Uranium

Aura Energy claims success in boosting uranium ore grade over 500%

Thu 23 Jun 22, 5:50pm (AEST)
Uranium 10 Yellowcake
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Key Points

  • Aura Energy shares up 6% heading into mid-afternoon
  • Company claims it has discovered cheap and straightforward way to improve uranium ore grade over 500%
  • Aura eyeing early 2023 investment decision for processing facility in Mauritania

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. 

Yellow cake to be produced between July and September 

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. 

Humble but high-impact: a snapshot of concentrated uranium solution at ANSTO's facilities in Oz
Humble but high-impact: a snapshot of concentrated uranium solution at ANSTO's facilities in Oz

Australian testwork ongoing 

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. 

Aura having a tough 2022 

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.

Aura's three month charts versus the materials index
Aura's three month charts versus the materials index

 

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Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Journalist

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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