UEC to Acquire Roughrider from Rio Tinto for Total Consideration of $150 million comprised of $80 million in Cash and $70 million in UEC Stock
Cash Portion of the Consideration is Fully Funded with UEC’s $173 million of Cash and Liquid Assets on the Balance Sheet
UEC Welcomes Rio Tinto as a New Shareholder
Roughrider Acquisition Rationale and Highlights:
Uranium Energy Corp (NYSE American: UEC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a definitive agreement with a subsidiary of Rio Tinto plc pursuant to which UEC will acquire 100% of Rio Tinto’s wholly-owned Roughrider uranium development project located in the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Under the terms of the Transaction, upon close, Rio Tinto will receive $80 million in cash and 17,805,815 UEC common shares, valued at $70 million based on the 5-day VWAP of $3.93 per share as of October 7, 2022. The cash component of the Transaction will be fully funded using UEC’s existing balance sheet, which as of October 10, 2022 was over $173 million in cash and liquid assets.
Amir Adnani, President and CEO of UEC, stated: “With this accretive fully funded acquisition of the Roughrider Project, we’re able to achieve multiple objectives: 1) 100% owned, development-stage assets are rare in Canada’s Athabasca basin, and we’re adding a world-class project to anchor our Canadian high-grade conventional business; 2) unlock value from the recently acquired UEX portfolio in the eastern Athabasca Basin as we now have critical mass to advance our production plans; and 3) accelerate production plans for our Canadian high-grade conventional business given the advanced stage of Roughrider and the first-tier ESG, geotechnical and permitting work completed by Rio Tinto since 2012. We thank Rio Tinto for entrusting UEC with the Roughrider Project and welcome them as our new shareholder.”
Mr. Adnani concluded: “Our next steps for Roughrider will be to first complete an updated S-K 1300 technical report summary based on over 650 diamond drillholes already completed for a total of approximately 225,000 meters of drilling on the Project. UEC is currently engaging with consultants to develop a technical report update in the next few months. Second, UEC intends to progress permitting and a production study of Roughrider and optimize its integration with UEC’s existing Canadian platform. The acquisition builds on our strategic objective to create the leading Western supplier of secure and 100% unhedged uranium with a two-pronged platform: 1) near-term, fully permitted and low-cost US ISR production; and 2) a Canadian high-grade conventional pipeline.”
|1.||Subject to the completion of an S-K 1300 technical report summary by UEC after closing.|
|2.||World Nuclear Association – World Uranium Mining Production and Largest Producing Uranium Mines in 2021.|
|3.||Cameco Corporation 2021 ESG Report, SaskPower System Map accessible at https://www.saskpower.com|
|4.||Saskatchewan Environment Publication 2013-014, “Rio Tinto – Roughrider Advanced Exploration Program”, accessible at http://www.environment.gov.sk.ca/2013-014EISMainDoc|
About the Roughrider Uranium Project
The Roughrider Project is a development stage, conventional uranium project located in the eastern Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan, Canada; one of the world’s premier uranium mining jurisdictions. The Project is located approximately 13 km west of Orano’s McClean Lake Mill, in close proximity to UEC’s existing Athabasca Basin properties, and covers an area of 597 hectares. The Roughrider West Zone was discovered by Hathor Exploration Ltd. during the winter drilling program in February 2008.
The Project’s geology is well understood due to the extensive study and drilling campaigns completed by Rio Tinto and Hathor. Hathor completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment, effective September 13, 2011 (1), which included the Roughrider East Zone and Roughrider West Zone and contemplated a conventional mining method. The Historic Roughrider Technical Report is not being treated as current by the Company.
The Historic Roughrider Technical Report included the following historic NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimates:
|(a)||for the Roughrider West Zone, an indicated resource of 17.21 Mlbs of U3O8 (0.39 million tonnes at an average grade of 1.98% U3O8) and an inferred resource of 10.60 Mlbs of U3O8 (0.04 million tonnes at an average grade of 11.03% U3O8); and|
|(b)||for the Roughrider East Zone, an inferred resource of 30.13 Mlbs of U3O8 (0.12 million tonnes at an average grade of 11.58% U3O8).|
The 2011 Historic Roughrider Technical Report resource statement did not include the Far East Zone of the deposit, which may represent additional geological upside. Rio Tinto has not disclosed any updated resource or reserve estimates for the Project.
The Company is treating the Historic Roughrider Technical Report and the mineral resource estimate therein as historical in nature and notes that a Qualified Person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimates as current mineral resources. There are no other recent estimates or data available for the Roughrider Project. The Company is disclosing the estimates contained in the Historic Roughrider Technical Report for illustrative purposes and to provide readers with relevant information regarding the Roughrider Project. There are numerous uncertainties inherent in historical estimates, which are subject to all the assumptions, parameters and methods used to prepare such estimates, and while the reliability of the historical estimates is considered reasonable, a Qualified Person has not done sufficient work to allow UEC to classify the historical estimates as a current mineral resource.
Rio Tinto continued to advance the Project after its acquisition of Hathor. In July 2013, Rio Tinto submitted a 101-page Advanced Exploration Program proposal for consideration to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment.(2) The program was intended to initiate an Environmental Impact Assessment review of the program, with the program intended to provide direct data related to the ore and mine development design. The proposal involved establishment of an upgraded access road, development of an exploration shaft, exploration drifts, operation of a water treatment facility, additional surface support structures and temporary surface storage of both development rock and low-grade waste. A substantial amount of EIA baseline work and community engagement were included in the work submission. The application was accepted, and the project was approved to begin the EIA review process, but no official determination was completed. Rio Tinto subsequently upgraded the access road but did not proceed with the remainder of the proposed program.
|1.||NI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment Technical Report on the East and West Zones Roughrider Uranium Project, Saskatchewan (effective date of September 13, 2011); a copy of which is available under Hathor’s profile on SEDAR. These resources are reported in accordance with the CIM Definition Standards.|
|2.||Saskatchewan Environment Publication 2013-2014, “Rio Tinto – Roughrider Advanced Exploration Program”, accessible at http://www.environment.gov.sk.ca/2013-014EISMainDoc.|
The technical information in this news release has been reviewed by Clyde L. Yancey, P.G., Vice President-Exploration for the Company, being a Qualified Person under Item 1302 of Regulation S-K.
Transaction Conditions & Timing
The Transaction is subject to closing conditions customary for a transaction of this nature, with closing expected to occur before month end.
Advisors and Counsel
Rothschild & Co and BMO Capital Markets are acting as financial advisor to UEC in connection with the Transaction. McMillan LLP is acting as legal advisor to UEC.
About Uranium Energy Corp
Uranium Energy Corp is the fastest growing supplier of the fuel for green energy transition to a low carbon future. UEC is the largest, diversified North American focused uranium company, advancing the next generation of low-cost, environmentally friendly In-Situ Recovery (ISR) mining uranium projects in the United States and high-grade conventional projects in Canada. The Company has two production-ready ISR hub and spoke platforms in South Texas and Wyoming, anchored by fully licensed and operational central processing plants. UEC also has seven U.S. ISR uranium projects with all their major permits in place. Additionally, the Company has diversified uranium holdings including: (1) one of the largest physical uranium portfolios of U.S. warehoused U3O8; (2) a major equity stake in Uranium Royalty Corp., the only royalty company in the sector; and (3) a pipeline of resource stage uranium projects. The Company’s operations are managed by professionals with decades of hands-on experience in the key facets of uranium exploration, development, and mining.
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