Honeymoon Uranium Mine Restart and Proposed Expansion

 
  ANR Deputy Commissioner

With the anticipated 'reactivation' and proposed expansion of this mine (couldn't think of a better word), how will this product be shipped out?

Does anyone know where the yellowcake was trucked to previously, prior to the mine's last closure? Was it by rail?

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  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Road to Port Adelaide.

Rail never had a chance, the volume was too small and the complexity too large.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Fantastic mine, glad to see her ramping up again, if only it were for the domestic energy market.

As JAP said, all product is trucked, most often with a pointless but necessary police escort, for the safety of the coloured haired protesters, not because of danger to (or from) the product.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I did a fair bit of work supplying and commissioning pumps to Honeymoon in the 1970's when it was being established. It was a Joint Venture between Mount Isa Mines and CSR, with Dravo (Sydney) doing the engineering design. That's when I was told that the name came from the fact that a geologist actually took his brand new wife there on their honeymoon. At that time, there was a dilapidated tin shed there, and nothing else.
The whole area is as flat as the proverbial sh1t carter's hat, and not very appealing.
One of the more bizarre sights was driving to the site - the road went north from Cockburn, and then turned generally west to the site - and at a certain distance the water tower appeared upside down on the horizon; a very odd mirage.

Like Aaron; I'm glad to see it back on stream.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
With the anticipated 'reactivation' and proposed expansion of this mine (couldn't think of a better word), how will this product be shipped out?

Does anyone know where the yellowcake was trucked to previously, prior to the mine's last closure? Was it by rail?
ANR
Enriched Uranium sells for around A$100 / kg or $100,000 / t.

Yellow Cake is U3O8, so mass wise mostly Uranium metal plus processing costs. So at a guess yellow cake sells for low $10,000's / t exit mine gate. Obviously the nature of the material means that there is significant cost in handling and shipping.

I suspect by its very nature at then bottom of the atomic table its very dense and I believe sold in drums likely around 1t each with mine output a few deliveries a month.

Consumption wise, well you won't see it on trains because the numbers just are not there to stuff around on top of the security issues, why add complexity. Basically its similar to tin, except mined in smaller quantities and Tin concentrate almost never goes by rail for the same reason, just back load the delivery trucks.

Yellow Cake is quite pretty and very much yellow.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Yellow cake is a mixture of uranium isotopes in oxides, mostly U238...

To up the value, lower the shipping costs and make it a little more interesting I wonder if they’d consider centrifuging the product on site and sending out at least partially enriched higher U235 product, dumping the DU back in the ground.

Probably a bit beyond the scope of Honeymoon given its production output, but it’s always surprises me that this doesn’t happen at other sites.

The security and transport would be much the same, the greenies we need to protect treat the yellow cake like its enriched product anyway...
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Yellow cake is a mixture of uranium isotopes in oxides, mostly U238...

To up the value, lower the shipping costs and make it a little more interesting I wonder if they’d consider centrifuging the product on site and sending out at least partially enriched higher U235 product, dumping the DU back in the ground.

Probably a bit beyond the scope of Honeymoon given its production output, but it’s always surprises me that this doesn’t happen at other sites.

The security and transport would be much the same, the greenies we need to protect treat the yellow cake like its enriched product anyway...
Aaron
The protesters have more specific radioactivity than the drums of yellowcake they're whinging about. My old nuclear chemistry prof was fond of reminding us of that.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

With the anticipated 'reactivation' and proposed expansion of this mine (couldn't think of a better word), how will this product be shipped out?

Does anyone know where the yellowcake was trucked to previously, prior to the mine's last closure? Was it by rail?
Enriched Uranium sells for around A$100 / kg or $100,000 / t.

Yellow Cake is U3O8, so mass wise mostly Uranium metal plus processing costs. So at a guess yellow cake sells for low $10,000's / t exit mine gate. Obviously the nature of the material means that there is significant cost in handling and shipping.

I suspect by its very nature at then bottom of the atomic table its very dense and I believe sold in drums likely around 1t each with mine output a few deliveries a month.

Consumption wise, well you won't see it on trains because the numbers just are not there to stuff around on top of the security issues, why add complexity. Basically its similar to tin, except mined in smaller quantities and Tin concentrate almost never goes by rail for the same reason, just back load the delivery trucks.

Yellow Cake is quite pretty and very much yellow.
RTT_Rules
I remember seeing a special shipment of yellow cake from Mary Kathleen to the Port of Brisbane in the early 1980s...one 1250 class loco, two QLX louvred vans and one guards van.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Yellow cake is a mixture of uranium isotopes in oxides, mostly U238...

To up the value, lower the shipping costs and make it a little more interesting I wonder if they’d consider centrifuging the product on site and sending out at least partially enriched higher U235 product, dumping the DU back in the ground.

Probably a bit beyond the scope of Honeymoon given its production output, but it’s always surprises me that this doesn’t happen at other sites.

The security and transport would be much the same, the greenies we need to protect treat the yellow cake like its enriched product anyway...
Aaron
Why, (to pharaphrase Don Dunstan) Australia again allowing itself to be a quarry and not a manufacturing country. Which I think in this case is very true and driven by the stupid mentality of the left during the 70's to 90's which wanted to be nuclear free, but not quite because the American'd told them not to stop mining uranium.

Sth Australia should have been a uranium enrichment, fuel rod making hub. Exporting rods on an exchange basis for mature reactors and carefully supplying new rods to new reactors. Then treating the spent rods and permanently disposing of the contents in a mixture of mine slurry in spent underground mines. Would have created 10,000's of technical well paid jobs (direct and indirect).

Due to this stupidity which has robbed Australia of 50 years of investment and income I would propose sending two half spheres of U235 metal weighing around 28-29kg each to the next Greens convention in Canberra with a sign saying, not to be joined together and let human curiosity do the rest.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I remember seeing a special shipment of yellow cake from Mary Kathleen to the Port of Brisbane in the early 1980s...one 1250 class loco, two QLX louvred vans and one guards van.
Sulla1
Thanks, no reason we could do the same today, but truck is easier.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I remember seeing a special shipment of yellow cake from Mary Kathleen to the Port of Brisbane in the early 1980s...one 1250 class loco, two QLX louvred vans and one guards van.
Thanks, no reason we could do the same today, but truck is easier.
RTT_Rules

Why is truck easier?
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Why is trucking easier?

Well you have to put it on (and off) a truck to get it to the train, then you have to put it on and off the train, which you don’t have to do if you leave it on the truck in the first place - so right there trucking is obviously easier.

Further, trucking without a transport transfer point there is one less opportunity for the unwashed and uneducated to protest - which is both easier and safer, those protesters are smeg crazy.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The rail line is accessible and why would a truck be needed at the port of Townsville?  I guess my point is the wagons could be unloaded at the dock from the train.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The rail line is accessible and why would a truck be needed at the port of Townsville?  I guess my point is the wagons could be unloaded at the dock from the train.
bevans
Drums loaded onto truck.

Driver, truck and trucking company all vetted by security.

Truck then heads out under police escort to destination. Tag team police and truck driver along the way so it doesn't stop anywhere. Police is kept up to date on road conditions ahead to avoid any "issues".

Truck drives to port, unloads directly onto ship, job done. Police and truck driver go grab a beer.

Train option.

Truck under police escort to railway transport point.

Drums loaded onto train.

Now, what about train security? Do you add a pax carriage? Do you follow the train with a helicopter?

When the train is held up at a Red, who is watching the wagon with the yellow stuff?

Once at yard, wagon is either unloaded or pushed onto port with a loco, again under police supervision.

As a lover of all things rail, this is something that the railways won't want to deal with and I don't blame them.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
And nuclear waste and fuel moves every day in other countries on rail.  Go figure.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I doubt that those companies would still do that if their facilities did not have direct rail connections, or if they weren't constrained by arbitrary regulation.

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There is an approved road/rail transport plan for uranium exports from Olympic Dam to Port Adelaide, where the longer route and larger quantities may make the additional complexity worth it. I don't know if BHP actually use this option, or if it's just their approach to make sure they always have multiple options available.
  emerald-a Locomotive Driver

And nuclear waste and fuel moves every day in other countries on rail.  Go figure.
bevans
Used to see the trains carrying the flasks of nuclear material heading towards London on their way north quite regularly when I was over there.

Consisted of a loco , a few wagons with Flasks on them and the van with the armed guards on it
  C2 Junior Train Controller

I'm looking forward to having nuclear missiles for a tinny fart country trying to pick fights we real country's that will be here to the end. Missiles trucking down King's Way soilders tanks. Yer I  like Tonka Tuff too but not to  busy to know  it's about making bombs to blow up millions of people and destroy their infustructure end their economy.. use to be that the greens wanted use to live in caves. It craters now is it.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
To C2 and anyone else who automatically assumes a link between Uranium mining/export and nuclear armaments don’t for even the smallest fraction of a second believe that I or pretty much anyone else supporting domestic nuclear power (in this country or abroad) support the production of weapons.

The two are entirely separate, and just in case you see some scare mongering claiming that there is always a link between nuclear energy production and weaponry just consider the number of nations that have nuclear power and no weapons, the list is long. The Swiss for example are not exactly a feared nuclear power...

If you see/hear people that tell nuclear energy production is a required step on the journey to nuclear weapons then consider a nation like DPRK, who whilst proving they can possess and even use somewhat rudimentary nuclear weapons they have no domestic nuclear energy production.

The route to weapons via fuel from nuclear power plants is messy, expensive and difficult. Today, if you really wanted to produce weapons grade material you’d do what I presume DPRK do, forget the reactor and centrifuge your uranium to the required grade for weapons, far quicker, far easier, far cheaper.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Bevans, I don’t think there’s a train line accessible from Honeymoon without a road being involved first...

Once that material is on a road (once any material is on a road) it’s more efficient to leave it there.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Bevans, I just read properly, rail to Townsville? Seriously? A couple thousand km of protective custody... I’ve been to Honeymoon, it’s barely a half day drive from Adelaide, hence therefore Pt Adelaide.

In fact I just checked it, not even 600km and a third of the time - it’s lucky you make your money in IT, because I don’t think you’d do near as well in logistics.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Bevans, I just read properly, rail to Townsville? Seriously? A couple thousand km of protective custody... I’ve been to Honeymoon, it’s barely a half day drive from Adelaide, hence therefore Pt Adelaide.

In fact I just checked it, not even 600km and a third of the time - it’s lucky you make your money in IT, because I don’t think you’d do near as well in logistics.
Aaron
North-western NSW is a bit of a Wild West, so the security plan for that option (or even for a port on the NSW coast) would need to be quite beefy.

Once you've made it to Brisbane, you then need to put it on a truck to get it from the standard gauge train to the narrow gauge train - with yet another security plan with multiple options for the trip through populated areas between the two freight terminals. At this point you may as well cancel the narrow gauge leg and send the truck straight to the Port of Brisbane.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I believe what they move in the UK in those vessels is actual rods? Not heavy yellow sand.

Each drum if yellow cake is around $10k in value. The drums are more than likely back loaded on a supply truck for the mine. So the truck is going to the mine loaded, it's now leaving the mine loaded.

How does bringing in a train make any sense?

The same happens to Renison Tin in Tas. The tin conc is back loaded on supply trucks, despite the fact an active railway runs right through the middle of the lease past the mill and has done before the mine was built in the 60's.

Let's move on from this....
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
North-western NSW is a bit of a Wild West, so the security plan for that option (or even for a port on the NSW coast) would need to be quite beefy.
Hey, hang on a minute; what are you doing out there? The Honeymoon mine is in South Australia, just across the border from Broken Hill.  As Aaron said, it's less than a day's drive from Adelaide. The first time I went there, I came from Melbourne and over-nighted in Broken Hill. The Project Engineer from Sydney also stayed overnight. As I recall, it took an hour or so for us to drive to the mine site the following morning, turning north off the Barrier Highway a few km west of Cockburn i.e. about 50 km west of Broken Hill.
Following visits were much the same.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

If @bevans is taking it to Townsville by rail he needs to go east from Broken Hill, no?

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