Energy Resources of Australia has doubled production for the first half of 2012 after its Ranger uranium mine recovered from an extreme wet season last year.
Uranium oxide production at the Northern Territory operation for the June quarter was 1.39 million pounds or 632 tonnes, up 661% over the same quarter last year and up 3% over the March quarter.
First half output of 1244t or 2.7Mlb uranium oxide was 107% higher than the same time last year.
Ore mined for the quarter soared by more than 1000% to 575,000t, while ore milled fell by 3% to 632,000t.The company said dewatering operations in Pit 3 were ahead of schedule and full access was achieved in late May.
It added that the majority of the ore mined for the quarter was in the month of June and mining at Pit 3 was set to wind up at the end of the year.
The average mill head grade rose by 9% to 0.12% uranium oxide, while recoveries dropped 4% to 84.7%.
As low-grade stockpiles were processed during the quarter, ERA said it reduced the amount of reagents used to improve economic returns, but the reduction led in a drop in recoveries.
On the exploration and development front, the company’s evaluation expenditure dropped to just $A100,000 from $3 million in the same quarter of last year.
Exploration expenditure jumped to $12 million and stood at $15 million for 2012 so far.Of that amount, $9 million was spent on the Ranger 3 Deeps exploration decline, which started construction in May.
Last month ERA approved the $57 million Ranger 3 Deeps prefeasibility study, which should be completed in time for an investment decision in late 2014.
Surface drilling focused on the area near Pit 3, though no significant mineralisation was identified.
Drilling for the rest of the year will focus on the area north of the Ranger project area.
Shares in ERA, which is 68%-owned by Rio Tinto, gained 1.9% or 3c to $1.635.
Article written by: Kristie Batten http://www.miningnews.net/storyview.asp?storyid=9201877§ionsource=s0
Copyright 2011 CoreStaff