Uranium explorer and developer Neo Energy Metals marked its first day on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the stock down 18% in early morning trading.
The company, which started trading under the ticker NEO, has an earn-in option to increase its interest in the Henkries uranium project in South Africa to 70%. The asset, Neo Energy says, holds the promise of becoming a low-cost mine. The remaining 30% held by Wavecrest Investments.
Neo Energy Metals raised £4.9 million ($6m) as part of a reverse takeover through share subscriptions and a placing at 0.0125 pound apiece, leading to a market capitalization of £15 million ($18m), it said.
“Our listing on the London Stock Exchange today marks a very exciting milestone for Neo Energy, in both our development as well as our future growth plans as we focus on building a position as a key supplier of uranium to support increasing world demand, which remains significant due to constrained supply,” non-executive chairman Jason Brewer said in a separate release.
The Kenya-based company says that Henkries, which holds a current estimated mineral resource of 4.7 million pounds of uranium, has a vast potential as less than 10% of prospective ground has been fully tested to date.
Neo Energy noted that more than $30 million has been spent on the asset by companies including Anglo American, Niger Uranium and Namakwa Uranium. Historical exploration has already been carried out drilling, test-pitting, metallurgical analysis and some pilot plant work.
The company’s next steps include increasing the project’s mineral resources and updating the initial feasibility study, completed by Anglo American, ahead of making a development decision within two years.
It also plans to explore for minerals considered key to the global de-carbonization drive, including lithium, graphite, copper, lead, and zinc, “should they occur on properties under investigation.”
Neo Energy’s public listing comes at a time of high uranium prices, which are fuelling an ongoing rally in the stocks of uranium miners, including Cameco (TSX: CCO)(NYSE: CCJ).
Producers agree that the geopolitical uncertainty brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has intensified supply concerns, lifting prices.
“We have joined the market at an opportune time,” chief executive Sean Heathcote said. “With circa 10% of the world’s power generation coming from nuclear, rising to almost 20% in advanced economies, current inventories are being depleted and no new deposits are being put into production.”
Uranium is now trading at its highest in more than a decade after scaling $70 a pound in October, while spending on exploration saw a more than $35 million bump in this year’s budgets.