The directors of Thor Mining Plc (“Thor” or the “Company”) (AIM, ASX: THR) are pleased to advise the commencement of field activities associated with the due diligence assessment for the acquisition of American Vanadium Pty Ltd (AVU).
Which 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.
In addition, investigations to date, while not yet complete, have revealed no regulatory or environmental issues which would cast doubt on the transaction. Some historical data has been obtained, allowing a preliminary understanding of some potential opportunities.
· The Thor team based in Colorado has commenced field due diligence activities consisting of site reviews and sampling from historical mines around the Wedding Bell and Radium Mountain.
· Historical data reviews show substantial previous mining activity in the western portion of the Wedding Bell claims (Colorado), with the geology trending into the untested eastern portion of the claims.
· At the Utah Claims, located approximately 40km north of the town of Moab, 1980’s drilling reported significant uranium and vanadium mineralisation from within the Brushy Basin Member of the Jurassic Morrison Formation, however the deeper and normally higher grade Salt Wash Member remains substantially untested.
· Anecdotal reports suggest that historical mining practices in the region often selectively recovered high grade material, leaving vanadium rich mineralisation, above and/or below the uranium rich zones.
· Sampling and field based activities are expected to continue for the next week, with results planned to be released later this month.
Mick Billing, Executive Chairman of Thor Mining, commented:
Our Colorado-based team have mobilised quickly and commenced a sampling program from the historical mines around Wedding Bell and Radium Mountain mines, along with other field due diligence activities. They have also, utilising their contacts, sourced additional historical records of mining and drilling activity in each project area which has, to date, reinforced our decision to progress this opportunity.”
“We look forward to the results of this work and will provide further updates on progress as they become available.”
On June 1st 2020 the Company advised it had acquired an exclusive option to acquire 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).
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 review team has commenced the field phase of the assessment of these claims, including detailed sampling of underground workings which will complement the continuing review of historical production and drilling data.
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 V2O5 ² 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., 1981 b ) Average vanadium to uranium ratios are reported to vary from 0.5 : 1 to 40 : 1.
Literature search to date appears to show that the eastern third of the Wedding Bell claim (Figure 2) has been precluded from historic mine production with no evidence found to indicate the area does not host a continuation of Salt Wash Formation uranium vanadium mineralisation.
Cisco holds 100 BLM claims in south east Utah approximately 40km north of the town of Moab. There is reporting of significant uranium and vanadium mineralised body(ies) from drilling activities by Hunt Oil, Mineral Division, in 1980 and 1981, reported by Terra Ventures (TSX-V: TAS) in a report dated 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.
Available data to date of the Vanadium King (Utah) historical drilling suggest that the drilling programs focussed upon mineralisation in the Brushy Basin Member of the Jurassic Morrison Formation. Thor’s local consultants have suggested that the deeper and normally higher grade Salt Wash Member may remain substantially untested. Historical mining of the nearby Thompson Creek group of mines have historically produced high grade ore from the Salt Wash Member – a likely focus for future work by Thor.
MARKET OUTLOOK FOR URANIUM AND VANADIUM
The price of Uranium currently sits at US$34/lb of U₃O₈ ( www.kitcometals.com/ ), with forecasters predicting that demand is likely to be greater than existing supply in the mid term. In addition demand is expected to be boosted the US Department of Energy has released a plan to boost the US energy industry, including a US$150 million reserve proposal which would include purchasing inventory from domestic producers.
The price of Vanadium currently sits at US$13.12/Kg of V₂O₅, although in late 2018 is was quoted above US$60/Kg (Argus Metals). Earlier this month the US Commerce Department advised it was opening an investigation into whether imports of vanadium impair US national security.
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