Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - December 6, 2018) - U3O8 Corp. (TSX: UWE) (OTCQB: UWEFF) ("U3O8 Corp." or the "Company") is pleased to report initial results of test work on the extraction of uranium and vanadium from almost a metric tonne of mineralized gravel from the wholly-owned Laguna Salada deposit in Argentina.
The test work has been designed, and results monitored, by Mr. David Marsh, director of U3O8 Corp. whom, as former General Manager - Technical Project Development at Paladin Energy, was intimately involved in the design, construction and operation of two uranium production plants in Africa. This work represents a complete overhaul of the preliminary economic assessment ("PEA") carried out by Tenova Mining and Minerals (Australia) Pty Ltd. in 2014. Mr. Marsh, with his vast practical experience, reviewed the PEA and felt that there was room for improvement and simplification of the flowsheet and processing plant design, resulting in potential to reduce estimated capital costs ("capex") and operating costs ("opex").
David Marsh commented, "I am delighted with the initial results from our test work on Laguna Salada gravel. The work program was designed to test ways of reducing estimated production costs by simplifying the former PEA process flow sheet. Our first step was to optimize the washing of the fine, uranium-vanadium - bearing material off the barren pebbles. The test results show that "scrubbing" the gravel for 5 minutes produces similar results as scrubbing for the 15 minutes modelled in the PEA. This two-thirds reduction in processing time could potentially reduce the cost of the associated equipment which was estimated at US$6.2 million in the PEA."
"Our second step aimed to extract more of the uranium and vanadium contained in the gravel, and this proved successful with vanadium recovery increasing by 23%, and uranium marginally by 2%, over the PEA."
The original Laguna Salada PEA reported life-of-mine cash costs of approximately US$22 per pound of uranium, net of vanadium, and a net present value of US$55 million at a 7.5% discount rate, with a US$136 million capital cost.
A PEA is preliminary in nature and includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the results of the PEA assessment will be realized.
There are two main components to ongoing metallurgical test work:
Technical Details of Test Work:
1. Bulk Sample
Approximately 950 kilograms of gravel was excavated from within three metres of surface from five locations within the resource footprint in the Guanaco sector of the Laguna Salada Deposit. Guanaco contains 94% of the total Laguna Salada resource tonnage (an Indicated and Inferred resource) and 87% of the contained Uranium. The material was bagged and shipped to Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation ("ANSTO") in Australia. The sample was homogenized prior to commencing the test work.
2. Test Work Aimed at Simplifying the Process Flow Sheet
Scrubbing at Laguna Salada refers to removal of fine uranium-vanadium - bearing powder that coats barren pebbles in the gravel. The scrubbed material was then screened to separate the pebbles from the fine component into which most of the uranium and vanadium is concentrated.
The flowsheet generated for the PEA involved a gravel-scrubbing process followed by screens and cyclones to separate the extremely fine (0.075mm) material from the gravel, along with two stages of filtration ahead of the uranium/vanadium leach circuit. David Marsh commented, "There is scope to simplify the process flowsheet making the future plant easier to operate."
The recent work at ANSTO suggests that this circuit can be greatly simplified as follows:
Table 1. Summary of beneficiation and alkaline leach tests on <0.85mm material from a bulk sample of gravel from the Guanaco sector of the Laguna Salada Deposit.
|Study||% of gravel's mass in fine-screened component||Uranium||Vanadium|
|% of metal in fine-grained component of gravel||% of metal extracted by alkaline leach||% overall extraction||% of metal in fine-grained component of gravel||% of metal extracted by alkaline leach||% overall extraction|
|Difference||260%|| || ||2%|| || ||23%|
3. Alkaline Leach
The alkaline leach was done at a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius (175 degrees Fahrenheit) for 8 hours and maximum extraction of 94% was achieved after 6 hours.
Technical Information & Cautionary Note
The technical report referred to in this press release is entitled:
September 18, 2014 technical report: "Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Laguna Salada Uranium Vanadium Deposit, Chubut Province, Argentina." The report is available on www.sedar.com and www.u3o8corp.com.
Dr. Richard Spencer, P.Geo., CGeol., President and CEO of U3O8 Corp. and a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has approved the technical information in this news release relating to the Laguna Salada Deposit and the related PEA.
About U3O8 Corp.
U3O8 Corp. is focused on exploration and development of deposits of uranium and battery commodities in South America. Battery commodities that occur with uranium resources include vanadium, nickel, zinc and phosphate. The Company's mineral resources estimates were made in accordance with National Instrument 43-101, and are contained in the following deposits:
Information on U3O8 Corp., its resources and technical reports are available at www.u3o8corp.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Follow U3O8 Corp. on Facebook: www.facebook.com/u3o8corp, Twitter: www.twitter.com/u3o8corp and YouTube: www.youtube.com/u3o8corp.
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This news release includes certain "forward looking statements" related with the development plans, economic potential and growth targets of U3O8 Corp's projects. Forward-looking statements consist of statements that are not purely historical, including statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intensions for the future, and include, but not limited to, statements with respect to: (a) the low-cost and near-term development of Laguna Salada, (b) the Laguna Salada and Berlin PEAs, (c) the potential of the Kurupung district in Guyana and (d) the price and market for uranium. These statements are based on assumptions, including that: (i) actual results of our exploration, resource goals, metallurgical testing, economic studies and development activities will continue to be positive and proceed as planned, and assumptions in the Laguna Salada and Berlin PEAs prove to be accurate, (ii) requisite regulatory and governmental approvals will be received on a timely basis on terms acceptable to U3O8 Corp., (iii) economic, political and industry market conditions will be favourable, and (iv) financial markets and the market for uranium will improve for junior resource companies in the short-term. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, performance or developments to differ materially from those contained in such statements, including, but not limited to: (1) changes in general economic and financial market conditions, (2) changes in demand and prices for minerals, (3) the Company's ability to establish appropriate joint venture partnerships, (4) litigation, regulatory, and legislative developments, dependence on regulatory approvals, and changes in environmental compliance requirements, community support and the political and economic climate, (5) the inherent uncertainties and speculative nature associated with exploration results, resource estimates, potential resource growth, future metallurgical test results, changes in project parameters as plans evolve, (6) competitive developments, (7) availability of future financing, (8) exploration risks, and other factors beyond the control of U3O8 Corp. including those factors set out in the "Risk Factors" in our Annual Information Form available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Readers are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. U3O8 Corp. assumes no obligation to update such information, except as may be required by law. For more information on the above-noted PEAs, refer to the September 18, 2014 technical report titled "Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Laguna Salada Uranium-Vanadium Deposit, Chubut Province, Argentina" and the January 18, 2013 technical report titled "U3O8 Corp. Preliminary Economic Assessment on the Berlin Deposit, Colombia."