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Quebec breaks its word on uranium exploration, Strateco charges
By refusing to grant a uranium exploration permit, the Quebec government has gone back on its word to wait for an environmental review, according to Strateco Resources TSX:RSC. In an angry statement released June 25, the company said it was informed of the decision by Quebec environment minister Yves-Francois Blanchet, who cited “a lack of sufficient social acceptability” for Strateco’s Matoush project. Prior to Blanchet’s statement, the project was on hold due to a temporary provincial moratorium on uranium exploration.
Events began last year when the James Bay Cree Nation pronounced its own ban on uranium exploration on its reserve lands, where Matoush is located. In October, however, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission granted the project an underground exploration licence. But without a provincial permit, work could not proceed.
In March the province suspended all uranium activity pending an environmental review which was expected to take 12 to 18 months. Strateco then launched a series of legal actions against what it termed an “illegal, abusive decision.” Among them was an application for a court order forcing the government to issue a permit. The court is still deliberating the request.
Now the company says Quebec has arbitrarily reversed its previous decision to suspend the project temporarily.
After British Columbia suddenly banned uranium and thorium exploration in 2009, Boss Power TSXV:BPU won an out-of-court settlement worth $30 million. The company had spent an estimated $4 million to $5 million on its B.C. project.
In May Strateco announced an $87-million impairment to Matoush. The company said it has spent $123 million on the project. It has 60 days to appeal the permit refusal.
Ur-Energy closes US$20-million loan, updates financing
On closing a US$20-million loan June 24, Ur-Energy TSX:URE has money to pay off a US$5-million bridge loan and advance construction of its Lost Creek mine in Wyoming. The loan from RMB Australia Holdings comes at LIBOR plus 7.5%, a 6% arrangement fee and 4.29 million warrants, each exercisable over five years for a share at C$1.20.
We decided this approach made the most sense from both an exploration standpoint and a financial standpoint. This will also create value-added synergies that will further improve our chances of raising money and making a new discovery.—Skyharbour president/CEO Jordan Trimble on how a four-way strategic alliance can minimize his company’s risk and future equity dilution
Ur-Energy has applied for a US$34-million bond loan from Wyoming’s Industrial Development Bond program. With that, the company hopes to repay the RMB loan facility “after which time the loan facility will remain available to fund the acquisition and advancement of the Pathfinder Mines assets in Wyoming,” Ur-Energy stated.
The proposed Pathfinder acquisition was priced at US$13.25 million when first announced in July 2012. Ur-Energy has scheduled its Lost Creek in-situ recovery mine for production in the second half of 2013.
NexGen to settle Radio option agreement
Three individuals who optioned the Radio property to NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE will increase their stake in the company to 11.78% each. Under a letter of agreement announced June 26, NexGen will meet its obligations by issuing a total of 26.76 million shares at $0.33 each and 4.39 million warrants exercisable at $0.50 for 18 months.
The agreement ensures that the optionors aren’t part of a group intending to acquire NexGen, that they’ll support management’s nominees for directors and won’t back any change of control transaction not recommended by the directors, unless the transaction has over 50% shareholder approval. The optionors agreed to transfer NexGen shares only through the TSXV or an offer made to the company’s shareholders.
Located on the eastern Athabasca Basin two kilometres on trend from Rio Tinto’s Roughrider deposit, Radio is undergoing a 4,000-metre drill program. NexGen is also preparing a DC resistivity survey for its Rook 1 project, adjacent to PLS.
Energy Fuels and Fission join OTCQX International
In separate announcements dated June 26 and 27 respectively, Energy Fuels TSX:EFR and Fission stated they’ve begun listing on the OTCQX International. Energy Fuels now trades under the symbol EFRFF in addition to its TSX listing, while Fission got stuck with the ungainly FCUUF, in addition to TSXV:FCU. Both companies said they hope to increase their exposure to American investors.
Paladin delays Namibia mine transaction
A revised bid has caused Paladin Energy TSX:PDN to delay the proposed sale of a minority interest in its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia. On June 26 the company announced it now hopes to complete the transaction in August instead of June. Negotiations continue between Paladin and two other parties.
Langer Heinrich production for the quarter ending March 31 came to 1.23 million pounds U3O8, a 13% drop from the previous three months. But the company says the mine has expansion potential up to 8.5 million pounds a year. In addition to its Namibia flagship, Paladin operates the Kayelekera mine in Malawi and projects in Niger, Canada and Australia.
Pele Mountain’s first tranche gets $485,000
Pele Mountain Resources TSXV:GEM closed the first tranche of a non-brokered private placement, the company announced June 24. It pulled in $485,407 by flogging 6.9 million flow-through units at $0.07 and 40,000 units at $0.05. Each flow-through unit consists of one share and one-half warrant, with each whole flow-though warrant exercisable for one share at $0.15 until June 2014. Each unit consists of one share and one warrant exercisable for one share at $0.10 until December 2014.
Two weeks earlier Pele Mountain released a uranium-rare earths resource update for its flagship Eco Ridge project in Ontario’s Elliot Lake camp, which the company calls “the former uranium mining capital of the world and the only Canadian mining camp to have ever achieved commercial rare earth production.”
CanAlaska announces retirement, updates shareholders
CanAlaska Uranium TSX:CVV announced the retirement of director Hubert Marleau on June 24. The company also provided an update, saying it was in a “reduced activity mode to preserve a modest treasury (currently $1.47 million).” With 18 exploration projects in the Athabasca region, the company focuses on Cree East, a 50/50 JV with a Korean consortium, and West McArthur, a 50/50 JV with Mitsubishi Canada. CanAlaska also stated it has signed confidentiality agreements with other parties interested in earn-ins or property purchases.
U3O8 Corp reports AGM results
Shareholders at U3O8 Corp’s TSX:UWE June 26 annual and special meeting elected all directors nominated by management, re-appointed KPMG LLP as auditor and approved an advance notice bylaw.
Having acquired Calypso Uranium in May, U3O8 holds Argentina’s two largest known uranium deposits and a uranium property in Guyana, in addition to its flagship Berlin project in Colombia. Berlin has a December preliminary economic assessment detailing a potential uranium mine with phosphate, vanadium, nickel and rare earths credits.
See previous uranium news updates:
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