Uranium Energy acquires Paraguay-based titanium project
Shares in junior miner and exploration firm Uranium Energy Corp. (NYSE MKT: UEC) received a boost Monday after it announced it had exercised a previously disclosed option to acquire Paraguay’s CIC Resources.
The deal gives the Texas-based company full ownership of Alto Paraná, an exploration stage titanium project located in the country’s east, about 100 km from capital Ciudad del Este.
While this is the first non-uranium asset the company lays its hands on, the company’s President and CEO Amir Adnani said it was an opportunity to acquire a large, advanced asset within a familiar jurisdiction.
“Leveraging our in-country presence and know-how, we identified a timely and strategic opportunity to consolidate over 70,000 hectares making up the Alto Parana titanium project and its pilot plant for the benefit of UEC shareholders,” he said in the statement.
“We believe UEC would be best served focusing on its core uranium capabilities,’ Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Rob Chang said in a note to clients Monday. However he acknowledged Alto Pará was acquired at a low cost (zero cash outlay), and noted the value of such acquisition “could be recognized in several ways, including future monetization.”
Investors reacted positively to the news and shares were trading hands in New York at $1.68 at 10:12AM EDT. That’s 4.35% higher than their closing price on Friday.
The Alto Pará property covers an area of 70,498 ha of land and is located near Itaupu, the second largest hydro-electric dam in the world.
Titanium can be alloyed with iron, aluminum, vanadium and molybdenum, among other elements, to produce strong, lightweight alloys for aerospace applications (jet engines, missiles, and spacecrafts). Of all the mined and synthetic titanium minerals, only 5% is used to produce titanium metal. The remaining 95% is used to manufacture pure titanium dioxides – a pigment that enhances brightness and opacity in paints and inks, paper, and plastics, and even in food products and cosmetics. It is also the metal used in the body of Apple’s MacBook line, which helps them have such lightweight frame.
The mining sector contributes little to Paraguay’s economy, accounting for only 0.1% of its gross domestic production (GDP). While the South American nation produces limited amounts of iron ore, steel and natural gas, its economy is reliant on agriculture and hydroelectric power.