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Toro flags huge savings in standalone uranium-vanadium project

Toro Energy says it can build its proposed standalone Lake Maitland uranium-vanadium operation for $270 million after a scoping estimation was completed by SRK Consulting Australasia and Strategic Metallurgy.

The updated capital expenditure, or CapEx delivers a whopping $45 million reduction to the build compared to the $315 million estimate delivered around 10 years ago for the company’s Wiluna uranium operation.

Toro says the latest CapEx figure includes all infrastructure for the proposed stand-alone Lake Maitland uranium-vanadium operation, in addition to the entire processing facility with beneficiation plant and the ability to produce both a uranium and vanadium product. The figure also includes all mining and administration related infrastructure, access roads, power plant, borefield and a reverse osmosis desalinisation plant for water supply.

The proposed stand-alone operation is based around the Lake Maitland deposit that is the largest of the uranium deposits proposed to be mined as part of the Wiluna uranium project.

The Lake Maitland deposit is just one of four that form part of Toro’s fully owned Wiluna uranium project in WA’s northern Goldfields region 710km north-east of Perth.

However, Toro’s research and development studies over many years have identified and evaluated the opportunity to enhance the technical and financial feasibility of the Wiluna uranium project through a redesign of the proposed plant and processing flowsheet, including an initial beneficiation step.

Toro believes the redesigned flowsheet has the potential to significantly enhance the technical and financial feasibility of the Wiluna uranium project especially at Lake Maitland.

Additional research has also justified the potential of major cost reductions for a stand-alone Lake Maitland operation including a beneficiation circuit that delivers a 76 per cent reduction in mass with a high uranium recovery of up to 84 per cent.

After the outstanding pit re-optimisation results, the CAPEX estimate is an excellent and economically significant milestone towards delivering our strategy to advance the Wiluna uranium project so that it is optimised when conditions are favourable for its financing and construction.

Recent research by Toro illustrates how vanadium could be successfully produced, at a small marginal cost, as a by-product of the leaching and treatment of the potential Lake Maitland uranium ore.

The company says all non-processing infrastructure has been based around the mining of 76.2 million tonnes of ore and waste from the Lake Maitland re-optimised pit over the life of proposed mine and ensuring an ore feed of 1.94Mtpa to the beneficiation plant.

The CapEx also includes the cost of an accommodation village for all staff needed for the mining and processing operation in addition to a gravel access road to the proposed mine.

Whilst the company did not reach the substantial commencement condition of state environmental approvals for the Wiluna uranium project, Toro is hopeful that the favourable study results may allow an extension or the opportunity for an amendment to allow its Lake Maitland project to see the light of day.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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