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Drilling to Start Mid November at Lo Herma ISR Uranium Project
GTI Energy Ltd (ASX: GTR) (GTI or Company) is pleased to advise that permitting is completed, and bonds are now in place to begin drilling at its 100% owned Lo Herma ISR Uranium Project (Lo Herma) located in Wyoming’s prolific Powder River Basin (Figures 1 & 2). This initial program of up to 26-holes (~15,000 ft or ~4,600 m), will utilise mud rotary drilling and down hole gamma logging.
- Permits and bonds in place for drilling to start mid-November at the Lo Herma ISR Uranium Project in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
- Lo Herma is ~10miles from the US’s largest ISR U3O8 production plant at Cameco’s Smith Ranch-Hyland & ~60 miles from UEC’s Irigaray & Energy Fuels’ Nichols Ranch
- Initial drilling of up to 26 holes (~15,000ft/~4,600m) to validate and upgrade the maiden JORC inferred resource of 5.7Mlbs U3O8 at average grade 630ppm
- Drilling to also target exploration potential along trend in the Wasatch Formation & in the deeper Fort Union Formation which Cameco produces from ~10 miles west.
- New strategic claim staking in progress to grow the Lo Herma project area
- Promising results received from recent aerial geophysical survey at Lo Herma
- Green Mountain aerial geophysics results to be delivered in the coming weeks
View a Web Broadcast supporting this announcement at weblink: www.gtienergy.au/web-broadcast/
GTI has also secured an additional strategic area of 28 lode claims, contiguous with the existing land position at Lo Herma (Figure 2). The new claims contain historical drill holes & hold excellent exploration potential particularly within the under-explored deeper Fort Union formation sands.
Final results from the recent aerial radiometric & magnetic surveys have been received, providing valuable geophysical data for Lo Herma, Green Mountain, & Loki West. At Lo Herma, the radiometric map (Figure 4) confirmed our exploration hypothesis & assists with the characterization of mineralized REDOX trends, previously projected across the property. The suite of aerial geophysical survey products will be invaluable in planning future exploration.
GTI Executive Director & CEO Bruce Lane commented“we are delighted to be heading back into the field for our maiden drill program at Lo Herma. This campaign is designed to verify the large body of historical data used to prepare the Lo Herma JORC inferred resource whilst upgrading & potentially extending that resource. Our near term objective is to build sufficient data from this drilling & a follow-up campaign in 2024, to support a preliminary economic assessment for the project."
LO HERMA URANIUM PROJECT – LOCATION & BACKGROUND
The Lo Herma ISR Uranium Project (Lo Herma) is located in Converse County, Powder River Basin (PRB), Wyoming (WY). The Project lies approximately 15 miles north of the town of Glenrock and close to seven (7) permitted ISR uranium production facilities. These facilities include UEC’s Willow Creek (Irigaray & Christensen Ranch) & Reno Creek ISR plants, Cameco’s Smith Ranch-Highland ISR facilities and Energy Fuels Nichols Ranch ISR plant (Figure 1). The Powder River Basin has extensive ISR uranium production history with numerous defined ISR uranium resources, central processing plants (CPP) & satellite deposits (Figure 1). The Powder River Basin has been the backbone of Wyoming U3O8 production since the 1970s.
FIGURE 1. WYOMING IS URANIUM PROCESSING PLANTS & GTI PROJECT LOCATIONS11 Data sources are detailed on Page 7. ISR uranium deposits and plant locations are approximated. Dewey Burdock is on the South Dakota Border
As reported to ASX on 14 March 2023, a comprehensive historical data package, with an estimated replacement value of ~$15m, was purchased for the Lo Herma project in March of 2023. The data package includes original drill data for roughly 1,771 drill holes, from the 1970’s and 1980’s, pertaining to the Lo Herma region. 1,391 original drill hole logs were digitised for gamma count per second (CPS) data and converted to eU3O8% grades. 845 of the drill holes were located on GTI’s current land position & used to prepare the Mineral Resource Estimate.
An initial exploration target for the Lo Herma project was previously announced to the ASX on 4 April 2023. An additional data package containing previously unavailable drill maps with geologically interpreted redox trends was subsequently secured by GTI as announced to the ASX on 27 June 2023. The additional redox trend interpretations allowed for an update of the previously reported Lo Herma exploration target (Table 1).
TABLE 1: SUMMARY OF INFERRED MRE & EXPLORATION TARGETS
The potential quantity and grade of the Exploration Targets is conceptual in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to estimate a JORC-compliant Mineral Resource Estimate. It is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of a Mineral Resource in the defined exploration target areas.
DRILLING PERMITS APPROVED
Final regulatory approvals have been received to begin drilling at Lo Herma. The initial drilling program is a 26-hole (~15,000ft/~4,600m) campaign to both confirm a subset of historical drill holes as well as explore untested locations and depths. Drilling is expected to average 500 feet with a maximum potential depth of 1,500 feet. Commencement of drilling operations is anticipated to kick off mid-November pending contractor schedules and weather conditions.
Several of the drill holes are sited to target locations for confirmation of the historical drilling data. If conditions allow, the drillers will attempt to recover rock core samples of the mineralized zone for metallurgical testing. In addition to the confirmatory drilling, drill holes have been planned to test the alteration conditions of the host sand units across the property and geologic strata. This will help in further refining the locations of the projected REDOX trends and in improving targets for future exploration. These stratigraphic holes will also bring the benefit of testing the deeper sand units of the Fort Union formation which were historically underexplored.
This initial program is part of a larger permitted campaign totalling 68 holes with the balance of the campaign to be refined & assessed for execution during 2024 subject to results.
ADDITIONS TO LO HERMA LAND POSITION
GTI has secured an area of 28 additional Lode Claims (approximately 566 acres) at Lo Herma. The ground is contiguous with the main claim block at Lo Herma. The potential of this area came to GTI’s attention through further review of the historical drill data package, indicating that this ground is highly prospective for mineralization in deeper sands within the Fort Union formation.
This article includes content from GTI Energy, licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.
Uranium is the main fuel for nuclear reactors. Today, 21 of the 57 new nuclear reactors under construction globally are being built in China. In 2021, billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates announced plans to build a US$4-billion, 345-megawatt nuclear power plant facility in Wyoming, USA. The plant called a Natrium reactor — which is an old term for sodium (salt) –– will use uranium to heat liquid sodium to around 900 degrees fahrenheit (molten salt) to create steam that powers the turbines to generate electricity. The planned plant is supported by Wyoming's Governor Mark Gordon, who believes nuclear plants could provide a market for large reserves of radioactive uranium ore in the state. TerraPower, co-founded by Bill Gates, has partnered with GE-Hitachi and Warren Buffet’s Rocky Mountain Power to fully build the plant.
On March 21, 2023, the US Dept of Energy (DOE) published a “Liftoff Report” advocating a rapid nuclear power build-out plan, even more aggressive than China’s plan to add 13GW annually. The DOE advocates deploying another 200GW of nuclear by 2050 which would drive a massive expansion in demand for Uranium.
Wyoming has the largest uranium reserves of all the US states and is the home of in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium mining, with experimental ISR mining during the early 1960s and commercial ISR mining starting in 1974. The state is an energy powerhouse in the US, second only to Texas in energy production and accounting for more than 80 percent of uranium production in the US. It has a production history that dates back to the late 1940s. With the price of uranium hitting a nine-year high in 2020, many analysts believe the price will remain on the higher end for years to come.
Given these developments, companies exploring for and developing uranium in Wyoming may present an exciting opportunity for investors.GTI Energy (ASX:GTR, OTCQB:GTRIF) is a mineral exploration company focused on developing a portfolio of attractive uranium projects in the United States. The company now boasts approximately 42,000 acres in the prolific Great Divide and Powder River Basins, which are low-cost ISR uranium-producing districts within 100 miles of each other.
In 2022, the company completed an additional 103 mud rotary exploration drill holes to increase the total trend length for GTI’s projects in the Great Divide Basin to 7.5 miles.
The company has also commenced work at its Green Mountain ISR uranium project next to Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO) uranium deposits. GTI has historical drill data confirming the presence of uranium mineralised roll fronts on the properties. In July 2023, the company announced that its aerial geophysics survey data collection phase had been completed using a twin-engine aircraft.
The company is led by a highly experienced management and exploration team with an extensive track record in the mineral exploration industry. GTI’s operational team has proven development and engineering expertise with a history of success in ISR uranium deposit discovery in Wyoming.
In November 2021, the company announced the strategic acquisition of Branka Minerals. The acquisition resulted in GTI controlling the largest non-US or Canadian-owned uranium exploration landholding in the Great Divide Basin, with approximately 21,000 acres. The landholding included underexplored and highly prospective sandstone-hosted uranium properties which are the company’s Wyoming projects today. This holding then grew with the purchase of the 13,800-acre Green Mountain project in 2022.
The company further expanded its ISR uranium portfolio in 2023 by acquiring the Lo Herma Project in Wyoming’s prolific Powder River Basin uranium district. The newly staked 8,000 acres of claims are located within 16 kilometers of Cameco’s Smith Ranch-Highland ISR uranium production plant – the largest production site in Wyoming.
GTI Energy leverages the strategic positioning of its Wyoming projects, which are located near Ur Energy’s (TSX:URE,NYSE:URG) Lost Creek ISR production plant and the now-rehabilitated historic Rio Tinto Kennecott Sweetwater Mill. The Lost Creek plant is claimed by Ur Energy to be the lowest-cost ISR uranium production plant outside of Kazakhstan.
GTI is committed to strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives to support the clean energy transition. In November 2021, the company adopted an internationally recognized Environmental, Social and Governance Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics framework, with 21 core metrics and disclosures.In December 2021, GTI Energy announced it would be transitioning to carbon-neutral operations. The company has applied for a Climate Active Certification
GTI Energy is positioned for growth with the pursuit of ISR mining on its Wyoming projects, presenting an opportunity for low operating expenses and capital expenditures with low environmental impact compared to conventional mining. ISR mining supports the company’s goal of low-impact mining and carbon neutrality on its Wyoming projects.In 2021, the company completed field exploration on its Henry Mountains project in Utah. In the same year, GTI Energy also began a 15,000-meter drill program on its Wyoming projects, concluding the program in early 2022. The drilling confirmed that the targeted ISR-amenable uranium mineralization was present at the Thor project. In 2022, the company completed an additional 103 mud rotary exploration drill holes to increase the total trend length for GTI’s projects in the Basin to 7.5 miles.
- GTI Energy owns multiple promising assets in Wyoming’s prolific and in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium-producing Great Divide and Powder River Basins. Wyoming is the leading US uranium production state and is “uranium-friendly”.
- GTI’s Great Divide Basin projects are strategically located near Ur Energy’s (TSX:URE,NYSE:URG) Lost Creek ISR production plant which has re-commenced production.
- In late February 2023, GTI staked 8,000 acres of ground (the Lo Herma project) in Wyoming within 16 kilometers of Cameco’s $16-billion ISR uranium plant (the largest production site in Wyoming) and 80 kilometers of five permitted ISR uranium production facilities, including Peninsula Energy’s (ASX:PEN) Lance Project – due to recommence production in late 2024.
- Maiden uranium resource and updated exploration target at the Lo Herma ISR project delivered an inferred mineral resource estimate of 5.71 Mlbs uranium oxide at an average 630 ppm plus an exploration target of an additional 5.87 to 10.26 Mlbs potential at average grade of 500 to 700 ppm.
- Updated total resources across its Wyoming projects of 7.37 Mlbs plus an exploration target of an additional 11.97 to 19.79 Mlbs potential at average grade of 500 – 700 ppm.
- In early 2022, the company completed a further 103 mud rotary exploration drill holes to increase the total trend length for GTI’s projects in the Great Divide Basin to 7.5 miles.
- GTI acquired a 1,400 drill hole data set over Lo Herma with a replacement value of AU$15 million. The 161,000 meters of drilling represents about seven times as many holes that GTI has drilled in Wyoming to date.
- GTI aims to utilize ISR mining at its Wyoming projects, which offers lower environmental impact, lower opex and capex than conventional mining.
- GTI Energy has a highly experienced exploration team with a history of successful uranium discovery in Wyoming.