Saturday, September 19, 2009

Western Lands Uranium Gopher for 09/19/09

This blog post includes edited content which also appeared in Fuel Cycle Week V8N344 09/16/09 published by International Nuclear Associates, Washington, DC.

Turmoil rocks Uranium Resources

gopherIt's been a tough month for Uranium Resources (NASDAQ:URRE). On September 4th CEO David Clark stepped down as President and CEO. Four days later the firm walked away from a major deal worth $1 million in cash and four million shares of stock with NZ Uranium LLC for 113,000 acres of checkerboard mineral claims in Crownpoint, NM. The only good news is that the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver set a January 2010 date for oral arguments on an En Banc review of the "Indian Country" controversy.

Clark, who has been CEO for the past three years, told the company he was leaving to resume a writing career he put on hold to head the company. He will remain a consultant to the firm through March 2010.

Rick Van Horn, VP at Uranium Resources, told FCW that while Clark's action was unexpected, the firm immediately hired Donald Ewigleben as its new CEO effective Oct 1st. He is an attorney and has held numerous executive positions with Anglo Gold Ashanti North America. He also worked in the coal industry and is a director of the National Mining Association.

The deal that went south with NZ Uranium LLC has left hard feelings on both sides. Van Horn told FCW the deal for NZ Uranium's claims "was subject to due diligence.'

"There are issues with the title for these claims that were not cured," Van Horn said, and, "we could not proceed with the deal."

Not so says an angry Robert Worsley, CEO at NZ Uranium. He told FCW "Uranium Resources walked."

"They just changed their minds. They are not being genuine. The title issues were minor and immaterial. We were working on them."

Worlsey blames the collapse of the deal on Clark's departure. He said, "I don't know what's going on over there [at Uranium Resources] because of the change in leadership."

The good news for Uranium Resources is that the firm finally has a date for oral arguments on the "Indian Country" controversy that has hobbled its uranium operations in New Mexico. Van Horn told FCW, "We have a timeline now which we never had before."

He also noted that the firm has a permit from the State of New Mexico, but the claim by EPA that the site is within the jurisdiction of the Navajo Indian tribe has prevented the firm from doing any work. Van Horn said that the firm has maintained all along that the site is on private land and not subject to regulation by the tribe. The State of New Mexico agrees and filed an amicus brief with the 10th Circuit Court affirming its claim to jurisdiction for regulation of the mine.

Denison gets permit for Arizona mine

Good news came to Denison Mines (AMEX:DNN) with an air quality permit from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). It is the final regulatory action needed for the mine to start operations. Bad news followed in its footsteps because the mine is located on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Three environmental groups announced plans to sue the Bureau of Land Management for approving the mine on public land.

Benjamin Grumbles, Director of the ADEQ, issued a statement saying the permit for the mine is good.

"We've added important new safeguards to ensure existing mines protect air and water quality near one of the state's most precious resources."

The three environmental groups do not see it that way. The Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and Grand Canyon Trust argue the mine is within a nearly 1 million acre buffer area declared to be off limits to new mining in an order issued in July by the Department of Interior.

Taylor McKinnon, of the Center for Biological Diversity, said BLM's decision to allow mine operations "was illegal." He said new endangered species have been discovered since the mine's permit was issued by BLM in 1988 and must be taken into account. Roger Clark, of the Grand Canyon Trust, said that Denison's mine "will permanently poison land and water in this arid region."

Dension points out the mine is exempt from the Interior department's order affecting new mines since it was established more than two decades ago.

Ron Hochstein, Denison CEO, said, "We are within 10-15 miles of the north rim, but geologically speaking, their allegations we will impact the Grand Canyon are simply not within the realm of feasible outcomes."

"The idea that the mine threatens the Grand Canyon ecosystem can't be justified by any stretch of the imagination."

He added that "as far as Denison is concerned we have all the permits we need to put this mine into operation."

A review of statements by Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar indicates Denison is correct about its status as an existing mine. While Salazar called for a moratorium on new mines, he also said that the new measure "would not prohibit ongoing or future mining exploration, extraction, or operations on valid, existing claims."

Crosshairs announces NI 43-101 report for Bootheel property

Crosshair uranium (AMEX:CXZ) announced the results of the initial independent National Instrument (NI) 43-101 Mineral Resource estimate on the Bootheel Project, in southern Wyoming. The estimate includes an indicated resource of 1.09 million pounds U3O8 and an additional inferred resource of 3.25 million pounds U3O8.

The resource estimate for the Bootheel Project is based on results from 93 Crosshair drill holes totalling 50,163 feet (ft) and approximately 1,450 historic drill holes for which detailed information is available.

The Bootheel Property, together with the Buck Point Property, cover 8,524 acres within the Shirley Basin in southern Wyoming and make up The Bootheel Project, LLC. Crosshair and Ur-Energy Inc. (AMEX:URG), are the members of The Bootheel Project. Crosshair is currently earning a 75% interest in the Project and anticipates completing its earn-in during this fiscal quarter. The mine is being developed using ISR methods.

Uranerz announces NI 43-101 report for Arkose mining venture

Uranerz Energy Corporation (AMEX:URZ) announced that the Arkose Mining Venture, a joint venture between the company (81%) and United Nuclear, LLC (19%), has received an independent National Instrument 43-101 technical report for its South Doughstick Property that estimates a "measured and indicated" mineral resource of approximately 2,287,250 pounds U3O8 at an average grade of 0.121% and an "inferred" mineral resource of approximately 189,305 pounds at an average grade of 0.096%. This is the first resource to be reported on a project within the Arkose Mining Venture.

The South Doughstick property is located in Campbell and Johnson Counties in the Pumpkin Buttes Uranium Mining District of the Powder River Basin, approximately 60 air miles northeast of Casper, Wyoming. During six month period ending June 2009, Arkose completed 331 exploratory drill holes on the South Doughstick property. The results of that drilling program were the primary source of information and data for the NI 43-101 technical report on the South Doughstick property.

Uranium Energy gets Texas permits

Uranium Energy (AMEX:UEC) announced that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued draft permits for two disposal wells that are part of ISR mine operations at the firm's Goliad project. The action kicks off a 30-day comment period. Harry Anthony, COO for the firm, said it does not anticipate major changes in the final permits.

Bayswater to Acquire Reno Creek uranium project from Strathmore

Bayswater Uranium (TSX:BAY) announced it signed a letter of intent with Strathmore Minerals Corp (TSX:STM) to acquire the Reno Creek Project in the Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming. The project has NI 43-101 reported resources of just under 11 million pounds U3O8 at an average grade of 0.066%. Bayswater said it planned to mine the uranium using ISR methods.

The price for the deal is set at $32 million and is expected to close in December. Bayswater said in a statement it planned to bring the site into production within the next six years.

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Cheryl Rofer said...

Um, that photo is of a rock squirrel, not a gopher.

Kendall said...

Why do you think AREVA is shutting down its mining operations in Wyoming?

djysrv said...

The price of uranium is depressed and the firm can supply all the needs of its customers from its extensive mine operations in Canada and Africa. There is no need at this time for the firm to put money into new mines in Wyoming. They can always develop the Wyoming properties if the price rises past $60/lb and stays there.