Australian-based company Stonehenge Metals has started a preliminary pit optimization to identify key areas for resource upgrade at its world-class uranium project in South Korea. The Daejon project is one of three the company is exploring in the country and has an inferred resource of 92 million tonnes, making it the biggest uranium resource in South Korea.

The project is 120km south of Seoul on the deep black shale Onchong belt which runs north to east and south to west across Korea.

The company has also commenced a metallurgical test program, focusing on extracting the full potential value of the ores from the project. Latest metallurgical test work has delivered 90% uranium and 68% vanadium extraction.

Historic diamond drilling results from a 36,000 metre program by the Korean Institute of Geology and Metallurgy at the Kongu University were used in the company’s resource estimate. The exploration potential of Daejon is considered excellent, due to the two uranium-bearing beds of Guryongsan slate traceable over a 25km strike length.

Stonehenge’s managing director Richard Henning says the current program of test work will improve results for both vanadium and uranium recovery at the project. “It's our target now to upgrade Daejon and put more confidence into that resource by doing further work on the core and indeed to get that estimated uranium oxide into a measured and indicated status, which will then allow us to move into a prefeasibility study.”

Once the Daejon project is in production, the company believes it will be able to achieve its goal of supplying 25% of South Korea’s domestic uranium.

Richard Henning says the country’s uranium demand is expected to double from its current 4500 tonnes by 2020, due to the increase in construction of nuclear power plants.

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