Toro Energy (ASX: TOE) has begun the eagerly awaited 2012 drilling program at its Theseus Uranium Project targeting a conversion of a sizeable amount of its exploration target to an Inferred Resource.
Indicating the size potential of the project, Toro has defined an exploration target of 20 to 40 million tonnes at 400 to 500 parts per million for 22 to 44 million pounds of uranium.
A mud rotary rig will begin the initial program of about 20,000 metres.
The main zone of mineralisation covers an area about 6 kilometres long by up to 1.5 kilometres wide.
This zone is open to the northwest and southeast and a second zone, about 2 kilometres long by 0.5 kilometres wide, is open to the east.
Greg Hall, managing director said: "It is very good news for Toro to be able to start this drilling program early in the season.
"Toro believes there is an excellent chance to convert the exploration target range estimate to an Inferred Resource over the next few months.
"We are looking forward to further positive news from Theseus, especially after the highly successful extraction tests improve the probability of an ISR project."
Toro has achieved high rates of extraction of greater than 96% in the first uranium extraction tests for the Theseus Project.
The extraction process was quick, with the majority of leaching occurring within the first 12 hours.
The results demonstrate good metallurgical characteristics for the Theseus Project at this early stage of the project.
Theseus was discovered by Toro during a grassroots regional aircore drilling program in 2009.
Initial results highlighted the potential for sandstone hosted uranium mineralisation at the project.
A total of 130 vertical mud rotary and aircore holes have been drilled and downhole gamma logged, with almost 50% of the holes reporting a gamma, assay or PFN result greater than 0.5 metres at 100 parts per million uranium.
Given the high quality and speed of uranium extraction, it is likely that the mineralisation at Theseus consists primarily of uraninite and coffinite, which is easily extractable.
Importantly, this is comparable to the preliminary recoveries from other Australian in-situ recovery type deposits.
Toro is one of a handful of miners, including BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP), that wasted no time in exploiting Western Australia's uranium potential following the lifting of the State Government's ban on uranium mining in 2008.
The company is buoyed by a potential turnaround in the post-Fukushima uranium market with European and US utilities eyeing long-term uranium supply contracts as well as continued Japanese demand.
Toro is well placed to become the first post-ban uranium miner in Western Australia if its Wiluna project progresses quickly through the final phase of government approvals.
Proactive Investors is a market leader in the investment news space, providing ASX "Small and Mid-cap" company news, research reports, StockTube videos and One2One Investor Forums.