Skyharbour Resources (TSX-V: SYH)(OTC: SYHBF) CEO Jordan Trimble on Drilling at Flagship Moore Uranium Project, Plus Multiple Partner-Funded Projects in Canada's Prolific Athabasca Basin
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president & CEO of Skyharbour Resources — Mr. Jordan Trimble — the very busy Jordan Trimble. How are you, Jordan?
Jordan Trimble : I'm good. Good to be chatting with you. It's been a little bit, and we've got lots to cover here at the start of the year.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's get right into it. A robust and busy start to the year. You've had multiple releases with partner-funded drill programs that have commenced. You also had some news this morning, and I actually want to start there. And then, of course, before I let you go, I’ve got to get your take on the uranium space and the opportunity right now.
But let's talk about this morning's news. You intersected additional high-grade mineralization at the flagship Moore Uranium Project. Can you provide some context there?
Jordan Trimble: Sure. So this is the final batch of results from the 6,600-meter drill program that we completed last year; summer and fall drill program. We had previous news releases out in September and November as we went through in some of the other interviews. But all-in-all… very, very pleased with the program.
Several high-grade intercepts; we continue to find these long zones of continuous uranium mineralization. And this news release in particular, one of the highlight drill results was a 19.5-meter zone of just over 0.05% U3O8 straddling the unconformity. Within that, we had some higher-grade, including 4.0 meters of just over 2% U3O8.
So we are getting some nice high-grade mineralization right at the unconformity and in the basement rocks. If you recall, from late last year when we announced the first batch of results from this program, we intersected some of the highest-grade mineralization in the underlying basement rocks at this expanding Maverick East Zone.
And that intercept was a 6.8% U3O8 zone over 2.0 meters, again, all in the basement rocks. So we're finding exactly what we want to be finding at this Maverick East Zone. Again, this is on that 4.7-km-long Maverick corridor. It's open at-depth. The corridor itself is still open along strike. We've really only systematically drill-tested half of it.
And we do have plans with an upcoming drill program, and we do announce that in this news release; minimum 2,500 meters. We can look to expand that if need be. It'll be the first of several drill programs this year; we have crews up on the property prepping for that program as we speak.
But this upcoming program will continue to follow-up on the high-grade mineralization we're finding at the Maverick East Zone. But we'll also test some targets along strike on that corridor, including the Viper zone, which is just up to the northeast of the main Maverick and Maverick East Zones.
And then, we are going to go back and continue drill-testing the Grid 19 target area. And as we spoke late last year, this is a new target that we identified with some geophysical work and some new geological modeling earlier in the year last year. We're pretty excited about it. We think there is the potential there for a major new discovery. There's been limited drilling there. So we will drill a few more holes at that target here in this upcoming winter program.
So again, a very successful drill program from last year. We’re excited to get the drill turning again here in the next few weeks, and we'll have some news forthcoming on the specific details of that program. So investors can look out for that over the next little while here.
Gerardo Del Real: A lot of irons in the fire; several, several partner companies have recently commenced drill programs, I believe, totalling roughly 8,500 meters. And there's a few other partner companies that have also announced plans for exploration and drill programs. So good exposure there. Can you speak to some of those programs and kind of what you're looking forward to from those?
Jordan Trimble: Absolutely. So we sum it up in this news release. But just to recap the partner-funded programs, we have Azincourt with the largest drill program of the lot, including 6,000 meters planned. It just commenced in the last week. That's at the East Preston Project. So very, very excited for them to start that drilling.
It's going to be a lot of drill holes because they're relatively shallow targets at that project. And it's at a stage right now where — given all of the historical work that was carried out… all of the pre-drilling and reconnaissance work that they funded and they carried out as well as some of the exploratory drilling over the last several years — the project is, I think, ripe for a new discovery.
This drill program will be pivotal for the company and for the project. And as a minority interest holder in the project, we're excited with the prospects of a potential new discovery over in that area. So we'll keep an eye out for continued news flow from that program.
And then, moving back over to the east side at our Hook Lake Project, the company, Valor Resources — a new partner company we brought in just over a year ago — they've just commenced their inaugural drill program; 2,500 meters at the Hook Lake Project. As you may recall, last year, they did a fair bit of field work. And what's great about this project is this high-grade surface showing that has returned samples — grab samples and chip samples — as high as 68% U3O8.
It's a bit of an enigma trying to figure out exactly where that came from. Needless to say, if they can drill into the source of that mineralization, that would be a fairly major discovery given the tenor of uranium mineralization at-surface there. So they've just started the drill program; 2,500 meters.
So a total between those two partners of 8,500 meters. And when you add in our minimum 2,500 meters, you're looking at a minimum of 11,000 meters combined. The bulk of that is funded by partner companies and potentially expandable as well. So lots of drilling related news flow to come at several projects over the next few weeks and months.
And then, you will see, as well, our other two active partner companies and newer partner companies — Medaro Mining and Basin Uranium Corp. — starting work programs, field programs, at the Yurchison and Mann Lake Projects. And so we'll have some news out on the specific plans of those programs coming up. Likely, will constitute, initially, some geophysics and some groundwork. Following that, they will likely commence drill programs later in the year.
So lots of news flow; four active partner companies at some of our other projects and a very active program at Moore Lake this year.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, if I know you… and I've known you for some time now, Jordan… you're probably vetting accretive deals as well. Is there anything on that front that we should be on the lookout for?
Jordan Trimble: Well, we talked about this in December when we announced the addition of several new projects that we had staked. And part of that was to add to our portfolio, which is now a fairly dominant 385,000-hectare land position; 14 projects at various stages of exploration.
We’ve got everything from the earlier-stage, more grassroots projects all the way through to more advanced-stage exploration assets like we have at Moore and at our South Falcon Point Project.
And we have pounds in the ground as well, as you know, so a great diversified portfolio of projects offering exposure to all different parts of the basin. But yes, we are continuing to evaluate opportunities. Don't be surprised to see new project acquisitions this year… certainly the market to be doing it in as we continue to build that portfolio in the Athabasca Basin.
And on top of that, we are looking to — much like we did in the last year-and-a-half here — bring in new partner companies; option these 100%-owned projects that we have to new companies coming in that can fund the exploration going forward and give us some cash and stock.
One thing I will note is we have just over C$10 million in the treasury; that's in cash and in equity holdings in some of these partner companies. And we've seen that equity portfolio grow quite a bit over the last year, year-and-a-half. And that's becoming a more important part of the story where we're offering exposure to several different projects into several different companies.
Gerardo Del Real: Can't let you go without getting your pulse and your feel and take on the uranium space. There's few markets as fun to watch as uranium bull markets. And it's because it becomes the ultimate fear and greed sector, right?
The few times where I'm looking at Twitter and kind of gauging Twitter sentiment, there is nothing like fear and greed in the uranium space. Right now, it seems like we're kind of in-between trying to figure out whether the next run is right around the corner or if we’ve got a little bit more of a pullback.
Clearly, we're in a uranium bull market, right? The spot price is nowhere near where it needs to be to incentivize any kind of meaningful production coming back online. The utilities are still asleep at the wheel. But where do you think we're at with things right now, Jordan?
Jordan Trimble: Yeah, look, I think that's a perfect summary and explanation. It is very much a hyper-cyclical and kind of hyper-sentiment sector where you get the bulls and the bears that come out — and it's almost in an extreme fashion.
And we've seen, over the last year-and-a-half, needless to say, all-in-all, it's been a fairly good market. We've seen a major reversal. There's no question about that. But you have had periods of choppiness. We're going through one right now, and no different than what we saw in the summer of last year as well. So these markets don't go straight up. It's cliche but it's very true.
I think when you take a step back, let's get back and just look again at the underlying fundamentals and, really, what's going to drive a higher uranium price going forward. And again, I've reiterated this many, many times but the underlying supply-demand fundamentals for this metal, I think, are the strongest of any out there.
You've had a major supply side response, initially, due to a low-price environment. You saw major supply curtailment. And then, more recently, we've seen other factors like COVID and civil unrest that have worked their way into the market on the supply side. And it just, bottom line, shows that the risks to the supply side for this metal far exceed the risks to the demand side. And I think that's a key, key thing to remember going forward.
On the demand side, again, we see steady growth. And I think we'll see this accelerate. I think that the market hasn't yet quite priced this in as much as it should be. Look, nuclear energy is at this nexus of two major megatrends globally right now. One being electrification and the second being clean energy. And it's the perfect asset class for both of those. And the world is waking up to that. Investors are waking up to that.
More and more, we're seeing even mainstream media report on nuclear energy positively, which was certainly not the case up until recently. And so as the sentiment continues to improve, I think, and nuclear energy adoption globally continues, we're going to see that demand side, the growth of it, really accelerate.
And so, I think that is yet to really play out. We're seeing the early, early days of it. But just getting back to some of the more topical points, certainly, in the — call it the last few months — obviously, the news out of China, latter part of last year, with their continued aggressive plans for their nuclear rollout. One hundred and fifty nuclear plants that they're planning to build in the next 15 years; more capacity than has come online globally in the last 35 years.
We continue to see the advancement of SMR technology and advanced nuclear technologies globally. More recently, it's yet to be completely ratified, but we likely will see nuclear accepted in the EU (European Union) Sustainable Finance Taxonomy. That will, I think, pave the way for a lot of new money and capital, especially ESG and clean energy mandated capital, to come into the sector. So that'll have a positive impact over a period of time going forward.
And we continue to see some of these new financial entities like the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust purchasing pounds in the market. Now, we have seen that moderate a little bit. But we are still waiting for one of, I think, the largest, most impactful catalysts there. And that's the New York Listing. I think that'll bring in a whole new pool of capital and investors into that vehicle. So that's exciting.
And then, just in the last month here, the news out of Kazakhstan. We've seen major civil unrest in the largest uranium producing country in the world. Obviously, things have settled down. But that's something to keep an eye on. It's a difficult situation because you don't want to see that kind of stuff happening.
But the bottom line is that if there is any supply disruption as a result of civil unrest in Kazakhstan going forward — Kazakhstan is responsible for 40% of global primary mine supply… spectacular production growth story over the last 15 years… but it's 40% — if any of that is disrupted, when you look at Western utilities in particular, I think they're going to have to take a good long, hard look at their contract portfolios and make sure that they're sourcing it from diversified sources.
And I think that benefits, obviously, Canada, the US, and Australia. And another part that could complicate things is if there is any conflict in the Ukraine. And if you do see sanctions against Russia, there are potential implications for, in particular, US nuclear utilities in their contracting going forward.
So there’s a lot of moving parts here. But I think, bottom line is, again, when you take a step back, try to ignore the noise as much as you can. When you look at the underlying fundamentals… and it can be tough to do, certainly, when the markets are volatile… the underlying fundamentals are as strong as they've ever been.
You just get this feel right now that, yes, prices are in the low- to mid-US$40s, it's still relatively low. It just feels like there is going to be another breakout, I think, in the next 6 to 12 months.
Gerardo Del Real: Well said as always. It's always great having you on, Jordan. Looking forward to what I think is going to be an extremely busy year in the uranium space and for Skyharbour shareholders. Anything to add to that?
Jordan Trimble : No, I think that covers it. Look, we're going to have a fairly steady flow of news. So you and I will be chatting lots. Looking forward to a good year ahead. We've certainly got a lot planned.
And we've got a lot of potential upcoming catalysts and news flow with the drilling at our flagship Moore Lake Project and plans for some work on some of our other projects as well as the partner-funded programs. So keep an eye out for news flow.
Gerardo Del Real: Good stuff! Thanks again, Jordan. Chat soon.
Jordan Trimble: Thank you. Take care.
Click here to see more from Skyharbour Resources Ltd.