Wellfield pre-conditioning has started as the final step before uranium extraction at the Honeymoon in-situ leach (ISL) uranium project in South Australia, Boss Energy Limited has announced. It said Honeymoon is on track to resume production by the end of this year.Honeymoon (Image: Boss Energy)
The Perth-based company said pre-conditioning effectively cleans the wellfields of unwanted chlorides and calcium prior to uranium recovery being extracted. During wellfield pre-conditioning, groundwater containing calcium and chloride is pumped from the orebody via extraction wells and processed though the water treatment plant to remove calcium, and then through a reverse osmosis (RO) plant to remove chloride. The clean water is then acidified prior to reinjection into the orebody via injection wells.
To achieve this milestone, Boss said it had successfully completed major construction activities including wellfield development, gypsum repository construction, water treatment and RO plant commissioning.
"The pre-conditioning work for the start-up wellfield comprises careful commissioning of each part of the treatment circuit and will take about two months to complete," the company said. Following pre-conditioning, uranium extraction will commence via in-situ leaching.
Boss Managing Director Duncan Craib added: "It is a testament to the hard work and effort undertaken by all Boss employees over many years to reach today's pivotal milestone, the commencement of mining activities on Honeymoon."
ISL operations began at Honeymoon in 2011, but the mine was put on care-and-maintenance in 2013 by its then-owner Uranium One. Boss acquired the project in 2015. The project is considered one of the world's most advanced uranium development projects that can be fast-tracked to resume production.
In June 2022, the board of Boss Energy approved the final investment decision for the development of the Honeymoon project.
"Since acquiring the Honeymoon Project in December 2015, Boss embarked on a series of technical optimisation studies to improve Honeymoon's position as a globally competitive mining operation in a tier 1 location," Boss said. "The project development is proceeding to plan and remains on time and on budget as Boss moves towards the restart of Honeymoon in a few months' time.
"Our timing is looking ideal, with the uranium market continuing to tighten and the spot price moving up."
Honeymoon is expected to produce 2.45 million pounds U3O8 per year over an 11-year mine life.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News