Bedeschi says stockpiling equipment project for expanding leach pad at SOMAIR progressing

Italian company Bedeschi says it is progressing well with its project to help extend the existing heap leaching pad in Arlit, Niger on behalf of uranium mining company SOMAIR, a subsidiary of the ORANO group headquartered in France. Bedeschi is in charge of carrying out the engineering work and the mechanical and electrical supply of all the project transport and stockpiling equipment including MV/LV transformation, cables and cable ducts. It is also providing technical assistance for the assembly and commissioning phase.

Bedeschi says the challenge of this project was to provide equipment compatible with the existing machines. The supply consists of a fixed tripper car for the connection between the existing overland conveyor and the new Bedeschi overland conveyor, which is 980 m in length and has a 800 mm width. Then the overland conveyor itself, which is designed to load a mobile tripper car on wheels. Finally it includes a mobile bridge conveyor on pneumatic wheels for the connection between the existing mobile tripper car and the 15 other existing mobile link conveyors.

At SOMAIR mine uranium ore extraction takes place using open-pit mining with the ore further processed using two different leaching methods – heap leaching for the low grade ore and dynamic leaching for higher grade material. The heap leaching makes use of low or very low grades (<1 per 1,000 or less than 0.10%). The ore is crushed then piled in watertight areas to be sprayed for several months with an acid solution. Through this process, the ore releases uranium-enriched fluid which is further processed into yellowcake (mixed uranium oxide).