The Norasa Uranium Project is operated by Valencia Uranium, a subsidiary of the Canadian Forsys Metals Corporation, listed on the Toronto and Namibian Stock Exchanges. Norasa is located on the eastern edge of the Khan River valley approximately 80km from Swakopmund in the Erongo Region. It is a consolidation of two adjacent uranium projects, the Valencia Uranium Mining Licence and the Namibplaas exploration project.
Exploration of the project by Valencia commenced in 2005 and the company has drilled more than 260 000 m in over 1 200 exploration holes, including diamond, reverse circulation and percussion holes, in order to understand the geology and develop resource models for mine design work. The preferred mining method is a low cost, traditional open pit operation employing excavators, off road haul trucks and bench drills.
In 2015, the company completed a feasibility study on the Norasa Project. The estimated Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources are 265 Mt at a grade of 197 ppm U3O8, which equates to 115 Mlbs of U3O8. The estimated Inferred Mineral Resource is 26 Mt at a grade of 200 ppm U3O8 for 11 Mlbs of U3O8. The Proven and Probable Norasa Mineral Reserve is 206 Mt at a grade of 200 ppm, which equates to 90.7 Mlbs of U3O8. The ore processing rate is planned at 11.2 million tonnes of ore annually. This will require an average waste stripping of 3.2 tonnes for every tonne of ore. The expected mine life is in excess of 15 years producing up to 5.2 million lbs of U3O8 annually. Norasa will eventually consist of 2 large open pits and a number of smaller, satellite pits. The largest pit will be on Valencia and is currently planned to be 1 660 m long, 980 m wide and over 400 m deep.
During the environmental impact assessment for Valencia, specialists identified the presence of substantial numbers of elephant’s foot plants (Adenia pechuelii), which is semi-endemic to Namibia. Although not a threatened species, the plant is not well understood. As many plants would be affected by construction and mining operations, Valencia sponsored an experimental transplant project, which could play a part in the mine’s rehabilitation program. Sixty plants were transplanted to a nearby area, and all plants survived one year after transplanting and showed signs of vitality. Four years after transplanting, 80% of plants are alive.
Valencia has operated for 10 years without any lost time injury from its own employees or any contractor. The company continues to be committed to SME development in the town of Usakos and has provided support to community initiatives and functions through the Regional Governor’s office. To date, Valencia has sponsored five students with bursaries to study geology, mining engineering and accounting. In addition, the company supported a number of its own staff to continuing formal studies, including one Master’s degree.