Uranium Resources PLC: Final Results and Notice of AGM
November 8, 2013 (Source: Uranium Resources PLC) — Uranium Resources plc, the AIM listed uranium exploration and development company, announces its results for the year ended 30 June 2013 and gives notice of its Annual General Meeting (‘AGM’) to be held at the offices of Sprecher Grier Halberstam LLP, 5th Floor, One America Square, Crosswall, London EC3N 2SG on 5th December 2013 at 11.00 am.
The Company also confirms that its annual report and financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2013 will be posted to shareholders on the 11 November 2013, together with the Notice of AGM and will be available on the Company’s website at the same time.
- Progress being made on all fronts as Uranium Resources establish itself as a successful uranium exploration vehicle focussed on projects which are amendable to in-situ recovery
- Maiden uranium resource for its flagship Mtonya project 60 km south world-class Mkuju River deposit being developed by Uranium One
- In-fill and step-out drilling programme to test the deeper redox tiers, extend the current resource along strike, and develop district targets along the 36 km long Mtonya Redox Corridor
- Mineralogy studies unequivocally supports the uranium roll-front exploration model for Mtonya
- Mtonya mineralisation is thought to be amenable to the least expensive methods of in situ recovery – extraction method used to produce the majority of the world’s mined uranium
- Development of regional targets and prospect on-going including Ruhuhu Basin – mineralisation similar to Paladin’s Kayelekera deposit
- Positive uranium pricing dynamic going forward
- Cornerstone investor Estes Limited remains a strong supporter of the project
Uranium Resources Managing Director, Alex Gostevskikh, said, “We continue to make progress on defining what we believe to be a world-class roll front uranium basin. With a maiden resource based on a small part of the licence area and proof-of-concept mineralogy studies, we believe we have a regional mineralised roll-front feature that can be developed through in-situ recovery. We are assessing all options on how to advance our flagship project including corporate transactions and as a result remain excited about the development of our predictive discovery.”
MANAGING DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT
This has been a period of great progress and challenge for Uranium Resources. In May 2013, the Company announced a maiden uranium resource for its flagship Mtonya project (‘Mtonya’ or ‘the Project’). The project achieved its major milestone in one of the most challenging times for the uranium industry as uncertainty continues to enwrap some of the developed nations’ nuclear power industry. Nonetheless, the Board continues to be enthusiastic about the potential of Mtonya because of the strong nuclear fuel market fundamentals, continued growth in Asian power generation, and finite supplies of secondary uranium and economically viable resources.
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Further to developing a maiden resource at Mtonya, the Company entered into a loan agreement with Estes Limited (‘Estes’), its cornerstone investor and strong supporter of the project. This agreement provides the Company with a US$1 million bridge funding as we explore the opportunities to finance an expansion drilling campaign.
In line with our strategy to build a leading uranium exploration and development company focussed on projects which are amendable to in-situ recovery (‘ISR’), we continue to identify and assess new resource opportunities which complement our investment criteria.
The Company’s 100%-owned flagship Mtonya project is located approximately 60km south of the world-class Mkuju River deposit, which is owned by ARMZ and operated by Uranium One, and has an indicated and measured resource of 93.3 Mlb U3O8 grading 257 ppm U308.
The Company’s exploration model is based on the well-substantiated premise that the neighbouring Mkuju River project is a small segment of a regional mineralised roll-front feature, most of which has no surface exposure. We believe Mkuju River is part of a regional roll-front that was uplifted along a regional normal fault and eroded, forming narrow, thin, and disconnected pods and lenses of uranium ore that are dominated by secondary uranium minerals such as metaautunite and metauranocircite. The near-surface uranium mineralisation at Mtonya remains a valid exploration target, but its significance is viewed as less of a priority in comparison to the deep mineralisation that may yield a substantially larger world-class deposit, which is amenable to ISR.
The completion of the 26,485 m resource-definition drilling programme in 2012 allowed the Company to delineate a maiden CIM-compliant Inferred Resource of 2.014 Mlb U3O8 grading 255 ppm U3O8. On a 250×50 m grid the resource drilling remains fairly coarse and significant upside potential remains untested along strike of the roll-front feature and at depth. Volumetrically, only 1/6 of prospective lithologies have been systematically drilled at Mtonya.
The Company has completed an in-house study of mineralogy (optical and scanning electron microscope studies of thin-polished sections with mineralised material), which demonstrated that the uranium mineralisation below the water table comprises uraninite and coffinite. This conclusion unequivocally supports the uranium roll-front exploration model for Mtonya. The study has also shown that the host rock contains less than 5% of carbonate minerals, signifying that the Mtonya mineralisation may be amenable to the least expensive methods of ISR.
The Company is now designing an extensive in-fill and step-out drilling programme, which will test the deeper redox tiers and attempt to extend the known uranium mineralisation along strike. The size of the drilling programme to be undertaken will be announced in due course. The planned programme includes both diamond and reverse-circulation (RC) drilling and pump and metallurgical testwork on the Mtonya sandstone.
The Lukimwa prospect is located approximately 28km southwest of Mtonya. This prospect forms a part of the 36-kilometre long Mtonya redox corridor and is thought to be the southwestern extension of the Mtonya roll-front. The exploration programme for Mtonya includes a limited number of prospecting drillholes at Lukimwa.
The Company is planning a limited reconnaissance and target-generation programme on its licences in the Ruhuhu basin, southwestern Tanzania, 150 km northwest of the Mtonya deposit. The Company’s current land holdings in the Ruhuhu span approximately 27,920 hectares and are situated within the section of the basin which is viewed to have the best potential.
The Karoo sediments of the Ruhuhu Basin comprise organic-rich post-glacial lacustrine shales and coal seams within arkosic sandstone. This combination of lithologies and structural settings is thought to be favourable for hosting mineralisation similar to Paladin’s Kayelekera deposit, albeit with ISR amenability. Discovered in the early 1980s, the Kayelekera deposit is located in northern Malawi and occurs in the Permian Karoo arkose sandstone of the North Rukuru basin. The original measured and indicated resource at Kayelekera was stated at 30 million pounds U3O8 grading 0.089% U3O8 (Paladin Energy Ltd., 2007). The data compiled by the Company for the Ruhuhu basin indicate persuasive similarities between the architecture and lithological composition of the North Rukuru and Ruhuhu basins and suggest that the Company’s methodology may prove successful for discovering uranium mineralisation amenable to ISR in the Ruhuhu basin. The Company is completing an exhaustive data compilation and plans a limited reconnaissance programme for the focus area.
Other regional licenced areas
The Company is establishing itself as a uranium-focused exploration company and we view Mtonya as our priority project. We are also confident that new exploration opportunities will be generated on our other licensed areas.
Uranium Resources is at the exploration stage of its development. It is not producing revenue and as such I am reporting a pre-tax loss of $1,074,000 for the year ended 30 June 2013 (2012: loss $2,110,000) including an impairment charge of $327,000 (2012: $Nil) and $Nil (2012: $1,721,000) in respect of share based payments.
During the latter part of the financial year the Company implemented a strategy to conserve its cash by reducing the Group’s overhead, whilst part of the effect of this reduction can be seen in the 2013 results, the majority of the benefit will be reported in 2014.
Funding and going concern
In March 2013 the Company announced that it had entered into a US$1 million loan facility agreement (‘the Loan’) with its major shareholder and strategic investor Estes Limited. The Loan, which is unsecured, available for a period of 18 months and bears interest at LIBOR, will be used to fund working capital requirements.
At the 30 June 2013 the Company had drawn down $550,000 against this facility. Estes continues to show its support in providing this flexible funding option to the Company. The Group plans to continue its work programme in the next twelve months and beyond as it develops and evaluates its Uranium project pipeline. The undrawn funds available from the loan facility, in conjunction with the Group’s current cash resources do not provide the Group with sufficient available resources to meet all of its commitments for the next twelve months, the Group will therefore need to raise additional funds.
The Directors remain confident that Mtonya’s potential, together with the Group’s historic track record of raising additional funds and the interest being shown from potential partners, will enable the Group to fully finance its obligations beyond a period of at least twelve months from the date of this report, including meeting future capital and working capital requirements and also settling the Estes loan facility, which is due for repayment in full on or before 15 September 2014.
In the past year, Uranium Resources advanced its predictive discovery at Mtonya to a resource stage. The Company’s ability to fund further exploration has been affected by adverse uranium market conditions but the Board is of a view that these difficulties shall be overcome in 2014. In order to finance the 2014 programme, the Company is reviewing a number of strategic alternatives including, but not limited to, joint ventures, strategic partnerships, and mergers or other corporate transactions to enhance shareholder value.
Major shareholder Estes continues to be supportive of the Company and, at this stage, has indicated it intends to invest alongside a suitable strategic investor. The Company will provide further updates in due course.
The Company has a made great progress with its Mtonya project – advancing it from a grassroots exploration opportunity to a resource stage. This was made possible by applying solid geoscience and by the professionalism of our personnel. The Board believes that these factors will continue to play a crucial role in unlocking Mtonya’s potential and return value to our shareholders.
About Uranium Resources
Uranium Resources plc is an AIM listed exploration and development company. It is the Company’s strategy to advance its existing assets and strengthen its portfolio via opportunistic acquisition. Uranium Resources is advancing its uranium assets in the highly prospective Luwegu Basin, Southern Tanzania where it is exploring for roll-front deposits amenable to in-situ recovery.
Raj Shah has professional experience working for over a half a dozen years at financial firms such as Merrill Lynch and First Allied Securities Inc., ... <Read more about Raj Shah>