Häggån is located in central Sweden and is one of the largest undeveloped uranium projects in the world. The project has a resource of 803 million pounds uranium with significant base metal by-products.
Sweden remains a nuclear friendly jurisdiction with 10 operating nuclear power reactors. In 2013, Sweden generated 152.5 TWh, of which 65.8 TWh (43%) was from nuclear and 61.3 TWh (40%) from hydro. Sweden imports most of its nuclear fuel, including all enrichment. It is one of the few countries that has the opportunity, within its sovereign borders, to be vertically integrated from nuclear power generation down to the U3O8 fuel source. Public opinion polls in the last few years had shown steady majority (over two-thirds) support for nuclear power(1).
The Häggån project is located in a sparsely populated area of swamp and forest used mainly for commercial forestry. Sweden’s has a current and active mining industry, with a clear regulatory position and a well-established path from exploration to production.
A Scoping Study was completed in May 2012 suggests that the Häggån Project has excellent potential to become a major, low cost producer of uranium, with by-product nickel and other metals. Aura’s discovery that the mineralisation is ideally suited to bioleach metal extraction was the major breakthrough to creating a robust and economic project. Bioleaching, including bioheap leaching, is a proven technology widely used in copper and gold industries with some application to the uranium industry.
The Häggån Inferred Resource contains 2.35 billion tonnes at the grades shown in the table below. Metal content is also shown.
The project contemplated in the Scoping Study was a large scale heap leach with recovery of base metals as separate and high purity sulphide precipitates. The Scoping Study outcomes were as follows;
Last year the Aura considered it prudent, given the current market conditions, to reassess the May 2012 Häggån Scoping Study, on smaller scales more likely to attract funding. The company considered three smaller size options; 3.5 Mtpa, 5.0 Mtpa and 7.5 Mtpa, which could be used provide a staged development alternative with a substantially lower front end capital cost requirement. The 5.0 Mtpa project option had the following metrics;