A low pH field demonstration commenced during the September 2020 quarter and will operate over the following 12 to 18 months in an unmined area of Mine Unit 1 (MU1A). The 2019 FLT successfully demonstrated the potential for low pH mining, recovery and groundwater restoration at Lance in an area that was previously operated using alkaline ISR methods.
MU1A contains an estimated JORC Code 2012 compliant resource of 44,000 pounds U3O8.
MU1A wellfield preparation activities were completed in early July 2020. On 20 July 2020, wellfield circulation in MU1A commenced to establish baseline operating conditions. Acidification of the field demonstration area commenced on 4 August 2020.
In addition to conducting the uranium extraction field demonstration, the test programme includes an ion exchange recovery process demonstration. Scaled down ion exchange test columns were constructed to match the anticipated flow rates of the MU1A area. Resins of the type selected from laboratory testing will be loaded into the columns for evaluation during the demonstration.
The primary objective of the MU1A low pH field demonstration is to confirm the optimal operating conditions as indicated by the laboratory studies. MU1A will be used to:
Since the commencement of wellfield acidification activities in early August 2020, the MU1A low pH field demonstration programme has been operating without interruption, at the design rates and over one pore volume of solutions has been introduced to the ore zone. Initial acidification of the zone is expected to require 2 to 3 pore volumes.