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VANCOUVER — With the Trump Administration in the U.S. unveiling earlier this year its list of critical minerals vital to the U.S. economy, the need to secure domestic supplies of uranium and rare earth elements gained new impetus among mineral developers and investors. In that spirit The Northern Miner presents its top-eight list of the largest U.S.-headquartered uranium and strategic minerals junior mining companies.

1. URANIUM ENERGY

Market cap: US$261 million

Texan uranium mining and exploration company Uranium Energy (NYSE-AM: UEC) comes in at the top of our list. The company is positioning itself to become one of America’s leading uranium suppliers, with a portfolio containing measured and indicated resources of 58 million lb. uranium oxide (U3O8). Inferred resources stand at 45 million pounds.

Uranium Energy’s Slick Rock development project in western Colorado has inferred resources of 69.6 million lb. vanadium and 11.6 million lb. U3O8.

Its fully permitted Reno Creek in-situ recovery project in Nevada is licensed for 2 million lb. per year of U3O8 production. The two properties — Reno Creek and North Reno Creek — hold a combined 26.3 million lb. U3Oin measured and indicated resources.

2. UR-ENERGY

Market cap: US$109 million

Colorado-based junior mining company Ur-Energy (TSX: URE; NYSE-AM: URG) is operating the Lost Creek in-situ recovery uranium facility in south-central Wyoming. The facility has churned out 2.6 million lb. U3O8 since 2014 and can produce 2 million lb. U3O8 per year.

The company’s newest project, Shirley basin in Wyoming, is just an hour away from Lost Creek. Ur-Energy bought Shirley basin from Pathfinder Mines in 2013. Pathfinder produced over 70 million lb. U3O8 from the 1960s until the 1990s, when low uranium prices forced the mine’s closure. Shirley basin holds measured and indicated resources of 8.8 lb. U3O8. Ur-Energy has submitted the mine application and is working on its other permits.

3. NIOCORP DEVELOPMENTS

Market cap: US$106 million

NioCorp Developments (US-OTC: NIOBF; TSX: NB) is developing its Elk Creek niobium-scandium-titanium project in southeast Nebraska. The project’s feasibility study estimated a US$2.3-billion after-tax net present value, 24.3% internal rate of return and 3.4-year payback period. The mine could produce for 32 years. Elk Creek reserves total 31.7 million tonnes grading 0.75% niobium oxide, 2.81% titanium oxide and 71.6 grams per tonne scandium oxide.

All three metals NioCorp plans to produce at Elk Creek were recently designated “critical” to national security by the U.S. government. The project has received widespread support from local, state and federal governments.

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