Tumas comprises of a series of palaeochannel/calcrete-type uranium deposits totalling 132.9Mlb U308.
Uranium mineralisation in palaeochannel/calcrete-type deposits occurs as carnotite (uranium-vanadium mineral), hosted by Tertiary and Quaternary fluvial sediments occupying narrow and steep-sided palaeochannels. Host rocks vary from hard, carbonate-cemented sandstones and conglomerates (calcrete) to poorly consolidated and friable sands.
Exploration since 2016 has been extremely successful, highlighted by a more than fourfold increase in the Project’s palaeochannel/calcrete resource (mainly at the Tumas 3 and Tumas 1 East discoveries), at an extremely low discovery cost of 9.4c/lb.
Tumas has a Resource of 114Mlb (263ppm U308), a Reserve of 67Mlb (345ppm U308) and Inferred Resources of 49.5Mlb available to further expand Ore Reserve base, with potential to add a further 10+ years to the current 22.25-year Life-of-Mine.
The Project has 125km of highly prospective palaeochannels. Importantly, 40% of the 125km Tumas palaeochannel system remains to be tested, providing the Company with significant exploration upside. Fertile paleochannels in this region can contain between 2Mlb to 12Mlb U308/km and it is reasonable to assume that an additional 2 to 3 mineralised zones will be discovered.
An initial Scoping Study on Tumas delivered positive results in January 2020. This was followed by a Pre-Feasibility Study, completed in February 2021, which delivered robust results in line with, and in some cases better, than the Scoping Study.
Definitive Feasibility Study
Completion of the Tumas DFS in February 2023 was the most significant event to-date in the history of Deep Yellow.
The DFS achieved results which showed the flagship uranium project as a potential world-class operation, delivering robust returns to shareholders.
Key results include:
- Exceptional NPV8 of US$341M and an IRR 19.2%1 at US$65/lb
- Long life Project of 22.25 years, with significant potential to grow to 30+ years through additional resources
- Initial Capex of US$372m
- Tier-1 production of 3.6Mlbpa U308
- LoM AISC of C1 US$34.68/lb and AISC US$38.72/lb
- World class ESG initiatives, which includes an extensive EMP, benign tailings, solar farm and positive socioeconomic outcomes
Importantly, the DFS used appropriate assumptions and highly accurate costings, having been largely based on quotes received in the last quarter of 2022 and January 2023, resulting in a very realistic outcome against the inflationary and supply headwinds that have hit the mining sector.
Deep Yellow intends for Tumas to be a best-in-breed uranium operation, with world-leading extractive technologies and sustainability initiatives applied, including a specific process route that will produce a benign1 tailings stream to allow for the eventual safe closure and rehabilitation.
Development of Tumas is a cornerstone component of the Company’s long-held, dual-pillar growth strategy, which now also includes the Mulga Rock Project in Western Australia, all to capitalise on the forecast improvement in uranium prices on the back of looming global uranium shortages from 2024.
The Board of Deep Yellow was suitably encouraged by the outcomes and the confidence it has in the team to continue to deliver. Key works including project definition, FEED, project financing and offtake discussions have commenced, ahead of a Final Investment Decision in H1 2024.
* Oponona has an option to acquire 5% of the project, however the option is yet to be exercised.
1 The process was developed with the aim of developing a benign tailing, where a “benign tailing” is characterised by its stability, particularly with respect to ground water impact. Deep Yellow has achieved independent, third-party endorsement of the process in this regard from the CSIRO.