The Kayelekera Mine (KM) remains on Care and Maintenance (C&M).
KM completed its third full year on C&M, with no production since May 2014 and no sales revenue since December 2014. The key focus at KM remains: ensuring the safety of C&M personnel and the security of the project assets; maintaining idled plant and equipment in a fit state of readiness to facilitate a rapid restart of operations when a decision is made to do so; maintaining legal and social obligations encompassing community relations, environmental and radiological monitoring; and treating and discharging surplus water stocks at KM to reduce KM’s water balance prior to the onset of the next rainfall season.
During production, rainfall run-off water captured in the operational area was stored on site and was recycled for use in processing of uranium ore. Since the operation went on C&M, this has no longer been occurring, necessitating the controlled release of treated water in order to reduce KM’s water balance prior to the onset of the next rainfall season. PAL modified a section of the KM processing plant to treat water to remove contaminants prior to release to meet internationally recognised standards.
PAL’s license to treat and release water was renewed by the GoM in December 2016 for the 2017 wet season, with the government maintaining the prior strict conditions regulating critical water quality parameters, including the World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water guideline for uranium content. Controlled treated water release was not required for the 2017 wet season due to low rainfall Comprehensive monitoring of samples has been undertaken upstream and downstream from KM. At 30 June 2017 water inventories had reduced in the two major storage ponds and the dams are on track to reach their pre-wet season targets and are well below the levels for the same period last year. A new application to treat and discharge water for the 2019 wet season will abe submitted in the September quarter 2018.
A feasibility study for recommencement of production at KM was completed in the previous year, results showed that KM remains a valuable strategic asset that can be quickly returned to production when justified by a higher uranium price environment. This study will be reviewed and updated in the coming year.