Projects Overview

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Location of the Salamanca Project
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Main Resources of the Salamanca Project
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Berkeley Resources Limited (‘Berkeley’or ‘the Company’) has a significant tenement holding in Spain with a broad range of uranium exploration and development projects in the Salamanca, Cáceres, Badajoz and Ciudad Real Provinces. The Company has a 100% interest in a total Mineral Resource estimated at 61.6 million pounds of contained U3O8 with an average grade of 427 ppm (at a cut-off grade of 200 ppm U3O8).

Berkeley's current focus is on the advancement of its wholly owned flagship Salamanca Project ('the Project'), which comprises the Retortillo, Alameda and Gambuta deposits plus a number of other Satellite Deposits, through the development phase.

The Company has now completed a Pre-Feasibility Study ('PFS') focussed on the integrated development of Retortillo and Alameda. This study has confirmed the technical and economic viability of the Project and its potential to support a significant scale, long life, low cost uranium operation.

Berkeley Resources Limited
Mineral Resources as at September 2013 (using 200ppm U3O8 Cutoff)
SUMMARY RESOURCES

Resource Category

Tonnes
(Mt)

U3O8Grade
(ppm)

U3O8
(t)

U3O8
(Mlbs)

 Retortillo

Indicated

14.4

378

5,425

12.0

 

Inferred

1.8

359

650

1.4

 

TOTAL

16.2

376

6,075

13.4

 Alameda

Indicated

20.0

455

9,107

20.1

 

Inferred

0.7

657

468

1.0

 

TOTAL

20.7

462

9,576

21.1

Gambuta Inferred 12.7 394 5,018 11.1
Other Satellite Deposits

Inferred

15.8

461

7,271

16.0

 TOTAL RESOURCES

Indicated

34.4

423

14,532

32.0

 

Inferred

31.0

432

13,407

29.6

 

TOTAL

65.4

427

27,939

61.6

Note: Reported in accordance with the JORC Code (2004)

Salamanca Project

The Salamanca Project includes the following resources:

Berkeley has completed a PFS which demonstrated that using only the current Mineral Resource Estimates for Retortillo and Alameda, which total 34.5 million pounds U3O8, the Project can support an average annual production of 3.3 million pounds of U3O8 during the seven years of steady state operation and 2.7 million pounds of U3O8 over a minimum eleven year mine life. The PFS is based on open pit mining and heap leaching at Retortillo and Alameda, a centralised process plant at Retortillo, and a remote ion exchange operation at Alameda, with loaded resin trucked to the centralised plant for final extraction and purification.

The PFS is considered a base case scenario, with additional existing resources (totalling 27.1 million pounds of U3O8) and exploration potential in proximity to the planned operations having the potential to increase the mine life and/or forecast production levels. The permitting process is ongoing for both Retortillo and Alameda. The Company achieved a major milestone with the Declaration of Environmental Impact (‘Environmental Licence') for Retortillo being granted by the Regional Government of Castilla and León in October 2013. With the grant of the Environmental Licence and the favourable recommendation report submitted by the Nuclear Safety Council (‘NSC') in August 2013, approval of the Company's Exploitation and Reclamation and Closure Plans is now the only outstanding prerequisite for the granting of the Exploitation Concession (‘Mining Licence') for Retortillo.

More details of the PFS Results are given in the ASX Release of 26 September 2013 titled Positive Pre-Feasibility Study Confirms Potential of Salamanca Uranium Project.

The positive results of the PFS clearly demonstrate the potential of the Salamanca Project to support a significant scale, long life, low cost uranium operation. Accordingly, the Company will continue to focus on pursuing the ongoing exploration, appraisal and development of this outstanding Project in order to fulfil its vision of becoming a uranium producer in the near to medium term. 

Exploration Overview

Uranium exploration in Spain has a long history with Junta de Energía Nuclear ('JEN') and Enusa Industrias Avanzadas S.A. ('ENUSA') undertaking exploration between the early 1950's to the 1990's. Berkeley, through a deal with ENUSA, purchased a large volume of this exploration data.

Since acquiring these projects in 2005, Berkeley has continued exploration, with highly encouraging progress, including:

  • Compilation and interpretation of a very substantial database of historical exploration results throughout Spain;
  • Undertaken numerous diamond drilling and reverse circulation drilling campaigns (>95,000m) across all its major projects;
  • Over 5,000 line km of airborne radiometric and magnetic surveys have been flown over most project areas highlighting the exploration potential of the tenements and generating a significant number of anomalies;
  • Completion of the PFS assessment of  the integrated development of Retortillo and Alameda which confirmed the technical and economic viability of the Project; and
  • Generating a total Mineral Resource base, reported in accordance with the JORC Code (2004), of 61.6 Mlbs U3O8 (200ppm cut-off).

A comprehensive review of all available data for the tenements surrounding the Company's existing resources, undertaken in early 2013, identified a number of priority drill targets, including the potential extension of Zona 7 to the southwest.

Drilling of this target resulted in the delineation of a zone of shallow, high grade mineralisation extending well beyond the current resource boundary at Zona 7 which is a clear demonstration of the exploration and resource growth potential of the Salamanca Project.

Regional Geology
The region being explored by Berkeley is underlain by the ‘Schist Greywacke Complex' of late Precambrian to early Cambrian age. The stratigraphy is a sequence consisting of predominantly fine-grained detrital sediment that is frequently carbonaceous and pyritic, with occasional quartzite, limestone, sandstone and conglomerate markers. The total thickness of the sequence appears to be well in excess of a thousand metres.

The sedimentary sequence has experienced intense deformation, principally during the Hercynian Orogeny. There are at least two phases of penetrative schistosity, followed by a further two phases of folding. The regional metamorphism corresponds to the greenschist facies, with both chlorite and biotite sub-zones being observed.

Granites of Hercynian age intrude through this sedimentary sequence and are typically coarse-grained, porphyritic biotite adamellite. A thermal aureole of contact metamorphism is produced in the country rocks.

Following the main phases of deformation and igneous intrusion, there have been several episodes of fracturing extending from the late Hercynian to the end of the Alpine Orogeny.

Since the Hercynian Orogeny, the area has experienced an extensive period of erosion and peneplanation. During the Oligocene and Miocene, thin sheets of fluvial sands were deposited across much of the region.

Numerous occurrences of uranium mineralisation are known throughout the region. The primary mineralisation consists of uraninite/pitchblende and coffinite that fill fractures and breccias in finely-laminated sediments. Several phases of mineralisation can be recognised.

Previous Mining

Initial uranium mining in Spain was small scale underground shafts and galleries or small scale open pits. Such mines included those at Caridad, Cristina and Esperanza (part of Villar). Mina Fe, near Ciudad Rodrigo, was the first deposit to be exploited using large scale open cut methods.

At Mina Fe, the Elefante Plant was a bacterial heap leach facility which was replaced by the Quercus plant in 1993. The Quercus plant used a combination of heap leach and dynamic leach.

The Mina Fe mine opened in 1974 and closed in 2000 during which time it had mined 81Mt of rock that contained 12Mt of ore and produced 5,760t U3O8. Since closure ENUSA has focused on restoring the site.

The information in this section of the website that relates to Exploration Results and Mineral Resources is based on information compiled by Craig Gwatkin, who is a Member of The Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and is an employee of Berkeley Resources Limited. Mr. Gwatkin has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity which he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2004 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves'. Mr. Gwatkin consents to the inclusion in the report of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.