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Mantra Resources confirms Tanzania uranium project potential


Mantra Resources (ASX: MRU, TSX: MRL) has reported that the results obtained from the first month of a two month test work program, at the fully integrated metallurgical pilot plant at ANSTO in Australia, have clearly confirmed the conceptual process flowsheet included in the Mkuju River Project Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) completed in February 2010.

The Mkuju River Project is located in southern Tanzania. In January 2010 Mantra announced an updated Mineral Resource Estimate of 82.3 million tonnes averaging 464 ppm U3O8 for a contained 84.3 million pounds of U3O8 at a lower cut-off grade of 200 ppm U3O8.

The integrated pilot plant was operated for a period of 28 continuous days in March utilising feed material representing the first seven years of production. All parameters from the PFS were used as a base case operating scenario.

During this program the results indicated that the flowsheet could be considerably improved in various areas. These improvements were introduced during the pilot plant run and the plant consistently confirmed these initiatives.

Acid consumption in the leach was maintained in the order of 6-8 kg/tonne; well below the PFS parameter of 12 kg/tonne. The leach was operated at an ambient temperature leach with no addition of iron or oxidant.

Average leach recoveries of 87% were consistent with the PFS, although a record recovery of 91% was achieved during testwork with high head grade feed.

The resin absorption stage ran well with no resin fouling noted and a consistent 99.7 percent absorption rate was maintained throughout the campaign.

The direct precipitation circuit produced a high quality yellow cake, thus confirming the elimination of the solvent extraction plant.

The refining stage produced a final product yellow cake (UO4) within chemical and physical specification of major uranium off-take converters.

During the neutralisation stage a locally sourced Tanzanian limestone was used successfully which may result in considerable cost savings over the originally envisaged, imported product.

Mantra said in light of these positive aspects, the company will now commence a modified test work campaign focused on evaluating the potential to further reduce operating costs.

The company will also improve overall uranium recoveries through a combination of: decreasing the temperature in the elution process; increasing resin loadings; using a larger resin bead; optimization of the lime addition; and piloting the opportunity to leach the scatted material to recover uranium in the tailings stream.

Peter Breese, Chief Executive Officer, said the modified campaign will run for the entire month of May and will again be fed a composite of ore representing the first seven years of production. The results of this campaign will be released during June.

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