The directors of Thor Mining Plc (“Thor” or the “Company”) (AIM, ASX: THR) are pleased to advise completion of the acquisition of American Vanadium Pty Ltd (AVU), including its subsidiaries and uranium and vanadium projects.
AVU holds interests in uranium and vanadium focussed projects in Colorado and Utah in the United States of America. The Company announced on 1 June 2020 an option agreement to acquire AVU, subject to satisfaction of due diligence requirements.
Thor will now proceed with the issue of 24 million Ordinary shares of 0.01p each, in full payment of the Acquisition Fee for a 100% interest in AVU.
· Acquisition of American Vanadium complete.
· Colorado project claims include historical mines with historical production activity over a period of more than 100 years.
· Utah project claims have reported historical drilling with significant intersections of uranium and vanadium.
· Field sampling by Thor during due diligence period showed assay results of high grade uranium (up to 1.25%U3O8 ) and vanadium (up to 3.47% V2O5)
Mick Billing, Executive Chairman of Thor Mining, commented:
“We are very pleased to complete the acquisition of 100% of American Vanadium and its high grade uranium and vanadium claims.”
“Thor has a well balanced portfolio of very attractive assets with copper, gold, tungsten & now uranium & vanadium. ”
The Company has completed the acquisition of 100% of the shares in American Vanadium Pty Ltd, a private Australian company, which in turn owns 100% each of the shares in Colorado company Standard Minerals INC (Standard), and Utah company Cisco Minerals INC (Cisco).
Acquisition consideration comprises
– A$100,100 exclusivity fee, which has been paid, of which A$50,100 was satisfied by the issue of 8,350,000 ordinary shares of 0.01p each in Thor (“Ordinary Shares”) (“Exclusivity Fee”).
– A$144,000 acquisition fee satisfied by the issue of 24 million Ordinary Shares (“Acquisition Fee”), to be issued shortly.
– Future payments through the issue of performance rights, over three stages, to receive up to 102 million Ordinary Shares subject to achievement of project milestones.
Following the acquisition, the parties have agreed a series of performance payments, of:
· First performance – A$108,000 through the issue of 18,000,000 Ordinary Shares, on 15 or more samples from three of more adits/shafts at Radium Mountain & Wedding Bell prospects returning grades >= 0.1% U3O8, or 1.0% V2O5, or equivalent* within six months of execution of the Share Agreement.
· Second Performance – A$252,000 through the issue of 42,000,000 Ordinary Shares on drilling ore grade intercepts from at least three holes from any deposits within the licences, at a product of grade and thickness of >= 0.4% U3O8, or equivalent*. For example, 4m @ 1,000ppm U3O8 or 1m @ 4,000ppm U3O8.
· Third Performance – A$252,000 through the issue of 42,000,000 Ordinary Shares on reporting a mineral resource in either the inferred, indicated or measured category (reported in accordance with the JORC Code, 2012 Edition) of, or equivalent* to 5million tonnes @ >= 0.1% U3O8, or 1.0% V2O5, or equivalent*.
* Uranium equivalentwill be calculated taking into account, in addition to uranium, credits for vanadium making up part of the relevant polymetallic deposit that have a reasonable potential to be recovered and sold, according to a formula that will be used and published in accordance with clause 50 of the JORC Code.
MARKET OUTLOOK FOR URANIUM AND VANADIUM
Power from nuclear reactors accounted for 20% of US domestic power requirement in 2019, while globally nuclear generation supplies approximately 10% of demand. Nuclear power is acknowledged to provide stable, baseload, and low carbon power supply.
A total of 53 new nuclear reactors are under construction globally, with solid order books for more and approximately 300 additionally proposed. The inference is that uranium demand is likely to increase over the next 15 years or so. The US imports much of its uranium requirement for power generation.
Depressed uranium pricing over the last decade has resulted in very few new projects commencing development. This suggests that a supply shortage may emerge in the next few years.
The Nuclear Fuels Working Group (NFWG) that was established last year in response to the Section 232 from the USA uranium sector has released their recommendations. The key points are that a uranium stockpile will be established and the nuclear fuel cycle will be streamlined, with purchasing of enrichment and conversion capability, and also a streamlined approvals process.
Among the key recommendations from the NFWG strategy is the proposal of direct purchases of uranium and nuclear fuel services to expand five-fold the American Assured Fuel Supply strategic inventory stockpile.
Vanadium is an important contributor to improving the tensile strength of steel, with the overwhelming bulk of vanadium demand applied to production of reinforcing steel to add tensile strength to concrete. It is also used in aerospace & has chemical and catalyst applications. More recently it has developed a significant market in battery applications with vanadium redox flow batteries used to store and release large amounts of energy.
China accounts for over 50% of global supply, most of which is co-production from steel slag. Supply is largely constrained by capped co-production capacity, and there are a limited number of global primary producers.
In 2018, China mandated a standard for Chinese grade 3 rebar, substantially increasing the vanadium content of reinforcing steel.
ASSETS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
A processing plant which has historically taken ore from the region on a toll treatment basis is located near Blanding, within relatively close proximity to the claims held by these companies. Thor have not had contact with the operators of this plant to date, however this may represent a potential low cost entry into production.
Standard holds 199 contiguous Bureau of Land Management (BLM) claims in south west Colorado, and within the Uravan Mineral Belt. The claims include the Wedding Bell and Radium Mountain groups of mines which are reported to have operated during the first world war and again in the second half of the 20th century (USGS Professional paper 300a).
The Uravan Mineral Belt and adjacent uranium-vanadium mining districts of the Colorado Plateau are reported to have produced, over the past 100 years, in excess of 85million lbs U3O8 and over 660 million lbs of V2O5² from the Salt Wash sandstone formation of the Plateau. The average production grades from the Uravan Mineral Belt from the 1940’s to January 1979 are reported be 0.25% U3O8 and 1.29% V2O5 (Thamm. et al., 1981b) Average vanadium to uranium ratios are reported to vary from 0.5 : 1 to 40 : 1.
During the due diligence period, the Company carried out a program of sampling over and nearby, historical mine workings in the Colorado claims which have been shown to host very high grade uranium and vanadium mineralisation, which is considered typical of historical production performance in the Uravan Mineral Belt.
Assay results from these samples have been previously reported in:
www.thormining.com/sites/thormining/media/pdf/asx-announcements/20200708-us-uranium.vanadium-sampling-assays.pdf , and also in www.thormining.com/sites/thormining/media/pdf/asx-announcements/20200721-high-grade-uranium-assays.colorado-field-sampling.pdf
Cisco holds 100 BLM claims in south east Utah approximately 40km north of the town of Moab. Significant uranium and vanadium mineralisation is reported from drilling activities by Hunt Oil, Mineral Division, in 1980 and 1981; Terra Ventures (TSX-V: TAS), May 21 2007.
Thor Mining wishes to reiterate that the Hunt Oil estimate 1980 – 81 does not comply with either the JORC or NI 43-101 guidelines for mineral resource reporting and is therefore not a valid resource estimate. The Hunt Oil estimate does however provide substantial indication of widespread uranium – vanadium mineralisation in the Cisco mineral claims in a similar geological setting to multiple deposits elsewhere in the region including the previously mined Colorado mineral claims included in this acquisition.
The review team visited the site to assess access issues associated with potential drilling campaigns. The area has good local infrastructure and is at the northern margin of the historic uranium mining area of Thompson Yellow Cat mining district.
Available data to date of the Vanadium King (Utah) historical drilling suggests that the historical drilling programs focussed solely on uranium mineralisation hosted in the Brushy Basin Member of the Jurassic Morrison Formation. Historical mining of the nearby Thompson Creek group of mines reported high-grade uranium ore from the underlying Salt Wash Member – a likely focus for future work by Thor. Thor’s local consultants have suggested that the deeper and normally higher-grade Salt Wash Member remains substantially untested by drilling, in this area.
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