HCWainwright was enthusiastic about Energy Fuels' acquisition of mineral properties adjacent to Roca Honda held by Uranium Resources (NYSE:URI), totaling some 4,580 acres, which in conjunction o the Uranerz acquisition should further Energy Fuels' position as a large diversified U.S. uranium producer.
The URI properties contain significant historical uranium resources with additional exploration potential, as well as mine development infrastructure, including a partially-sunk mine shaft to a depth of 1,478 feet. This infrastructure could result in lower capital requirements, reduced operating costs, and shortened timelines to production.
Roca Honda is adjacent to the Mount Taylor uranium mine owned by General Atomics. Roca Honda has about 29 million pounds of uranium with grades that average 0.45%, and the properties being acquired from URI contain about 5 million pounds of uranium with grades that average about 0.3%.
Mount Taylor has well over 100 million pounds with grades that average between 0.2% and 0.7%. Both projects also have considerable mine infrastructure. Together, these two adjacent mines are a truly world-class uranium project.
In a research note to investors on May 29, analyst Jeffrey Wright notes that "Section 17 of the acquired lands has had three historic resource estimates completed, with the most recent evaluation in 2007 outlining 4.8 million pounds of uranium."
Wright adds that "the company's current Roca Honda Project contains 14.6 million lbs. of uranium in the Indicated category, in addition to 11.2 million lbs. of uranium in the Inferred category, which we believe could be increased through exploratory drilling on the newly acquired lands."
The analyst suggests that the newly acquired lands could extend the estimated nine-year mine life at the Roca Honda Project while increasing resources. Once verified, the historical resource estimates for the Acquired Properties would be added to the resources described in the PEA for the Company's existing Roca Honda project.
According to the NI: 43-101 preliminary economic assessment and technical report (PEA) from last February, the current Roca Honda project (without the properties being acquired) will produce a yearly average 2.6 million pounds of U3O8 with a nine-year mine life to be processed at the Company's existing White Mesa Mill in southeastern Utah.
As for the Uranerz acquisition, the analyst expects it will close shortly with a merger between the two companies occurring towards the latter end of 2Q15 such that development of the former's resources will proceed into 2016.
Shares of Energy Fuels were flat in Toronto, trading at C$5.60 this morning. The stock hit a 52 week high of C$9.00 in November 2014.