Opportunity to produce low-carbon uranium.
We have an opportunity to create one of the cleanest mining operations with a minimal carbon footprint complimenting low environmental impact mining methods. Our aim is to produce low-carbon uranium by adopting renewable energy in our operations.
Nuclear energy cannot be classified as “carbon-free”, despite nuclear reactors producing no greenhouse gases, because some carbon is emitted in the mining and processing of ore to extract its uranium. U3O8 Corp.’s Laguna Salada Deposit is located in a region that has one of the best wind resources in the world. Does it not make sense to harness that potential to create one of the cleanest mining operations with a minimal carbon footprint coupled with a mining method in which environmental restoration is done in tandem with, and at the same rate as, the mining?
Our Berlin Deposit in Colombia would be driven primarily by renewables with most of its power being drawn from the La Miel hydroelectric dam and power auto-generated from heat from the processing plant as currently designed. Solar-voltaic and biomass-generated energy are other potential energy resources available.
Apart from being a potential user of renewable energy, our deposits contain commodities that are essential to supporting renewable energy including metals used in batteries, and rare earths used in high-efficiency generators in wind turbines.
Laguna Salada Project
We are currently evaluating the efficiency of incorporating electricity from wind turbines as a source of power for the Laguna Salada Deposit in Patagonia, Argentina.
- Laguna Salada would be connected to the regional electricity grid via a 60km long transmission line that would provide total backup power for the project;
- At ground-level, the wind typically blows from 9am to about 7pm, and dies down completely at night. Mining, therefore, would ideally be done only at night so as to minimize dust;
- Regional data suggests that the wind continues to blow at higher elevations during the night, so a turbine that has its hub, or the axis of the rotors, at a height of 60m to 90m above ground-level, would tap into wind that blows day and night;
- Wind-generated power would be integrated and supplemented with electricity from the regional grid when necessary;
- A link with the regional electricity grid provides an opportunity to sell excess electricity generated during peak generation times to utilities via the grid; and
- Adoption of wind power at Laguna Salada would bring the project in line with the government’s aggressive schedule of having 8% of Argentina’s electricity generated by renewables by the end of 2017 and 20% by 2020.
The current PEA models the 8MW of electricity required for the operation to be derived from the regional grid and the 3MW of heat required to leach the uranium and vanadium at a temperature of 80°C, being generated from burners that are fed with LPG that is trucked to site. A scoping-level study is being carried out on wind data measured from site over the last three years to determine the economic viability of using wind-generated electricity to power the operation.
The Berlin Project is located only 12km from the La Miel hydroelectric dam in Caldas Province of central Colombia and most of its power requirement would be drawn from that clean, renewable resource. Additional power would be auto-generated from heat from the processing plant.
Additional resources that we plan to evaluate are the solar-voltaic potential of a dry, rain-shadow area downhill from the Project, as well as carbon sequestration by algae. The sequestration idea draws on the high solar intensity of the project area due to its proximity to the equator. Algae would grow rapidly in dedicated ponds and carbon dioxide generated by the Project’s processing plant could be piped to the ponds and bubbled up under the algal mat, which would photosynthesize the carbon dioxide into oxygen. Algae is an extremely good feed for the generation of biodiesel, which is a project which may create an opportunity for local business.