VANCOUVER, B.C., April 1, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two years ago, when the Board of Directors at Skyharbour Resources Ltd. (TSX-V:SYH) asked Jordan Trimble to find a new direction for the Vancouver-based mining micro-cap, his choice may have seemed like mission impossible: uranium. Trimble and the team behind Skyharbour recognized a unique opportunity given the industry was still writhing from the bursting of the uranium bubble in 2007, the 2008 global financial meltdown, and Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. He knew uranium prices were at their lowest in years. But with the world's unquenchable appetite for energy, he also saw an undervalued market and a lot of upside potential. "I looked at a number of commodities, and uranium really stood out for me," says Trimble, who was appointed as the company's President and CEO in June 2013. "Being a contrarian, there's an unprecedented opportunity in the uranium space."
Skyharbour Resources is well positioned to prosper as the uranium market gains strength. To pool geological expertise and funding, it joined forces last year with Athabasca Nuclear Corp. (TSX-V:ASC), Noka Resources (TSX-V:NX) and Lucky Strike Resources (TSX-V:LKY) to form the Western Athabasca Syndicate Partnership, which controls a massive, 287,130-hectare (709,513-acre) collection of five properties the bulk of which is on the western side of Saskatchewan's uranium-rich Athabasca Basin. The group will spend $6 million over the two years to explore the area. Skyharbour is responsible for providing only $1 million of that total. The syndicate model is a unique, cost-efficient and operationally effective structure to conduct a large exploratory program without substantial equity dilution to shareholders.
Skyharbour Resources also owns a 60 per cent stake in the Mann Lake uranium project on the east side of the basin, 25 kilometres southwest of Cameco's McArthur River Mine. Trimble says Northern Saskatchewan boasts the world's largest reserves of high-grade uranium, which offers some shelter from commodity price volatility. Saskatchewan is also known for its stable, pro-mining business environment. "The basin," he says, "is really one of the only places in the world where you want to be looking for uranium right now."
With Trimble at the helm, Skyharbour Resources has built a strong team with a proven track record for delivering shareholder value. The company's directors include industry veterans Jim Pettit, the Chairman of the Board, and Don Huston, Skyharbour's former president and CEO.
Tom Drolet, the company's new Technical Advisor and a former president and CEO for Ontario Hydro International, believes that several factors – including the 72 nuclear power plants expected to come online by 2022 in China, Russia, India and other countries – will help increase share prices for senior and intermediate uranium producers going forward – with junior firms following soon after. The impact of Russia's annexation of Crimea could accelerate this trend. "Watch out for Russian aggression as it may affect supply from Kazakhstan," he says, "and demand increases on the China side may move markets a bit earlier."
The board also brings impressive uranium expertise with geologist Rick Kusmirski, the company's Head Technical Advisor and former Exploration Manager for uranium giant Cameco Corp. From 1999 until 2012, Kusmirski was vice-president of exploration and later president and CEO of JNR Resources, helping to boost the uranium firm's stock from 10 cents a share to over $4 a share. JNR was ultimately acquired by Denison Mines Corp.
Skyharbour's flagship Preston Uranium Property in the basin's Patterson Lake region is the largest single landholding near Fission Uranium Corp.'s Patterson Lake South high-grade uranium discovery and the recent discovery made by NexGen Energy on the Rook 1 Project.
Uranium mineralization in this part of the basin is quite shallow and basement-hosted. Skyharbour and its syndicate partners have already carried out more than $2 million in exploration on the property and have identified over a dozen high-priority drill targets. The company along with its syndicate partners are in the midst of their first drill program and are one of the few groups in the area drilling this winter season.
With only 35 per cent of the property systematically explored so far, they have already identified 15 high-potential drill targets using techniques similar to those employed by Fission and NexGen. "We're highly encouraged by what we've seen to date," says Trimble. "It has greatly exceeded our expectations and illustrates the strong discovery potential our property boasts."
On the eastern side of the basin, Skyharbour acquired a 60-per-cent interest in the 3,473-hectare Mann Lake Uranium Project in January from Canterra Minerals. The purchase makes Skyharbour one of the only small-cap mining companies with a land position in this highly prolific part of the Athabasca Basin. Nearby deposits and mines include Cameco's McArthur River Mine and Millennium deposit as well as Denison's Phoenix deposit.
In March, Vancouver-based International Enexco Ltd. announced a high-grade discovery on the Mann Lake Joint Venture property, which sits adjacent to Skyharbour's Mann Lake holding. Days later, Denison Mines announced plans to acquire International Enexco and their 30 percent interest in the Mann Lake Joint Venture with Cameco and AREVA Resources Canada. Between 2006 and 2008, over $3 million in exploration was carried out on Skyharbour's Mann Lake property including two drill programs. Trimble says work may resume there sooner than later. "Mann Lake could very well be the dark horse for the company going forward," he goes onto say. "The previous drilling intersected zones with elevated uranium and boron values which bodes well for future exploration and discovery potential on the property."
All in all, Skyharbour is one of the only small-cap mining companies that offers investors exposure to two of the most active areas of the Athabasca Basin: Patterson Lake on the west side and Mann Lake on the east side. Investors are starting to take note. The company just completed a non-brokered placement of over $700,000, with strong investor interest increasing the financing from the initial target of $500,000. Trading volume has increased significantly, and the company's share price recently hit a 52-week high of 18 cents. The stock has gradually increased over the past year. "That's indicative," says Trimble, "of the shareholder value we've been creating and will continue to create in the company."
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