UK-based exploration company Berkeley Energia has awarded contracts for the Salamanca mine in Spain after securing financing.

Spanish construction company Sanchez y Lago has been selected as the contract miner.

Amec Foster Wheeler has also secured a contract to deliver an engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) solution for the construction of the mine, plant and associated infrastructure.

Berkeley Energia managing director Paul Atherley said: “Having completed the financing, we have selected our preferred mining and construction contractors and will be pouring concrete in the new year.

“We are commencing construction just as the industry leaders Cameco and Kazatomprom implement major production cuts at their Tier I mines, which will tip the uranium market into the long-awaited supply deficit during 2018.”

“We have selected our preferred mining and construction contractors and will be pouring concrete in the new year.”

The company expects to sign mining and EPC contracts next year, with equipment then mobilised to the site.

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Berkeley intends to focus on cost management to ensure that the project is delivered within budget and according to schedule.

During the first phase of construction, the company is expected to hire around 50% of the required workforce from the local villages of Retortillo and Villavieja.

Based on a definitive-feasibility study, the project has a net present value (NPV) of $531.9m and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 60% at a discount rate of 8%.

The project has the capacity to produce an average of 4.4 million pounds of uranium per annum over an initial ten-year period.