|Strathmore Minerals Corp.: 2009 Year End Review; New Mexico and Wyoming Uranium Projects and 2010 Outlook|
Wed Feb 17, 4:01 PM
KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2010) - Strathmore Minerals Corp. (TSX VENTURE: STM.V) ("Strathmore" or "the Company") is pleased to update shareholders with a year-end review of the Company's activities for 2009 and outlook for 2010. Strathmore's primary goal is to become a leading uranium producer in the United States, where it holds an extensive and diverse portfolio of advanced projects. In 2009, primary focus continued at Roca Honda in New Mexico, and the Gas Hills and Pine Tree-Reno Creek properties in Wyoming. With the planned sale of the Pine Tree-Reno Creek properties expected to close in early 2010, the Company will refocus this year's permitting efforts on the remaining two core uranium development projects: Roca Honda in New Mexico and the Gas Hills in Wyoming. In addition, Strathmore is continuing with its plan to monetize or joint venture non-core projects. Discussions are continuing.
Key Highlights for 2009
- At the Company's flagship Roca Honda project in New Mexico, which is joint ventured with Sumitomo Corp of Japan, the Mine Operations and Mine Water Discharge Plan permit applications were submitted to state and federal regulatory agencies, on schedule and under budget. These applications were deemed "administratively complete" and accepted for technical review. The mine permit application submission represents a major milestone for the Company, which began permitting Roca Honda in 2006 (see news releases dated October 27 and December 2, 2009).
- In the Gas Hills Uranium District Wyoming, the Company continued collecting baseline environmental data as part of its ongoing permitting efforts at the George-Ver deposit, the first in a series of deposits planned for sequential development. Additional permitting work was carried out at Day Loma and Rock Hill.
- A revised formal agreement to sell the Pine Tree-Reno Creek uranium properties in Wyoming to Bayswater Uranium Corporation for US$17.5 million in cash, US$ 2.5 million in Bayswater common shares, and a 5% production royalty was signed. The sale is expected to close by April 6, 2010 (see news release dated January 7, 2010).
- Seven state uranium minerals leases near Oshoto in northeastern Wyoming were sold to Peninsula Minerals Corp of Australia for 5,000,000 common shares of Peninsula (see news release dated August 25, 2009).
- NI 43-101 compliant technical reports for portions of both Nose Rock and Dalton Pass properties, in New Mexico were completed and SEDAR filed (see news release dated (March 19, 2009).
Outlook For 2010
The following summary reviews ongoing work programs and plans for 2010. A list of all Strathmore's uranium properties and resources can be found on the Company's website www.strathmoreminerals.com/s/ResourceTable.asp.
Core Projects in New Mexico & Wyoming
Roca Honda, N.M. (Roca Honda Resources LLC Joint Venture: Strathmore 60%/Sumitomo 40%)
- The Roca Honda deposit, which is one of the largest undeveloped uranium deposits in the USA, has been the primary focus of the Company's permitting activities in New Mexico. In 2010, the Joint Venture plans to commission a Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS). In addition, an accompanying BFS of the mill processing and tailing facilities will be awarded late in 2010. Ongoing permitting activities including: baseline environmental monitoring and sampling, metallurgical studies, mine planning, reclamation planning, and mill design studies will continue.
- The Company is preparing for forthcoming technical and public review proceedings as part of the Mine Operations permit and Discharge Plan approval process administered by the New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department, Mining and Minerals Division (MMD) and New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). In addition, the U.S. Forest Service, the primary federal agency responsible for permitting Roca Honda, will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project.
- The Company will commence the required environmental baseline field programs at its Pena Ranch property in support of preparing a uranium mill operating license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to process the ore from Roca Honda.
Gas Hills, WY
- In 2010, the Gas Hills Uranium District will continue to be the Company's primary focus in Wyoming. Strathmore is the dominant land holder with over 33,000 acres. Long-term plans are for the permitting and sequential development of several open pit deposits over the next several years with the George-Ver pit planned for initial development.
- The Company will continue mine permitting activities at George Ver including: groundwater quality monitoring, exploration and pit delineation drilling, engineering design of the open pits, and preparation of NI 43-101 reports. In addition, the Company plans preliminary assessment of a mill site to determine if permitting activities towards receipt of a mill permit and source materials license should proceed.
- Strathmore is reviewing exploration plans for the highly prospective, unexplored portion of the Gas Hills, known as "Beaver Rim", located south of the designed open pit deposits. Historical drill logs show indications of up to 5 uranium roll fronts lying beneath the Company's claims, which total approx. 16,000 acres. Exploration drilling may begin later in the year, should budgeting permit.
Development Project Pipeline: New Mexico, Wyoming & South Dakota
Pine Tree-Reno Creek, WY
- On August 24, 2009, Strathmore announced the sale of its Pine Tree-Reno Creek properties to Bayswater Uranium Corporation for US$30 million cash. The terms of the agreement were subsequently amended on December 9, 2009 with an expected year-end closing. Shortly thereafter, Strathmore received a competing offer from a foreign based corporation. Bayswater elected to meet the terms of the superior offer and has until April 6, 2010, to complete the transaction. The revised terms include a US$17.5 million cash payment and issuance of $2.5 million in common shares of Bayswater. Strathmore retains a 5% production royalty that can be purchased by Bayswater for cash and common shares to a maximum US$10 million.
- The Company plans to complete a NI 43-101 technical report and resource estimate. The historical estimate totals 9,362,000 lbs U3O8 contained within 2,754,000 tons grading 0.17% U3O8(ii).
Church Rock, N.M.
- The Tenth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals heard "en banc" arguments by Uranium Resources Inc. in January 2010 regarding the "Indian Country" issues at their uranium In-Situ Recovery Project at Church Rock. A decision from the court may be forthcoming in 2010. Strathmore is continuing to monitor developments in this legal case to determine the best path forward for the Church Rock project.
Copper Mountain, WY
- During an internal review it was discovered that the historical resource estimate reported (Not NI 43-101 compliant) for the Copper Mountain project is not accurate, and that the Company's portion of the estimated resource may be approximately 60-70% of the reported total. As Copper Mountain is a non-core project that has not received any development expenditures in the past several years, nor are any planned for 2010, this finding is not expected to have a significant change in the business, operations, or capital of the Company. A revision to the historical estimate is forthcoming.
- The Letter of Intent granting Great Bear Uranium Corp an option to acquire a 100% interest in the Chord property expired unexercised on September 30, 2009.
In January, the Company closed an $8.38 million common share unit private placement (see news release dated January 20, 2010). Proceeds will be used to advance the ongoing permitting and feasibility activities at the Roca Honda and Gas Hills properties. With the additional funds expected from the pending sale of the Pine Tree-Reno Creek properties, the Company will be well positioned for the future.
STRATHMORE MINERALS CORP. is a Canadian based resource company specializing in the strategic acquisition, exploration and development of advanced uranium properties in the United States. Headquartered in Kelowna, British Columbia, the Company also has U.S. based Development Offices in Riverton, Wyoming and Santa Fe, New Mexico. STRATHMORE MINERALS CORP. Common Shares are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "STM".
(ii) The historical resource estimate shown for the Marquez deposit was completed prior to the implementation of the NI 43-101 requirement. Given the quality of the historic work completed, the Company believes the resource estimates to be both relevant and reliable. However, a qualified person has not completed sufficient work to classify these historic mineral resources as current mineral resources; and is not treating the historic resources as current. Hence, they should not be relied upon. It should be noted that mineral resources which are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. Technical information has been prepared in accordance with the Canadian regulatory requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101 and reviewed by David Miller, Chief Executive Officer for Strathmore Minerals Corp., a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101.
This news release contains "forward-looking information" that is based on Strathmore Minerals Corp.'s current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections. This forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements with respect to Strathmore's exploration and development plans, outlook and business strategy. The words "may", "would", "could", "should", "will", "likely", "expect", "anticipate", "intend", "estimate", "plan", "forecast", "project" and "believe" or other similar words and phrases are intended to identify forward-looking information.
Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Strathmore's actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such factors include, but are not limited to: uncertainties related to the historical resource estimates, the work expenditure commitments; the ability to raise sufficient capital to fund future exploration or development programs; changes in economic conditions or financial markets; changes in input prices; litigation; legislative, environmental and other judicial, regulatory, political and competitive developments; technological or operational difficulties or an inability to obtain permits required in connection with maintaining, or advancing, the Company's various projects; and labour relations matters.
This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect our forward-looking information. These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking information. Strathmore Minerals Corp. disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
David Miller, CEO
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Strathmore Minerals Corp.