On Feb. 13, 2007, Ultra Uranium (TSX: V.ULU) released a 43-101 technical report on its Kalnica-Selec property in Slovakia, which prompted the company’s stock to fall into a tumble from which it still hasn’t recovered. Ray Roland, President and CEO, believes the stock price will bounce back once investors realize the potential of the property.
“We think there’s considerably more uranium there than was reported,” Roland says. “The recent 43-101 was indicative of the quality of the deposit only to the point that it had been taken during the exploration at the property in the ‘70s and ‘80s.” Roland is confident that once Ultra completes confirmation drilling and reports results from mineralized holes that weren’t included in February, their next 43-101 is going to look far more encouraging.
The property, located in Slovakia, had a substantial amount of work done under government sponsorship during the 1970s and ‘80s. With inferred resource estimates in place Ultra is confident, based on past work, that they will have better core recovery than in previous drill programs, which averaged only about 40%.
Relying on historical data only, Ultra estimates the resource to be 5,489,727 lbs U3O8 or 3,957,045 t with a weighted average of 0.053% U3O8 at a thickness of 3.4m over the Kalnica, Selec and Krajna Dolina zones. However, these were historical results only and not 43-101 compliant.
When asked if mediocre results account for the decline in stock price that we saw following the February news, Roland says, “I think the 43-101 had something to do with it, but also a lot of warrants were exercised, there were a lot of low-priced shares and some investor panic when they saw the price drop. So there was a combination with market factors there. We’ve been telling investors all along what to expect, so from our point of view there were no surprises. We think these people will come back into the market.”
Ultra’s immediate plans include confirmation drilling so the company can disclose assay results from many mineralized holes that weren’t included in the previous report. Roland is confident that once other mineralized hole results are confirmed and better core recovery is factored in, Ultra will be able to add to historical results. If that’s true, the next report will look much more promising.
Kevin Bambrough of Sprott Asset Management confirms Ultra’s strategy: “Our experience is that in the uranium business, as you go and drill old properties, redo old drill holes with larger cores, you get better recoveries and can show higher grades.”
Roland says that they are awaiting approval of drilling permits and hope to begin a drilling program in May. When asked if he expects permit approval, he said: “We see no reason why we wouldn’t…” and added that they “expect to get them in a week or two.” What underlies this confidence? Roland explains, “We’re going to outline to Slovakian permitting officials everything that we plan to do.” And when pressed about public opinion in Slovakia, which hasn’t always been favourable regarding Tournigan Gold Corp’s uranium project, he stated, “We’re going to take care that we go in and speak to the local people… to make sure they know we’re not going to disturb their environment.”
Dr. Bohumil Molak PhD., P.Geo, independent geologist, qualified person and author of Ultra’s February 43-101, is originally from Slovakia and helped to explain the process that Ultra will need to go through to obtain the critical permits needed to continue work on the project. Dr. Molak noted that Ultra must apply for permits from “The District Office for the Ministry of The Environment and the District Mining Office” which seeks out “conflicts of interest with pipelines, electricity transmission and forestry.” Dr. Molak also added that there are no conflicts of interest on the Kalnica-Selec uranium project.
Dr. Molak said that local landowners would have to be consulted and may “ask for small [amounts of] money to use their road or their property.” Uranium mining can be a sensitive issue for people concerned about health, safety and the environment and is more tightly regulated than other mineral mining. Other uranium projects such as Tournigan’s have recently met with opposition from environmental groups. Molak thinks Ultra may be able to avoid disruptions by working with the local community.
“We want to be pro-active,” he says. “We want to organize meetings with the community and explain how [the project] will be environmentally-friendly and not harm the environment at all. Many people may be quite favourably oriented, for economic reasons. Miners who worked on the project 20 years ago will possibly come looking for work in the mine.”
So, with a solid game plan and professionals who know the political, geological and historical terrain, Ultra is well-positioned to receive the permits they need and continue with confirmation drilling to improve upon the historical data for the company’s next technical report.
Katherine Young is a contributing writer with the Resourcex Investor, an internationally distributed newsletter specializing in identifying as-yet-undiscovered resource companies representing the best in their class. For more information, visit the website www.resourcexinvestor.com.
The Resourcex Investor is produced by Doug Hadfield, a veteran investigative journalist. The greatest asset a stock analyst can have is his or her track record. See our updated track record on our website.
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