UEC: Poised to Profit from Rising Uranium Prices
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Uranium Energy Corp ("UEC" "Uranium Energy") is a US-based junior resource company with the objective of becoming a near-term In-situ recovery (ISR) mining and uranium producer in the United States.
Uranium Energy controls one of the largest historical uranium exploration and development databases in the US.
UEC was founded in 2004 and is based in Austin, Texas. The operational management is comprised of pre-eminent uranium mining and exploration professionals, whose collective experience in the uranium mining industry gives the Company ongoing uranium mine-finding and uranium mine development expertise.
The company has focused its property acquisition program primarily in the southwestern U.S. states of Texas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. This region has historically been the most concentrated area for uranium mining in the US. With the use of historical exploration databases, Uranium Energy has been able to target properties for acquisition that have already been the subject of significant exploration and development by senior energy companies in the past. Uranium Energy strategy of acquiring exploration databases and leveraging those databases to generate acquisition targets has been effective thus far.
UEC is well positioned to capitalize on the world’s first significant alternative energy boom.
The company’s focus is its Goliad ISR project located in Texas where permit applications were recently submitted. UEC management estimates the Goliad project will commence commercial operations in 2010. Current non-code compliant resources at Goliad are 5.2 million pounds; however, management believes that the company will be successful in delineating additional resources as indicated by historic exploration.
UEC's inventory of databases is now estimated to contain in excess of 4.6 million feet of drilling data, as well as drill hole location maps, various reserve and resource calculation reports, scoping studies, geological studies, and various other important strategic data. These databases are each the result of millions of dollars of past exploration expenditure, incurred mostly by senior energy companies.
Industry Statistics: Market Capitalization: 589 Billion
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a total of 516 million feet of uranium exploration and development drilling has been recorded in the United States. The majority of these drilling data have been carefully logged and archived by uranium exploration companies, and are now beginning to have importance once again as uranium prices increase and alternative energy becomes prioritized in the political and corporate agenda.
Uranium is used primarily as an energy source for nuclear fission reactors - a safe, efficient, and emission-free alternative to fossil fuels.
The market cycle for uranium had been largely depressed since 1981, but has recently experienced a sharp increase due to macroeconomic factors. An estimated supply shortfall of 80 million pounds per year, for several coming years, is forecast by measuring current annual reactor demand and current annual mine production. In addition, new nuclear power plants have been commissioned throughout the world; China, India and Russia alone have permitted the construction of over 75 new reactors.
In August 2005, President Bush signed into law the Domenici-Barton Energy Policy Act containing an array of provisions that support nuclear power. This enactment, combined with the growing public recognition that nuclear power plants generate electricity with considerably less greenhouse emission than fossil fuels, places Uranium Energy in a favorable position for funding and exploring all aspects of uranium development.
HOW IT WORKS - MINING URANIUM
In-situ recovery (ISR) mining, also known as in-situ leach (ISL) mining, for uranium has been used successfully for many years.
Wellfield Development: An ISR wellfield is established using injection wells and extraction wells in pre-determined patterns and locations that fit the ore configuration. The purpose of these wells is to inject and recover the solution which will dissolve the uranium and extract it for processing.
The injected/extraction process is designed to minimize the loss of solutions from the system for both environmental and economic reasons. Typically a small volume of solution is continuously removed from the mining area to insure that solutions are well contained within the monitoring system that surrounds the operations. Once an ISR program is developed, the continued build-out of the wellfield system is one of the primary activities. As uranium is produced, the individual well areas are depleted and, after some time, are devoid of economic uranium mineralization.
Solution Injection and Extraction: Once a wellfield has been developed, the water within the orebody is pumped out and oxygenated for alkaline recovery processing, or oxidized and acidified using sulphuric acid to develop the solution that will dissolve uranium for an acid leach. From here forward, the description of the ISR process assumes an alkaline leach. The solution is then injected into the orebody and slowly dissolves the uranium in the ground and puts it into solution. The solution is then pumped out of the ground through the extraction wells and delivered to the ion exchange facility. Monitor wells are developed around the orebody to ensure that the mining process is contained. (This is a critical part of environmental compliance, especially in the U.S.)
Elution and Precipitation: After the ion exchange process, the uranium-loaded resin is washed with a sodium chloride, bicarbonate-carbonate solution which reverses the ion exchange process. The result of the elution process is a highly concentrated uranium solution. All the uranium contained within several million gallons of wellfield solution can be beneficiated into a much smaller volume (10,000 gallons), which makes it more economical to process and recover. An acid, either hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, is added to this solution, lowering the pH from 9.0 to 2.5 which converts the uranium carbonate ion to a uranium chloride or uranium sulfate ion which can then be easily precipitated into a solid. Hydrogen peroxide is then added to the solution resulting in oxidation and the formation of crystals that can be easily filtered. The brine is then refortified and recycled. From time to time the brine becomes laden with impurities and must be disposed.
Drying and Packaging: The crystals formed by precipitation are filtered and dried, usually in a state-of-the-art, low temperature, vacuum rotary dryer, and packaged for delivery.
MAJOR PROJECTS in BRIEF
Goliad Project, Texas
Uranium Energy Corp’s flagship Goliad Project has been the subject of extensive historical exploration and delineation by previous owners. Exploration began in the 1970s. At the time of Uranium Energy Corp’s acquisition, over 550 exploration holes had been drilled, totaling 250,000 feet. Since acquiring the Goliad Project, the Company’s experienced technical staff have drilled over 360 holes and completed extensive sampling, mapping and reporting. These results were used to generate a number of studies for permitting applications, and the Company recently filed a mine permit application for the Goliad Project with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. A Canadian National Instrument 43-101 report has been completed and filed on SEDAR for this project.
Cebolleta Project, New Mexico
Uranium Energy Corp holds a 49% interest in Cibola Resources LLC, the owner of a mining lease covering approximately 6,700 acres in the Cebolleta Land Grant located in Cibola County, New Mexico. The Cebolleta Land Grant lease is located at the eastern end of the Grants Uranium District, and includes within its boundary, the past-producing JJ Number 1/L-Bar uranium mine, formerly operated by the Standard Oil Company of Ohio (SOHIO). The Grants Uranium District was home to the largest producing uranium mines in the US. A Canadian National Instrument 43-101 report has been completed and filed on SEDAR for this project.
New River Project, Arizona
The Company has a 100% interest in the New River Uranium Project, located in northern Maricopa County, Arizona, on state lands in an historic mining area. Teck Corporation previously conducted exploration and development on the property, which revealed that uranium is disseminated within tuffaceous lakebed sediments typically at depths varying from 150 to 230 feet with occurrences as shallow as 65 feet below the surface. It is anticipated that the project would be amenable to shallow mining methods. The mineralized trends identified by drilling are open-ended.
Burnt Wagon Project, Wyoming
The Company has 5,600 acres of mining leases and claims in the Wind River Basin uranium district of Wyoming. It also has a comprehensive database of uranium exploration originally conducted between 1969 and 1982, which covers this property. The database consists of 500 drill holes, 16,000 feet of drilling data, and geological maps. The Company’s objective is to conduct an exploration drilling program, in order to delineate the shallow mineralization, and to evaluate the project’s ISR potential.
Ambrosia Lake Project, New Mexico
Consists of 8,500 acres and is located within the heart of the Ambrosia Lake Mining District, in the state of New Mexico. The Company also acquired historic production information covering most of the property. This property is the site of over 8.5 million pounds of historical underground uranium production, primarily from the Ann Lee and Sandstone Mines, and is contiguous to the current uranium resource holdings of BHP Billiton plc. The Ambrosia Lake District includes some of the largest past-producing uranium mines in the U.S., operated at the time by Kerr McGee (now Andarko Petroleum), Homestake Mining (now Barrick Gold), Phillips Petroleum (now Conoco Phillips), and United Nuclear Corp. A substantial amount of production, development and exploration work has been completed on this property by these companies.
GOLIAD PROJECT in DETAIL
· Goliad Uranium Project is located in north-central Goliad County, Texas.
· Metallurgical testing has been independently reviewed with recoveries of 86% to 89%.