Showing posts with label uranium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label uranium. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

China displays continued appetite for Australian minerals with Western Desert bid

China's Meijin Energy Group has launched a USD$457 million bid for Australia's Western Desert Resources (ASX:WDR).

"This offer from a major Chinese corporation represents excellent value for shareholders" said Western Desert chairman Rick Allert in a statement.

The bid of AUD$1.08 per share at a 26% premium to Western's last closing price demonstrates that the Asian economic giant still retains considerable appetite for minerals despite recent signs to the contrary.

The Australian branch chief for China's biggest bank announced earlier this week that it would be winding down lending to Australia's resource sector in anticipation of troubled times for miners.

Speculation has also been rife in the Australian media of late that the peak period for the resources sector has passed, triggered by resource minister Martin Ferguson's impromptu announcement of the end of the mining boom in an ABC interview at the end of August.

Western Desert is a diversified miner with interests encompassing iron ore, gold, base metals and uranium. It has 321.1 million outstanding shares and is due to issue a further 19.6 million share as part of a rights offer, which alongside 61.5 million in unlisted options brings total outstanding shares to 402.23 million.

Shenzhen-listed Meijin Energy is based in the inland Chinese coal cradle of Shanxi province, and engages in coal mining, coke production and steel making.

Meijin has already made inroads into the Australia resource industry with a 4.2 billion tonne coal project in Queensland's Galilee basin.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Macusani Yellowcake CEO Peter Hooper Discusses Uranium in Peru on Today’s Midas Letter Money

Macusani Yellowcake (TSX.V:YEL) CEO Peter Hooper joins host James West on Midas Letter Money from our Toronto Studios to discuss the scale and scope of the company’s giant uranium exploration project in Peru. As Peru’s largest explorer for Uranium, Macusani is planning to become its largest producer of Uranium in the near term.

Peru at this point has no nuclear reactors for electrical power generation, yet the country suffers from acute shortages of electricity, with reliable power an elusive goal for most of the country’s rural communities.

The full transcript of the interview is as follows:

James West: Hi, I’m James West. This is Midas Letter Money. My next guest is developing uranium assets in Peru. Peter Hooper is the CEO of Macusani Yellowcake trades on the TSX venture under the symbol YEL. Peter, thank you for joining us today.

Peter Hooper: It’s a pleasure to be here.

James West: Peter, you’ve been working on this project for quite sometime and since I first started following a few years ago, it’s become much bigger. Why don’t you just elaborate a bit about on where the project is, what you’ve done so far and how it came to be such a large project?

Peter Hooper: We started in 2007, took it public in November and we survived 2008 and 2009, but we never stopped working. We started drilling immediately and we managed by raising money all the way through. To date, we’ve drilled up three deposits and we have a combined nearly 30 million pounds of 43-101 combination of resources inferred and measured. You’re not supposed to have them but we have.

James West: Right, of course. So I’ve been to Lima, Peru and that’s a very chaotic city. I’m trying to picture those guys running a nuclear reactor down there. Does Peru got plans to build nuclear reactors?

Peter Hooper: Peru has no uranium mining and they have one medical reactor. That’s it. The uranium here was found by Margaret Thatcher, you know that of course.

James West: I didn’t know that.

Peter Hooper: She persuaded the British Geological Survey to fly Peru and half of Chile for airborne geophysics including radiometrics in 1980 and ‘81, really is a thank you for the full control. Out of that came hundreds of airborne anomalies and one of the biggest anomalies, it’s right where we are. They created the IPEN, Institute Proven Energy Nuclear at the same time and IPEN, pressing uranium in those days before Chernobyl with sky high and they did some quite a lot of exploration work including some added work. So that’s the basis of where we started uranium price crash that changed the mining law in ‘91 which meant that IPEN had to stop paying the government for all these properties there then they change the rules. Uranium to this day is treated as a base metal improve(ph) no special rules.

James West: So then who would be the ultimate client with that — implied that in the UK would probably be the off take client?

Peter Hooper: Well, more or so the Chinese or the Koreans or the Japanese is my guess.

James West: Okay, so it would be creating uranium mine for export then?

Peter Hooper: Yes, correct.

James West: Okay. So you’ve got 30 million pounds at this point and how far away would you say in the best case scenario we could be from uranium mine.

Peter Hooper: Well, the story goes like the first guy to realized the recent potential was John Challis and he created a company called Solex and he has take two-thirds of the plateau. Frontier Pacific did a lot of work from the joint venture that all fell apart and they run out of money. Solex was bought by Southern Andes and we’ve just moved with Southern Andes. Right now we own 90% of the plateau.

James West: Wow. So that has a potential then to be a huge uranium mine.

Peter Hooper: Well, out of that all our deposits actually go on to the next-door properties, properties we now own. So yes, we have huge potential to dramatically increase our resources quickly.

James West: Okay. What kind of grains are we looking at?

Peter Hooper: Well, one on side its half a pound per ton and on the other side, it’s higher. It’s probably two to three pounds a ton. But we’ve done metallurgical works since 2007 and the recoveries here are huge. They are 96%, 98%, 90% and it’s a heap leach potential, heap leach situation and we’ve done common lead to tests. Kamaka is our next-door neighbor, because they get the same sort of recovery, Solex at the same. The reason these recoveries are so high in my opinion is that when we do our ground radiometrics, we test for 40 elements. There’s no thorium. There’s no manganese. There’s no iron. There’s no copper. There are no contaminants and no titanium.

James West: So those are all undesirable elements in the uranium –

Peter Hooper: For recovery.

James West: Right.

Peter Hooper: Yeah, exactly. So it’s pure autunite, meta-autunite, carnotite, and these are easily soluble in sulfuric acid and which is the agent for the heap leach. When you added the heap leach, you get a pregnant solution and we found if you recall the South Africans (00:04:38) or Russian patents for resins back in the ‘70s. They are experts in that field. We’ve got a guy who found us resins who can extract the Yellowcake out of pregnant solutions and again, high recoveries.

James West: So we’ve got a lot of metallurgical work. We’ve got hundreds of tests. We have a process at work. It’s very cheap. We’ve done a PEA.


The first PEA at million pounds a year for just one target, the price has come at $22 a pound if you use your way which is cheap. When we are expanding that and the objective this year is to get a PEA at five million pounds a year which all of a sudden puts us a big producer. Now to do that, we need in a 10-year life, I need 50 to 60 million pounds so that’s the target from our drilling this year. We’ve got three drills turning now. There’ll be six drills turning before the end of the year.

We’re on the drills and we have a superb manager in Lima who runs it for us. He’s Romanian and he was a prof in Bucharest taught in Johannesburg, doctor. He ended up owning — he work for (00:05:52) and Gold Fields in Peru surveyed the country always. He owns Gold Plants in Peru. He runs a little gold mine and owns the Old Englehard (00:06:03) Refinery there. He has his team together. He’s run those for 14 years and that’s the team. He was doing the work to a solid team, Peruvians, good geologists, good head office, good engineers and a good lawyer in the office who does all our dealing with the locals. We have extremely good relations with the locals.

James West: Okay, so you’re going to drill next year, try to get to 60 million pounds. I’m sorry, this year. So then it would be sort of raise money towards prefeasibility and everything?

Peter Hooper: We have $13 million in acuity, so we don’t have to raise any money. We’ve spent about half a million dollars of this a month to run. So we in fact have two years worth of exploration moneys now. The objective is to get a PEA this year and yes, we need to position the company to have a prefeasibility ready for 2013. In other words, the company can be put into production of that state because if you recall there’s going to be a shortage of supply when the Russian military fuel missile stuff comes off the market and that’s predicted to be in 2013. That gap is supposed to be filled by Cigar Lake, (00:07:15) down to Namibia, all projects slackly behind the time. So it’s on the cards. There’s going to be a struggle to get enough supply particularly with the new reactors coming on the stream. So if we position the company to be ready at that time, we should be in good shape.

James West: So that’s the strategy then.

Peter Hooper: That’s the strategy.

James West: Okay. Well, that’s a really interesting story. We’re gonna leave it there for now. Peter, I’d like to thank you for joining us today.

Peter Hooper: Pleasure, indeed.

Source: Midas Letter

Friday, August 31, 2012

Uranium group Paladin’s loss widens

Paladin Energy‚ a uranium producer with projects in Australia and two operating mines in Africa‚ delivered a net loss for the year to June 30 of US$172.8m‚ an increase of 110% from the previous year’s US$82.3m loss.

This translates into a loss per share of US21.1 cents form a loss of US11.1 cents the previous year. No dividend was declared.

The loss was mainly as a result of an impairment associated with the write-down of mining assets in Malawi in the quarter ended September 2011‚ MD and CEO John Borshoff said in a statement.

The financial year ending June 2013 will be the first year Paladin will operate without construction and commissioning activities running in parallel.

“In this new environment the company is well placed to optimise efficiencies and costs on its operations and benefit from returns. Debt gearing is also reducing‚” he said.

The company recorded “record production” for the year of 6.895 million pounds (Mlb) of U3O8‚ an increase of 21% over the previous year.

Langer Heinrich Mine produced 4.417Mlb U3O8 for the year‚ an increase of 25% over the previous year.

The Kayelekera Mine in Malawi delivered “record production” of 2.478Mlb U3O8 for the year‚ an increase of 14% over the previous year.

The company said that US$274m was successfully raised through convertible bonds and a portion of the proceeds was used to fund concurrent partial buyback of US$191m of the existing convertible bonds maturing in 2013.

The company said a three-year moratorium on uranium development and mining in Canada had ended‚ and Paladin would proceed to development of the Michelin deposit. Drilling began in August this year.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Coal's good year and uranium's worst year

Last year coal was the the only fossil fuel to record above average worldwide growth at 5.4%, while nuclear power consumption was off 4.3%, the largest decline on record, said BP in its look at energy use in 2011.

Nuclear's decline came on the back of sharp declines. Japan cut back nuclear power by 44.3%, and Germany reduced nuclear consumption by 23.2%.

Nuclear energy consumption by region. Graph from BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2012

Coal, the fastest-growing form of energy outside renewables, saw its consumption grow in Asia, especially in China that recorded 9.7% growth.

"Global coal production grew by 6.1%, with non-OECD countries accounting for virtually all of the growth and China (+8.8%) accounting for 69% of global growth," writes the study's authors.

Coal consumption by region. Graph from BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2012

Oil is still the world's leading fuel with 33.1% of global energy consumption. But oil is declining and continues to lose market share, recording the lowest share of the energy supply since BP started its statistical survey in 1965.

Renewables were up from 0.7% of global energy consumption in 2010 to 2.1% in 2011. Wind energy was up 25.8% and solar power increased 86.3%.

Ethanol production was down in due to a poor harvest sugar cane harvest in Brazil.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Forsys to consolidate Namibian uranium properties and boost reserves 30%

Forsys Metals is looking at combining its Valencia and Nambiplaas uranium projects in Namibia into a single operation boosting reserves and potential output.

Canada's Forsys Metals Corp says it may be able to boost its uranium reserves in Namibia by 30 percent as it consolidates its two projects in the southern African nation into one mine development.

The Toronto-listed mining-exploration company is updating an already completed feasibility study on its Valencia project to include ore from the nearby Namibplaas deposit. A new resource estimate for Namibplaas is due out in the second half of 2012.

"We've already defined 60.5 million pounds and we're looking to go to 80 million pounds of uranium," Chief Executive Marcel Hilmer said of the proven and probable reserves at the consolidated project.

"We've got all our permits - the mining license and all the environmental work is done at Valencia," he said in an interview. "We've got to extend that to Namibplaas."

Valencia and Namibplaas are located in a region about 300 kilometers (185 miles) west of the capital, Windhoek, that already has several uranium projects. The region is home to Rio Tinto Ltd's Rossing mine and Paladin Energy Ltd's Langer Heinrich project.

By blending Valencia and Namibplaas into one project, Forsys says it will be able expand its planned output to 5 million pounds a year from an earlier estimate of 3.7 million pounds a year.

While the expanded production should result in lower operating costs, it will push development costs into the $400 million to $500 million range, up from a previous estimate of about $350 million, Hilmer said.

"We'll need funding, so we will be looking for a strategic partner," he said. "We've held discussions with a number of parties who would be interested in off-take or supply of our uranium."

For now, the company has enough cash on hand to finish its updated feasibility study, which is due out next year.

Shares of Forsys were down 3.5 percent at 83 Canadian cents on Friday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock is up about 19 percent so far this year, though it has lost nearly half its value in the past 12 months in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.


Weighing on Forsys' development plans is the low uranium price, which has fallen to $52 per pound from about $74 before Fukushima.

Since the disaster in March of last year, Japan's entire fleet of reactors has moved into care and maintenance, while several countries, including Germany and Italy, have backed away from atomic power.

The market uncertainty has prompted Areva SA to slow construction at its $1 billion Trekkopje uranium mine, also located in Namibia's uranium district.

Despite the hurdles, Hilmer remains confident Forsys can bring the consolidated Valencia project into production.

"In today's environment ... we would be profitable," he said. "And we remain very confident that the price of uranium in the mid term will increase."

That confidence is rooted in an expected jump in Asian demand. Fourteen new reactor units are scheduled to come online this year, including three in China and five in other Asian nations, according to World Nuclear Association data.

All told, China has more than 25 reactors currently under construction and more in the planning stage. Fueling those reactors will take substantial new uranium supplies.

"There really is no large risk, assuming that the demand, which is being driven by Asia, is actually converted into nuclear plants which require delivery of uranium," Hilmer said.

Source: Reuters

Friday, May 18, 2012

WPC plans First Uranium bid if shareholders vote down asset sales

Waterpan Mining Company (WMC), along with unnamed investors, aims to bid for a controlling stake in First Uranium if shareholders vote down two proposed deals to sell its main assets at June 13 meetings, director Chopper van der Bijl said on Friday.

Cash-strapped First Uranium had last month snubbed a potential $80-million offer from a consortium comprising Russia’s Renova group and WMC for the Toronto- and Johannesburg-based company’s Ezulwini gold and uranium mine, located west of the city.

Van der Bijl declined to say whether Renova was involved with the new plan, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

“We have not approached them [First Uranium], but we are most definitely interested. It’s an asset Waterpan Mining Consortium believes in,” he told Mining Weekly Online in a telephone interview.

First Uranium shareholders including Russian fund manager Olma Investments, said earlier this month they were seeking an investor to buy a 50% stake in the company, which would also agree to repay the $150-million in convertible debt that falls due June 30.

Van der Bijl said it only made sense to make an offer for a controlling stake in First Uranium if shareholders voted against two proposed deals to sell the Ezulwini mine to Chinese-owned Gold One for $70-million and its MWS subsidiary to AngloGold Ashanti for $335-million.

Olma and other shareholders claiming to own 17% of the company, including Canada’s Sprott Asset Management and Stratton Enterprises, said they would vote against the deals, arguing First Uranium is selling the assets too cheaply.

A group of Canadian retail investors claiming to own at least another five-million shares, or 2% of the company, have also threatened to vote against the sales.

Last week, First Uranium began sending out shareholder circulars for the June 13 meetings, warning shareholders of the potential consequences of voting “no” to the sales, such as massive dilution if the company failed to repay its convertible debt.

Van der Bijl said his consortium would only approach First Uranium with an offer if shareholders vetoed the proposed sales.

“If the deals are not voted down, then we walk,” he commented.

He added it was too early to say what sort of price tag WPC might offer for control of First Uranium.

“That is going to have to be negotiated.”

WPC is interested in operating the Ezulwini mine, where Van der Bijl worked as general manager before Harmony Gold took it over through the hostile takeover of Randfontein Estate in 2000.

At that point, the mine was called Randfontein Cook 4 shaft, and then Harmony CEO Bernard Swanepoel in May 2001 called the operation the gold miner’s “bleeding aorta”. He later put it under care and maintenance.

Swanepoel is now the CEO of JSE-listed Village Main Reef, which is a substantial holder of First Uranium’s convertible debt. Village also owns 5.7% of the company.

Van der Bijl said brought the idea of buying Ezulwini from Harmony in 2005 to Simmer & Jack Mines (now owned by Village), and its then CEO Gordon Miller, who has since quit.

WPC initially owned a 10% stake in the mine, but sold it to First Uranium. Van der Bijl said the company still had a less-than-1% stake in First Uranium.

His financial backers were “very, very serious” about gaining control of Ezulwini, he said.

“They believe it’s a good asset and that good management can turn it around.”

First Uranium director John Hick was not immediately available for comment.

First Uranium gained 7.1% in early Toronto trade on Friday to reach C$0.075 a share, valuing the company at C$17,8-million.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

AREVA and Mitsubishi co-operate on Australian uranium exploration

AREVA and Mitsubishi Corporation, through their respective subsidiaries Afmeco Mining and Exploration Pty Ltd (AFMEX) and Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd (MDP), have decided to work together in a uranium exploration program in Australia.

Exploration will be conducted for several years across tens of thousands of square kilometers of Australia where little or no previous exploration has yet been undertaken.

Under the terms of the agreement entered into between both companies, MDP will cover 100% of AFMEX’s exploration expenditure for several years up to a predetermined amount. Once the threshold is reached and if MDP confirms its interest, MDP will have the option to acquire 49% of the greenfield* uranium exploration permits held by AFMEX in Australia and enter into a joint venture owned 51% by AFMEX and 49% by MDP. The operations of the new joint venture will be managed by AFMEX.

Olivier Wantz, AREVA Senior Executive Vice President in charge of mining activities stated: “By joining forces through this partnership, AREVA and Mitsubishi Corporation are gaining the means to develop Australia’s very substantial uranium potential. We believe that exploitable low production cost deposits will be discovered there over the long term, hence our mutual commitment to financing such a large-scale exploration effort.”

Australia produced nearly 6,200 tons (about 16.1 million pounds) of uranium in 2011. It is the world’s number three uranium producer behind Kazakhstan and Canada, and its uranium reserves are among the largest in the world. AREVA recently stepped up its exploration efforts in Australia, where it has discovered several deposits since commencing exploration activities there in the 1970s.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Uranium One profit falls on lower uranium price

Uranium One on Monday reported a drop in quarterly profit as lower realized uranium prices outweighed higher sales volumes.

Canada's No 2 uranium producer's profit was $4.5-million, or nil a share, in the quarter ended March 31. That compared with $14-million, or 1c a share, in the year-earlier period.

Adjusted to remove one-time items, profit was $15.1-million, or 2c a share, compared with $15-million, or 2c a share, in the first quarter of 2011.

Revenue fell 6% to $95.9-million as the average realized price per pound of uranium dropped to $53 from $61. The company's average cash cost per pound sold in the quarter was steady at $14.

The spot price for uranium fell in March of last year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster led to reactor shutdowns in Japan and Germany. Despite the near term uncertainty, longer term demand remains strong as China, India, Russia and South Korea move ahead with plans to ramp up atomic output.

Uranium One's sales volumes in the quarter rose 8% to 1.8-million pounds, while production was 18% higher at 2.8-million pounds.

The company expects to produce 11.6-million pounds of uranium this year and 12.5-million pounds in 2013.

The miner paid $150-million in the quarter to acquire 13.9% of Mantra Resources, owned by Uranium One's largest shareholder JSC Atomredmetzoloto. Uranium One has an option to buy the remaining interest in Mantra and its flagship Mkuju River project, in Tanzania.

The Toronto-based miner owns assets in Kazakhstan, the US and Australia, and is the operator at Mkuju River.

Source: Reuters

Thursday, March 22, 2012

China eyes Canadian uranium mines

Takeover activity is poised to heat up in the Canadian uranium sector as energy-hungry China hunts for feedstock to fuel its growing family of nuclear reactors.

The state-controlled China Daily recently reported that the country plans to buy more uranium mines abroad, and is looking in Canada. China also expects to import more uranium this year as its nuclear program resumes after being halted following Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.

China has 15 reactors in operation and 25 under construction, and plans to build another 50. It imports nearly all its uranium from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Namibia and Australia.

“It comes as a surprise” that China is showing its hand by publicly targeting this country’s miners, which could boost the prices of potential acquisitions, said Versant Partners analyst Rob Chang. But he said the country’s announcement deserves to be taken seriously in the wake of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision last month to overturn previous trading bans and permit uranium sales to China for civilian use.

China would most likely focus on buying Canadian “exploration companies with high-quality assets” because there are no ownership restrictions on early-stage firms, Mr. Chang said. However, Ottawa bars foreigners from owning more than a 49-per-cent stake in a company that is mining the metal.

China has already been on the acquisition trail for explorers in Africa. China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp., its nuclear agency, recently struck a $2.4-billion (U.S.) deal to snap up Australia-based Extract Resources Ltd. (EXT-T8.97----%), which owns a huge uranium deposit in Namibia.

In Canada, uranium juniors such as Fission Energy Corp. (FIS-X0.67-0.02-2.90%), which has a property in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, Kivalliq Energy Corp. (KIV-X0.50----%), which has a deposit in Nunavut, and Strateco Resources Inc. (RSC-T0.50-0.03-4.81%), which is developing the Matoush project in northern Quebec, could be of interest, Mr. Chang said.

There is industry speculation that the Conservative government will relax its foreign ownership laws on uranium mines. Throne speeches since 2010 have talked about lifting regulations that inhibit the growth of Canada’s uranium industry.

Foreigners are already snapping up Canadian exploration companies. Last year, British mining giant Rio Tinto PLC (RIO-N54.59-0.56-1.02%) trumped Cameco Corp. (CCO-T22.81-0.44-1.89%) to buy Hathor Exploration for about $625-million (Canadian). Paladin Energy Ltd. (PDN-T1.97-0.01-0.51%), Australia’s second-biggest uranium miner, acquired the Michelin uranium project in Labrador for $261-million from Fronteer Gold Inc.

Euro Pacific Canada analyst Merrill McHenry, who is bearish on the uranium sector because Japan’s 52 reactors are still shut down, agrees that Fission Energy could be a strategic acquisition for China. If ownership rules don’t change, China could comply by partnering with a player like Cameco when it comes time to extract uranium, he said.

Macusani Yellowcake Inc. (YEL-X0.15----%), which has acquired Southern Andes Energy Inc. and merged their uranium properties in Peru, is also a potential takeover candidate, Mr. McHenry suggested. But those deposits would need to be combined with another project for the play to become economically viable, he added.

The Chinese could buy Macusani Yellowcake and also acquire an additional nearby deposit in Peru from Fission Energy through an outright purchase or joint venture with that company, he said.

“You would then not have a foreign-ownership problem with the Canadian assets [because they are not in Canada].”

China could also become involved with Canadian uranium projects through joint ventures in properties like Paladin’s Michelin project, he said. A three-year moratorium on uranium mining on Inuit lands was lifted this month and the Chinese could help finance the next phase, he said.

“They [Paladin] would need a mill so we are talking about a substantial amount of capital expenditures.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Uranium shareholders object to AngloGold, Gold One asset sales

A group of First Uranium's shareholders sent a letter to the boards of AngloGold and Gold One explaining its objections to the planned sales of its South African assets, saying the deals are being done too cheaply.

TORONTO  - A group of First Uranium Inc. shareholders said the mining company's planned sales of South African assets to AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold One International Ltd. for a combined $405 million are being done too cheaply.

The group sent a letter to the boards of First Uranium, AngloGold and Gold One explaining its objections, Nicholas Betsky, head of equities at Russia's Olma Investment Firm in Moscow, and Mikhail Pak, a spokesman for Stratton Enterprises Inc. in Moscow, said yesterday in separate interviews.

The investor group comprises Olma, Stratton, Sprott Asset Management Inc. and Patto Corporate Services Ltd. and collectively holds more than 41 million shares, or 17 percent, of Toronto-based First Uranium, and may vote against both deals, Betsky said.

First Uranium's board "has not exhausted all its options," Betsky said by telephone from Montpellier, France. "We're trying to tell the board they should go back to the drawing board."

First Uranium said March 2 it agreed to sell its Mine Waste Solutions unit to Johannesburg-based AngloGold for $335 million and that Gold One International Ltd. would buy its Ezulwini Mining Co. unit for $70 million. If the deals aren't completed, First Uranium won't have enough funds to pay the outstanding principal on about C$150 million ($152 million) of convertible debentures that are due June 30, the company also said March 2.

Related Parties

The group of investors said in the letter that Mine Waste Solutions has a so-called net present value of C$700 million while just Ezulwini's infrastructure is worth C$150 million, Betsky said.

First Uranium Chief Executive Officer Deon Van Der Mescht and Gail Strauss, a spokeswoman for the company in Johannesburg, weren't immediately available to comment. Alan Fine, a spokesman for AngloGold, and Maria Smirnova, an associate portfolio manager at Sprott in Toronto, declined to comment. No number or e-mail address could immediately be found for Patto.

The AngloGold and Gold One deals will be voted on separately by First Uranium investors at a meeting to be held in mid-May. The Mine Waste Solutions acquisition requires 50.1 percent or more of the votes cast by shareholders excluding AngloGold and certain related parties, First Uranium said March 2. The Gold One deals needs 66.7 percent.

AngloGold owns 20 percent of First Uranium, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Franco Nevada Corp. and Village Main Reef Ltd., which hold stakes of 7.4 percent and 5.7 percent respectively, are considered related parties.

"We are planning to vote ‘no' and we think enough shareholders will join us," Betsky said.

Source: Bloomberg

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Finland grants licence for uranium extraction at Talvivaara


Cameco (TSX:CCO) (NYSE:CCJ) announced today that the Finnish government has granted a licence for the extraction of uranium as a by-product from the Sotkamo nickel mine operated by Talvivaara Mining Company Plc. (LSE: TALV) in eastern Finland.

Talvivaara expects to begin production of uranium at Sotkamo during 2012 through a solvent extraction circuit added to the main production process to recover uranium that would have been a waste product. The operation is expected to produce up to 900,000 pounds of uranium concentrate (U3O8 equivalent) at full production. The licence is valid until the end of 2054.

“We are pleased by this development as we expect Sotkamo will provide an unconventional new source of uranium supply,” said Tim Gitzel, Cameco’s president and CEO.

Under agreements signed with Talvivaara in February 2011, Cameco will provide an up-front investment, to a maximum of $60 million (US), to cover the construction cost of the uranium extraction circuit. Cameco’s capital contribution will be repaid through the initial deliveries of uranium concentrates. Once the capital is repaid, Cameco will purchase all uranium concentrates produced at Sotkamo from Talvivaara at prices determined by a formula that references market prices at the time of delivery.

Cameco is also providing technical assistance during the design, construction, commissioning and operation of the uranium extraction circuit at Sotkamo.

Talvivaara expects to secure the remaining regulatory approvals needed to begin uranium production from Finnish authorities by mid-2012. Cameco’s agreements with Talvivaara have been approved by the Euratom Supply Agency as required under the Euratom Treaty and also by the European Commission.

Finland produces about a third of its domestic electricity each year through nuclear power production at four existing reactors operated by two Finnish utility companies. A fifth reactor is under construction and two others are planned.

About Talvivaara

Talvivaara Mining Company Plc. is an internationally significant base metals producer with its primary focus on nickel and zinc using a technology known as bioheapleaching to extract metals out of ore. Bioheapleaching makes extraction of metals from low grade ore economically viable. The Talvivaara deposits comprise one of the largest known sulphide nickel resources in Europe. Talvivaara has secured a 10-year off-take agreement for 100 per cent of its main output of nickel and cobalt to Norilsk Nickel and entered into a long-term zinc streaming agreement with Nyrstar NV. Talvivaara is listed on the London Stock Exchange Main Market and NASDAQ OMX Helsinki and is included in the FTSE 250 Index. Further information can be found at


Cameco, with its head office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is one of the world’s largest uranium producers. The company’s uranium products are used to generate electricity in nuclear energy plants around the world, providing one of the cleanest sources of energy available today. Cameco’s shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.

As used in this news release, “Cameco” or the “company” means Cameco Corporation, a Canadian corporation and its subsidiaries and affiliates unless stated otherwise.

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information and Statements

Certain information contained in this news release constitutes “forward-looking information” or “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Canadian and U.S. securities laws. These include the expectation that Talvivaara would begin production of uranium at Sotkamo during 2012, the expectation that the operation would produce up to 900,000 pounds of uranium concentrate (U3O8 equivalent) at full production, and that the ability to recover uranium will enhance the environmental performance of the Sotkamo operation. Forward-looking information is necessarily based upon a number of assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. These include the assumptions that Talvivaara will be able to obtain all additional required permits and approvals within the timeframes expected, that the recovery of uranium can be adapted to Talvivaara’s existing production process through the addition of a solvent extraction process without adverse environmental implications, and that all required construction can be completed in a timely manner. Cameco cautions the reader that such forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Those risks and uncertainties include the risk that the additional required regulatory approvals may not be obtained when expected or at all, the risk that the uranium production process may not be implemented as quickly as expected or at all, or that full production cannot be achieved due to technical or other reasons, the risk that the operation will not produce the expected level of uranium concentrate (U3O8 equivalent) at full production, and the risk of unforeseen difficulties having an adverse impact on the environmental performance of the operation. Cameco does not undertake any obligation to update or revise forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent legally required.

Analyst trims Fission target price, still expects a Rio takeout

TORONTO  – Versant Partners on Friday cut its target price by 21% for Canadian uranium hopeful Fission Energy after a recent $10-million private placement diluted the share’s value, with analyst Rob Chang still predicting Rio Tinto will buy the company.
In a note to clients, he said Hathor Exploration, which the mining giant bought last year after a bidding fight with Cameco, is not “large enough to be meaningful to Rio’s bottom line”, and that Fission will likely fall prey too.

The TSX-V-listed company owns the Waterbury Lake deposit located immediately west of Hathor’s flagship Roughrider property in Northern Saskatchewan. The two deposits are so close that the companies have argued over property boundaries in the past.

“With Hathor Exploration being acquired by Rio Tinto, it makes sense for the mining giant to acquire Fission as well since its mineralization is shallower,” Chang wrote.

However, after the November capital raising, he cut his price target for Fission to $1.25 a share from the previous $1.60 level, using an expected market capitalisation per pound takeout valuation of $11/lb for Waterbury Lake, and a peer-average multiple for the company’s Dieter Lake property in Quebec.

The stock was trading 1.4% lower at C$0.72 by late Friday afternoon, implying upside of 73% to its current price, using Chang’s target.

Rio Tinto ended up paying C$4.70 a share for Hathor, valuing the company at $654-million.

As at December 22, the Anglo-Australian mining giant owned 87.26% of Hathor’s stock, and it extended its offer to January 6 to allow more shareholders to tender.

The uranium spot price reached $52/lb on January 2, according to US firm Ux Consulting. It has traded in a range between $49/lb and $58/lb since the Fukushima disaster derailed prices in March last year.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

India's UCIL gets clearance for new uranium mine

KOLKATA- Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) has secured environmental clearance for the development of its Gogi uranium reserves in the southern Indian province of Karnataka, and would adopt mobile mining technology for the project.

“Gogi has a very small deposit but of very high grade uranium and it would be most cost effective to use mobile mining for extraction of the resource,” UCIL chairperson Diwakar Acharya said.

The mobile or retractable mining technology to be adopted would incorporate a feeding, screening, crushing and processing plant on a single mobile platform.

Elaborating on UCIL’s initiatives to increase domestic uranium production as per the government’s directive, Acharya also said that the Mouldih mine, in the eastern province of Jharkhand, would go into production within the next few weeks.

“The Mouldih mine would produce 500 t/d of ore and processing would be done at the nearby Turamdih mill with a capacity of handling 3 000 t/d of ore. This capacity would be hiked to 4 000 t/d subject to regulatory clearances,” Acharya said.

UCIL was also increasing focus on development of the Tummalapalle reserves in Andhra Pradesh where 150 000 t of new uranium reserves have recently been discovered, making it one the largest deposits in the world. The company has sought a $1-billion funding support from the government for increasing the capacity of existing mining projects and constructing greenfield extraction and processing units.

The mining project at Tummalapalle was started with an initial ore reserves of 14 000 t, but had now increased to 60 000 t, and was expected to progressively increase with new discoveries. Commensurately, the processing mill, which has a capacity of handling 3 000 t/d was being increased to 6 000 t/d.

UCIL has the sole mandate for supplies of uranium to nuclear reactors owned and operated by Nuclear Corporation of India Limited. India has a total of 17 nuclear reactors with an installed capacity of 4 120 MW. According to data released by India’s Science and Technology Ministry, the total uranium reserves in the country, barring the new discovery of Tummalapalle was estimated at 147 898 t.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Industry groups move to challenge Arizona uranium ban

Two major lobby groups, representing the US mining and nuclear industries, have started legal action against the federal government’s 20-year ban on new mining across 4,047km2 of land near the Grand Canyon National Park.

The Nuclear Energy Institute and the National Mining Association said they had filed a lawsuit in Arizona’s Federal District Court attempting to overturn the ban.

In a challenge to the constitutionality of the government decision, the groups argued that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar did not have the legal power to withdraw areas exceeding 5,000 acres (around 20 km²) from commercial use. They further argued that Arizona state law did not permit the creation of a buffer zone around wilderness areas.

In January, the US government published a Public Land Order banning new mining development in the area for 20 years, predominantly affecting uranium exploration.

The government argued the move was necessary to protect US$3.5 billion of annual recreational spending in the neighbouring Grand Canyon National Park, and said the decision would not affect existing operations in the area.