Consolidated Uranium (TSX-V: CUR)(OTC: CURUF) CEO Philip Williams on Acquisition of Multiple Past-Producing Uranium Mine Projects from Energy Fuels Inc.
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president & CEO of Consolidated Uranium — Mr. Philip Williams. Phil, how are you today?
Philip Williams: I'm doing very well, Gerardo. Nice to talk to you again. It's been too long.
Gerardo Del Real: It's been too long… not because of a lack of activity on your part. You have been busy, busy, busy unlocking value from a multitude of angles.
I want to get into the news from yesterday, first, where you closed the acquisition and the strategic alliance with Energy Fuels. You describe it as a seminal moment. I couldn't agree with you more. Congratulations on getting that done!
For those that may not be familiar but are now looking at uranium, the new bull market, quality names and quality teams of which there are few — can you explain briefly what this acquisition and this alliance means for the company?
Philip Williams: Yeah, thanks, Gerardo. And absolutely, this is a seminal moment, a seminal transaction, for the company.
And, really, as we've been building Consolidated Uranium, acquiring projects all around the world, we've always been looking for… how can we take our portfolio to the next level… how can we bring advanced to near-term production assets and enter into the better jurisdictions? And this checks two of those boxes.
So we're acquiring a portfolio from Energy Fuels in the US, in Utah primarily, but also in Colorado. And what's really exciting about this portfolio is we're buying past-producing mines. Mines that were in production in the past bull market and can very quickly, very cheaply, very easily be brought back, taken back into production as market conditions continue to improve.
Gerardo Del Real: How important is diversifying the jurisdiction risk of the multiple assets now in the portfolio?
Philip Williams: It's huge. And it was absolutely one of the number one tenets that we pursued when we were creating the company.
And having been around the uranium space now for over 15 years, time and time again, I saw single asset, single jurisdiction companies be derailed for some kind of mostly geopolitical event, whether a ban on uranium mining, a moratorium on uranium exploration, or some kind of other event that took a project from hero to zero overnight.
So we very much purposely wanted to insulate ourselves and our shareholders from that potential negative impact. And that's why we're now in Canada, Australia, Argentina, and then, with the transaction we announced yesterday — that's our first foray into the US.
Gerardo Del Real: You've also strengthened the board. You added Mark Chalmers, who is as sharp as they come, to the Consolidated Uranium board. Can you speak to his experience a bit and just what that means for the company?
Philip Williams: Sure, I can't say enough about Mark and his background. Obviously, I think he's well-known in the industry. He's a 40-year mining engineer. He's worked in uranium projects around the globe.
And so from that perspective, it's a huge add for the board. But I think what the most interesting part of this is… we're buying this package of assets from Energy Fuels… but this is not a sale and walk away from these assets. With Mark joining the board and the equity interest that they're taking in Consolidated Uranium, they're committed to this company.
And Mark has some great ideas and is really excited about joining the board and helping to take this company to the next level.
Gerardo Del Real: You also just announced a very, very, very oversubscribed private placement by Labrador Uranium for proceeds of up to C$7 million. I understand the book was well north of that to the point where you had to close it out almost immediately.
Can you speak to that transaction? I'm biased. I've written a couple of checks already. I'm looking forward to writing more at higher prices. Talk to me a bit about that.
Philip Williams: Yeah, we're super excited that we got to get Labrador Uranium out into the market. It's been something that we've been working on in the background for a while. And again, as we built this portfolio, we're always looking two steps ahead as to how we can realize value in the various different assets and how to put that value directly into our shareholders’ hands.
So Labrador Uranium is our Labrador project, Moran Lake, married with a big package of ground that Altius Minerals is contributing. We're taking it public next year. Importantly, every CUR shareholder that is an owner of record before it goes public will get their pro rata share of Labrador shares that CUR is getting. And we were blown away by the response, particularly on that placement that you're referring to.
We went out to raise C$7 million; we'll actually raise C$8 million. There's an over-allotment that is entirely full. And people get it. I mean, we are now the largest landholder in the central mineral belt of Labrador. This is a potentially world-class jurisdiction. It was a hot-bed of activity in the last bull market.
It went quiet post-Fukushima. Everybody left… and now we have all of the good ground except for what Paladin owns, which is the Michelin project; a bonafide world-class resource well over a hundred million pounds of uranium.
And so between Paladin and ourselves, we own the entire camp. And I think it's going to heat up very, very quickly thanks to what we're doing there at Labrador.
Gerardo Del Real: It should be noted that the Michelin project is a heck of an analog, given that, at its peak, it had a market cap of over US$1.3 billion in 2007, right?
Philip Williams: Yeah, again, we always look for playbooks, like… what worked in the past and how can we emulate that model?
When we started Consolidated and took the consolidation approach, there were analogs like Mega Uranium, Paladin, Energy Metals — a few other groups that did this very successfully then.
At the same time, now, as we're looking to create some new vehicles and new ways for our shareholders to benefit from the assets in our portfolio, we just looked into Labrador and remembered what Aurora Energy did… getting that peak market cap, taking a small resource and expanding it by raising capital and putting dollars in the ground.
That's exactly what we're going to do here. And if we could get anywhere near the same kind of response that they did in that past cycle, it would be a tremendous result for Labrador Uranium and for CUR shareholders.
Gerardo Del Real: We've both seen bull cycles. I believe that this is early. There's several people that believe they may have missed out on the run. I think it's early innings. Give me your take, Phil.
Philip Williams: No, exactly… you haven't missed! I mean, certainly, the names have come up from cycle-low prices, and that's to be expected. We’ve had a good move in the uranium price and lots of enthusiasm.
But when you look at the macro side of it, you look at all of the positive developments that are happening in the nuclear space around the world… countries that were previously thinking about shutting down reactors are now, not only saying that's not going to happen, but potentially adding new reactors.
Plus, the general growth; that side of the picture continues to look very robust. And then, on the supply side, we just simply do not have a high enough price to incentivize existing mines to keep producing or new mines. So prices are going to go higher.
And then, the third leg of the whole macro side of it is the financial players. And they're coming and they're coming in force. We've seen it with Sprott. We've seen Yellow Cake just raised another US$150 million to buy physical [uranium] the other day.
A new uranium physical fund is being created by the Kazakhs and will be listed in Astana. And it's not the end of the story. And what'll happen is what's happened time and time again in the uranium space — it will get ludicrous!
Prices will spike and valuations will go to levels that you couldn't even foresee. And certainly, we think we're smack dab in the center of that action, and we're going to benefit from it when and if it comes.
Gerardo Del Real: I think you're positioned perfectly. That's very well said, Phil. Thank you so much for your time today. Anything else to add to that?
Philip Williams: No, just watch this space. We've been very busy on the acquisition front. We've got lots of other things that we're looking at and want to do.
There's tremendous opportunities in front of us. And we're going to continue to find creative new ways to realize value to shareholders and get value directly into our shareholders’ hands. So, don't blink!
Gerardo Del Real: Well said! Thanks again, Phil.
Philip Williams: Thanks, Gerardo.Click here to see more from Consolidated Uranium Inc.