Today, Crosshair Energy, which has quickly established a solid reputation in the North American uranium/vanadium resource recovery sector, with established resources at the flagship Bootheel (which has strong in-situ recovery potential) and Juniper Ridge sites in Wyoming, as well as the CMB Uranium/Vanadium and CMB JV Uranium projects in Labrador, Canada (with four currently defined resource areas), reported that the company will expand exploration at Juniper Ridge in response to the excellent uranium data generated by last year's program.
The 4,710-acre Juniper Ridge property consists of 197 federal lode claims (as well as one state mineral lease) and produced a figure of 5.2M pounds of identified uranium oxide via 2011 exploration activities (4.14M tons at 0.063% with a grade cut off of 0.1%-ft). The expanded drilling program will look at further quantifying the historic geological resource which ranges from 7 to 10 million pounds within 0.056% to 0.067% concentrations of uranium. While these figures are not yet sufficiently defined by exploration to increase the mineral resource total, CXZ is confident that the figures being reported are well within line as reasonable exploration targets according to analysis of extant data, both contemporary and historical.
President and CEO of CXZ, Mark Ludwig, underscored last year's efforts, which produced the confirmation of an indicated resource of over 5M pounds, and projected a fervor of activity surrounding expansion of the exploration program in 2012, clearly eager to go after the rest of the historic resource. The company is confident they have a solid vector here and is intent on drilling some 60k feet of additional work this year to help map the rich uranium deposits at Juniper Ridge.
Ludwig emphasized the global rise of nuclear and existing demand which requires yearly satisfaction via more inputs as being strong drivers of the company's success. Ludwig clearly grasps the fundamentals, with half of U.S. supply currently coming from down blended Russian nukes decommissioned in the "megatons for megawatts" program set to expire in 2013, and a variety of new infrastructure, notably in China (nuclear generation set to triple by 2020), Russia, India (looking to at least double their nuclear output), and elsewhere coming online, we have a perfect storm for premium prices.
Yes, while the price trend has seen trouble post-Fukushima, the incompetence of one energy company has done very little to materially impact the future of the industry. Nuclear is here to stay and we are looking at some very interesting market dynamics on the horizon, which makes the aggressiveness of CXZ in expanding infrastructure and output look very reasonable/well-timed. Ludwig and CXZ are playing for keeps, projecting a strong future of growth in domestic uranium production, especially in Wyoming, which has a good resource base and superb legislative attitudes towards mining. As the demand curve starts to spike, CXZ will be well-positioned with a domestic footprint that has solid logistics, something shareholders know and are banking on.
Plans are to focus largely on areas that saw significant explorative efforts back in the 70s and 80s, where the majority resource (some 88%) is at a very shallow depth (roughly 150 feet below surface) and easy to recover. The program is slated to utilize a team of four geologists and two geophysicists, in addition to the three rig drilling team, with VP and Chief Geologist for CXZ, Tom Bell, Ph.D., supervising the entire thing.
With metallurgical analysis being done to validate the best recoveries from the historical data and environmental monitoring systems set to be put in after the start of drilling, CXZ has a clear roadmap for the expanded efforts, and looks to be well on their way to securing necessary permitting as well.
With a stronger predicted price trend emerging and the US spot currently around the $52 range, indications by JPMorgan of $80 by 2014 (largely due to tightening supply and rising demand) are promising to resource developers, some of whom have lost their competitive edge amid a price drop of roughly 20% from the beginning of 2011 (due mostly to bad PR for the industry as a whole in relation to Fukushima). Just look at the fact that Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. commissioned one of the largest uranium ore mine and processing plants to date at Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh recently (mid April) and you will get a sense of the future of nuclear and the price of uranium. As an energy hungry world emerges and the Chinese and Indian middle class grows, it is likely that we will see a convergence of price/supply dynamics that will be a powerful driver for CXZ's bottom line.
For more information please visit the Crosshair Energy Corp. website at: www.CrosshairEnergy.com
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