Dual-listed Berkeley Resources (ASX:BKY,LSE:BKY) closed up 15 percent in Australian trade Monday following the release of high-grade drill results from its Zona 7 deposit, the largest of the satellite deposits of the larger Retortillo uranium deposit in Northern Spain. The drill campaign was designed largely as infill of the previously defined resource to move it upwards into the indicated category — a required stepping stone for ultimate conversion to a reserve and thus inclusion into mining and feasibility plans. Importantly, all of the intersections returned are not only shallow (the deepest starting at 47 meters) and therefore accessible by open-pit mining, but also thick and significantly higher in grade than the current resource for Zona 7. The results include: 19 meters at 2,332 ppm U3O8
20 meters at 1,238 ppm U3O8 12 meters at 1,422 ppm U3O8 18 meters at 825 ppm U3O8 13 meters at 1,067 U3O8 Discovered in 2013, Zona 7 has an inferred resource of 3.9 million tonnes at 414 ppm U3O8 for a contained 3.6 million pounds; it makes up roughly 10 percent of the resource base that the company used to complete a prefeasibility study (PFS) in late 2012, but only 6 percent of the total resource base spread across Berkeley's entire Salamanca project area. The PFS envisages an 11-year project producing on average 2.7 million pounds per annum of U3O8. Mining is scheduled to commence at the Retortillo deposit, with a life of mine (LOM) cash cost of less than $30 per pound; it will later move on to the Alameda deposit, with lower cash costs toward $20 per pound. These forecast costs for Retortillo are based on an average mined grade of 306 ppm LOM, and therefore if much higher-grade material can be mined from Zona 7, these costs could be significantly lower — an important consideration in the early stages of the mine.