Berkeley Resources – Salamanca uranium project, NW Spain - March 2015
Neil Adshead visited Berkeley Resources’ (BKY on the ASX; also listed on AIM) ‘Salamanca’ uranium project in NW Spain in mid-March 2015. The objective of the visit was to learn more about the unusual style of mineralization, the mine development potential and to spend time with the on-site team. Berkeley acquired 100% ownership of the project, which today is made up of the Retortillo, Alameda, Zona 7 and Gambuta deposits, in the middle of the last decade, when uranium was a hot topic in the junior mining market. Berkeley has stuck to the task, despite the subsequent equity market and commodity price volatility, to diligently delineate a combined mineral resource of 88.2 million pounds of contained U3O8, with an average grade of 470 parts per million (at a cut-off grade of 200 parts per million U3O8), in several open pit settings.
The experienced Berkeley team is currently putting the final touches to a feasibility study for an open pit mine, and nearby ore processing facility, centred on the Retortillo deposit. The pre-feasibility study, published in September 2013, envisioned the production of 3.0-3.5 million pounds of U3O8 per year during the seven years of steady state operation, and 2.7 million pounds of U3O8 over a minimum eleven year mine life. Berkeley reported that there is strong potential to increase the production profile and/or mine life through the integration of additional resources at Zona 7 and Gambuta. Zona 7 is <10 km from the proposed centralised processing plant at Retortillo and successful drilling campaigns in 2013 and 2014 resulted in a mineral resource estimate of 30.1 million pounds U3O8 in late 2014. It is currently the subject of a scoping study to assess how best to integrate Zona 7 into the development of Retortillo and Alameda.
The permitting process for the Salamanca Project has progressed in parallel with the technical studies. Permitting milestones include the granting of the Environmental Licence in October 2013, and the Mining Licence in April 2014, for the Retortillo resource.
The foregoing discussions are a result of site visits and are not to be construed as a recommendation, an endorsement or as investment advice. Sprott Global Resource Investments Ltd, entities that it controls, family, friends, employees, associates, and others may hold positions in these securities, may recommend them to clients, and may sell the same at any time.