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Tournigan Says Kuriskova Could Be Among World's Lowest-cost Uranium Producers

Tournigan Energy (CVE:TVC) Monday unveiled the "robust economics" of its flagship Kuriskova high-grade uranium deposit in Slovakia in a new preliminary feasibility study (NYSE:PFS).

Monday morning, Tournigan shares were up 5.5 percent to $0.09.

The study gave Kuriskova a pre-tax internal rate of return of 30.8 percent, a 1.9-year payback period, and a net present value of $277 million at an eight percent discount rate.

Tournigan also said the indicated resource at the Slovakia uranium deposit has increased 94 percent to 28.5 million pounds since a 2009 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) and uranium grade was up 62 percent from the earlier PEA to 0.408% uranium concentrate.

Based on estimated indicated resources, mineral reserves were estimated at 2.5 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.346% uranium, which was determined to provide an underground mining rate of about 210,000 tonnes of ore per year for around 13 years.

Life-of-mine uranium concentrate production was estimated at 20.9 million pounds, or 9,500 tonnes.

Tournigan's president and chief executive officer, Dorian L. Nicol, said: "We are very pleased with these results. They demonstrate that the Kuriskova project has the potential to be among the lowest cost uranium producers in the world.

"The PFS not only illustrates the robust economics of the Kuriskova project but also the competitive advantages it has over other uranium projects as a result of its high-grade resource and relatively low operating cost estimates."

Initial capital costs for Tournigan's Kuriskova project are seen at $225 million, which includes owner's costs and a contingency of $31 million. During the 13-year life of mine, there will be sustaining capital requirements of about $71 million, the company said.

Tournigan also indicated a 92 percent uranium recovery rate and 26 percent-lower life of mine operating costs.

The PFS estimates $22.98 per pound uranium life-of-mine operating costs and $16.68 per pound costs during the first four years of production.

Looking ahead, Nicol continued: "Our next step is, working with our strategic partner AREVA, to begin a feasibility study and environmental assessment study that will continue to define project parameters to a higher degree of confidence and allow the permitting of the project to begin.

"The development of the Kuriskova uranium project could provide Slovakia with a secure source of uranium for approximately 30 years at its current consumption rate."

AREVA SA (EPA:AREVA) is a French nuclear energy powerhouse that is partnering with Tournigan. In December, Tournigan announced a number of transactions in an effort to expand its uranium presence in Europe, including the formation of an alliance with Areva and the purchase of seven uranium properties in Finland and Sweden from Mawson Resources (TSE:MAW).

Tournigan said that according to the PFS for Kuriskova, the project can be best developed as an underground mine/processing facility, with a very small surface footprint using the best available technologies in its mining and processing operations.

The uranium explorer also said that there were multiple exploration targets within the Kuriskova license area, with the potential to expand the resource base and extend project life.

The PFS was prepared by independent consultant Tetra Tech.

Tournigan said it was planning an exploration program to continue testing multiple uranium exploration targets within the Kuriskova license area.

Exploration success would likely add resources that could be accessed from the planned Kuriskova infrastructure, and Tournigan said it will conduct further step-out exploration drilling where the high-grade mineralization is open along strike and at depth.

Tournigan is a uranium exploration and development company. Its flagship asset is the Kuriskova uranium deposit in Slovakia, which is among the highest-grade uranium deposits in the world.

Slovakia currently has four nuclear reactors generating half of its electricity, with two more reactors planned or under construction.