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M5B 1M4

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Lake Maitland, WA

Uranium drilling at Lake Maitland, Australia - Mega Uranium
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In December 2006, Mega acquired the Lake Maitland uranium resource in Western Australia through the takeover of the Australian public company, Redport Ltd.

Discovered by Asarco Australia Pty. Ltd. in 1972, the Lake Maitland deposit was drilled by Mt Isa Mines Ltd. (now Xstrata Ltd) and Esso Exploration Australia Ltd. in the 1980s and 1990s, by Redport in late 2005 and by Mega in 2007/2008. Details of the resource can be found in the Lake Maitland NI43-101 Technical report.

View the Lake Maitland National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report (September 2009).

View the Lake Maitland National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report from February 2007.

Following the defeat of the Labor Government in the Western Australia State election in September 2008, and the subsequent announcement by the new Liberals-Nationals Government to allow uranium mine development, comprehensive plans were put in place by Mega to proceed with a Feasibility Study (FS) on the Lake Maitland Project.

Uranium exploration, Lake Maitland, Australia - Mega Uranium
(click here for larger image)

Project Update 

Feasibility studies are focusing on various processing, engineering and infrastructure options with a view to enhancing the project economics. Such studies include investigating the possibility of optimising processing costs through examining alternate processing options and improvements in leaching recovery and also assessing the potential for reducing the capital cost through the use of existing infrastructure where possible. 

In December 2009, Mega undertook a costeaning program with the primary objective of obtaining bulk samples for metallurgical testwork. The 10-costean program also allowed validation of the geological interpretation, groundwater testing and assessments of equipment and materials handling.

Metallurgical testwork has focused on resource variability analysis, unit operation optimisation and equipment selection. Testwork results have confirmed the ore is amenable to alkaline leaching with leach recoveries of up to 95% across this circuit readily achievable.

In parallel with the metallurgical testwork, the FS engineering and infrastructure design components are progressing. In September 2010, The Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum (WA DMP) approved Mega’s application to undertake a Test Pit Program (Program) at Lake Maitland, a key component of the FS. The Program was completed in November 2010 and involved the excavation of two test pits, approximately 34m long by 19m wide and 5m deep.

The objectives of the Program were achieved over an eight week duration and the highlights include:

·         Completion of a close spaced grade control drilling program over the test pit areas prior to excavation commencing;

·         Validation of the geological model interpreted from drilling data and costean programme;

·         Demonstration that a truck and excavator mining method is viable and that the ore and overburden can be excavated without blasting;

·         Demonstration that selective mining is achievable using high precision GPS equipment on the excavator;

·         Natural groundwater flow into the test pits was significantly less than expected and the barrier system trialed around the test pits was successful in further reducing groundwater inflows;

·         Dewatering of the test pits during the Program, together with monitoring undertaken, has provided invaluable data required to evaluate the aquifer characteristics; and

·         Data collected from monitoring of groundwater drawdown and quality, as well as other environmental parameters, including air quality, will provide information to assist with the environmental impact assessment studies for the Project.

In early 2011 Mega completed a study of the level of disequilibrium* in the Lake Maitland deposit. The results of the study concluded that, overall, positive disequilibrium exists in the Lake Maitland deposit and that downhole radiometric logging significantly understates the actual uranium grade.

Further to the disequilibrium study, an analysis of the close spaced drilling program conducted during the Test Pit Program was completed. The close spaced drilling consisted of a combination of air core and diamond core drilling in two separate areas on the deposit, followed by downhole radiometric logging and chemical analysis of both the air-core and diamond core samples collected during the program.

Examination of the air-core drilling assays concluded that the use of chemical analysis of samples from air-core drilling is inappropriate for resource estimation at Lake Maitland.  Examination of the diamond core assays showed them to be robust, with the analysis of the diamond hole radiometric logging versus the chemical analysis of the core samples indicating that, on average, radiometric logging at Lake Maitland understates the mineralization thickness, volume and U3O8 grade. There is potential, using additional diamond core chemical assays, to increase the magnitude of the resource as the resource estimation to date has been based mainly on data from downhole radiometric logging.

In October 2011, Mega commenced a Diamond Drill Program at Lake Maitland which is planned to consist of 200 holes with a total of 1200 meters. Weather permitting, the drilling component of the program is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2011, with samples from the Diamond Drill Program then sent for spectral scanning, density determination and chemical analysis.

Results from density determinations on two diamond cores from the Test Pit Program indicate appreciably higher density values than used to date for the resource estimation. The Diamond Drill Program provides an opportunity to collect additional density determinations across the deposit which have the potential to significantly increase the tonnage estimate for the Lake Maitland resource.

Further enhancing the Project's progress to development, the WA DMP granted Mega a Miscellaneous Licence to search for groundwater over areas adjacent to the Project site and Mega has conducted a water exploration drill program and subsequent pump test program over known target areas. Results of this work have been assessed and conclude that water of sufficient quantity and quality can be sourced to meet the requirements of the project.

 

Environmental Impact Assessment

In October 2010 Mega received approval from the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia (“EPA”) for the Environmental Scoping Document (“ESD”) for the Project. The ESD identifies the key potential environmental impacts in connection with the Project and defines the scope of the environmental investigations and studies that are currently being carried out to complete the Environmental Review and Management Programme (“ERMP”), which is the next stage in the assessment and approval process.  
 

The ERMP is the highest level of assessment in Western Australia with a public review period of 14 weeks, during which individuals, organisations and government agencies will be able to make submissions to the EPA on the Project. The approval of the final ERMP is one of the last key permitting stages before the construction phase of the Project can commence.

To view the ESD please visit www.lakemaitlandproject.com

 

Cultural Heritage and Stakeholder Engagement Process

The Lake Maitland Project site is located in the Shire of Wiluna, with the town of Wiluna occupying an important position in terms of Indigenous culture in the Western Desert region.

Mega respects indigenous culture, beliefs and values. Although there are no registered Indigenous heritage sites inside the Lake Maitland mining lease, Mega has, in consultation with local indigenous groups, undertaken a number of cultural heritage surveys in and around the Project Area. This consultation has ensured protection of culturally significant areas whilst allowing Mega to complete a number of program of works. 

In November 2009 Mega conducted a scoping study survey to ascertain the skills, employment interests, perspectives and concerns about uranium from indigenous people who reside close to the Project area. With this baseline data collected for the Social & Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) and a mitigation planning phase completed, the social impacts and opportunities will be presented with the ERMP.

In developing a stakeholder engagement framework, Mega has considered the different interests of a wide range of stakeholder groups including indigenous and non-indigenous communities, local, state and federal government, pastoralists and non government organisations. Stage one of the Stakeholder Engagement Program is complete and as Mega moves through the ERMP process, opportunities for all stakeholders to provide further feedback on the Project will be provided. In the meantime Mega will continue to build on existing relationships through effective engagement and communication.
 

To view the Stage One Stakeholder Response Report visitwww.lakemaitlandproject.com

* Disequilibrium is an imbalance between the actual uranium content and the radioactivity emitted by a given volume of rock. It is caused by differential mobilisation (or precipitation) of uranium or its daughter isotopes from the deposition site or by a lack of time for the accumulation of the daughter isotopes to reach a state of equilibrium after the uranium has been deposited.

 

 




Uranium exploration properties in Nothern Territory, Australia - Mega Uranium
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Location of Licence Areas