The works required for restarting LHM include general repairs and refurbishment of the existing process plant to operational readiness, along with detailed engineering and design for process upgrades, and purchase of project equipment


Highly enriched uranium recovered from scrap. (Credit: Choihei/Wikipedia)

Australian uranium mining company Paladin Energy has unveiled its plans to re-start production at its Langer Heinrich Mine (LHM) in Namibia, with the first volumes expected in March 2024.

LHM is a significant, long-life operation located in Namibia, which produced more than 43Mlb U3O8 until it was shut down in 2018 due to low uranium prices.

Paladin said that its decision to restart production at LHM is backed by strong uranium market fundamentals and progress on uranium marketing activities.

The scope of work required for restarting LHM includes general repairs and refurbishment of the existing process plant to operational readiness.

In addition, the company intends to complete detailed engineering and design for process upgrades and purchase project equipment to increase throughput capacity.

Paladin CEO Ian Purdy said: “With the strength of the Company’s uranium offtakes and the continuing strong uranium market fundamentals, Paladin has made the decision to return the globally significant Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine to production.

“The increase in the capital required to restart operations reflects a combination of recent inflationary pressures and the bringing forward of key work packages to ensure the long-term reliable supply of power and water to the site.”

The company said that the capital cost for the restart of LHM increased from $87m to $118m, driven by an industry-wide rise in labour, equipment, and raw materials costs.

Paladin claimed that it is well funded to deliver the first production from the LHM, with around $177.1m of cash and no corporate debt, as of 30 June 2022.

In addition, it has engaged top consultants to bring the LHM into production, despite the challenging global project delivery environment and inflationary pressures.

The company contracted African-focused engineering company ADP Group as a delivery partner, to provide EPCM services for the project, alongside the company’s team.

ADP will provide engineering and design, procure equipment and materials, project management and contracts administration services, along with systems and software, project commissioning and handover.

Purdy added: “We have also strengthened our project execution team via the appointment of leading African EPCM contractor ADP Group to ensure the successful delivery of the Langer Heinrich Mine into production.

“The Langer Heinrich Mine remains a low-risk, robust, long-life operation that is poised to take advantage of the improving uranium market conditions and deliver sustainable value creation for all our stakeholders.”

Apart from the LHM, it owns a wide portfolio of uranium exploration and development assets worldwide, said the company.