VANE Minerals plc (AIM:VML)
("VANE" or the "Company")
Uranium operations update
VANE is pleased to announce an operational update on its uranium operations in northern Arizona.
· Agreement reached with Uranium One ("U1") regarding the transfer of the Wate Project to VANE management control (ownership remains 50:50), thus allowing VANE to advance the pre-development work
· Limited drilling planned on uranium exploration targets in 2012: funding focussed on VANE's copper exploration programme
· Legal proceedings initiated against the U.S. Department of Interior with regard to the withdrawal of federal lands in northern Arizona
Commenting today, David Newton, CEO of VANE said: "This agreement allows VANE to control the development of the Wate Project, which we believe has already been shown to be extremely promising. The legal proceedings launched aim to protect VANE's interests, but the focus of our funding programme remains firmly on our copper exploration programme."
Background to the Wate Project
The Wate Project has a NI 43-101 compliant resource of 1.118m lbs eU3O8 at an average grade of 0.79% eU3O8.
Ownership of the project is 50:50 between VANE and U1 and will remain 50:50 assuming that all development costs are split equally between the parties.
The original Joint Venture agreement stated that VANE would manage the exploration stage of the project, but that on proving a NI 43-101 compliant resource of at least 1 million lbs eU3O8, U1 would take over the management of the project for the pre-development and development stages as the project is advanced towards production.
VANE and U1 have now agreed that the management of the pre-development and development stages of this project will be transferred to VANE with immediate effect. Further information on how this project develops will be announced at the appropriate time.
The resource at Wate was defined by drilling from surface. Historically, uranium resources in breccia pipes have typically increased two to three times once final definition drilling is completed from underground development.
VANE has joined legal proceedings with the National Mining Association and Nuclear Energy Institute against the U.S. Department of Interior ("DOI") seeking compensation for the damages that the Company sustained by the withdrawal by the DOI of over one million acres of federal lands in northern Arizona. The withdrawal prevents the Company from carrying out activities on its 678 mining claims, including claims held by its joint venture with U1, on which the Company has invested several years and several million dollars in an effort to develop uranium reserves to the benefit of the U.S. as well as to increase shareholder value. Development of hard-rock minerals has long been undertaken through the unpatented mining claim system, which is the only avenue to obtain, control, and protect rights to develop hard-rock minerals on federal lands in the U.S. and has been and continues to be used extensively by corporations and individuals. The Company followed established precedence in investing in its mining claims and was unaware that the DOI might take these lands without warning and without compensation for VANE's investment.
There have been four related lawsuits filed against the DOI. These lawsuits laid the groundwork whereby VANE can participate at low cost without impacting VANE's overall exploration programme. The Company previously notified investors of the impact of the withdrawal and changed its emphasis to state lands which are unaffected by the withdrawal. The Company provides details on the withdrawal issue on its website www.vaneminerals.com and will update investors as the legal proceedings progress.
Kristopher K. Hefton, BSc Geology, Chief Operating Officer VANE Minerals plc, who meets the criteria of a qualified person under the AIM Rules - Guidance for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies, has reviewed and approved the technical information contained within this announcement. VANE Minerals, as operator of the project, is responsible for the contents of this press release.
For further information, please contact:
VANE Minerals Plc
+44 (0) 20 7667 6322
CEO VANE Minerals plc
Allenby Capital (Nominated Adviser & Joint Broker)
Jeremy Porter/Alex Price
Northland Capital Markets (Joint Broker)
+44 (0) 203328 5656
+44 (0) 20 7796 8821
+44 (0) 20 7367 8888
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