla deposit as well as the south eastern extension, Valhalla South. 

The updated Mineral Resource estimate for the Valhalla uranium deposit is quoted using a cut-off grade of 230ppm U3O8.

U3O8 Mt ppm t Mlb
Measured Resources 16.02 819 13,116 28.9
Indicated Resources 18.64 840 15,662 34.5
Total Measured & Indicated 34.66 830 28,778 63.5
Inferred Resources 9.1 643 5,824 12.8
 (Figures in the table above may not add due to rounding)

Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources increased by 5.6% to 63.4Mlb U3O8 (28,778t U3O8) from previously announced 60.0Mlb U3O8 (27,229t U3O8). Total Mineral Resources increased from previous 69.9Mlb U3O8 to 76.2Mlb U3O8.

Odin Prospect

Resource definition drilling was completed at Odin, 1km north of Valhalla to a depth of 200m. A total of 99 holes for 16,044m were completed in 3 months. The Odin orebody has a strike length of 600m and contains two mineralised lenses. The main lense trends north-north-east and dips 50° - 60° to the east. The smaller southern lense strikes north-south and dips steeply to the east. Currently the dataset is being validated for a maiden resource in the December quarter. 


Deposit   Measured Resources Indicated Resources Inferred Resources   Paladin Attribution
Cut-off ppm U3O8   Mt   Grade ppm   t U3O8 Mt   Grade ppm   t U3O8 Mt   Grade ppm   t U3O8    
Valhalla   230   16.0   819   13,116 18.6   840   15,662 9.1   643   5,824   91.0%
Skal   250             4.3   575   2,485 8.4   491   4,130   91.0%
Bikini   250                       10.1   517   5,200   82.0%
Andersons   230                       2.0   1,050   2,100   82.0%
Watta   230                       4.2   410   1,720   82.0%
Duke Batman   250             0.5   780   388 1.6   630   1,020   100%
Honey Pot   250                       2.6   700   1,800   100%
Total   16.0   819   13,116 (28.9Mlb) 23.4   792   18,535 (40.8Mlb) 38.0   573   21,794 (48Mlb)    

ANGELA JOINT VENTURE, Northern Territory - Australia (Paladin 50% - Cameco 50% Operator)

A maiden JORC resource for the Angela and Pamela orebodies is expected in the next quarter. This project is essentially in the advanced exploration stage.

In September the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory (NT) announced that his government will not support the establishment of a uranium mine at Angela and Pamela, south of Alice Springs even through in the NT uranium development approvals fall under the direct responsibility of the Federal Government.

The NT Government did not consult with the joint venture partners in advance of the announcement and neither party had received any indication that the government might adopt this view.

In December 2006, the NT Government invited interested mining companies to apply for an exploration licence for the Angela and Pamela sites. Of the 37 expressions of interest received, in February 2008 the Paladin and Cameco joint venture was selected by the NT Government as the preferred applicant. Management plans were submitted and approved and, in October 2008, the government granted the Paladin-Cameco joint venture an exploration licence.

Relying on encouragement and positive support from the government, Paladin pursued the joint venture in good faith, with both partners honouring the undertakings they made during the selection process. The project is still at the exploration phase and, in addition to drilling work, has been progressing with environmental and hydrogeological studies. It was always Paladin's expectation that the government would consider the project on its merits and due process, which would include appropriate scientific studies and assessments.

Paladin is considering its options in advance of further discussions with the NT Government.


NGM Resources Ltd Takeover

On 24 September 2010, Paladin announced that its off-market scrip takeover offer for NGM Resources Ltd would lapse at the end of the offer period on 8 October 2010 as a consequence of the non-fulfilment of the defeating conditions contained in paragraphs 10.12(l) (Force Majeure) and 10.12(m) (Material Adverse Effect) of Paladin's Bidder's Statement.

On 8 October 2010, the Takeovers Panel declared that Paladin's purported reliance on the non-fulfilment of the above conditions constituted unacceptable circumstances. Details of the Panel's declaration is contained in its media release dated 8 October 2010 and the offer period was extended in relation to its off-market takeover bid for NGM until 5:00pm (Perth time) on 22 October 2010. Paladin further extended the offer period until 5.00pm (Perth time) on 5 November 2010. To date Paladin has not received the minimum 90% acceptance as outlined as a condition within the Bidder's Statement.


The Ux spot price moved in a range from US$41.75/lb U3O8 in July 2010 to US$46.50/lb U3O8 in September. The Ux long term price indicator rose from US$58/lb U3O8 to US$60/lb U3O8 during the quarter.

In July the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the IAEA released their joint report Uranium 2009: Resources, Production and Demand also known as the "Red Book" – which is the 23rd edition of this report which examines uranium market fundamentals and provides a detailed analysis of global uranium resources and reserves. The 2009 Red Book provides assurance that the identified global uranium resource base is sufficient to underpin projected requirements and, as such, will not limit significant reactor growth during the century. However, the report, which re-introduces the high-cost category of resources (< US$260/kg U) to reflect increased prices and mining costs since 2003, also observes that although there are sufficient production centres technically capable of meeting a high-demand case through to 2028, beyond that date there is a need to identify new resources and bring them into production "in a timely fashion". The report emphasises that "strong market conditions will be required to bring the required investment to the industry". The report also notes that their supply/demand projections are based on the reactor fleet until 2035 and does not take account of the lifetime fuel requirements for reactors for new plants connected between 2010 and 2035.

The anticipated surge in new builds will place increased pressure on exploration, research, and investment in order to develop new mining projects.

This information is available on our website at


The information in this announcement that relates to Exploration, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves is based on information compiled by Eduard Becker B.Sc, David Princep B.Sc and Andrew Hutson B.E., all of whom are members of the AusIMM. Messrs Becker, Princep and Hutson each have sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity that he is undertaking to qualify as Competent Persons as defined in the 2004 Edition of the "Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves", and as a Qualified Person as defined in Canadian National Instrument 43-101. Messrs Becker, Princep and Hutson are full-time employees of Paladin Energy Ltd and consent to the inclusion of the information in this announcement in the form and context in which it appears.

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Information

Except for historical information contained in this news release, this news release contains "forward-looking statements" and "forward-looking information" within the meaning of securities laws of applicable jurisdictions. The forward-looking statements and forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the possible downward adjustment in value of stock cost of material produced at the Kayelekera Mine and the size of that adjustment; anticipated achievement of nameplate production at Kayelekera; targeted completion of Construction of Stage 3 at the Langer Heinrich Mine, plans to proceed with the Stage 4 expansion of the Langer Heinrich Mine and anticipated mine life of the Langer Heinrich Mine; anticipated continued nameplate production, conversion of inferred mineral resources to indicated and measured resource categories; anticipated improved plant availability and reduced maintenance costs due to certain upgrading of construction materials, all at the Kayelekera Mine; mineral resource definition drilling at Odin Prospect; exploration and mineral resource reporting for the Angela and Pamela orebodies; and Paladin's expectations with respect to development of the Uranium market. Assumptions upon which such forward-looking statements and forward-looking information are based include that anticipated efficiencies and continued nameplate production at Kayelekera will be achieved; the Stage 3 expansion of the Langer Heinrich Mine will be completed on time and on budget; the Stage 4 expansion of Langer Heinrich Mine will proceed as planned; inferred mineral resources will convert to indicated and measured resource categories as anticipated; and the continued success of exploration and mineral resource identification at Paladin's other projects. Management believes these assumptions are reasonable.

However, the forward-looking statements and forward-looking information involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Paladin and its officers, employees, agents or associates. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to: risks related to mining operations, including political risks and instability and risks related to international operations, actual results of current production and exploration activities, conclusions of economic evaluations, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in Paladin's most recent Annual Information Form available under Paladin's profile on SEDAR at Although Paladin has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements and forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Actual results, performance or achievements may vary materially from those suggested by such forward-looking statements and forward-looking information. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and forward-looking information and Paladin assumes no obligation to update such information, except as required by applicable law.

ACN 061 681 098

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