Yesterday the US uranium industry received some exciting news. The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations released drafts of FY 2021 funding measures and subcommittee allocations which included $150M for the U.S. Uranium Reserve. If passed, this will enable the Department of Energy to begin the funding required to stimulate growth in the US domestic uranium mining industry. This has been long expected but looks to be finally happening. If passed, it will give a boost to the US uranium producers and lift sentiment generally across the uranium sector.
Meanwhile President elect Joe Biden plans regarding nuclear include developing small modular nuclear reactors; that are smaller, safer, and cost about half the construction cost of current reactors. It looks like safer and smaller nuclear is part of the future and for that we will continue to need uranium.
As the uranium price hovers around US$30/lb, one company continues to advance their high grade uranium project in North America with a goal of reaching production. That company is Fission Uranium Corp. (TSX: FCU | OTCQX: FCUUF) (‘Fission’). Fission is a resource company specializing in the strategic exploration and development of the Patterson Lake South (PLS) uranium property, located in Canada’s Athabasca Basin, home to the world’s richest uranium mines known for uranium grades 10-20 times the global average. The Project is currently in the stage of working on environmental permitting, overseen by Fission’s Special Adviser Mark Wittrup.
Fission also has a new CEO, Ross McElroy, to take the Company to the next stage of development. Mr. McElroy is a professional geologist with over 30 years of experience in the mining industry. He is the winner of the PDAC 2014 Bill Dennis award for exploration success and the Northern Miner ‘Mining Person of the Year 2013’. He has comprehensive experience with managing and advancing many types of mineral projects from grass roots exploration to feasibility and production.
Fission CEO, Ross McElroy stated: “We are excited to further progress the world-class Triple R uranium project towards production. We are committed to the efficient and effective development of this one-of-a-kind deposit so that it may help ease the upcoming global uranium supply deficit.”
Patterson Lake South Property (PLS) which includes the Triple R uranium deposit
The 31,039 hectare Patterson Lake South Property (PLS) project is 100% owned and operated by Fission. It is accessible by road with primary access from all-weather Highway 955. Within the PLS Project sits the high-grade, and near-surface Triple R uranium deposit.
In 2019, the Company released results of two PFS studies. The underground option is looking more favorable than the hybrid open pit/underground option due to a lower CapEx (C$320M less), 25% quicker construction time, 90% reduced surface footprint (potentially helps lessen the environmental impact), favored by locals, and has a lower OpEx and higher IRR.
The PFS was based on an Indicated Resource of 2.2 million pounds of contained uranium with an average grade of 2.2%.
The underground-only mine PFS resulted in a post-tax NPV8% of C$702M, post-tax IRR of 25%, initial CapEx of C$1,177M. Operating costs were estimated at C$9.57/lb (US$7.18) U3O8 over a 7 year mine life. Usually a post-tax IRR of over 20% is seen as favorable.
The Triple R Deposit, plus the underground only PFS Indicated and Inferred Resources
In recent news, Fission announced a C$15M bought deal offering which is backed by the underwriters. The Offering is expected to close on or about November 17, 2020. Fission state that “the net proceeds of the Offering will be used to fund the further development of the Triple R deposit in Saskatchewan, to repay certain amounts owing under the credit facility among the Company, Sprott Resources Lending Corp. and Sprott Private Resource Lending II (Collector), LP, and for working capital and general corporate purposes.”
Fission’s timeline and catalysts summary
The US Uranium Reserve appropriations bill (if passed) and a US/Biden strategy of developing small modular nuclear reactors for base load power is a positive for the uranium sector.
Fission Uranium continues to advance their high grade Triple R Project in Canada. A recent C$15M raise will help the Company to progress to the next stage of development including starting work on environmental permitting and the Feasibility Study.
The current market cap of Fission Uranium is C$129M.