Investors dump lone US oil sands developer

US Oil Sands (TSX-V:USO) gave up 20% on Thursday on nine times its usual trading volumes despite the lack of fresh news from the company.

By late afternoon the explorer and developer was trading down 20% at $0.12, off its worst levels for the day.

The $34 million company is showing heavy losses for 2012 – it is down 40% year to date and is worth 56% less on the Toronto venture market than this time last year.

The Calgary-based company has a 100% interest in bitumen leases covering 32,005 acres of land in Utah's Uinta basin.

In May the company increased the size of its private placing to $11 million at a price per share of $0.18, which US Oil Sands said will be used to initiate construction at its PR Spring project, the first commercial oil sands extraction project in the US.

The PR Spring project is on-target for completion and start-up in the final quarter of next year. The company uses a modular construction method allowing for rapid construction in 2,000 barrel per day phases.

The initial 2,000 barrels per day facility is expected to cost $30 million to construct, while subsequent phases could be added at a cost of $25 million, US Oil Sands said, adding that it is looking for partners on the project.