UEC to buy Uranium One's US uranium assets

09 November 2021

Texas-based Uranium Energy Corp (UEC) has agreed to buy Uranium One Americas Inc (U1A) from Rosatom's Uranium One Group. The acquisition will create "hub-and-spoke" operations in Wyoming for UEC, centred on U1A's Irigaray plant, and will position it as the largest American uranium mining company, UEC said.

The acquisition includes seven projects in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, three of which are fully permitted, and five in the Great Divide Basin (Image: UEC)

The total purchase price is made up of USD112 million in cash and the replacement of USD19 million in reclamation bonding, and is fully funded with UEC's existing balance sheet.

UEC President and CEO Amir Adnani said the "highly accretive" transaction for UEC represents "great value" to shareholders, doubling its production capacity three areas: the total number of permitted US in-situ leach (ISL) projects; resources; and processing infrastructure. "The opportunity to acquire an advanced asset base of this quality from one of the global leaders in the nuclear energy sector is highly rare in the uranium sector anywhere in the world, let alone in our own home jurisdiction of the United States," he said.

U1A's assets include the production-ready Christensen Ranch ISL project and associated orebodies, which together with the Irigaray central processing plant, form the Willow Creek uranium mine and have been under care-and-maintenance since 2018. Adnani said UEC expects "significant" savings related to the development of its own nearby Reno Creek ISL project, with long-lasting operational synergies and cost efficiencies through the newly formed hub-and-spoke operations. "The U1A Irigaray central processing plant will be able to process our fully licensed Reno Creek [ISL] project, in addition to the fully permitted Moore Ranch, Ludeman and Christensen Ranch projects in the U1A portfolio purchased in this transaction," he added.

Uranium One is part of the Tenex group of companies, an organisation of Russian state corporation Rosatom, and is one of the world's largest uranium producers with assets worldwide including Kazakhstan, Namibia and Tanzania, as well as the USA. The company said the sale falls within its strategy to optimise its portfolio of uranium mining assets, aimed at increasing economic efficiency. "This transaction will provide a material return for Uranium One’s owners and shareholders in the process," Uranium One Chairman and President of U1A Alexander Fedotov stated.

The acquisition will increase UEC's US ISL production profile to 6.5 million pounds U3O8 (2500 tU) per year, based on the licensed and installed capacity its Wyoming and South Texas hub-and-spoke operations, Adnani said. The company also has physical uranium holdings of 4.1 million pounds of US-warehoused uranium.

In addition to Christensen Ranch and Irigaray, the acquisition includes the fully permitted Moore Ranch project, and the Ludeman, Allemand-Ross, Barge, and Jab/West Jab projects, and secures around 37.6 million pounds U3O8 in historically estimated measured and indicated resources and 4.3 million pounds U3O8 in historically estimated inferred resources, UEC said. These historic resources are not treated as current, but the company said it plans to complete and report current resources after the closing of the transaction.

Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News