Tungsten play Thor Mining (ASX: THR) is set to diversify into North American uranium and vanadium after taking an option over properties in Utah and Colorado.
The move comes as the Trump administration in Washington is pushing to expand uranium production domestically in order to reduce or even end America’s dependence on imports.
The announcement of that policy has led to an upsurge in interest in reviving old mines, many of which were closed 40 years ago as uranium prices collapsed.
Thor has experience of operating in the US with its Pilot Mountain tungsten project in Nevada.
This new deal is with an Australian private company, American Vanadium, that has 100% interests in 199 contiguous claims in the Uravan mineral belt in south-western Colorado and 100 claims in south-eastern Utah, 40km from the town of Moab, once known as “the uranium capital of the world” after a huge 1952 discovery nearby.
The Uravan belt and adjacent areas have over the past 100 years produced 85 million pounds of uranium oxide and more than 60 million pounds of vanadium oxide.
Executive chairman Mick Billing said this was an outstanding opportunity for Thor and its investors.
“Deposits from the Uravan mineral belt have produced large quantities of high-grade uranium and vanadium ore over decades,” he said.
This mining continued until the early 1980s when the global uranium priced collapsed.
Capital raising will finance US work program
Thor Mining has raised $700,000 through a placement of 140,000 new shares at 0.5c per share. The vendors are subscribing for $200,000 of the placement.
Thor said support was received from a “broad” range of new institutional and “sophisticated” investors in what was a heavily oversubscribed placement.
Another $130,000 came in from a conditional placement to Thor’s largest shareholder and subscriptions by two company directors for a total of 30,000,000 news shares, also at 0.5c per share.
That largest shareholder, Metal Tiger, agreed subsequent to its placement to subscribe for a further $120,000 worth of shares on the same terms.
The money will be used to finance exploration at the uranium and vanadium projects, as well as on drill testing Thor’s Kapunda gold project and follow up field work at the Pilbara project where visible gold and anomalous nickel have been found in early-stage work.
Colorado-based team ready to begin work
The Utah claims have reported extensive historical drilling with significant intersections of both uranium and vanadium.
The Colorado claims include historical Radium Mountain and Wedding Bell groups of mines that have had intermittent production over more than 100 years. The mines were worked during the First World War and again in the second half of the twentieth century.
Thor Mining has a Colorado-based team ready to begin on a sampling program from around Radium Hill and Wedding Bell.
The company planned to move on to permitting and drilling as soon as possible.
Energy Fuels, a leading producer of uranium and vanadium concentrates, owns the only fully operational and licensed conventional processing plant in the United States. That plant is located at Blandings, Utah, about 50km from the Wedding Bell groups of mines.