Labrador Uranium (CSE: LUR)(OTC: LURAF) CEO Stephen Keith on Dominant Uranium Land Package & Start of Drilling at Flagship Moran Lake Uranium Project, Labrador, Canada
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of one of my favorite uranium speculations in the space, Labrador Uranium — Mr. Stephen Keith. Stephen, how are you today?
Stephen Keith: I'm terrific, Gerardo. Thank you very much. And thank you to you and your audience for taking the time to ask me questions and to hear me out. I appreciate it.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, listen, let's get right into it. I'm a very biased shareholder; I own every share I've ever purchased. I believe we are on the verge of a historic uranium bull run. And look, let's be very frank, you have a 52-week high based on a lot of excitement, a great team, and some phenomenal targets and phenomenal projects; you have a 52-week high of C$1.55 per share.
The stock has pulled back to C$0.60, which I think is going to look like an absolute bargain here in the not-too-distant future, and I want to talk about why. You just commenced drilling at your flagship project. You announced a corporate update. I would love for you to provide the context because this is a milestone drilling program for the Labrador team. Give us the context, Stephen.
Stephen Keith: Great. So look, as we've talked about before, Labrador Uranium has put together this incredible land package in Labrador. It's in a highly-prospective region. We're looking at almost 140,000 hectares, including a target which we call the Moran Lake Project, and it has a historical uranium and vanadium resource right there.
Plus, we have this incredible belt that we control. It's about 125 kilometers long with dozens and dozens of showings, not only of uranium but other critical metals including and especially copper. This is a region that in the last uranium boom — ending, let's say, 2011-ish — saw probably over half a dozen companies look into this region and start exploring. Only a few put real money into the ground. Happily, we have one of those assets that has a resource.
And so what we're looking at in this belt, on the far eastern end, Paladin owns a uranium deposit at over 100 million pounds of uranium right at-surface. We have what we believe to be a starter kit resource at our Moran Lake Project, which is about 70 or 80 kilometers west of Paladin's project. And now, we're going to see how this grows.
So the last group that owned this put about C$20 - C$25 million into the ground. They did develop this resource. But there's a lot of growth to happen, not just along strike but down dip. And there are multiple other occurrences on this trend that are both northeast and southwest of this historical deposit.
And now, we are taking the time with the money that we have to get underground… put some drill holes into where the missing links are… how do these things come together… with a view that, hopefully, by the end of this year, do I expect to have a full new resource at the end of this year? I don't. That will take time.
But we will be able to show whether or not we see these extensions, whether it has the potential to become a Michelin-sized deposit. And like what we see at Michelin, it's not a single deposit; it could be multiple smaller at-surface things. And that's what we're getting in on.
And as of this week, our team has now moved into the field camp, the helicopter is there, the team is there, the drill team is there. And now, it's time to get underground and see how we grow this.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's talk about the exploration. Diligence, right? Not only are you on the ground and have been, but you're also working with your Machine Learning process and, obviously, working hand-in-hand with the team on the ground. Tell me a bit more about that. That's interesting to me.
Stephen Keith: So look, the Machine Learning is really important for us, frankly, because of the amount of land that we have. If you look at this region in context, it's been explored for about 50 years. The first ~30 years of that was focused more on commodities like copper and many, many, many discoveries. And not necessarily deposits but occurrences of copper and uranium are found throughout this ~140,000-hectare land package that we have.
We’ve put together that entire land package, whereas, before, it had been in dozens of hands. We have all of that historical data by those many companies that have come in and done the historical work.
And we get to combine the on-the-ground geology with this Machine Learning for this reason: on the ground with Moran Lake — because it had professional work done and tens of millions of dollars spent on it — we can take that data and start drilling to try to expand it because of the level of knowledge we have around that target.
In the rest of this belt, most of the work was surficial. Very little drilling has been done along the rest of this 125-kilometer belt even though, as I said earlier, dozens of occurrences of copper and uranium have been found.
Very little deep work has been done to figure out… what are the main deep structures or feeders for these systems… where is all of this mineralization coming from? And then, very little work has been done with respect to drilling outside of very specific uranium targets.
So what we're doing with the Machine Learning — while we develop this known target and known historical resource — we're out there looking for… where are the big things here, right, where are the big targets? Because we know it's there. It has to be.
This is the confluence of four geological provinces. So there've been four historical mountain building phases here. That's brought tremendous amounts, not only of fluid, but structure to this region, which we know has brought all of these minerals and whatnot to surface. But we have to figure out… how does it come together… where are those big zones… and where are those much larger potential deposits sitting here?
So over the next year or two, we start with this Machine Learning program where we look at all of that historical data. We look at the known deposits, not only here but in similar basins, and teach the machine as to what it's looking for both with structure and indicator minerals, geophysics.
All of those things to try to see where this data leads to with the view towards… instead of, say, next season… instead of having just Moran Lake be a known drill target (and it has been for over a decade)... but where are those other projects within this huge belt that could turn into deposits? So where do those deep structures — plus what we're finding at-surface; the copper and uranium that comes with it — where is that coming from? So we can focus on that.
And we believe we're narrowing it down. But it looks like we're looking at several larger targets… and that's all they are right now. But instead of drilling blindly and a needle in a haystack in this area that we know is mineral-rich and has all sorts of, for lack of a better term, ‘smoke coming out of it’ but to narrow that down in areas that can become real projects.
And that is very exciting to us. And we have a great team led by two individuals who've actually won awards for developing Machine Learning in geology. So we're pretty excited about that. But a lot of that will come as targets this year and, hopefully, will lead to a much more comprehensive drill program for 2023.
Gerardo Del Real: I love the conservative guidance in a sector that often over-promises and underdelivers. I have all the confidence in the world that you're under-promising and will overdeliver. And I am as excited for the second half of this year for both Labrador and the uranium sector as I have been in quite some time.
I have to get your take on the macro setup here for the uranium space because I think we're entering a very interesting and critical time as, I think, the utilities are finally going to have to start stepping off the sidelines and getting in the game a bit. Any thoughts on that front?
Stephen Keith: Look, I have a lot of thoughts on that, specifically why we are here and, frankly, why I do apply a more conservative approach to our exploration. We are looking for giants; we are looking for big targets. And that's going to take some time. But we have some time. It takes a while for the world to catch up on this. But our mid to long-term supply and demand dynamics within the uranium space are only getting stronger.
So what just happened in the last few months? Well, the European Union has finally declared uranium and nuclear energy to be a green energy. That is a game changer because this is a region that — as they move off of coal and, theoretically, are going to move off of oil; they're kind of being forced that way right now — needs to find baseload, green, renewable energy like non-carbon-emitting energy.
And from a baseload point of view, nuclear is your only real choice globally. So Europe has now opened it up and accepted that. The United States — if people don't know — 50% of their renewable energy mix is nuclear. Japan is now opening up to nuclear again, which is going to be a boon to what we do.
And then, people always talk about the China story in the commodity space. It's not a new story in the uranium space but, again, they're out there building nuclear reactors and focusing on this. And then, you combine all of that and the demand keeps coming… and I strongly believe it's going to keep growing.
We've got the small modular reactors [SMRs], which will make the nuclear space a little more flexible; these smaller projects going in more places. But also, on the supply and demand side, you have to look at what's happening geopolitically. We've got what's happening in Europe and the Ukraine; obviously, that's a concern. But now, countries are starting to look at the source of their critical elements.
And as we looked at, say, the beginning of this conflict in the Ukraine, the Western world came out and said, ‘Okay, we're going to shut down oil… we're going to not buy things from Russia… we're not going to do all this.’ Well, the one thing they didn't start with is they did not get rid of the uranium imports because most processed uranium is coming out of Russia.
So they don't want to do that because of how big a demand it is. But we do know that we need to find safer places, friendlier jurisdictions, over the long-term to develop these commodities. And uranium is a really important one.
I strongly believe that a safe jurisdiction that has a good mine is going to be of even greater value than mines that we are going to continue to find or develop in places like, say, Kazakhstan or whatnot.
So I think we have a lot of drivers on the demand side for sure. And we're going to see more restrictions or, if not restrictions, a preference to find supply from better places. And, frankly, those are two pieces of the equation that we're happy to be able to answer.
Gerardo Del Real: Excited for the second half of this year… as I mentioned multiple times. I'm excited for 2023, and I can't wait to start seeing some of the results from the team. Stephen, thank you so much for the opportunity. It's great chatting with you, and I suspect we'll be doing this more often.
Stephen Keith: I hope so. And Gerardo, I appreciate the interest and the questions. I'm always available to you or to your listeners anytime to answer any of your questions. But we, like you, are very excited for this year and beyond. And just watch this space. We hope that, later this year, we'll be able to start getting out results and talking more about what we have.
Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to it! Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
Stephen Keith: Thank you.
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