Dev Randhawa on the uranium market, and Fission 3.0 staking two new properties in the Athabasca Basin

In a recent InvestorIntel interview, Tracy Weslosky spoke with Dev Randhawa, Chairman and CEO of Fission 3.0 Corp. (TSXV: FUU | OTCQB: FISOF) about staking two new properties in the Athabasca Basin, which have the potential for near-surface high-grade uranium deposits

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), Dev discusses Fission 3.0’s recent raises and how these funds will be directed. Tracy inquires about a wide range of increasing interest in uranium from a wide spectrum of investors that range from ESG funds to millennials in uranium and Dev provides compelling reasons why this interest will not only continue but grow. They discuss the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust, which invests and holds substantially all of its assets in uranium in the form of U3O8, and the impact on the uranium spot price.

To watch the full interview, click here.

About Fission 3.0 Corp.

Fission 3.0 Corp. is a uranium project generator and exploration company, focusing on projects in the Athabasca Basin, home to some of the world’s largest high-grade uranium discoveries. Fission 3.0 currently has 16 projects in the Athabasca Basin region. Several of Fission 3.0’s projects are near large uranium discoveries, including Arrow, Triple R and Hurricane deposits. Fission 3.0 has recently completed an $8 million funding with Red Cloud Securities and is currently planning a winter exploration/drill program on its PLN project. It is also entertaining JV partners with some of its other projects.

To learn more about Fission 3.0 Corp., click here

Disclaimer: Fission 3.0 Corp. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp. (IIC) does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken,  as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please email info@investorintel.com.




COP26 focuses investor interest on the critical materials required for a cleantech global vision

COP26 is now completed and the changes will impact the cleantech sector in the years ahead. Some came away disappointed at the lack of commitment from the 197 participating countries at COP26; however, there were many positive steps as outlined below.

The major outcomes from COP26

  • The “Glasgow Climate Pact” was introduced. It aims to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. It calls for a more ambitious climate response on cutting emissions, climate management finance, and pledging to double adaptation finance, and funding for loss and damage already being caused by warming. Countries were asked to “revisit and strengthen” their climate pledges by the end of 2022.
  • New transparency rules to ensure countries report sufficient information to determine whether or not they are meeting their pledges.
  • The first ever COP decision to explicitly target action against fossil fuels, calling for a “phase-down” of unabated coal and “phase-out” of “inefficient” fossil-fuel subsidies.
  • COP26 finalised rules for global carbon trading; however under the rules, the fossil fuel industry will be allowed to “offset” its carbon emissions and carry on polluting.
  • Record-breaking pledges of US$365 million to the Adaptation Fund. This was a tripling of the amount raised last year, with first time contributions from the USA and Canada.

Note: The Adaption Fund is set up to help developing countries build resilience and ‘adapt’ to climate change.

Sectors and companies to benefit from the COP26 changes

The renewable energy sector will continue to be a beneficiary. In particular, solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy. So too will nuclear energy benefit. The push for a global warming increase limited to 1.5 °C, and the focus for countries to revisit and strengthen their climate pledges by the end of 2022, should also be a positive catalyst going forward for renewables and nuclear energy.

Carbon capture and storage (“CC&S”) should also continue to benefit. The “phase-down” (not “phase-out”) of coal means CC&S can continue to play a role to reduce carbon emissions.

Zero-emission vehicles such as electric vehicles (“EVs”) indirectly got a boost with the COP26 decision to phase down “inefficient” fossil-fuel subsidies. If implemented fossil fuels would become relatively more expensive making EVs relatively more attractive.

Those companies working in the cleantech sector will benefit from the renewed COP26 push to reduce emissions.

Many InvestorIntel member companies set to benefit

When you look over the list of InvestorIntel member companies the standout feature is that many are involved, either directly or indirectly, in the cleantech and green related sectors. For example, Carbon Streaming Corporation (NEO: NETZ) invests into carbon credits, Cielo Waste Solutions Corp. (TSXV: CMC | OTCQB: CWSFF) turns polluting waste into renewable fuel, dynaCERT Inc. (TSX: DYA | OTCQX: DYFSF) reduces emissions from vehicles, H2O Innovation Inc. (TSXV: HEO | OTCQX: HEOFF) uses technologies to create clean water and treat wastewater, Ideanomics, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) is investing in and supporting the EV industry, Nano One Materials Corp. (TSX: NANO) works to develop and commercialize better and cheaper cathodes for lithium ion batteries, and NEO Battery Materials Ltd. (TSXV: NBM) is developing silicon anodes for lithium ion batteries..

The mining companies that produce or are working to produce the raw materials that go into solar and wind energy, as well as electric vehicles, batteries, and other energy storage products, stand to benefit. This includes the rare earths (Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. (CSE: API | OTCQB: APAAF), Search Minerals Inc. (TSXV: SMY | OTCQB: SHCMF), USA Rare Earth, LLC, Vital Metals Limited (ASX: VML); lithium (Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX: AVL | OTCQB: AVLNF), Critical Elements Lithium Corporation (TSXV: CRE), Neo Lithium Corp. (TSXV: NLC); cobalt (CBLT Inc. (TSXV: CBLT), Global Energy Metals Corporation (TSXV: GEMC); graphite; nickel (Nickel 28 Capital Corp. (TSXV: NKL); manganese; copper (Kodiak Copper Corp. (TSXV: KDK), Murchison Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: MUR); vanadium and scandium (Imperial Mining Group Ltd. (TSXV: IPG), Scandium International Mining Corp. (TSX: SCY). Another is the rare earths’ magnet materials maker Neo Performance Materials Inc. (TSX: NEO).

Finally, a phase-down of coal is a positive for the smart nuclear sector and hence the uranium miners and explorers such as Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU | TSX: EFR), Ur-Energy Inc. (NYSE American: URG | TSX: URE), Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. (CSE: WUC | OTCQX: WSTRF), Fission 3.0 Corp. (TSXV: FUU | OTCQB: FISOF), Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. (CSE: API | OTCQB: APAAF), and Azincourt Energy Corp. (TSXV: AAZ).

Closing remarks

COP26 was perhaps more successful than what some are reporting. The phase-down of coal is a good achievement, with India joining this for the first time. The new transparency rules are underappreciated, given currently that there are no penalties for not following the climate change targets (only naming and shaming). New rules for global carbon credits trading are also a positive step forward. Also, the tripling of pledges to the Adaptation Fund to help developing companies is welcome.

Investors could look through the list of InvestorIntel members and select the companies that they think best align with the COP26 changes and the massive trend towards reducing emissions and producing green energy and technology this decade.

See you next time for COP27 in November 2022, this time in Egypt.




Appia’s Frederick Kozak on the role of rare earths and uranium in achieving a global NetZero emissions target

In a recent InvestorIntel interview, Tracy Weslosky spoke with Frederick Kozak, President of Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. (CSE: API | OTCQB: APAAF) about Appia’s recent change of name and about the critical importance of rare earths and uranium in the clean energy space as the world commits to a NetZero greenhouse gas emission goal.

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), Frederick Kozak provided an update on Appia’s recent news release about the discovery of new, massive and semi-massive, monazite zones at the Wilson North area of their Alces Lake, Saskatchewan, project. He went on to say that Appia’s Alces Lake project has the potential to be one of the best monazite-hosted rare earths deposits in the world. Frederick also provided an update on Appia’s recent private placement which had to be upsized due to significant demand.

To watch the full interview, click here.

About Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp.

Appia is a Canadian publicly-listed company in the uranium and rare earths sectors. The Company is currently focusing on delineating high-grade critical rare earth elements, gallium and uranium on the Alces Lake property, as well as exploring for high-grade uranium in the prolific Athabasca Basin on its Loranger, North Wollaston, and Eastside properties. The Company holds the surface rights to exploration for 83,706 hectares (206,842 acres) in Saskatchewan. Appia also has a 100% interest in 12,545 hectares (31,000 acres), with rare earths and uranium deposits over five mineralized zones in the Elliot Lake Camp, Ontario.

To learn more about Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp., click here.

Disclaimer: Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp. (IIC) does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete. 

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation.  Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken,  as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please email info@investorintel.com.




US based rare earths processor, Energy Fuels announces a very robust third quarter

With COP26 just past its middle mark today, the stock rallies jettison around critical materials such as rare earths, cobalt, and lithium for electric battery materials, we at InvestorIntel.com are being deluged by interest from investors due to our editor in chief Jack Lifton’s reputation as a renowned authority. Add in uranium, which is finally getting some attention it deserves with greater education in place on the value of nuclear energy as a leading cleantech solution, Obama’s speech at COP26 that astutely draws attention to the global pollutant leaders, China coming in at a strong #1, and yes, the USA — we are #2.

In this drive to clean up the planet, however, let us draw attention to a global leader as the world forges ahead to a Net Zero economy in the next 20-30 years — Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU | TSX: EFR).

North America’s only processor of rare earths, Energy Fuels provided a very robust third quarter report earlier last week. The company owns the White Mesa Mill in southeast Utah, which is also the US’s only commercial licensed processor of radioactive materials.

Energy Fuels has a strong balance sheet and ended the quarter with US$100.8 million in cash and marketable securities as well as $29.3 million of inventory, which has a current estimated value of $46.9 million, made up of 691,000 pounds of uranium and 1,672,000 pounds of high-purity vanadium, both in the form of an immediately marketable product.

Mark Chalmers, Energy Fuels’ President and CEO, said it best: “Energy Fuels continues to make rapid progress toward positioning our White Mesa Mill as America’s “Critical Minerals Hub,” by maintaining the Mill’s key uranium and vanadium production capabilities while further diversifying our portfolio to include rare earth elements production – an exciting and strategically important move both domestically and for the Company. We also continue to watch the uranium markets closely in order to best evaluate our opportunities to capitalize on recent price increases and market improvements.”

The company also has been focusing its asset base on the sale of non-core, conventional uranium projects located in the United States in late October. The sale included cash on closing, shares in the purchasing company, future potential processing revenue as well as future potential payments based on new production from these assets.

The strategic positioning of Energy Fuels should not be underestimated by anyone following this sector. The global drive to Net Zero requires a massive amount of “clean energy”. This clean energy is destined for millions of new electric motors in wind turbines, electric vehicles and the never-ending consumption of small, strong permanent magnets in personal electronic devices. The demand so far outstrips the current supply that it is an almost inconceivable problem as the Western world seeks to eliminate the Chinese supply chain for critical materials.

Energy Fuels currently has the only facility in North America that is on track to start meeting this demand. They successfully delivered rare earth carbonate to Neo Performance Materials Inc.‘s (TSX: NEO) rare earths separation facility in Estonia. The company has a supply agreement for monazite sand from a United States supplier and is receiving multiple inbound expressions of interest for rare earths processing from potential suppliers around the globe.

The indisputable fact is that the clean energy economy will cost trillions of dollars and require resources that are not even in existence. We pledge as leaders in news and information on the critical materials sector to continue regular coverage of companies in the capital markets that are making a real difference.

Note from the Publisher: Tracy Weslosky is long Energy Fuels and Neo Performance Materials.




Canada’s Athabasca Basin, the world’s richest uranium play

Another day and another 5+% move up in the uranium names. I’m not sure if that had to do with Wednesday’s comments from the Pentagon that China plans to quadruple its nuclear (weapons) stockpile by 2030 because that seems pretty bearish for the whole world to me. Although the reality is, that this would likely increase demand for yellowcake, U3O8. The bull run on uranium still appears to be in full force as names like Cameco Corp. (TSX: CCO | NYSE: CCJ) set another multi-year high with an 8.4% gain on the day. Additionally, there are more entities out there that are following Sprott’s lead and either adding to existing, or starting new funds, to acquire physical yellowcake which continues to support the underlying spot commodity price above US$40/lb.

With that in mind let’s have a look at arguably the world’s richest uranium jurisdiction – Canada’s Athabasca Basin which hosts several of the highest-grade uranium deposits on the planet. Located primarily in the mining friendly jurisdiction of Saskatchewan, the Athabasca Basin covers an area of almost 100,000 square kilometers and hosts the world’s largest producing uranium mine, Cigar Lake. Cameco owns 50% of Cigar Lake which boasts an average U3O8 grade of 15.9%. With 2021 production forecast to be 12 M lbs (6 M net to Cameco), it would make this single mine account for roughly 11% of global uranium production. It also helps make Cameco and its 37% partner Orano Group two of the top four global producing uranium companies behind Kazatomprom. This single mine also goes a long way to making Canada the third largest uranium producing country, behind Kazakhstan and Australia. Although Canada could leapfrog Australia in production if Cameco’s 70% owned McArthur River mine was restarted, given it used to hold the title of world’s largest uranium mine with U3O8 grades over 16%.

The map below shows that the Athabasca Basin is a pretty popular place, not just for the major uranium players like Cameco and Denison Mines Corp. (TSX: DML | AMEX: DNN) but also for a whole host of junior and intermediate players, all seeking to be the next successful explorer that potentially gets bought out like many before them.

There’s no way we can get through all the names on this map so we’ll just focus on a few to whet your appetite as to who might participate as this uranium frenzy continues to create shareholder returns.

We’ll start with a team that has already had success in the region including an asset sale to a major producer. Fission 3.0 Corp. (TSXV: FUU | OTCQB: FISOF) is the third generation Fission run by one of Canada’s leading uranium exploration teams. The Company’s management, headed up by Dev Randhawa as CEO & Chairman, is part of the team that founded Fission Energy Corp., which made the J-Zone high-grade discovery in the Athabasca Basin and built Fission into a TSX Venture 50 Company, which sold the majority of its assets to Denison Mines in April 2013. Fission Uranium Corp. (TSXV: FCU) was founded by the same team, including current CEO, and uranium expert, Ross McElroy, which made the Patterson Lake South high-grade discovery. Mr. McElroy elected to focus on the development of the Triple R deposit at Patterson Lake South, but remains on Fission 3.0’s Board of Directors and remains as the Company’s QP. These two names, Randhawa and McElroy,  give investors the option to select which level of exploration advancement they want to choose from with confidence that a solid, experienced, team is in place.

Next up is NexGen Energy Ltd. (TSX: NXE | AMEX: NXE) is a well-funded exploration and development company with a portfolio of high-impact projects centered in the large-scale southwestern Athabasca Basin where NexGen holds 199,576 hectares of land. NexGen’s southwestern properties host the high-grade Arrow Deposit (made on February 21, 2014), the South Arrow discovery (made on July, 2017) the Harpoon discovery (made on August, 2016), the Bow discovery (made on March, 2015) and the Cannon area (discovered April, 2016), all of which are located on the Company’s 100% owned Rook I property. The Arrow Deposit hosts Measured Mineral Resources of 209.6 M lbs of U3O8 contained in 2.18 M tonnes grading 4.35% U3O8. With an advanced deposit, over $200 M in cash, and an active drill program that began in late July, there is lots of expectations for NexGen.

UEX Corp. (TSX: UEX | OTCQB: UEXCF) has the distinction of being the 3rd largest resource holder in the Athabasca Basin following the August, 2021 closing of its acquisition of 50% of JCU (Canada) Exploration Company (Denison Mines holds the other 50%). UEX’s directly-owned portfolio of projects are located in the eastern, western and northern perimeters of the Athabasca Basin including the 82.8% owned Christie Lake Project, its 49.1% owned Shea Creek Project (with Orano), its 100% owned Horseshoe-Raven Development Project, and the 100% owned West Bear Project. JCU’s portfolio of projects includes interests in some of Canada’s key future uranium development projects, notably a 30.1% interest in Cameco’s Millennium Uranium Development Project, a 10% interest in Denison Mines Wheeler River Project, and a 33.8% interest in Orano Canada’s Kiggavik Project, located in the Thelon Basin in Nunavut. The Company boasts 7 uranium deposit discoveries with reported resources amounting to over 275+ M lbs of U3O8 . They certainly have their fingers in a lot of pies.

Moving into the small cap space we have Azincourt Energy Corp. (TSXV: AAZ).  It has two core projects, but only one is a pure uranium exploration project in the Athabasca Basin, the other project is a lithium/uranium project on the Picotani Plateau, Peru. Azincourt’s Athabasca project is a 70% interest in the 25,000+ hectare East Preston property with joint venture partners Skyharbour Resources (TSXV: SYH) and Dixie Gold. The property is strategically located near NexGen’s high-grade Arrow deposit, Fission Uranium’s Triple R deposit, & Orano/Cameco/Purepoint’s joint venture, Spitfire. Pretty good company if you are playing the closeology game. With a winter 2021-22 drilling program consisting of approximately 7,000 meters in 30-35 drill holes and only a $30 M market cap, Azincourt has plenty of leverage to uranium.

Looking at what else Azincourt’s JV partner Skyharbour Resources Ltd. (TSXV: SYH | OTCQB: SYHBF) has on the go, we find it holds an extensive portfolio of uranium exploration projects in the Athabasca Basin with six drill-ready projects covering over 250,000 hectares of land. Skyharbour acquired from Denison Mines, a large strategic shareholder of the Company, a 100% interest in the Moore Uranium Project which is located 15 kilometres east of Denison’s Wheeler River project and 39 kilometres south of Cameco’s McArthur River uranium mine. Moore is an advanced stage uranium exploration property with high grade uranium mineralization at the Maverick Zone that returned drill results of up to 6.0% U3O8 over 5.9 metres including 20.8% U3O8 over 1.5 metres at a vertical depth of 265 metres. Additionally, Skyharbour has a joint-venture with industry-leader Orano at the Preston Project whereby Orano has earned a 51% interest leaving Skyharbour with a 24.5% interest in the Project. Seems that Skyharbour is a pretty good prospect generator that is very efficient with its capital.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of Athabasca Basin explorers and producers. I’d have to do a 10 part series to get even close, although there does seem to be a few names, like Denison Mines, that keep showing up quite frequently. Maybe that’s the best place to start, although if you are like me, and you like a little more leverage to your mining plays and the excitement of pending drill results. Nevertheless, if you are keen to participate in the current boom in uranium stocks then the Athabasca Basin is probably the best place to look first. You have a top tier mining jurisdiction, rule of law, best practices for environmental protection and most importantly (for capitalists) the richest uranium grades in the world.




Making the right moves at Azincourt as uranium prices drive higher

Uranium prices  are running hot, so today I take a look at a uranium junior that has two uranium projects with exploration upside. One project is in the prolific uranium region of the Athabasca Basin in Canada, and the other is in the emerging uraniumlithium district on the Picotani Plateau in Peru. The Peru property also shows early signs of lithium.

The company is Azincourt Energy Corp. (TSXV: AAZ | OTCQB: AZURF) (“Azincourt”).

Uranium prices have risen about 50% higher over the past 2.5 months, and are now at US$46.10

Source: Trading Economics

Azincourt Energy Corp.’s uranium projects:

East Preston Project (Saskatchewan, Canada) (Azincourt 70%, Skyharbour Resources 15%, Dixie Gold Inc. 15%)

Azincourt controls a 70% interest in its flagship, East Preston Project, having spent C$2.5 million on the project and having paid C$1 million in cash to the option partners since 2017. The Project covers over 25,000 hectares in the western Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan, the world’s premier location for uranium mining. 

The Project has a large inventory of priority drill targets identified within 25km of prospective exploration corridors delineated through multiple geophysics and ground evaluation programs. Multiple long linear conductors are giving positive signals warranting further drilling. To date, 4,178 meters in 17 holes have been drilled at the East Preston Project.

Azincourt state: “Limited drilling has confirmed basement lithologies and graphitic structures intersected at East Preston are very similar and appear to be analogous to the Patterson Lake SouthArrowHook Lake/Spitfire uranium deposit host rocks and setting. Drilling has established the right basement unconformity uranium setting rocks, structure and alteration. The recognition of what is believed to be a basement analogue to uranium depositrelated REE mineralization and alteration suggests that mineralizing fluid systems were active on the project at the right time.”

A 2021-22 Winter drilling campaign is planned. Targets include areas of elevated uranium discovered in the 20202021 drilling campaign. Preparation work is slated to begin in December 2021, with drilling to commence early January 2022. Permits and funding are in place.

Azincourt’s East Preston flagship Project is located near multiple highly valued uranium projects in the prolific Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan, Canada

Source: Azincourt company presentation

Escalera Group Project (Puno, Peru) – 100% (Vendor retains a 1.5% NSR royalty)

The Escalera Group consists of three concessions (Lituania, Condorlit, Escalera) covering an area of 7,400 hectares of prospective exploration targets for volcanic hosted supergene/surficial uranium and lithium on the Picotani Plateau, Puno district, Peru. This region is an emerging uraniumlithium district where mines and projects are owned by Minsur and Rio Tinto, as well as growing mid-tiers and juniors like Bear Creek Mining and Plateau Energy Metals (recently acquired by American Lithium).

A 2017 sampling program produced values up to 3,560 ppm uranium and 153 ppm lithium. Historical surface samples from Escalera show assays up to 6,812 ppm uranium. A 2018 groundwork returned samples as high as 8,061 ppm uranium while delineating over 6.5 km of prospective trends at the Escalera concession.

Management

Azincourt’s President and CEO is Alex Klenman. He has over 30 years of business development, marketing, finance, media and corporate communications experience. From 2010-2014, he was Vice-President, Communications, and a partner with Falcon Point Capital Partners, a firm that provided finance, communications and marketing initiatives for TSX Venture listed resource companies.

Exploration Manager Trevor Perkins is a 25-year experienced geologist with a successful track record, notably in the Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan, Canada. He has worked for UEX Corporation, Rio Tinto, and (spent a decade with) Cameco Corporation.

World power sources in 2020

  • Coal – 35%
  • Natural gas – 25%
  • Hydro – 16%
  • Nuclear – 10%
  • Renewables (solar, wind, geothermal) – 12%

Source: Reuters courtesy BP Statistical Review of World Energy

Closing remarks

The world’s attention is now on COP26 in Glasgow as investors await  announcements of progress. There is increasing pressure to ban the construction of new coal power stations; however to replace this source (coal) of baseload power many countries will need to use smart nuclear with safely located smaller nuclear power stations. This in turn will  help drive future demand for uranium.

Uranium juniors such as Azincourt Energy Corp. are well placed to grow in future years to meet an expected strong uranium demand. In particular its East Preston Project is well located, being in a prolific uranium region of the Athabasca Basin, which has the largest, highest grade, uranium deposits in the world with 10 times, or higher than, world average grades. Azincourt has recently raised C$8.1 million with which it intends to focus on the upcoming 30 to 35 hole, 7,000 metre, drill program at its East Preston uranium project in the Athabasca Basin.

Investors will need  patience and risk tolerance; however given that Azincourt Energy Corp. trades on a market cap of only C$34 million and that it owns two well-placed uranium projects, there is plenty of upside ahead should it succeed. Stay tuned as this sector is moving fast.




North American Rare Earth Juniors Consolidate Capabilities to Advance Towards a Total Domestic Supply Chain

There were otherwise unrelated announcements last week, but, with a common purpose, by separate pairs of rare earth juniors: The common purpose was the advancing of the creation of a domestic American rare earth enabled product(s) total supply chain.

In one case the Canadian rare earth Junior miner, Search Minerals Inc. (TSXV: SMY | OTCQB: SHCMF), entered into a non-binding MOU for the future delivery of a rare earth mineral concentrate supply, containing 500 tpa of Neodymium/Praseodymium, with one of its investors, privately owned, USA Rare Earth LLC , which has committed itself to producing commercial tonnages of rare earth permanent magnets in the United States as early as 2022-23. Another announcement was made by the Canadian rare earth junior critical metals’ processor, Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU | OTCQX: UURAF | FSE: U9U), which announced that it had entered into an MOU with Australia’s Vital Metals Ltd. (ASX: VML | OTCMKTS: VTMXF ): for a supply of rare earth ore concentrates from Vitals’ already underway mining operations in Canada’s Northwest Territory, to be first processed into a mixed rare earth carbonate in a facility funded by Canada’s Saskatchewan Research Council in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and then shipped to Ucore’s proposed Strategic Metals (processing) Center in Ketchikan, Alaska, USA, for separation into individual rare earths.

These announcements are indicative of a sea-change in the thinking of an increasing number of non-Chinese junior rare earth companies. In the last rare earth boom from 2007-2012 hundreds of juniors had the same goal, the production and sale of a “mixed con” of rare earths, in other words, of an ore concentrate or a concentrate of mixed rare earth solids prepared by hydrometallurgical treatment of ore concentrates. It was commonly believed at that time that Chinese rare earth separation companies, then the only customers, would pay 65% of the ”basket value,” defined as the market price of separated versions of the rare earths contained in the mixed concentrate. This was magical thinking based on a complete misunderstanding of the value of, and the markets for, either ore concentrates or mixed rare earth concentrates. Even today some juniors still insist that their ore concentrates have a basket value based on the values of finished goods. Chinese separators typically have offered 40% of the basket value, delivered into China for high grade ore concentrates free of elements that interfere with solvent extraction separation of mixed rare earths.

The ”supply chain crisis” has clarified the thinking of many juniors. They realize that their product must have an immediate determinable-price demand and that this demand must be by processors who add enough value, so that they can afford to buy the junior’s product at a price that allows the junior to make a profit. This may seem trivially obvious, but it was blithely overlooked in the 2007-12 rare earth boom.

A new factor has entered the calculus for determining the price of mixed rare earth ore concentrates or of mixed rare earth solids free of both radioactive and of SX interfering contaminants. That factor is any added value governments and industries are willing to pay for non-Chinese, or domestic, materials of these descriptions.

So far, only one non-Chinese vendor has entered the market with mixed rare earth carbonate (solids) free of radioactive and SX interferents. That is America’s Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU | TSX: EFR),  which is processing non-Chinese monazite ore at its White Mesa, Utah, uranium processing mill. The mixed rare earth carbonate solids are being sold, at a profit to Energy Fuels, to Canada’s Neo Performance Materials Inc. (TSX: NEO | OTCMKTS: NOPMF),  which has them delivered to its rare earth separation facility in Estonia, where the material is separated into individual rare earths for further processing by Neo or its customers into rare earth permanent magnets, phosphors, ceramic additives, and other fine chemicals. The European Union is already well ahead of the USA in organizing a financial facility to underwrite the creation of a European domestic rare earth enabled products total supply chain without Chinese participation at any level.

In the United States and Canada the supply chain issue is downstream of mining, and is manifested in the total lack of commercial facilities for rare earth separation, metal and alloy making, magnet making, and end use manufacturing.

Europe has existing facilities for up to 12,000 tpa of rare earths separation, a thousand tpa of rare earth metals and alloys, and substantial capacity and existing expertise to make rare earth permanent magnets of the most widely used, sintered, type. Further, both the UK and the EU governments have already begun to support the expansion of existing rare earth processors financially.

The United States and Canada should take a lesson from the UK and the EU: Get industrial end users involved from the very beginning. The UK and the EU speak with industrial experts as well as academics and bureaucrats. The difference is really beginning to show.