Africa Downunder, Is a new uranium cycle about to begin?
With a 50 plus year history of uranium production, the lesser-known West African mineral exploration destination of Niger has drawn the focus of many uranium hopefuls over the decades from all parts of the globe.
Given the current supply deficit and increasing demand for uranium, with current production not meeting reactor requirements, the world’s seventh largest uranium-producing country will likely keep attracting interest from explorers into the future.
“The sentiment towards uranium has shifted as the world looks at ways of reducing its carbon emissions. Governments across the globe are recognising that nuclear power will play an important role in carbon-free energy production,” ENRG Elements managing director Caroline Keats said on the last day of Africa Downunder.
“Sadly, what we have seen play out in Europe also means countries are now looking at ways to be autonomous and not rely on any other single party in order to meet their energy requirements. Against this background, we really believe we are entering into a new uranium cycle.”
Ms Keats said, with a new board and management team in place, ENRG Elements had refocused its ambitions to be a successful African uranium explorer.
To reinforce this strategic direction, ENRG Elements acquired the Agadez uranium project within the highly prospective and underexplored Tim Mersoi Basin in Northern Niger.
Ms Keats told delegates the move to acquire Agadez was not just about the quality of the asset, but the track record of Niger in existing uranium production as well as its strong mining culture, existing infrastructure and supportive government.
“Our objective is to form part of that pipeline of production for uranium and copper, both being critical components for a clean energy future. Uranium is obviously important in the supply of low-cost, reliable and carbon-free power, and copper will play a significant role in the electrification of renewable energy systems,” Ms Keats said.
The Agadez exploration project covers 726 square kilometres and hosts similar geology to operating mines in the region. A significant amount of historic work has already been completed on the Agadez ground by previous explorers, including past drilling campaigns.
“Exploration started on those tenements in the 1950s and 60s, when the French Government undertook a drilling campaign and some geophysical studies – they identified the area as prospective for uranium,” Ms Keats said.
ENRG Elements’ early work has included updating the previous Inferred Mineral Resource on Agadez to a JORC-compliant estimate of 16.5Mt at 295ppm for 10.7Mlbs eU3O8.
The company has also completed a drilling and surface sampling program of its own, confirming mineralisation occurs from surface to 40 metres at depth and remains open in multiple directions.