Bannerman (ASX:BMN) gets Namibian uranium mining licence for Etango

Bannerman (ASX:BMN) gets Namibian uranium mining licence for Etango

December 15, 2023 Off By Amanda Ellis

Bannerman Energy has hit a major milestone, the granting of its Etango mining licence in Namibia.

The Etango mine licence is a major achievement for the company which has been working towards the result for near on 17 years.

Bannerman (ASX:BMN, OTCQX:BNNLF, NSX:BMN) has also inked initial contracts for an early works program, enabling it to stay on track for its uranium mine development.

The $N36 million ($A2.8 million, $US2 million) local contracts will enable the quick-build of construction water supply and an access road.

They will be paid for using the $408 million company’s existing cash reserves which were $A37.3 million on November 30.

Bannerman Managing Director and CEO Brandon Munro confirmed the mining licence grant was a major milestone for the company and stakeholders.

“This moment is the culmination of our unwavering focus on Etango since our initial investment in 2006, all the while maintaining our conviction in the vital role of nuclear power for a better world,” Munro said.

“Etango is now fully permitted, enabling us to drive key project workstreams towards a final investment decision in parallel with the ongoing strengthening in uranium market fundamentals.”

A definitive feasibility project models annual output at 8 million tonnes a year throughput at an initial average annual output of 3.5 million pounds U3O8.

Bannerman has a study-proven option to upgrade its output to 7Mlbs a year, while the total scale of the Etango resource means that final mine-life might be several decades.

If the company takes annual production to 7Mlbs/year, it will become a top-10 uranium mine in the world by production scale.

Bannerman Chief Operating Officer Gavin Chamberlain reported today the company was on track with a mine construction schedule.

“Our overall construction schedule remains on track, with this final project permit now complete and the front-end engineering and design work meeting our most optimistic expectations,” he said.

“I look forward to the next phases of building a uranium business that will deliver significant and long-lasting benefit to all of our key stakeholders, including the Namibian economy and people.”

Chamberlain said site establishment would start in January, while early works construction would happen alongside  other workstreams over the next four to six months.

A receptive country

Bannerman’s CEO Munro said today he was pleased with the Namibian government’s commitment to the project.

“I am grateful to the Ministry of Mines and Energy for their ongoing commitment to Etango’s success,” he said.

Namibia is a mature uranium producer with great support for uranium mining in government and the community.

Uranium has been mined in the country since 1976.

Munro is a uranium sector expert who serves on the World Nuclear Association’s Director General’s Advisory Council.

He is Bannerman’s CEO of seven years and previously lived in Namibia, as a trustee of the Namibian Uranium Association.

Munro spoke to me about Etango project for The Pick magazine last month, telling me “Operating in Namibia is a real advantage.

“All of the export and transport logistics, regulatory capability, in-country skills and uranium customer confidence, have been in place for decades.”

Bannerman is chaired by senior finance executive, Ronnie Beevor, with former Rossing uranium mine MD, Mike Leech, chair of its Namibian business.

One of the company’s cornerstone initiatives in the country is the Bannerman Early Learner Assistance Program which has helped keep more than 3,500 kids in school and out of the poverty-trap.

Bannerman’s environmental, social and governance credentials have attracted international attention, winning it the coveted African Mining Indaba ESG award for community engagement.

About Etango

The Etango uranium project is in Namibia’s Erongo region, 30 kilometres southeast of Swakopmund, where Leech is based.

The project has a world-class mineral resource endowment of 207 million pounds of contained uranium.

Bannerman expects to make a final investment decision on Etango in the first half of 2024, and be fully ramped up to production 34 months later.

Its uranium is eagerly awaited by world markets keen to diversify supply sources that are concentrated in three producers and dominated by supply from Kazakhstan.

While uranium projects around the world encounter political, social, or environmental resistance, this isn’t a significant feature in Namibia.

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