Standard Uranium (TSX-V: STND)(OTC: STTDF) CEO Jon Bey on Deploying a Hybrid Prospect Generator Model with Multiple Athabasca-based Drill Programs Ahead in the 2024 Uranium Bull Market

 

Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the chairman & CEO of Standard Uranium — Mr. Jon Bey. Jon, how are you today?

Jon Bey: I am doing very well, Gerardo. How are you doing?

Gerardo Del Real: I am doing great. We have ourselves a uranium bull market. Look, I've been a uranium bull for quite some time, and even I think that I was a bit conservative in my price targets. I said when uranium was 20 bucks that I thought eventually it would overshoot to US$200 a pound. And I thought we would have a violent uranium bull market that lasted anywhere between 18 and 24 months. 

And I think now that prediction is going to prove conservative. Looking at the setup, we have the uranium spot price firmly over the US$100 level, and the utilities are just starting to creep off the sidelines.

So I want to talk Standard Uranium. I want to talk about why I wrote a check recently and why I'm a happy and excited shareholder. But before that, I'd have to get your take on the uranium space because I think your timing for what you have going is absolutely perfect.

Jon Bey: Yes, I too am super bullish on where the uranium market is going. Like yourself, we got into this space a few years back. Not only a few years… we started this company in 2017 and when we put it together, our goal was:

‘Look, we think uranium is in a rough spot right now and we think it's going to be two or three years before the market really starts to realize that uranium needs to be brought back in for a clean energy future.’

We had a timeline of around 2020 where we thought it was going to move, and we were early. But it's okay because having six years to build out this company has really set us up beautifully for where we are today and what we're capitalizing on. And we can get into that in a bit more detail as we get into the company here.

But yeah, we're extremely bullish… US$100, like you said, we think that's a great price to be at, and I think we're going higher. I'm not going to put a number on it but I think we've got a lot of room to run here.

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Gerardo Del Real: I couldn't agree more. For those that aren't familiar with you and the team, can you speak a bit to your involvement and, obviously, you mentioned coming into the uranium space and building a company. Frankly, you still only have a C$16 million market cap. 

We know what happens in these markets, Jon, when you are successful in executing the business model. And we will get to the business model in just a second. But I can tell you that that market cap is going to be a whole heck of a lot higher than C$16 million if you're able to execute the way I think you will. 

But let's talk about the team just a bit because I think that's important.

Jon Bey: Yes, we have a team of great exploration geologists, for one, so I'll start there. My right-hand man is Sean Hillacre. He is our president and VP of Exploration. Sean joined us in 2020 after spending five years at NexGen where he was a geologist. And he actually did his Master's degree on the Arrow deposit. Now, we thought that was remarkable because our flagship, Davidson River, is right across the street.

So at the time when we started Standard Uranium, I brought on a few key directors. One of those was a guy named Garrett Ainsworth who was the VP of Exploration at NexGen. He joined our team because he too knew the Davidson River project and he wanted to be a part of exploring that.

Shortly after that, within a week, I brought on Neil McCallum. So Neil McCallum is still with the company as a director and our lead technical advisor. Those of you probably know Neil from his other involvement in other uranium endeavors as well as his role with Dahrouge Geologic and his role with Patriot Battery Metals on the lithium side. So Neil is a remarkable 35-plus year veteran. And for those that don't know, he is really an expert in the uranium space.

Another geologist we have on our board is Mike Young. So Mike Young, for those that have been in this space, he was a CEO and founder of Vimy Resources in Australia, and he ran that for eight years before shifting out of that and joining our board about two years ago.

So a fantastic team of people that actually are uranium-specifically focused. And that is so crucial when you're focused on the uranium market. There are so many other companies that have no board members or geologists that have any uranium experience. 

So looking at our team — for a company, as you mentioned, at a sub-C$20 million market cap and where we're going — the team makes a huge difference.

Gerardo Del Real: I couldn't agree more. Let's get into what that team has been able to accomplish as far as bringing in a portfolio of quality assets with a hybrid business model. I would love for you to touch on that, and I want to dig in and dissect that in a bit more detail here.

Jon Bey: So when we started the company, we built the company around our flagship project, which is the Davidson River project, which is still our flagship; it's got huge home run potential and we can get into that.

But as the years progressed, we continued to add more projects when the market wasn't uranium hot. So we picked up some remarkable targets, specifically our Sun Dog project in the north near Uranium City and then three projects on the eastern side of the Athabasca Basin — our Atlantic, Canary, and Ascent projects. 

Now, over the last two years, we've done two drill programs on Sun Dog and advanced that along. We did all of the geophysics and all of the permitting and all of the First Nations agreements for all three eastern Athabasca Basin projects. So those are the flagships — the five big projects in the company right now.

And then, we've also staked Corvo and Rocas in the last year and a half and we have plans to do some geophysics on those and get those drill-ready for 2025. And then, we staked another few projects. So we have 11 projects currently in the Athabasca Basin; some very early-stage and some that are all drill-ready. 

And I'll say, I think we've made a few announcements already but we're going to be exploring seven of those projects, and five of those have drill programs in 2024. So super exciting time if you're a believer in adding great value to the company with drill programs and making discoveries.

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Gerardo Del Real: That's a lot of drilling. How is that parceled out, Jon, as far as how much of that will be specifically on the 100%-owned flagships and how much of it will be partner-funded essentially, right? Because you're able to do that really nimbly and you do it better than most of the groups out there.

Jon Bey: Yeah, so when we got into this situation about a year and a half, two years ago, we were looking at the space and thinking, ‘Look, our portfolio of projects is getting large and we're not going to be able to fund the exploration work we want to be doing on all of those projects ourselves.’

So we started analyzing the best way to go about creating a sort of hybrid project generator model, that is, getting other companies to spend on our projects. And we pulled the trigger on that last summer and we’ve moved into that model.

And our model is pretty simple. We are going to be the complete operators of all of these projects. So our deals are a combination of the company we work with; they pay us cash and they pay us in shares and they pay us to operate the project. We run it from top to bottom. We actually arrange all of the permits and arrange all of the First Nations agreements. 

So for a JV partner coming in, we have to make sure that they're good people and that they've got a good company and that they have the ability to raise cash and have cash. They show up with those things and then we run everything. So it's a remarkable model.

Now, what are we doing? We've got seven projects being explored this year. We’ve got four projects that are going to be fully-funded by our JV partners. Sun Dog is going to be a C$1.5 million exploration program this year. 

Ascent, Canary, and Atlantic are going to be C$1 million-plus each funded by our JV partners. And our flagship Davidson River project, we're going to run that ourselves. So we're going to fund that 100% on our own and drive that one forward.

Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to a critical, critical and transformational 2024. I have to believe that given the network and the access that you have to quality projects, that you're likely still on the hunt for more. Would that be accurate? Is M&A something that's attractive to the company?

Jon Bey: It's very accurate. So as you can imagine with the market being this hot, our phones are ringing off the hook not only with companies wanting to work on our projects but also companies that have projects that they’re offering to us. 

So look, we have to be very careful that we manage our bandwidth. We've got a team of four geologists in-house that are running everything. So I want to make sure that their plate is busy but not overstretched.

And look, as we continue to grow this company, we are going to be adding more members to our team as well, and not just the average regional generalist geologists. We're specifically hiring uranium-specific geologists with specific experience in Saskatchewan. And Sean Hillacre has a great network of those people. 

We're building a really strong, technical group that works really well together… so adding those key parts. I can say we're getting a lot of inbound calls from other geologists that we know that may not be happy where they currently are and see our team as a great team to be a part of.

Gerardo Del Real: Excited to be a shareholder. Excited for a busy, busy 2024. Anything to add to that, Jon?

Jon Bey: Yeah, I think for investors who are hearing our story for the very first time, it's great to understand that, look, the uranium spot price has moved up significantly. We're seeing the producers’ and the near-term producers’ share prices moving up. 

But those companies that are in the sub-C$30 million market cap area haven't really moved yet. So that is going to happen, I think, later on this year. 

So… find companies that have good projects that are actually going to be doing the work… that have experience with exploration… and find a few that you like and get invested now while the share prices are at a great point to get in.

Gerardo Del Real: Couldn't agree more! Thanks for the update. Look forward to chatting again soon.

Jon Bey: You are welcome. Good talking to you and we'll talk again real soon. Take care, Gerardo.

Gerardo Del Real: Alright, cheers, Jon.

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