Canada-based Denison Mines is gearing up for the release of a prefeasibility study (PFS) focusing on largest undeveloped high-grade uranium project in the eastern Athabasca basin.
Following two years of exploration and project development work, the PFS for the Wheeler River project will be finalised next month, reports president and CEO David Cates.
Denison, which in 2012 divested of its producing assets in the US and in 2015 and 2016 sold its Mongolia and Africa mining assets, is aiming to claim Wheeler River as the next new uranium mine to be built in Canada, he says.
Commenting on the indefinite suspension of operations at Cameco’s McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill complex, Cates says that it is a reminder of how challenging the current uranium market is for producers. However, he believes that the market has started to recognise that the current uranium prices are “cyclically and irrationally” low and that the release of the PFS will provide Denison with an opportunity to showcase the economic potential of its uranium project.
At the end of January, Denison announced an updated mineral resource estimate for the Gryphon deposit following drilling results from a further 144 drill holes completed during 2016 and 2017. The updated mineral resource estimate for Gryphon, above a cut-off grade of 0.2% U3O8, includes 61.9-million pounds of U3O8 (1.64-million tonnes at 1.71% U3O8) in indicated mineral resources, and 1.9-million pounds of U3O8 (73 000 t at 1.18% U3O8) in inferred mineral resources.
The Phoenix deposit, located about three kilometres southeast of Gryphon, is estimated to include indicated mineral resources of 70.2-million pounds of U3O8 above a cut-off grade of 0.8% U3O8 (166 000 t at 19.1% U3O8).
“Our exploration team delivered with an 88% increase in estimated indicated mineral resources for Wheeler River earlier this year, and our project development team has been diligently working away at optimizing operating costs, capital costs, and timelines to production, from our previously released Preliminary Economic Assessment. A new mining method has been selected for the Phoenix deposit, intending to unlock the value of what is the world's highest grade undeveloped uranium deposit, and additional mineral resources are being incorporated into our plans for the Gryphon deposit,” Cates says.
Meanwhile, Denison announced new board appointments, including that of Cates, Jack Lundin, Moo Hwan Seo and Patricia Volker. Executive chairperson Lukas Lundin will also be handing over his formal duties and has resigned from the board along with Kwang-Hee Jeong.
"I am pleased to welcome several new directors to the company's board, including Denison's president and CEO, David Cates. Under David's leadership, the company has executed on its strategic plan to divest its non-core international assets and position itself as the leading junior developer in the eastern Athabasca basin.
“Denison is the Lundin Group of Companies' flagship uranium investment, and we are expecting tremendous growth ahead in this sector – especially now that we are seeing significant supply cuts from the largest uranium producers, which should fundamentally improve the oversupply situation that has plagued the commodity for the last several years.
With that view in mind, as I step down from my formal duties as chairman, I am delighted that one of my sons, Jack Lundin, will be joining the company at such an exciting time – serving as a director and representing the Lundin family interest at the board level. Jack brings significant technical and project development experience to the Company and will be a great asset to Denison as the company moves towards the development of its high-grade Wheeler River project,” Lundin says.
In addition to the changes in the members of the company's board of directors, Catherine J.G. Stefan, previously serving as the company's lead independent director, has been appointed non-executive chairperson.