Aurora Energy Metals to undertake uranium metallurgical testwork at Perth lab

Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) during the September 2023 quarter plans to undertake uranium metallurgical testwork at a laboratory in Perth, focused on beneficiation of existing core and follow-up leach trials as a part of its Scoping Study.

The $10.56 million market capitalisation company is advancing its Aurora Energy Metals Project (AEMP) with the current, multi-phase program focused on completing uranium feasibility studies and permitting on its flagship project.

It also aims to define a lithium mineral resource in the soft lakebed sediments that overly and surround the uranium deposit.

The company in the September quarter will also advance project permitting by completing the first phase of a cultural survey and holding kick-of meetings with the US Bureau of Land Management, while also seeking to conduct more mining and infrastructure related preparatory work for the AEMP Scoping Study.

Aurora continues to advance and de-risk its flagship namesake project in south-eastern Oregon, US and will soon engage with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to compile an Exploration Plan of Operations (EPO).

During the June quarter, the company released significant results from the independent review of historic metallurgical testwork, the appointment of DRA Global for the next phase of testwork and the advancement of various permitting-related and other project activities.

In preparation for the AEMP uranium Scoping Study, a mining team visited the project in May 2023 to review options for the overall site layout and proposed transportation corridor. The visit confirmed that the overall site landscape would readily allow for establishing a mine and associated infrastructure.

The company says early stage planning has identified options for drainage management. One option is to establish the waste dump ‘above’ the open pit with drainage channels to divert runoff away from the pit crest and utilise the naturally undulating landscape.

Along the transport corridor, the natural drainage will ensure reliable year-round access to the operation. The proposed plant site, situated on private land in Nevada, is well located with safe and easy access to the town of McDermitt for supplies and workforce transport.

During the quarter a global consultancy was engaged to supply benchmark cost data. The pit optimisation will include relevant inputs and constraints in relation to the expected location of mine site infrastructure, offices, workshops, and stockpiles, as identified during the site visit.

A project schedule and costs will be developed at a level of confidence in-line with a standard Scoping Study.

Aurora is de-risking the AEMP by advancing permitting in parallel with ongoing technical studies. The next step in the permitting process is to engage with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Oregon to compile an Exploration Plan of Operations (EPO). The company’s environmental consultants are working with Aurora to finalise the area to be covered and work program to be completed.

A project schedule and costs will be developed at a level of confidence in-line with a standard Scoping Study

Once approval is obtained from the BLM, the company reports that environmental and cultural baseline studies can be undertaken. Given the seasonal nature of biological studies, the preparation of an EPO typically takes one year and once approved by the BLM, more intensive activities at site such as geotechnical and hydrological studies and bulk sampling can be conducted.

The company has already commenced part of the cultural studies with the prior approval of the BLM and the first phase will soon be completed.

Meanwhile, a $2.7 million placement was undertaken during the quarter to new and existing institutional, professional, and sophisticated investors. Funds will be used to complete uranium metallurgical testwork and the Scoping Study on the AEMP uranium deposit.

The Aurora uranium deposit is now acknowledged to be the largest mineable, measured and indicated uranium deposit in the US.

The company’s consolidated cash at hand was $3.5 million as of 30 June 2023 with no debt.

The majority of the expenditure during the quarter was on exploration and evaluation $384,000, staff costs $132,000 and admin and corporate costs $156,000.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: Aurora Energy Metals Ltd
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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.