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Uranium Resources Reports Favorable Lithium Concentrations at the Columbus Basin Project

Feb 22, 2017
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CENTENNIAL, Colo., February 22, 2017Uranium Resources, Inc. (Nasdaq: URRE; ASX: URI), an energy metals development company, reported favorable results from the grid-based geochemical sampling of surface sediments across its lithium holdings at the Columbus Basin Project, Esmerelda County, Nevada. 

Selected highlights of the geochemical sampling program include:

  • Maximum lithium value in surface sediments was 392 parts per million (ppm);
  • Average lithium concentration across a total of 348 grid sample locations was 100.2 ppm; and
  • Lithium concentrations exceeded 200 ppm in 21 sample locations.

This new lithium data supports, and in fact improves upon, the previous reconnaissance-scale sampling within the Columbus Basin Project that yielded lithium concentrations in surface and near surface sediments of up to 176 ppm, and surface and near surface brine samples of up to 124 ppm (see August 23, 2016 news release).  

Chris Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer for URI stated, “These favorable sampling results will be used to assist us in guiding further exploration activities at the Columbus Basin Project.   For 2017, we plan on using gravity and magnetotelluric (MT) geophysical survey data together with our surface sampling data to design and implement an exploration drilling program for later this year”.

Geochemical Sampling Program

The grid-based sampling program was designed by the Company to determine surface sediment geochemistry across the Columbus Basin Project area that will, in turn, allow URI to evaluate spatial trends in the deposition of evaporative minerals.  A total of 348 sample locations were evenly spaced on a grid across the approximately 11,200 acre project area.  Samples were limited to the uppermost 6 inches of surface sediment and were collected by URI technical staff following Company sampling procedures, including detailed location survey data, collection of field duplicates, and appropriate sample security.  Field work was completed in late October 2016. 

All samples were submitted to the ALS Minerals laboratory in Reno, Nevada for analysis by four-acid digestion and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) multi-element analysis.

Quality Assurance / Quality Control

ALS Minerals laboratory of Reno, Nevada maintains ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation and operates under a mature Quality Management System.  Internal laboratory quality control includes both control standards and replicate sample analysis.

URI also submitted 35 sample pulps (representing approximately 10% of the original 348 sample locations), for check assays at American Assay Labs, Inc. of Reno, Nevada (ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited).  The check assays were completed with four-acid digestion and ICP-AES/ICP-MS.  Analysis and comparison of data from both laboratories yielded no significant discrepancies.

About URI’s Columbus Basin Project

The Columbus Basin Project is located within the Columbus Salt Marsh basin of western Nevada, approximately 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of the town of Tonopah, Nevada, 140 miles (227 kilometers) southeast of the city of Reno and 137 miles (221 kilometers) southeast of Tesla Motors’ “Gigafactory”.  The Columbus Basin Project is approximately 27 miles (43 kilometers) northwest of the Clayton Valley/Silver Peak lithium brine operation of Albemarle Corporation, the only lithium brine production facility in the United States.

The Columbus Salt Marsh is a closed drainage basin that covers an area of approximately 370 square miles (960 square kilometers) with a geologic setting that is dominated by lake and basin-fill sediments that have been past sources of borate and salt production. The basin is bounded on its south and east sides by Tertiary-age volcanic rocks, including some that are considered to be potential source rocks for lithium.

The approximately 11,200 acre Columbus Basin Project was acquired through staking in 2016, and is 100% owned by URI through its subsidiaries. URI is presently advancing the project through a series of exploration activities to determine the potential for economic concentrations of lithium within the subsurface brines of the basin.

About Uranium Resources

URI is focused on expanding its energy metals strategy, which includes developing its new lithium business while maintaining optionality on the future rising uranium price.  The Company has developed a dominant land position in two prospective lithium brine basins in Nevada and Utah in preparation for exploration and potential development of any lithium resources that may be discovered there.  In addition, URI remains focused on advancing the Temrezli in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium project in Central Turkey when uranium prices permit economic development of this project. URI controls extensive exploration properties in Turkey under eight exploration and operating licenses covering approximately 39,000 acres (over 13,000 ha) with numerous exploration targets, including the potential satellite Sefaatli Project, which is 30 miles (48 km) southwest of the Temrezli Project. In Texas, the Company has two licensed and currently idled uranium processing facilities and approximately 11,000 acres (4,400 ha) of prospective ISR uranium projects. In New Mexico, the Company controls mineral rights encompassing approximately 186,000 acres (75,300 ha) in the prolific Grants Mineral Belt, which is one of the largest concentrations of sandstone-hosted uranium deposits in the world. Incorporated in 1977, URI also owns an extensive information database of historic drill hole logs, assay certificates, maps and technical reports for uranium properties located in the Western United States.

Cautionary 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 events or developments that the Company expects or anticipates will occur in the future, including but not limited to statements relating to developments at the Company’s projects, including future exploration costs and results, 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, (a) the Company’s ability to raise additional capital in the future; (b) spot price and long-term contract price of uranium and lithium; (c) risks associated with our foreign operations, (d) operating conditions at the Company’s projects; (e) government and tribal regulation of the uranium industry, the lithium industry, and the power industry; (f) world-wide uranium and lithium supply and demand, including the supply and demand for lithium-based batteries; (g) maintaining sufficient financial assurance in the form of sufficiently collateralized surety instruments; (h) unanticipated geological, processing, regulatory and legal or other problems the Company may encounter in the jurisdictions where the Company operates, including in Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Turkey; (i) the ability of the Company to enter into and successfully close acquisitions or other material transactions;  (j) the results, including the geochemical sampling program, of the Company’s lithium brine exploration activities at the Columbus Basin and Sal Rica Projects, and (k) other factors which are more fully described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and other filings 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.

Competent Person’s Statement

Technical information in this news release is based on data reviewed by Matthew Hartmann, who is Director – Technical Services of Uranium Resources, Inc.  Mr. Hartmann is a “Qualified Person” as defined by Canadian National Instrument 43-101, and a “Competent Person” as defined in the 2012 Edition of the “Australasian Code for Reporting Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves” (JORC Code).  He is a Licensed Professional Geologist, and a Registered Member of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (No. 4170350RM).  Mr. Hartmann has appropriate experience that is relevant to the evaluation of the style and nature of mineral deposits relating to this document.  Mr. Hartmann consents to the inclusion in this release of the matters based on their information in the form and context in which they appear.

Uranium Resources Contact:

Christopher M. Jones, President and CEO               Jeff Vigil, VP Finance and CFO
303.531.0472                                                             303.531.0473