UEC to double resources through UEX acquisition

14 June 2022

Texas-based Uranium Energy Corp (UEC) has agreed to acquire Canadian company UEX Corporation to create a combined, diversified portfolio of uranium production and development assets.

UEX has 82.8% ownership in the Christie Lake project (Image: UEX)

Saskatoon-based UEX's portfolio of 29 uranium projects in Canada's Athabasca basin includes five which are at the "advanced resource stage" and are already in joint-venture partnerships with established uranium miners. This means UEC can remain operationally focused in the USA - where it has near-term production-ready assets - at the same time as benefitting from a new development pipeline with significant exploration potential in Canada, it said. UEC said the acquisition will double its uranium resources in world-class, politically stable uranium mining jurisdictions and, pro forma, give it the "largest uranium portfolio focused exclusively in the Americas".

Under the terms of a definitive arrangement between the two companies, UEC will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of UEX by way of statutory plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act. At closing, existing UEC and UEX shareholders will own about 86.3% and 13.7%, respectively, of UEC based on current outstanding common shares.

UEC's December 2021 acquisition of Uranium One Americas (U1A) saw a very positive response from shareholders and the marketplace, UEC President and CEO Amir Adnani said. "The strategic acquisition of UEX has the same characteristics and will grow our diversified portfolio in the politically stable and mining friendly jurisdiction of Canada. It also marks the largest North American M&A transaction in the uranium sector following the U1A acquisition."

The combination of the companies' "very strong and complementary portfolios" will provide UEX's shareholders with a "substantial exposure" to UEC's production-ready US in-situ leach (ISL) mining assets and physical uranium portfolio, UEX President and CEO Roger Lemaitre said. "I look forward to seeing UEC’s management team continue to execute on their growth strategy and build upon the success we have already seen with UEX’s portfolio of assets," he added.

UEX's portfolio includes: 49.1% ownership in Shea Creek (operated and 50.9% owned by Orano), with some 67.6 million pounds U3O8 (26,000 tU) of indicated and 28.1 million pounds U3O8 of inferred resources (100% basis) - one of the largest undeveloped deposits in the Athabasca Basin; 100% ownership of the Horseshoe-Raven open-pit amenable project, which is close to Cameco's Rabbit Lake Mill and has indicated resources of 37.4 million pounds U3O8; 82.8% ownership in the Christie Lake asset in the Athabasca basin with 20.4 million pounds U3O8 of inferred resources (100% basis); 16.9% ownership in the Kiggavik (Nunavut) and 15% ownership in the Millennium (Saskatchewan) feasibility-stage projects; and 5% ownership in Wheeler River, which is operated and 95%-owned by Denison. Further resource-level, mid-stage and grassroots projects in UEX's portfolio provide scope for further resource growth.

UEC's assets include a Wyoming "hub-and-spoke" ISL portfolio of seven satellite projects, a centred on the Irigaray processing plant with a licensed production capacity of 2.5 million pounds per year; a Texas hub-and-spoke ISL portfolio of four satellite projects centred on the 2 million pounds per year Hobson processing plant; a 5 million pounds U3O8 physical portfolio of US-warehoused uranium and a 16% equity stake in pure-play uranium royalty company Uranium Royalty Corp.

Subject to approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News