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Energy Fuels set to increase cash flow and margins in Wyoming with 'key' royalties deal

Energy Fuels owns the Nichols Ranch ISR (in situ recovery) project in Wyoming, where production began in 2014
Energy Fuels set to increase cash flow and margins in Wyoming with 'key' royalties deal
The transaction, done via a merger of Excalibur Industries and an Energy Fuel subsidiary, sees Energy extinguish the royalties it had to pay on the Nichols Ranch ISR (in situ recovery) project.

Uranium focused Energy Fuels Inc (TSE:EFR) says it has struck a 'key' deal, which will increase cash flow and margins at its flagship Wyoming asset and see it acquire an exciting new US asset.

The group owns the Nichols Ranch ISR (in situ recovery) project in Wyoming, where production began in 2014.

READ: Energy Fuels meeting production targets and maintaining a strong balance sheet

The transaction, done via  a merger of Excalibur Industries and an Energy Fuel subsidiary, sees Energy extinguish the royalties it had to pay on the Nichols Ranch ISR (in situ recovery) project.

It also removes royalties on several operating, standby and advanced-stage ISR projects in Wyoming owned and operated by Power Resources, Inc, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cameco.

The cost is a total of US$3.5mln worth of Energy shares paid to Excalibur shareholders.

Energy fuels expects to produce around between 140,000 and 160,000 pounds of uranium in 2018 from the Nichols Ranch Project.

In addition, there are four fully-permitted wellfields at Nichols Ranch and 14 fully permitted wellfields at its Jane Dough project, of which Doughstick represents a portion, that are expected to be developed as an extension of Nichols Ranch in the future.

READ: Energy Fuels reaffirms full-year production and sales guidance

The Hank project is fully-permitted for eight wellfields that are expected to be developed as satellite operations to Nichols Ranch.

According to a 2015 technical report, Nichols Ranch, Jane Dough, and Hank projects contain 3.4mln tons of measured and indicated resources with an average grade of 0.115% uranium (U308) containing 7.9mln pounds of uranium, along with 0.6mln tons of inferred resources with an average grade of 0.10% U3O8 containing 1.1mln pounds of uranium.

The firm said that as an added benefit of the transaction, it would acquire and hold  a "trophy" royalty asset in the US uranium sector, namely 4% gross proceeds royalty on the Cameco-owned North Butte property, the Ruby Ranch project, and the Greasewood property.

"North Butte is a fully permitted and operational project that has been operated by Cameco as a satellite to their Smith Ranch-Highland ISR Project since 2013," Energy Fuels said.

"Cameco ceased wellfield development at North Butte in 2016. However, as uranium prices rise, North Butte should be expected to resume production in the future.

According to Cameco's 2016 annual report, the North Butte/Brown Ranch project contains 6,499mln tons of measured and indicated resources with an average grade of 0.07% uranium containing around 10.1mln pounds of uranium, it added.

READ: Energy Fuels shares tick higher as it sells non-core assets for $5.39mln

What's more, of these resources, 365mln tons are proven reserves with an average grade of 0.08% U3O8 containing 0.7mln pounds of uranium, it added.

Energy Fuels holds three of America's key uranium production centers, the White Mesa Mill in Utah, the Nichols Ranch Processing Facility in Wyoming, and the Alta Mesa project in Texas.

The White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill operating in the USA today and has a licensed capacity of over 8mln pounds of U3O8 per year.

Shares in Toronto added 1.39% to C$2.19 each.

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