Botswana's premier uranium explorer, A-Cap Resources has announced a 65 percent resource increase at its Letlhakane exploration project. The company says the increase from 158 million lbs to 261 million lbs means the project has one of the largest undeveloped uranium deposits in the world. A-Cap is expected to commence production from Botswana's first uranium mine next year.
In a statement accompanying the upgrade report, A-Cap says that the updated resource will be used to produce estimates of the mine plan including operating and capital costs for the project. The company had earlier forecast that it will require $179 million (+/-30percent) to advance to mining. This translates to between P840 million to P1.55 billion. Commenting on the resource upgrade, A-Cap managing director, Andrew Tunks said: "Our exploration programme is ongoing and we believe that real potential exists for us to grow this Mineral Resource further.
"The recent tragic events in Fukishima Japan have dented the faith of some in the investment community in regard to nuclear technology. However, with recent statements coming out of Korea, China and India recommitting to nuclear power, we believe that the industry will soon rebound with global demand for uranium far outstripping mine supply.
"The Letlhakane Uranium Project has now grown to be one of the largest undeveloped uranium deposits in the world and it has the tangible benefit of being in Botswana; a country which we believe to be a premier investment destination in Africa. Based on this resource increase, A-Cap will be committing considerable efforts to concluding our Bankable Feasibility Study early in 2012 and focusing on bringing this project into early production".
Despite the recent catastrophic events in Japan, new nuclear reactors are being built, the fastest expansion being in Asia, especially China and India as world net electricity consumption is expected to nearly double over the next two decades.
As of April 2010, there were 112 nuclear power reactors operating in Asia, 37 under construction, and firm plans to build another 84. Besides China, which accounts for two-thirds of all reactors under construction, South Korea, India, Japan, Taiwan and Pakistan are building new reactors. Power reactors are at the planning stage in Bangladesh, Indonesia, North Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
Uranium was first discovered in Letlhakane in 2006 and since then, A-Cap has defined it as a globally significant resource. In order to achieve production, A-Cap is currently undertaking a Bankable Feasibility Study, which is expected to be completed next year. In addition, the company is continuing with its active exploration programme across its 6,000km tenement portfolio in the Central District. The company says it firmly believes that as further exploration capital is spent in Botswana, it will become a significant contributor to the world uranium inventory. The project lies approximately 90km south of Francistown, directly in line with Botswana's main infrastructure corridor comprising the A1 highway, the main railway line and the north-south power lines. The company says that the water supply for Letlhakane will come from a bore-field located approximately 25km to the west of the project.