I’m Greg Cochran, Managing Director at Aurora Energy Metals ticker 1AE and this exciting moment in the company’s history as we are listing today.
The company has been around for quite a while.
In fact, it was a public understood entity known as Aurora Uranium.
And it was known as that because it is a well defined existing uranium deposit that we actually have and that was retained by previous management.
However, the interesting part about the company is that we know we also have lithium mineralisation.
And so we decided to change the company’s name in keeping with the two commodities.
So we turned it into Aurora energy metals.
After all, uranium and lithium are two critical minerals for the future and in particular for the energy transition.
The Capital raising was priced at $0.20.
We raised $8 million Euroz Hartleys were the lead managers on the Capital Raising.
They did a great job.
And in fact, there was demand for significantly more than the $8 million.
The uranium deposit known as Aurora in southeast Oregon actually has quite an interesting history.
It was discovered in the 70s and drilled by one of the majors of the day.
But with the lack of interest in nuclear beyond the 80s in US and then worldwide later on, they relinquish the deposits.
It was picked up by a former company of mine, Uranium One, but they were forced to sell it when a ARNZ, a Russian company, got involved with them.
And that’s where my predecessors saw the opportunity and acquired the asset.
They did some of their own work and did some drilling in 2012.
But post Fukushima, when there was once again a low point in nuclear and uranium, all they did was they decided to
hold on to the deposit until the time came, the right time came, and that’s where we are today.
The time has come.
But more interestingly is in that drilling that they did in 2012, which intersected the uranium and confirmed that it was there, as one would expect.
They also intersected the lake bed sediments above the uranium deposit that actually holds lithium.
And so we’ve assayed that it’s got certainly the lithium is there.
So our task is to move forward both on uranium and then also extend and define lithium resource as well.
Some people are concerned about doing business in the US.
I think that’s perhaps just a lack of experience of how one operates there.
The wonderful thing about the US is that they have this can do attitude.
You just need to have a look at what Elon Musk has achieved in a relatively short space of time.
They are open for business, and importantly, they’ve also recognized the importance of nuclear and also lithium and the shortage of both those minerals in their supply chain for what is absolutely essential for a clean
energy transition to such an extent that we have bipartisan support for nuclear for the first time in a number of decades.
And also for lithium, this huge impetus, much like we have here, momentum is growing with this government funding to incentivize companies to develop lithium assets and uranium assets to secure their nuclear future.
After all, on the nuclear side, 55% of their clean energy is generated by nuclear.
They cannot do without it, and they are the world’s largest producer of electricity from nuclear.
The uranium deposit is actually really well defined, thanks to the historical work and the work that the company did over ten years ago.
So it’s a 65Mt deposit, around 250ppm.
We’ve got approximately 38Mlbs.
And I said it’s well defined.
It’s mostly indicated.
There’s a very small proportion of measured.
Of course, that’s all 2012 dual compliant.
There is also a high grade envelope of about 18Mt, close to 450ppm.
And that would give us about 18Mlbs, would obviously focus on that part of the resource in the beginning, get your payback if the project is developed, and then you can go into the lower grade envelope.
The other advantage that deposit has is it’s right on the surface very shallow.
So in the historical cut optimization exercises that we did or done by my predecessors, should I rather say the stripping ratio is really low and mining is very easy.
Of course now, although there’s a slightly different nuance to that.
And what you have is what was previously thought to be overburdened.
Waste actually has lithium bearing sediments in it.
So as you mine in the uranium and you’re stripping off the overburden, that’s something that you would stockpile potentially for later.
It’s got lithium in it.
How one goes about that, we still need to figure out.
That would be as we assess the project, as we do more drilling to define the lithium component of the project.
But lithium is not only just above the uranium deposit very much.
The uranium deposit is only about 1500 meters long by 300 meters wide.
So you’ve got lithium above that, but then you’ve got a geological feature that runs parallel, I guess you could say, to strike.
And on the downhill side of it is where we know historically there was some drilling by a junior in the 80s that also struck uranium, but it was considered too deep to define a resource because it’s sort of 200 meters depth.
However, those guys also at the time were quite smart and that they logged hectorite clays hectorite is the lithium bearing mineral.
So instead of just saying, okay, well, we’ve got shallow lithium mineralization, we look in the downstroke lock and you see, hang on, we’ve got 200 meters of lake bed sediments that certainly are known to contain these hectorite clay lithium bearing layers.
So that’s the exciting part of the blue sky potential, is drilling those thicker portions of the ground that we hold.
Despite the fact that obviously when one lists you’re preoccupied with all of the administrative stuff of getting everything right, and ready for a prospective point of view, the legal point of view, legal due diligence, independent technical report.
We haven’t been sitting in our hands and doing nothing when it comes to the project as well.
So we recognize we’ve taken the leaf out of other people’s book in terms of their experience on the ground operating in Oregon.
And so we’ve already begun the process to get the permits we required to commence our drilling program and that is in motion at the time, at the moment.
And in fact we’ll be over there in two weeks’ time.
So I’ll be meeting not only with local communities but obviously with the various regulators to try and accelerate that process.
In addition, I mentioned that we had drill our predecessors drilled back in 2012 and we had existing intersections of those lithium bearing sediments.
Now not all of those were actually assayed in 2012 so we have already stored the core, it was close to the project site recently we have already relocated the core to labs in Reno in Nevada and the sample prep has been done and the assays are underway.
So in terms of immediate news flow, we will be able to talk about the design of the drilling program.
It’s about a 10,000 meter drilling program, the permitting leading up to us getting on the ground to commence drilling and then also the results of those more comprehensive lithium assays.
An interesting thing about those assays was the methodology that was used to assay in 2012 because lithium, wasn’t such a hot topic at the time, was that it was a methodology that actually had an upper detection limit of 2000 ppm and so there were a number of those
assets read 2000.
So pure conjecture.
Are they 2,500?
Are they 2100, are they 3000 ppm?
Time will tell.
So that’s an exciting kind of little, okay, let’s see what it really is, what the normalization really holds.
So those are the key initial steps of what we’re doing over the next three to four months.
The drilling program, once we mobilize, would take possibly, I guess six weeks or two months turnaround times on the assay labs.
And I was speaking to the lab manager yesterday and he said pre covid two weeks, nowadays two months.
And that’s the reality of the environment in which we are operating today.
But I can only think that things will improve over time and in addition as things are opening up but Nevada is also a hotspot for gold, so labs are quite busy as well.
And then because we have a lot of data and a lot of historical metallurgical test work.
We’ll be looking to review all that metallurgical test work on the uranium side and then set up a scoping study that we can move forward towards the end of the year to get our head around what’s the best way for the next phase of metallurgical test work.
Which would then ultimately feed into a pre feasibility study on the lithium side.
We’d hopefully by the end of the year, be in a position to at least release an exploration target and who knows, maybe even our maiden lithium resource.
But I suspect that’s probably sometime next year I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that’s actually supported us and it’s not only our investors, new and the long standing shareholders, but also the team behind us that made this all possible in a relatively short space of time I came on board.
A lot of the work had already been done in December, but there was still a lot to be done.
As we know when it comes to listing, all the boxes need to be ticked very carefully.
And we had good advice.
As I mentioned earlier, great job by Euroz Hartleys as the lead manager as well.
Really encourage shareholders and those that are interested in the company to reach out.
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