Uranium Energy has agreed to buy Uranium One's uranium assets in southern Texas, including an already licensed uranium processing facility and an advanced in-situ leach uranium project.
|Hobson: the choice of Uranium Energy
(Image: Uranium One)
US-based Uranium Energy Corp has agreed to collectively acquire full ownership of the South Texas Mining Venture (STMV), which is 99% owned by Canadian company Uranium One through its URN Resources subsidiary and 1% owned by Everest Exploration Inc. The deal, which is at this stage still conditional, would give Uranium Energy the fully licensed and permitted Hobson in-situ recovery uranium processing plant and the La Palanga uranium project, which is at an advanced stage of permitting, as well as a portfolio of uranium exploration properties in southern Texas.
According to Uranium Energy, it expects to make the Hobson facility the basis of a new regional operating strategy for its Texan uranium projects, providing processing for its projects at Goliad and Nichols as well as Palangana, rather than building a new facility at Goliad.
Uranium mining in Texas can trace its roots back to the late 1950s. Mining there dwindled in common with many uranium producing regions in the USA, but in recent years interest has resurged into the possibility of recovering uranium using low cost in-situ leach recovery methods. The Hobson facility was built in 1978 but was closed in 1991. Uranium One acquired it along with Palangana and other US uranium claims and leases when it bought Energy Metals Corporation in 2007, and refurbishment and expansion work completed in 2008 have brought the plant to a current capacity of 1 million pounds U3O8 per year. The plant is 160 kilometres from Palangana, 64 kilometres from Uranium Energy's Goliad project, for which it received a final draft production permit earlier this year, and 8 kilometres from its less-advanced Nichols project.
Uranium Energy has a portfolio of uranium projects across the southwestern US with a declared focus on acquiring property in regions that have already been the subject of significant exploration and development in the past. Speaking of the latest acquisition, company president and CEO Amir Adnani said: "The company is acting to build a base for long-term growth here. By acquiring existing, licensed production facilities, we intend to shorten the runway to initial low-cost production."
Uranium One has extensive uranium interests in Kazakhstan, the Honeymoon in-situ leach project in Australia, and owns the Dominion uranium mine in South Africa. Its US uranium interests include projects in Utah and Wyoming. However, losses late last year prompted the company to announce it would be focusing on its low-cost Kazakh projects and some key projects in other areas. The company's growth and development plans received a boost in early 2009 with a share placement which saw a Japanese consortium take a holding of 19.95% in the company, and recently it agreed to buy uranium resources and processing facilities in Wyoming.