Uranium Resources, Inc. provides third quarter 2011 update
LEWISVILLE, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Uranium Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ: URRE) (URI), today provided an update on the Company’s activities and its liquidity position for the third quarter of 2011 as well as its strategy and outlook.
Texas Exploration and Reclamation Activities Ongoing
URI’s objectives in Texas are to explore for and develop a larger reserve base, advance current properties through licensing and permitting, lease additional targeted properties, prepare its processing facilities and holding ponds for production, and work with its customers to redefine the terms of its sales agreements to enable better margins and greater likelihood of returning to production in Texas. In addition, the Company continues to demonstrate its capabilities for restoring properties after production.
Los Finados Exploration Project Update
- URI and Cameco Texas, Inc. (“CTI”), a subsidiary of Power Resources, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Cameco (NYSE: CCJ), are near completion of Phase I of a three-phase, three-year exploration program in Kenedy County, Texas. This phase commenced in June 2011 and is expected to be completed in November 2011.
- Phase I exploratory work used a widely and evenly spaced drilling program covering a grid designed to test the potential for uranium mineralization over an approximate 54,000 acre area. Specifically, the objective is to identify oxidation-reduction interfaces within the wide-spaced drilling. As of October 31, 2011, a total of 16 holes have been drilled at an average depth of 1,300 feet each for a total cost of approximately $0.9 million. CTI will have earned a 40% interest in the project at the completion of Phase I, which requires a $1.0 million investment in exploration.
- CTI has 60 days from the completion of Phase I to opt into Phase II to earn an additional 10% interest in Los Finados. This phase requires an additional $1.5 million investment in the exploration program by CTI. URI must notify KMF, the property owner, by November 25, 2011, of its intent to commit an additional $1.5 million in exploration activities in order to maintain the property lease.
Don Ewigleben, President and CEO of URI, commented, “Challenging drilling conditions, coupled with higher equipment costs due to increased industry demand, caused Phase I expenses to be higher than anticipated. This resulted in fewer than desired drilled holes and about two additional months of exploration time. Nonetheless, we remain encouraged with the properties potential and we are currently in discussions with CTI on the potential start date of Phase II work.”
Texas Reclamation Activities
- The Company has focused on reclamation activities in Texas since its two remaining operating wellfields were fully depleted in June 2009. URI has processed nearly 4 billion gallons of water associated with all of its restoration activities through the end of the third quarter.
- Restoration has been completed and production areas PA1 and PA2 are moving to stabilization at Kingsville Dome (KVD). Further along in the process are Rosita PA1 and PA2 wellfields. Restoration results for these wellfields have been reviewed by the Texas regulatory agencies. We expect to achieve final closure on these areas by the third quarter of 2012. Restoration activities continue at KVD PA3 and Vasquez PA1 and PA2.
Feasibility Study Progressing in New Mexico
URI’s focus in New Mexico is on the completion of its feasibility study by the end of 2011 to determine the options available to advance its Churchrock/Crownpoint project.
Mr. Ewigleben noted, “The feasibility study originally was commissioned to evaluate all of our properties, including our conventional assets. Given the complexity of the study, the various scenarios available, and the need to accelerate our engineering activities in order to stay on target, our focus for the near-term has shifted to our priority production property at Churchrock Section 8 and the Crownpoint processing facility. At section 8, we have 6.5 million pounds of in-place mineralized uranium material under our recently reactivated underground injection control permit and NRC license. We own a total of 27.4 million pounds of in-place mineralized uranium material that are covered by the NRC license, inclusive of the uranium mineralization at Section 8. We expect to have the various scenarios completed by year end so that we can evaluate the best option for advancing to production in the most cost effective manner. We should be in a position during the first quarter of 2012 to review our evaluation of the options and decisions on the project.”
- The Company continues to target production in 2013. Production will be dependent upon availability of financing, the speed of construction activities, and access to required capital equipment.
- In June 2011, URI received confirmation from the New Mexico Environment Department (“NMED”) that its discharge plan is in timely renewal and that the NMED is currently conducting technical review of its renewal application. Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (“ENDAUM”), the intervener group that has been a party to much of the New Mexico based litigation filed against the Company in the past, filed on July 15, 2011, a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against the New Mexico Environment Department (“NMED”). ENDAUM’s complaint claims NMED has no authority to allow the Company to conduct in situ leach uranium mining operations at its Churchrock Section 8 property under its existing discharge permit while the permit is in timely renewal. A hearing for summary judgment on the filing is scheduled for March 8, 2012, and a hearing in the Motion for Preliminary Injunction seeking to prevent NMED from allowing HRI to conduct any discharges on the Churchrock Section 8 property prior to NMED making a determination to grant a new discharge permit application is scheduled for April 2, 2012. The Company has intervened in this case and is actively defending our rights in the matter.
- On October 18, 2011, URI announced that the NRC reactivated its Source Materials License to conduct in-situ recovery uranium mining in McKinley County, New Mexico. The reactivation effectively allows for the production of up to 1 million pounds per year from Churchrock Section 8 until a successful commercial demonstration of restoration is made, after which mining on other properties can begin and the quantity of production can be increased to 3 million pounds per year. URI is the only uranium company in New Mexico that possesses an NRC license authorizing current or new production. URI has 27.4 million pounds of in place mineralized uranium material under its License.
- The outcome of the engineering and economic analysis is a bankable feasibility study that can be used for the consideration of debt financing of the project as well as other alternatives to include strategic partners.
Liquidity Position and Flexible Financing Tool: At-the-Market Stock Sales Agreement
Cash at September 30, 2011, was $5.4 million compared with $8.2 million at June 30, 2011, and $11.1 million at March 31, 2011. The decrease from the sequential second quarter reflects ongoing reclamation activities in Texas, the costs associated with the feasibility study, and $500,000 of funding to collateralize URI’s financial surety obligations. URI’s cash balance at October 31, 2011, was $4.3 million.
On October 28, 2011, URI entered into an At-The-Market Sales Agreement with BTIG, LLC, allowing it to sell from time to time, its common shares having an aggregate offering price of up to $15.0 million, through an “at-the-market” equity offering program.
Mr. Ewigleben concluded, “The ATM provides us a low cost, flexible financing tool that we can use as needed to fund our ongoing feasibility study, extended engineering requirements for the study, as well as to support our corporate development efforts. We continue to pursue opportunities to expand our uranium assets in New Mexico and Texas, focusing on opportunities that will provide advantage to us when we return to production in Texas and move toward production in New Mexico.”
Teleconference and Webcast
URI is hosting a conference call and webcast today at 11:00 a.m. ET. During the call, management will provide an update on URI’s strategies, outlook, and progress in advancing its Texas and New Mexico properties. A question-and-answer session will follow.
The URI conference call can be accessed by dialing (201) 689-8471. The live listen-only audio webcast can be monitored on the Company’s website at www.uraniumresources.com, where it will be archived afterwards. A transcript will also be placed on the Company’s website, once available.
To listen to the archived call, dial (858) 384-5517, and enter replay pin number 380578. The replay will be available from 2:00 p.m. ET the day of the teleconference until 11:59 p.m. ET Monday, November 21, 2011.
About Uranium Resources, Inc.
Uranium Resources Inc. explores for, develops and mines uranium. Since its incorporation in 1977, URI has produced over 8 million pounds of uranium by in-situ recovery (ISR) methods in the state of Texas where the Company currently has ISR mining projects. URI also has 183,000 acres of uranium mineral holdings and 101.4 million pounds of in-place mineralized uranium material in New Mexico and a NRC license to produce up to 1 million pounds of uranium per year. The Company acquired these properties over the past 20 years along with an extensive information database of historic mining logs and analysis. None of URI’s properties is currently in production.
URI’s strategy is to fully exploit its resource base in New Mexico and Texas, expand its asset base both within and outside of New Mexico and Texas, partner with larger mining companies that have undeveloped uranium or with junior mining companies that do not have the mining experience of URI, as well as provide restoration expertise to those that require the capability or lack the proficiency.
Uranium Resources routinely posts news and other information about the Company on its Web site at www.uraniumresources.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions and are identified by words such as “expects,” “estimates,” “projects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” and other similar words. All statements addressing operating performance, events, or developments that the Company expects or anticipates will occur in the future, including but not limited to statements relating to the Company’s mineralized uranium materials, timing of receipt of mining permits, production capacity of mining operations planned for properties in South Texas and New Mexico, planned dates for commencement of production at such properties, revenue, cash generation and profits are forward-looking statements. Because they are forward-looking, they should be evaluated in light of important risk factors and uncertainties. These risk factors and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the spot price and long-term contract price of uranium, weather conditions, operating conditions at the Company’s mining projects, government regulation of the mining industry and the nuclear power industry, world-wide uranium supply and demand, availability of capital, timely receipt of mining and other permits from regulatory agents and other factors which are more fully described in the Company’s documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should any of the Company’s underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those currently anticipated. In addition, undue reliance should not be placed on the Company’s forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, the Company disclaims any obligation to update or publicly announce any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements contained in this news release.
|URANIUM RESOURCES, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||5,414,726||$||15,386,472|
|Prepaid and other current assets||260,676||179,231|
|Total current assets||5,968,467||15,611,947|
|Property, plant and equipment, at cost:|
|Other property, plant and equipment||868,186||905,511|
|Less-accumulated depreciation, depletion and impairment||(64,643,545||)||(64,282,888||)|
|Net property, plant and equipment||18,913,650||19,612,202|
|Certificates of deposit, restricted||8,862,491||7,337,366|
|Current portion of asset retirement obligations||1,177,951||1,239,588|
|Royalties and commissions payable||665,745||665,745|
|Accrued legal settlement||—||1,375,000|
|Accrued interest and other accrued liabilities||374,732||348,269|
|Current portion of capital leases||64,482||83,183|
|Total current liabilities||3,459,778||5,011,003|
|Asset retirement obligations||3,637,683||3,804,057|
|Other long-term deferred credits||500,000||500,000|
|Long term capital leases, less current portion||71,028||119,588|
|Long-term debt, less current portion||450,000||450,000|
|Commitments and contingencies (Notes 4 and 9)|
|Common stock, $.001 par value, shares authorized: 200,000,000; shares issued and outstanding (net of treasury shares): 2011—93,528,362; 2010—92,430,306||93,566||92,468|
|Less: Treasury stock (38,125 shares), at cost||(9,418||)||(9,418||)|
|Total shareholders’ equity||25,626,119||32,676,867|
|URANIUM RESOURCES, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
|Three Months Ended
|Nine Months Ended
|Costs and expenses:|
|Cost of uranium sales|
|Accretion/amortization of asset retirement obligations||26,543||39,143||95,562||116,431|
|Depreciation and depletion||145,193||186,603||476,375||576,449|
|Impairment of uranium properties||493,568||352,631||1,081,666||742,278|
|Total cost of uranium sales||773,241||645,637||2,235,336||1,733,453|
|Loss from operations before corporate expenses||(773,241||)||(645,637||)||(2,235,336||)||(1,733,453||)|
|General and administrative||2,022,139||1,674,030||6,289,557||4,852,642|
|Provision for legal settlement||—||1,375,000||—||1,375,000|
|Total corporate expenses||2,053,856||3,085,361||6,389,940||6,335,223|
|Loss from operations||(2,827,097||)||(3,730,998||)||(8,625,276||)||(8,068,676||)|
|Other income (expense):|
|Interest and other income, net||44,246||74,114||133,856||353,919|
|Net loss per common share:|
|Weighted average common shares and common equivalent shares per share data:|
|URANIUM RESOURCES, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
|Nine Months Ended
|Reconciliation of net loss to cash used in by operations—|
|Accretion/amortization of asset retirement obligations||95,562||116,431|
|Depreciation and depletion||576,758||684,030|
|Impairment of uranium properties||1,081,666||742,278|
|Decrease in restoration and reclamation accrual||(1,170,956||)||(1,072,148||)|
|Stock compensation expense||737,300||795,743|
|Other non-cash items, net||2,289||14,858|
|Effect of changes in operating working capital items—|
|(Increase) decrease in receivables||(246,821||)||59,288|
|Decrease in prepaid and other current assets||(81,445||)||(157,877||)|
|(Increase) decrease in payables, accrued liabilities and deferred credits||(773,860||)||1,349,191|
|Net cash used in operations||(8,285,927||)||(5,201,393||)|
|Increase in certificates of deposit, restricted||(1,525,125||)||(41,795||)|
|Additions to property, plant and equipment—|
|Section 13 Drilling||(17,805||)||(89,882||)|
|Proceeds from joint venture agreement||300,000||—|
|Net cash used in investing activities||(1,639,903||)||(498,693||)|
|Payments on borrowings||(67,261||)||(90,419||)|
|Issuance of common stock, net||21,345||10,203,626|
|Net cash provide by (used in) financing activities||(45,916||)||10,113,207|
|Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents||(9,971,746||)||4,413,121|
|Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period||15,386,472||6,092,068|
|Cash and cash equivalents, end of period||$||5,414,726||$||10,505,189|
|Issuance of common stock in settlement of deferred compensation||$||697,027||$||—|
|Issuance of restricted stock to employees and directors||$||176||$||302|