Steps for preparing uranium production feasibility studies: A guidebook
The search for a mineral commodity, uranium included, and its eventual production is basically an economic activity. A realistic assessment of the economic viability of a project, whether to fulfill domestic needs or to meet world demand, should therefore be carried out as early and as frequently as possible.
Uranium exploration, development and eventual production, form a series of progressive and logical steps. Each step is part of a progression of activities with the objective of obtaining new or additional information from which a crucial decision is to be made. This decision is either to proceed with the project or to stop it, thus the term GO, NO-GO decision. Evaluation of the viability of the project must be carried at the various stages of the project development. Any delays in stopping a nonviable project will normally result in unnecessary or wasteful expenditure of resources that could have been spent on other projects which offer a better potential.
This guidebook is primarily aimed at mineral management personnel in developing countries who have little or no experience in preparing feasibility studies in uranium production. It is not a textbook which describes the geology, mining or processing of uranium. This guidebook deals with the
philosophy, basic principles and important factors in the various stages of economic evaluation of the project. This guidebook is primarily concerned with small to medium sized mining projects. However, it can also provide useful guidance for the initial study of larger mining projects. More detailed studies of larger projects, however, should be left to well known experts in the field.
While the mineral commodity in question is uranium, the procedures and approaches outlined in this guidebook are generally applicable to the study of other commodities.