A Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) was completed in April 2005 and confirmed that Langer Heinrich could be developed as a profitable uranium mining operation. The Ministry of Mines and Energy in Namibia granted a Mining Licence covering the Langer Heinrich deposit for a 25-year term, commencing 26 July 2005. On 20 August 2005, the Company announced its acceptance of credit committee-approved offers of financing totalling US$71 million. Financing was provided by Société Générale Australia Branch (as lead arranger), Nedbank Ltd and Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd and comprised a seven-year project finance facility of US$65 million and a standby cost overrun facility of US$6 million. The first drawdown of the project finance facility took place on 30 June 2006.
Construction at the Langer Heinrich Project commenced in September 2005 and staged commissioning of the plant began in August 2006. The plant was handed over to Langer Heinrich Uranium (Pty) Ltd, the Company’s indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, in December 2006. The President of Namibia, Hon. Hifikepunye Pohamba, officially opened the Langer Heinrich Project on 15 March 2007.
Langer Heinrich achieved production of 2.7Mlb of U3O8 in 2008/2009 and, soon afterwards, the Stage 2 expansion increased production to 3.7Mlb pa in the 2010 financial year. The Stage 3 expansion which further increased production to 5.2Mlb pa was completed in 2012.
During April 2009, Langer Heinrich Uranium (Pty) Ltd (LHUPL) obtained certification for its Environmental Management System (EMS) according to the Internal Standard ISO 14001:2004. The certification is applicable to LHUPL’s operation of an opencast uranium mine and producing uranium oxide in the Namib Naukluft National Park.
Both of Paladin’s operating sites are committed to the National Occupational Safety Association (NOSA) program. NOSA was founded in South Africa in 1951 and is the largest provider of occupational risk management services in southern Africa. The program has had a significant impact on safety performance at our sites, where continual improvement and training of our valued personnel is carried out through NOSA auditing and training centres.