Aura Energy (ASX:AEE) shares are up 6% in mid-afternoon trade on the apparent success of tests to improve uranium ore grade.
According to Aura, it has found a relatively low-cost method to boost uranium ore grade by over 500%, achieved at a pilot facility in 2019.
The same pilot test facility has also demonstrated an ability to rapidly extract uranium from ore at over 95% reclamation, Aura states.
In third quarter 2022, Aura is to begin producing yellowcake uranium powder samples for marketing discussions with unnamed nuclear facilities.
The yellowcake will be produced from material used in the 2019 pilot plant test run, itself from feedstock mined at the company’s acreage in Mauritania.
The headline result from that pilot plant is that uranium grades were increased from 285ppm uranium per tonne to 1,572ppm uranium per tonne.
Earlier this year, the Australian nuclear agency ANSTO commenced testwork on materials produced from the pilot plant tests in 2019.
ANSTO is probing further the process design used at the pilot plant which the company intends to upscale into a larger commercial-scale facility.
Final ANSTO results are due by September 2022, and a FEED study launches this year.
Aura is to make a final investment decision (FID) on an upscaled facility in the first quarter of next year, all things going to plan.
Despite a resurgence in interest in uranium stocks this year, Aura is down -42% year-to-date and down -25% year-on-year.
In February this year, Aura was added to the Global X Uranium ETF.
In March, the company launched a prospectus to issue 35.2m placement shares to raise $8.8m.
Back in December 2021, the latest report from the company which is available, cash sat at 3.26m.
Opex reflected $1.2m and investing cash outflows $1.4m, with financing cash inflows at $2.7m.
There is another issue: Aura’s mine is in Africa, but is also set up in Sweden, where government scrutiny towards nuclear energy has increased in recent months.
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