PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Uranium miner Paladin Energy said on Friday that it was assessing three “mutually exclusive” options by third-party participants in the nuclear industry, as part of an ongoing strategic review.
The ASX- and TSX-listed mining company said it received a “high level of interest” from participants in the nuclear industry, which confirmed both the global demand for high-quality uranium assets, and the desire to partner with Paladin.
Paladin is looking at joint venture participation in certain of its nonproducing uranium assets or other strategic options.
Paladin said that its decision to enter into any or all three of the outcomes from the interest it received would be dependent on the results and subsequent analysis of the strategic merits of the proposals.
Discussions and analysis of the proposals were well advanced, and results were expected in the August and October periods.
Meanwhile, Paladin on Friday reported that full-year production for the 12 months ended June had increased by 21%, to 6.89-million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8).
The Langer Heinrich operation, in Namibia, produced 4.4-million pounds of U3O8, an increase of 25% over the previous financial year, while the Kayelekera operation, in Malawi, increased production by 14%, to 2.4-million pounds.
During the three months to June, both operations also reported record productions, with a combined 2.04-million pounds of U3O8 produced. This was a 15.3% increase over the March quarter.
During the fourth quarter, the Langer Heinrich mine produced a record 1.32-million pounds of U3O8, a 26% increase over the March quarter, with the plant effectively achieving its Stage 3 design performance.
At the Kayelekera mine, Paladin produced 726 299 lb of U3O8 during the fourth quarter, which was a slight increase over the previous quarter.
Paladin said that June-quarter production was reduced by between 35 000 lb and 45 000 lb as a result of industrial action at Kayelekera in May, when the majority of the workforce walked off the mine site to protest the company’s refusal to accede to a 66% pay increase demand.
The issue was resolved later the month.
The miner said that as a result of the industrial action, the combined production for the quarter was slightly below target; however, output was 96.4% of the combined nameplate for the quarter, and 99.6% of the nameplate for the months of May and June.
Paladin said that in the 2013 financial year, production was expected to reach between 8-million and 8.5-million pounds of U3O8, as both the Langer Heinrich and Kayelekera operations reached design capacity.
The September quarter, in turn, would be affected by a planned 14-day scheduled shutdown at the Kayelekera mine in August for maintenance and minor upgrades. This would result in a once-off reduction in the September-quarter production of around 130 000 lb.
Meanwhile, Paladin also reported that uranium sales for the quarter ended June reached a record 2.24-million pounds, at an average sales price of $56.16/lb U3O8, generating revenue of around $125.8-million.
Uranium sales for the financial year ended June reached more than 6.69-million pounds, generating revenue of $365.8-million.