Uranium spot price   Spot price figures supplied by Numerco

    • Honeymoon fully permitted to export 3.3Mlbs/annum U3O8 equivalent.
    • Fast-tracked production, within 12-months, utilising A$170m of historical infrastructure expenditure and existing plant which previously produced and exported uranium.
    • Market forecasts indicate an improvement in the underlying U3O8 price. Honeymoon is one of a few advanced uranium projects ready to take advantage of market improvement.
    • FS Base Case is limited to the Honeymoon Restart Area only, comprising 36Mlbs JORC resource with a restart plan comprising of: Stage 1 (refurbishing the existing Solvent Extraction plant with significant process improvement), and Stage 2 (adding an Ion Exchange circuit), to achieve an annual production of 2Mlbs U3O8 equivalent.
    • A further 36Mlbs of JORC resources sits outside the Restart Area, in addition to a defined exploration target range, providing Boss with genuine growth opportunities for Honeymoon’s mine life and production profile.
    • As the anticipated upswing in uranium fundamentals occurs, Boss will restart operations and exploit these additional resources to maximise shareholder value.
    • Estimated average all-in cost (AIC) of US$32.3/lb U308 over LOM, and an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of US$27.4/lb U308 over the life of mine (LOM) (payback period of approximately one third of LOM).
    • FS base case Net Present Value (pre-tax) (NPV8%) of US$163m (A$240m) and 42.9% Internal Rate of Return (pre-tax) (IRR) (at an average U3O8 price of US$50/lb).
    • FS demonstrates a very low upfront capital requirement to restart Honeymoon and become one of the lowest cost uranium producers globally.
    • Honeymoon base case scenario results, compared to the Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) completed in 2017, include a ~71% increase in LOM to 12 years, and a ~7% decrease in upfront capital expenditure of US$63.2 million (A$92.9m) (excluding offsite power provider upgrades).
    • FS is the final independent validation for Honeymoon’s restart, having technically de-risked the asset and optimised the process flowsheet through multiple phases of test work and study.
    • Strong bank balance, with no debt, to fully fund 2020 operations to optimise capital and operating expenditure.
    • Boss will avoid dilutive capital raisings while engaging with utilities for off-take and continuing commercial discussions.

From the Managing Director and CEO

Duncan Craib

“Our Feasibility Study (FS) base case results confirm we will be Australia’s next uranium producer. The 100%-owned Honeymoon Uranium Project offers an unparalleled investment opportunity; an impressive IRR with low capital intensity and short time to re-start production, with excellent leverage to the anticipated upswing in uranium fundamentals.

“Reflecting a conservative base case uranium price of $50/lb U3O8 over LOM, the FS demonstrates Honeymoon’s advanced development can rapidly respond to a market rally, given the low capital barrier.

“It’s average all-in-cost of US$32.3/lb U3O8 over LOM positions Honeymoon as one of the lowest operating uranium production costs world-wide.

“Completion of the FS milestones offers investors a real and near-term uranium supply prospect and allows us to progress off-take contracts with utilities world-wide.

“The FS base case was designed for fast-tracked production by recommissioning the existing SX process within 12 months before expanding production to 2Mlbs U3O8 equivalent per annum. Our team has technically de-risked the Project and ensured there is no timeline drag from onerous tasks of securing permits and approvals needed to restart production.

“With A$170m of historical expenditure on infrastructure and plant in place which previously produced and exported uranium, Honeymoon has one of the lowest restart capital intensities in the uranium sector, with a base case pre-tax NPV to capex ratio of 2.6x, and minimal construction risk.

“The FS base case utilises only a portion of Honeymoon’s JORC resource, excluding 36Mlb of JORC resource outside the Restart Area, which could expand the mine life, and Boss’ defined exploration target could potentially extend the mine life beyond the initial 12 years and increase the production profile. Honeymoon’s Federal EPIP Act approvals allow export of more than 3Mlbs/annum U3O8 equivalent.

“Recognised industry endorsement of Honeymoon is providing opportunities for Boss to progress off-take contracts with utilities world-wide, and commercial discussions continue.”

Project Overview

Boss’ FS provides a base case to fast-track uranium production from the Honeymoon Restart Area (Restart Area) to achieve a 12-year LOM at 2Mlb/annum U3O8 equivalent, from only 35.9Mlb of the Project’s global mineral resource (JORC 2012) of 71.6Mlb. A total of 94% of the Restart Area Measured and Indicated resource is located within the boundaries of Mining Licence (ML) 6109, which has mining approval. ML6109 has a Uranium Mineral Export Permission for 3.3Mlb/annum U3O8 as renewed by the Australian Federal Government in April 20191. No new permitting is required on ML6109.

The FS indicates a technically sound and financially viable project, capable of generating more than A$492 million in pre-tax free cash flow over the Project life. Total pre-production capital is estimated at A$92.9 million, including a project contingency of A$8.1 million. The FS is based on in-situ recovery (ISR) mining with an average uranium tenor of 49 mg/l targeted over the LOM from the wellfields. All base case financial analyses were completed assuming an average US$50/lb U3O8 price over the LOM. Sensitivity analysis at a lower and higher industry referenced prices of US$40/lb U3O8 and US$60/lb U3O8 demonstrates downside and upside to the Project.

The Company considers a base sales price of US$50/lb U3O8 over the LOM is reasonable given that spot and term uranium prices in recent years have been well below the price required to guarantee viability of a large proportion of the world’s existing production. Uranium analysts predict that a long-term spot price in the mid US$40’s (anticipated from 2023) will incentivise restarts whilst a price closer to US$60/lb will be needed for most new mines.

About 35.7Mlb of the Project’s global mineral resource of 71.6Mlb (using a 250ppm U3O8 cut-off) is outside the Restart Area. In addition, there are genuine resource growth opportunities from a defined Exploration Target, comprising 28Mt to 133Mt of mineralisation at 340ppm to 1,080 ppm U3O8 for 58Mlbs to 190Mlbs U3O8 (26,300 to 86,160 tonnes of contained U3O8), using a cut-off of 250ppm2. Note the potential quantity and grade of the Exploration Target is conceptual in nature. There has been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain whether future exploration will result in the definition of a Mineral Resource. Boss has used geophysical exploration techniques to identify new drill-ready targets. Subsequent drilling of these targets has the potential to significantly increase the global resource and expand Honeymoon’s production profile and LOM.

Boss designed the FS to fast-track production from Honeymoon’s existing solvent extraction plant (SX) within a 12-month period, following a decision to mine, to capitalise on any improved market fundamentals. It plans to increase production to 2Mlbs/annum U3O8 equivalent through the addition of the Ion Exchange (IX) plant which will take approximately 20 months to design, construct and commission. The envisaged final stage of the production is to ramp up plant capacity from 2Mlbs/annum, with Honeymoon permitted to produce more than 3Mlb/annum U3O8 equivalent, contingent on market conditions and U3O8 price. Stage 3 does not form part of the current FS, but will be investigated when the source of additional uranium production has been better defined.

The FS was compiled with the assistance of several independent and reputable Australian-based engineering companies, industry experts and qualified Boss personnel.

Financial Analysis

Honeymoon has been evaluated at a project level on a discounted cashflow basis with key inputs from the FS incorporating capital costs, operating costs, key financial assumptions and a 12-year LOM.

The following Table shows the key financial assumptions that were used as the base case in the financial evaluation to determine Project values and rates of return.

Table 1: Key Financial Assumptions

Financial AssumptionUnitValue

Average U3O8 Price over LOM

US$

50/lb U3O8

Foreign Exchange Rate

A$:US$

0.68

Discount rate

%

8%

Tax rate

%

30%

Accumulated Tax Losses

A$M

A$79.6

Government Royalty

%

5%

Native Title Royalty

%

1.5%

Life of Mine (LOM)

Years

12

The financial analysis was undertaken using an average U3O8 price of US$50/lb and a flat exchange rate of A$1:US$0.68 for the LOM. A real, post-tax discount rate of 8% has been applied by the Company to calculate the NPV. In addition, government royalties (5%) and native title royalties (1.5%) have also been included. The following Table shows a summary of the financial outcomes under the base case.

Table 2: Summary of Financial Outcomes

MeasureUnitA$MUS$M4

Uranium Produced (Stage 1+2 LOM total)

Mlbs

20.74

Gross Revenue (over LOM)

$M

1,480

1,006

Free Cash flow (Pre-tax)

$M

492

334

Free Cash flow (Post-tax)

$M

365

248

EBITDA margin (avg over LOM)

%

50.11%

IRR (Pre-tax)

%

42.90%

IRR (Post-tax)

%

33.29%

NPV 8% (Pre-tax)1

$M

240

163

NPV 8% (Post-tax)1

$M

166

113

Stage 1 & 2 Capital Cost

$M

92.9

63.2

AISC2

$/lb U3O8

40.2

27.4

AIC3

$/lb U3O8

47.5

32.3

Total Project Payback (post tax, after production commences)

Years

4.5

  1. 8% discount rate applied
  2. AISC = wellfield operating, processing, site G&A, freight, marketing, royalties and sustaining capital expenditure
  3. AIC = AISC + development and deferred capital expenditure
  4. A$:US$ exchange rate A$1:US$0.68

The summary of financial outcomes is based on the U3O8 production profile as shown below.

Figure 1: U3O8 production profile over LOM

Sensitivity Analysis

Sensitivity was completed on a number of key inputs to identify areas of potential financial variance. The base case financial analysis was undertaken using a U3O8 price of US$50/lb. The Project is highly leveraged to the U3O8 price and the following Table displays the potential financial outcomes at U3O8 prices of US$40/lb, US$45/lb, US$50/lb, US$55/lb and US$60/lb.

About 35.7Mlb of the Project’s global mineral resource of 71.6Mlb (using a 250ppm U3O8 cut-off) is outside the Restart Area. In addition, there are genuine resource growth opportunities from a defined Exploration Target, comprising 28Mt to 133Mt of mineralisation at 340ppm to 1,080 ppm U3O8 for 58Mlbs to 190Mlbs U3O8 (26,300 to 86,160 tonnes of contained U3O8), using a cut-off of 250ppm. Note the potential quantity and grade of the Exploration Target is conceptual in nature. There has been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain whether future exploration will result in the definition of a Mineral Resource. Boss has used geophysical exploration techniques to identify new drill-ready targets. Subsequent drilling of these targets has the potential to significantly increase the global resource and expand Honeymoon’s production profile and LOM.

Boss designed the FS to fast-track production from Honeymoon’s existing solvent extraction plant (SX) within a 12-month period, following a decision to mine, to capitalise on any improved market fundamentals. It plans to increase production to 2Mlbs/annum U3O8 equivalent through the addition of the Ion Exchange (IX) plant which will take approximately 20 months to design, construct and commission. The envisaged final stage of the production is to ramp up plant capacity from 2Mlbs/annum, with Honeymoon permitted to produce more than 3Mlb/annum U3O8 equivalent, contingent on market conditions and U3O8 price. Stage 3 does not form part of the current FS, but will be investigated when the source of additional uranium production has been better defined.

The FS has been evaluated at a long term US$50/lb U3O8 price (FS Base Case). The Project is highly leveraged to the uranium price, as identified in Table 2, which displays comparable potential financial performance at U3O8 prices of US$40/lb (FS Downside) and US$60/lb (FS Upside). In the FS Upside scenario, the Project generates an additional A$264m (+54%) in pre-tax cash flows while the pre-tax NPV increases by 63% to US$266m (A$392m).

Table 3: Key Financial Summary at U3O8 prices of US$40/lb, US$45/lb, US$50/lb, US$55/lb and US$60/lb

Financial Metric Unit FS Downside US$40/lb FS Downside US$45/lb FS Downside US$50/lb FS Downside US$55/lb FS Downside
US$60/lb
    A$ US$

A$

US$

A$

 US$

A$

US$

A$

US$

Revenue

$M

1,196

813

 1,338 910

1,196

1,006

 1,622 1,103

1,764

1,200

EBITDA

$M

477

324

609  414

742

504

 874 594

1,007

685

Free Cash flow (Pre-tax)

$M

227

154

 359 244

492

334

 624 424

756

514

Free Cash flow (Post-tax)

$M

175

119

 272 185

365

248

 458 311

551

375

EBITDA margin

%

39.86%

45.53%

50.11%

 53.89%

57.06%

IRR (Pre-tax)

%

22.10%

32.80%

42.90%

 52.63%

62.11%

IRR (Post-tax)

%

17.25%

25.57%

33.29%

 40.67%

47.97%

NPV 8% (Pre-tax)

$M

88

60

 164 112

240

163

 316 215

392

266

NPV 8% (Post-tax)

$M

57

39

113  77

166

113

 220 149

273

185

NPV 6% (Pre-tax)

$M

113

77

 200 136

286

194

 372 253

459

312

NPV 6% (Post-tax)

$M

78

53

 142 96

202

138

 263  179

323

220

AISC1

$/lb

39.3

26.7

 39.3 27.0

40.2

27.4

 40.7 27.7

41.1

27.9

AIC2

$/lb

46.6

31.7

 31.7 46.0

47.5

32.3

 47.9 32.6

48.4

32.9

Total Project Payback

yrs

9.3

 6.0

4.5

 3.8

3.0

  1. AISC = wellfield operating, processing, site G&A, freight, marketing, royalties and sustaining 
 capital expenditure
  2. AIC = AISC + development and deferred capital expenditure

The base case pre-tax NPV is A$240 million. The sensitivity of the Project pre-tax NPV to key input changes with a +/- 20% variation applied is summarised in Figure 2 as is a variation to the discount rate of +/- 2%.

Figure 2: Sensitivity analysis (A$‘000) on base case NPV

The following Figure 3 shows the forecast pre-tax net annual cashflows and the cumulative cash balance of the Company over the LOM at a U3O8 price of US$50/lb.

Figure 3: Cashflows and Cumulative Cash Balance (A$’000’s) over LOM (pre-tax) at a U3O8 price of US$50/lb

The subsequent Figures 4, 5, 6 show the key financial, return and cost metrics over the LOM at a U3O8 prices of US$40/lb, US$45/lb, US$50/lb, US$55/lb and US$60/lb.

Figure 4: Key financial metrics at U3O8 prices of US$40/lb, US$45/lb, US$50/lb, US$55/lb and US$60/lb

Figure 5: Key return metrics at U3O8 prices of US$40/lb, US$45/lb, US$50/lb, US$55/lb and US$60/lb

Figure 6: Key cost metrics at U3O8 prices of US$40/lb, US$45/lb, US$50/lb, US$55/lb and US$60/lb

Mineral Resource Estimate

Figure 4 Honeymoon tenement location map

Honeymoon’s tenements are situated approximately 80 kilometres northwest of the town of Broken Hill, near the border of South Australia and New South Wales. The Project is 100% owned by Boss Energy Ltd and covers an area of 2,600 km2. The granted ML6109 contains the Honeymoon mine site and five Exploration Leases (EL) cover prospects at Jason’s Deposit and Gould’s Dam, approximately 15km and 70km north and northwest, respectively, of the Honeymoon Restart Area. All leases are in good standing (Table 4).

The Project comprises two main resource areas:

1. The Eastern Region, containing the Honeymoon Restart Area (ML6109, EL6081 and EL5621) which hosts the Brooks Dam, Honeymoon, East Kalkaroo domains and the separate Jason’s Deposit; and

2. The Western Region (EL6020, EL5623 and EL5622) which hosts the Gould’s Dam deposit.

In February 2019, the Mineral Resource (JORC 2012) estimate for the Honeymoon Restart Area was updated by independent mining resource experts AMC Consultants. The updated Mineral Resource (JORC 2012) for the Restart Area now stands at 24Mt at an average grade of 660ppm U3O8 for a total contained uranium oxide of 36Mlbs U3O8 using a cut-off grade of 250ppm U3O8 (see below).

The Restart Area encompasses three domains (Brooks Dam, Honeymoon and East Kalkaroo), each characterised by subtle differences in ore characteristics. The Honeymoon domain comprises the highest-grade portion of the entire Restart Area and will be the focus of wellfield operations during the initial stages of production.

Resource estimations were completed using hard boundaries created by the solid, 3D mineralisation wireframes and soft boundaries to establish the individual domains. Uranium grade estimation was completed using a Restricted Ordinary Kriging accumulation process. Dynamic anisotropy was used during estimation to accommodate the variable and complex orientations of the mineralised palaeovalley system at the different stratigraphic levels.

The Mineral Resource (JORC 2012) was classified as a combination of Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resources in accordance with JORC Code 2012 guidelines and based on the confidence levels of key criteria considered during the resource estimation process. The criteria included data quality, drilling density, geological and grade interpretations, spatial continuity of the mineralisation, and historical production. A dry bulk density value of 1.90 t/m3 was used for consistency with historical resource estimates but was later confirmed from density testwork completed on physical core samples collected during a short sonic core drilling program completed in December 2018. Given that the lower detection limit of the PFN tool is 200ppm U3O8, grades falling within the 200 – 250ppm U3O8 bracket may be considered with less confidence than those higher than 250ppm U3O8. A lower grade cut-off value of 250 ppm U3O8 was therefore chosen to be realistic and appropriate for the Restart Area.

Table 4: Updated February 2019 Honeymoon Restart Area Mineral Resource Classification Table

Resource
Classification
Tonnage
(Million Tonnes)
Average Grade
(ppm U3O8)
Contained Metal

(Kt, U3O8)
Contained Metal

(Mlb, U3O8)

Measured

3.1

1,100

3.4

7.6

Indicated

14

610

8.7

19

Inferred

7.0

590

4.1

9.1

Total

24

660

16

36

In addition to the Restart Area, the Honeymoon Uranium Project also consists of the Jason’s Deposit and Gould’s Dam domains situated approximately 15km to the north and 75km to the northwest, respectively, of the Restart Area. Part of the Mineral Resource (JORC 2012) estimation work completed in 2019 also involved upgrading the global Mineral Resource for the entire Honeymoon Project. The resulting effect on the global Mineral Resource is an increase of 13% to 52.4Mt at an average grade of 620ppm U3O8 containing a total of 71.6Mlbs U3O8 using a 250ppm U3O8 cut-off (see below). This represents an overall 17% increase in contained metal mass from the previously reported global Mineral Resource estimate (JORC 2012)3.

Table 5: Summary of upgraded Mineral Resource for the global Honeymoon Uranium Project

Resource
Classification
Tonnage
(Million Tonnes)
Average Grade
(ppm U3O8)
Contained Metal

(Kt, U3O8)
Contained Metal

(Mlb, U3O8)
JASON’S (MARCH 2017)4

Inferred

6.2

790

4.9

10.7

Gould’s Dam (April 2016)5

Indicated

4.4

650

2.9

6.3

Inferred

17.7

480

8.5

18.7

Honeymoon Restart Area (January 2019)

Measured

3.1

1,100

3.4

7.6

Indicated

14

610

8.7

19

Inferred

7.0

590

4.1

9.1

Global Honeymoon Uranium Project

Measured

3.1

1,100

3.4

7.6

Indicated

18.4

630

12.0

25.5

Inferred

30.9

570

18.0

38.5

Total

52.4

620

32.5

71.6

  1. Refer to ASX announcement dated 15 March 2017
  2. Refer to ASX announcement dated 15 March 2017
  3. Refer to ASX Announcement dated 8 April 2016

In-Situ Recovery (ISR)

ISR is the preferred, and most cost effective and environmentally acceptable, method of mining for the Honeymoon uranium resource. ISR is a proven extraction process which accounts for approximately 55% of world uranium mined, and is predominantly used in Australia, USA, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
The ISR process involves the installation of multiple wells in a specific pattern over the orebody. For each pattern a bore, or well, is drilled in the centre of the pattern and installed with a borehole pump.

This is designated the extractor well. Four to six additional wells are drilled around the extractor to form the injector wells. Each well is cased with PVC casing and includes a slotted screen installed at the depth of the orebody. The length of the screens is specific so as to cover the thickness of the mineralisation. The casing is cemented in place, isolating the ore horizon and preventing the potential loss of any mining fluids once production has commenced. Pipework is installed to connect the injector and extractor wells to the main processing plant. A wellfield can be made up of up to 16 extractors and 25 injector wells. Additional wellfields are subsequently installed with similar patterns over the rest of the orebody, until the entire deposit is covered.

Figure 6: Honeymoon In-Situ Recovery Schematic

When mining is initiated, a leaching fluid (the “lixiviant”) is pumped into the orebody through the injector wells. The lixiviant moves through the ore within that horizon, dissolving the uranium mineralisation at its origin (i.e. “in situ”) and producing a uranium-rich fluid that is then pumped to the surface through the extractor wells. The installed pipelines at surface transport the pregnant, uranium-rich lixiviant from the wellfields to the processing plant, where the uranium is chemically extracted until the solution is said to be “barren”, or no longer rich in uranium. The uranium is recovered through a precipitation circuit to produce yellowcake and the barren liquor is refortified with acid and oxidant before it is recycled back to the wellfield to repeat the dissolution process.

ISR is the preferred, and most cost effective and environmentally acceptable, method of mining for the Honeymoon uranium resource. ISR is a proven extraction process which accounts for approximately 55% of world uranium mined, and is predominantly used in Australia, USA, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

The ISR process involves the installation of multiple wells in a specific pattern over the orebody. For each pattern a bore, or well, is drilled in the centre of the pattern and installed with a borehole pump.

This is designated the extractor well. Four to six additional wells are drilled around the extractor to form the injector wells. Each well is cased with PVC casing and includes a slotted screen installed at the depth of the orebody. The length of the screens is specific so as to cover the thickness of the mineralisation. The casing is cemented in place, isolating the ore horizon and preventing the potential loss of any mining fluids once production has commenced. Pipework is installed to connect the injector and extractor wells to the main processing plant. A wellfield can be made up of up to 16 extractors and 25 injector wells. Additional wellfields are subsequently installed with similar patterns over the rest of the orebody, until the entire deposit is covered.

  • Minimum average grade of 400 ppm U3O8 for any mineralised interval;
  • Minimum grade-thickness (GT) accumulation of 1800 m.ppm for a single mining horizon; and
  • Subsequent mining horizons can support a lower GT of 500 m.ppm as the wellfield development capital cost can be spread over multiple horizons.

Staged Production Approach

Uranium is extracted at Honeymoon using the ISR method, and processed using SX at a processing plant located adjacent to the ore-body. The processing plant has a design capacity of 0.88Mlbs/annum U3O8 equivalent as uranium peroxide (UO4.2H2O).

Acidified leach solution, containing an oxidant, is continuously injected into the ore zone (wellfield) via injection wells and drawn to extraction wells dissolving uranium as the solution passes through the host sand between the wells. The PLS is then pumped from the extraction wells to the Honeymoon process plant where the uranium is recovered. A tenor of ~75mg/l U3O8 is required in the PLS in order to attain the design production rate of 0.88Mlbs/annum.

SX is used to selectively recover and concentrate uranium ahead of the subsequent precipitation stages. Soluble uranium is extracted from the PLS by an extractant blend specifically developed for the Honeymoon PLS, with the objective of being selective for uranium in the presence of chlorides and ferric iron. These contaminants are then partially removed from the organic in the scrub mixer-settlers. In the strip mixer-settlers, the scrubbed loaded organic comes into contact with a sodium carbonate strip solution and uranium is transferred to the aqueous phase. The remaining impurities precipitate from the aqueous phase which are collected and separated in an iron thickener prior to advancing the loaded strip liquor to the uranium product precipitation area.

In a batch precipitation process, consisting of three precipitation tanks, the loaded strip solution is precipitated in the uranium peroxide form (UO4.2H2O) using hydrogen peroxide to produce a yellowcake slurry.
Yellowcake slurry is de-watered using a thickener and pumped to a storage tank located in the drying and packing plant. The thickened uranium slurry is then pumped to a filter press for further de-watering, where the resulting paste-like slurry discharges into one of two yellowcake dryers. The dried uranium peroxide product is discharged from the dryers into a yellowcake hopper located in the packaging area. The uranium product is packed into top loaded 205L steel drums and then into sea-containers for road transport and export.

Solvent Extraction (Stage 1) Upgrades

For Stage 1, the existing SX processing facility will be recommissioned with various process plant modifications to resolve processing issues that were identified from the original operational period.
The major upgrades and modifications include:

  • Upgrading the existing BLS pumps to boost the feed pressure to the injection wells to improve in-situ recovery performance;
  • Modification of the weir arrangement between the BLS pre-settler pond and the main BLS pond to ensure retention and recovery of entrained organics;
  • Installation of a new hyper-jet mixer and recovery system to demulsify and remove entrained organic from the SX raffinate;
  • Installation of a new loaded organic tank and pumps prior to the mixer settlers to stabilise flows and reduce surging;
  • Installation of a loaded strip filtration plant, comprising a sand filter and activated carbon columns, to improve the clarity of, and remove entrained organics from, the loaded strip liquor solution prior to uranium precipitation;
  • Conversion of the batch precipitation tanks to continuous operation to meet the residence time requirements in Stage 2;
  • Reconfiguring the Uranium Precipitation Thickener Underflow Pump discharge piping to enable thickener underflow recycling to the precipitation feed for seeding (at a rate of 3 recycle:1 precipitated solid) to promote crystal growth;
  • Removing the existing vacuum dryers and supporting equipment and install a new yellowcake dewatering centrifuge, electrical kiln and off gas system within the existing drying building;
  • Installation of a new ferric chloride storage and dosing system;
  • Installation of a new containerised reverse osmosis (RO) plant to produce potable water for human consumption;
  • Relocation and refurbishment of the liquid disposal pump; and
  • Modifying the existing water treatment plant (WTP).

Ion Exchange (Stage 2) Expansion

Stage 2 will supplement the re-commissioned SX circuit with a new IX circuit and associated infrastructure required to process the additional PLS that will be generated from the wellfields, increasing production to 2Mlb/annum U3O8 equivalent. The additional facilities required for Stage 2 include:

  • Install additional BLS and PLS pumps to meet the new duty;
  • Install two parallel trains of NIMCIX adsorption and elution columns and supporting infrastructure capable of process 2,036m3/h of PLS;
  • Re-purpose the sodium chlorate mixing and distribution system for sodium chloride mixing and distribution for IX elution;
  • Install additional sulphuric acid and ferric chloride tanks;
  • Upgrade reagent dosing and water distribution pumps;
  • Install an additional RO Plant at the WTP to meet the clean water demand; and
  • Install an additional WTP dedicated to wellfield conditioning, i.e. softening of groundwater.

The new IX circuit will consist of the following major equipment:

  • Two NIMCIX adsorption columns;
  • Two NIMCIX elution columns;
  • Two resin conversion vessels;
  • Two resin conditioning vessels;
  • One resin regeneration vessel;
  • One fresh resin hopper;
  • Solution storage tanks; and
  • Reagent mixing and distribution.

The two NIMCIX adsorption columns (6.2m in diameter, 25m tall) will operate in parallel to adsorb uranium from the PLS solution onto the resin. The loaded resin will be eluted using a two-step process. The converted resin is then transferred to the NIMCIX elution columns (2m in diameter, 25m tall) where the resin is eluted to recover the uranium to a low volume, concentrated eluate. This eluate reports to the existing, upgrade precipitation, drying and packaging systems. Spent resin is conditioned with acidic solution in a conditioning vessel before being transferred back to the adsorption column. Allowance has also been made for regeneration of resin periodically in a separate vessel, to control the build-up of silica on the resin.

Infrastructure

The infrastructure requirements for the Project comprise the main items listed below.

Power

Power supply for the existing Honeymoon site is via overhead transmission line from the national electrical grid at Broken Hill and Cockburn. The total installed power at the Honeymoon site in Stages 1 and 2 is 4.25 MW and 7.58 MW respectively. Total consumed power is 2.93 MW and 5.49 MW respectively.

Power supply infrastructure will be upgraded to meet the requirements of the Stage 1 and 2 facilities.

The two spare 11 kV feeders in the existing high voltage (HV) substation will be used to feed to two new motor control centres (MCC) for the new aspects of the processing plant.

Power to the wellfields at Honeymoon and Brooks Dam and to the existing plant substation is supplied from the existing feeders in the HV substation by underground and above ground cable. Power to the fresh water bore field is supplied by an 11kV overhead power line fed from the HV substation.

Emergency power to the existing Process Plant MCC and the Camp and Offices MCC will be provided by the existing 400 kVA generator sets. An additional 400 kVA generator set will be installed to provide emergency power to the new Process Plant MCC No. 2.

Access

The Honeymoon site is accessible via the sealed Barrier Highway from Broken Hill or Adelaide followed by a 44 km unsealed public road (Mulyungarie Rd) and a 23 km privately maintained access road. Both public and private access roads require re-sheeting as part of the Stage 1 works.

Airstrip

The existing airstrip at the Honeymoon site will service the operation. Access to the aerodrome is via a dedicated access road from the village. The airstrip is designed for planes capable of carrying up to 50 passengers. The airstrip is in serviceable condition, requiring only refurbishment of the lighting system as part of the Stage 1 works.

Water

Raw water for the operation will be obtained from the existing ground water borefield and infrastructure.

Clean water for the process will be produced by bleeding BLS from the BLS pond to the WTP. A new containerised RO plant will be provided in Stage 2 to meet the additional clean water demand.

Potable water for human consumption will be produced by a new containerised RO plant fed from the raw water tank located at the plant site and reticulated around the site as required.

Waste Management

Waste liquid sources include:

  • BLS bleed;
  • RO plant brine;
  • Grey water;
  • Clean-up of spillage and rain water from reagents areas; and
  • Water collected in the storm water pond.

Waste liquid will be collected in the liquid disposal pond and disposed of via the existing liquid disposal wells. The nominal liquid disposal rates are 11.8m³/h and 48.3m³/h in Stages 1 and 2 respectively. The existing disposal pump and pipeline are adequately sized for both scenarios and will be refurbished as part of the Stage 1 works.

Fuel Storage

Diesel will be stored on site in an existing self-bunded 60kL diesel storage tank with unloading and dispensing facilities.

Liquefied petroleum gas will be stored on site in an existing bullet tank.

Camp

The existing 150 room camp at Honeymoon will be utilised for all stages of the operation. Inspection and refurbishment of the accommodation, dry mess/kitchen, wet mess, gym, ablutions and laundry units will be completed early in the Stage 1 execution to return the camp to a habitable condition prior to the commencement of site works. An additional laundry unit and new refrigeration unit will be installed.

Waste water from the camp and the plant ablutions will report to the existing sewage treatment plant.

Administration and Plant Buildings

Administration functions will be divided between Boss’ head office and the Honeymoon site. Site-based roles will be located in the existing administration facilities which consist of:

  • Administration office complex with offices for management, geology, production, operations, engineering, maintenance, safety and other personnel;
  • Ablutions, change houses and crib facilities;
  • Plant control room; and
  • Drying building control room, clean rooms and contaminated rooms.

Inspection and refurbishment of these building will be completed in conjunction with the accommodation camp refurbishment in Stage 1. No additional facilities will be required for Stage 2.

Plant Workshop and Stores

The maintenance workshops will undertake general maintenance of the plant and minor servicing of mobile equipment fleet. Major repair work will be completed off-site in specialised workshops or on site with the assistance of specialist contractors. The existing steel framed and clad workshops at the Honeymoon site include:

  • Main combined workshop and stores building;
  • Clean workshop and stores building; and
  • Warehouse for storage of controlled area equipment.

All of these buildings are in a serviceable condition and do not required refurbishment.
As part of the Stage 2 works, the existing pilot plant shed will be converted in the dedicated wellfield workshop and store.

Laboratory

  • Solution and resin assays for metallurgical accounting and control;
  • Yellowcake product quality control including moisture testing and drum assays; and
  • Environmental and water testing.

The existing laboratory will be refurbished and recommissioned as part of the Stage 1 works.

A new X-ray fluorescence machine will be purchased in Stage 2.

Mobile Fleet

Mobile vehicle and equipment plant requirements have been assessed for both stages of the operation and a combination of refurbishment/servicing and purchasing of new vehicles has been costed for the Project.

Security

The existing security system at Honeymoon consists of an access control system, CCTV system and associated infrastructure. The access system will be refurbished and recommissioned with updated software. The CCTV system will be upgraded with new cameras, video management system and servers.

Communication

The existing communications infrastructure will be upgraded to meet the demands during construction and operation. This upgrade will include new repeaters, solar packs, splitters, cabling and a remote monitoring system.

Environmental and Permitting

The Project is an existing fully permitted operation, but currently in care and maintenance. A mining lease for the operation is in place and the Program for Environmental Protection and Remediation (PEPR) has been approved by the Department of State Development (DSD). In addition, the following licences and management plans are in place for the original 0.88Mlbs/annum U3O8 equivalent operation:

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Licence;
  • Native Title Agreements;
  • Radiation Management Plan;
  • Radioactive Waste Management Plan;
  • Flora and Native Vegetation Management Plan;
  • Mine Closure and Rehabilitation Plan; and
  • Product export permits.

Native Title Agreements have been signed and endorsed by local Indigenous communities. With the existing permitting in place, production can commence at Honeymoon within a very short lead time, though will require the following steps to be undertaken:

  • Formal restart notification to be sent to the DSD;
  • Amendments to the existing PEPR including updated environmental management plan;
  • Submission of formal restart plan;
  • Radiation Management Plan updates;
  • Radioactive Waste Management Plan updates;
  • Site inspection; and
  • Payment of DSD security bond and EPA licensing payment.

With the planned expansion to 2Mlbs/annum U3O8 equivalent operation using the existing operational areas (i.e. within the existing mining lease), a similar approach as described for the restart above will be followed, and will also require new baseline studies for the PEPR (particularly in the area of hydrogeology) and further updates to the Public Environment Report and the Mining Lease Proposal. Boss is currently undertaking the necessary baseline studies, assessments and updating the management plans so that the existing plant can be expanded to 2Mlbs/annum U3O8 equivalent based on the deposits contained within the existing ML6109.

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