Elevate Uranium – Carbon Free Energy
Elevate Uranium owns the Marenica project west of Usakos, which is a secondary uranium deposit hosted in calcrete. It has a current JORC resource of 61 mlbs of uranium, established during a detailed exploration programme including geophysics, drilling and sampling. In spite of this significant size, the project is currently sub-economic due to the low grade, and is therefore held under a Mineral Deposit Retention License. In 2012 the company therefore embarked on a research and development programme to develop a uranium concentration process that is unique and ground-breaking, and has lowered the extraction cost of uranium at the Marenica deposit. The research was done in cooperation with scientists from the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which is regarded as one of the pre-eminent research organisations worldwide, and at a cost of more than N$ 40 million.
The test-work resulted in a new uranium concentration process that is capable of concentrating uranium by a factor of up to 50 times, thereby reducing the feed to a leaching circuit dramatically. By using this new process a reduction in operating costs of 50-70% and capital costs of 35-50% is achievable. Marenica has patent applications in place for the process, which is now known as U-pgrade™. The process has widespread applicability to surficial uranium deposits, many of which occur in Namibia, and also is expected to assist other Namibian uranium projects in their development. It has already been successfully applied in bench scale test work to ores from other Namibian deposits.
U-pgrade™ is a beneficiation process that includes well established and understood unit processes that are configured in an unconventional manner. These processes include scrubbing, size separation by screening, elutriation and cyclones, and standard carbonate removal. U-pgrade™ basically targets the removal of selected minerals that impact on the separation, handling and leach efficiency, from the ore. The metallurgical test-work also demonstrated that the quality of the water used in the process has a minimal effect on the process performance. This means that sea water or saline groundwater, unfit for human or animal consumption, can be used for the bulk of the U-pgrade™ process, thereby minimizing the use of fresh water, which is so scarce in Namibia. The high value concentrate produced in the process can be leached on site with highly reduced amounts of chemicals, or be transported to an existing leach facility, thereby further reducing the environmental footprint.
Elevate Uranium is also actively exploring elsewhere in the Erongo Region. Drilling has been ongoing since mid-2021 and will continue through 2022. The company completed an airborne survey in the Namib Area during 2021 and scheduled another airborne survey further north for 2022. These surveys aim at locating palaeochannels potentially containing calcrete hosted uranium deposits, suitable to apply the company’s patented U-pgrade™ process. Resource definition drilling completed in 2021 at the Koppies project has been incorporated into a maiden mineral resource estimate.