Uranium ups and downs

25 October 2011

Ur-Energy is almost ready to start construction at the Lost Creek uranium project after being awarded a permit to mine from the state of Wyoming. Meanwhile, Cameco has signed a strategic alliance to advance uranium exploration in Argentina. However the future of Hanlong's bid for Bannerman Resources now looks uncertain.

 

Ur-Energy is celebrating the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) decision to issue a Permit To Mine for its Lost Creek in situ recovery uranium project. The permit authorizes the company to construct and operate the mine facilities, and the company is now only awaiting Bureau of Land Management approval of its plan of operations before work on the facility commences.
 
Ur-Energy president and CEO Wayne Heili described the WDEQ permit as a major step towards full mining operations at the project, which has already received a source and byproduct materials licence from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, aquifer exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency, a WDEQ Class I Underground Injection Control Permit and local approval of its development plan by Sweetwater County.
 
Ur-Energy also announced that it has entered into a strategic marketing agreement with NuCore Energy, under which NuCore will provide uranium marketing advisory and professional services and exclusively negotiate uranium sales agreements for Lost Creek's output.
 
Argentinian alliance

 
Argentinian exploration company UrAmerica has announced a strategic alliance with Cameco subsidiary Cameco Global South America Inc to advance uranium exploration in Argentina's Chubut province. Cameco has purchased 19.9% of UrAmerica's equity in a $10 million private placement. This will give it the exclusive right to acquire 70% of each deposit discovered by UrAmerica in the San Jorge Basin in Chubut. A joint technical committee set up by the two companies has already approved an initial 12-month drilling program focused on seven drill targets close to the Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica's (CNEA's) Cerro Solo deposit.
 
The agreement is not Cameco's first in South America. In recent years, the Canadian uranium company has acquired shares and signed agreements with companies involved in uranium exploration in Paraguay and Peru.
 
Hanlong taking too long

 

Additional due diligence required by Chinese financiers looks to have stymied the Sichuan Hanlong Group's bid to take over Australia-based Bannerman resources, would-be developer of Namibia's Etango uranium project.
 
Despite a "strong alignment of views" between Bannerman and Hanlong, Hanlong's intended financier the China Development Bank has requested additional due diligence to gain greater certainty on the timing and conditions of a mining licence before it will commit. As a result, Bannerman's board feels it is unlikely that the company will know whether Hanlong is able to enter into a binding agreement within a timeframe "that would meet the reasonable expectations of Bannerman's shareholders and other stakeholders, including the Namibian Government."
 
Bannerman has formally advised Hanlong that it will now focus on ongoing discussions on development joint ventures and alternative corporate arrangements with other parties. Nevertheless, the company says, it remains willing to consider a "less conditional" offer from Hanlong.
 
Production of 2000-2500 tU per year from Etango is envisaged over a period of 20 years, with a possible mine start-up date of 2015.

 

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News

 

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