VANE Minerals commences drilling, private placement completed
Posted: '09-FEB-07 08:00' GMT © Mineweb 1997-2006
LONDON (Mineweb.com) -- VANE Minerals -- the AIM listed company (ticker symbol VML) that is exploring for and developing gold and sliver properties as well as uranium deposits -- has announced that it has started Breccia pipe drilling on the Miller Pipe in northern Arizona.
VANE is a self-funding company, deriving its cash flow from the high-grade Diablito mine in west-central Mexico operating at 1,500 tonnes per month off a high grade epithermal quartz vein containing economic values of gold and silver, along with sub-economic values of base metals. The diluted milling grade is five grammes per tonne of gold with 700 grammes per tonne of silver giving a cash cost of just $125/tonne.
VANE was founded by the former international exploration team of Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. The team negotiated exclusive access to Freeport's global exploration base, made up of 7,000 plus files generated over nearly 100 years of exploration.
While VANE's original targets were gold and silver in Mexico and Paraguay, the company has built up a portfolio of uranium-bearing assets in the Colorado Plateau Uranium District in the south-western US, along with two properties in South-East Utah that between them have drill indicated resources of 320,000 lb of U3O8; in addition the company has 29 projects in the breccia pipe district of northern Arizona and the Miller Pipe forms one thereof. This district of northern Arizona is relatively new and produced approximately 23 million pounds of U3O8 prior to the fall in the uranium market in the early 1990s.
Breccia pipes are the highest-grade deposit type in the U.S. with average grades of around 1% U3O8 and have been known to contain from one million to more than five million pounds of U3O8. To date, four of the company's properties have been confirmed as pipes, while several others that have been explored are believed to hold pipes while others that have not been drilled are showing surface features similar to breccia pipes that have been mined or that are known to contain uranium resources.
VANE Minerals commenced drilling at the Miller pipe on 27th January and at least three holes are to be drilled to a depth of approximately 1,700 feet in order further to develop the area that was previously identified by Energy Fuels Nuclear in 1986. During that programme one hole drilled by EFN penetrated an 8.1 metres zone that averaged 0.51% U3O8 at a depth extending from 386.8 m to 394.8 m, grading as high as 1.47% U3O8.; another hole graded up to 1.878% over 384 m to 391.8 m.
Meanwhile the specialist uranium investment vehicle, the delightfully named Geiger Counter Ltd., has approached VANE with the result that the company has raised £145,500 (US$285.6 million) by way of a private placing. The new shares amount to 0.7% of the enlarged company, which is currently capitalised at £22 million or US$43 million. The funds will be used to accelerate the exploration and development of the uranium properties, where drilling is planned for the Big Red, Red Dike and Rabbit pipe targets as well as the Miller.
Meanwhile drilling has also commenced at the North Wash project in Utah, with a view to re-assessing the vanadium grade of the deposit, which was no t logged accurately at the time of the previous drilling, as well as to confirm the uranium grades that were previously reported. Five existing holes are to be twinned by rotary drilling at the top of the mineralised zone and then cored through the zone. In Between 1977 and 1979 Cotter Corporation drilling the zone and outlined approximately 150,000 lb of U3O8 at an average grade of 0.22% U3O8 over a thickness of almost .5 metres. The drilling also suggested a vanadium: uranium ratio of 5:1 or better. The mineralisation is open in several directions and the company believes that it has the potential to hold up to one million pounds of U3O8 and five million pounds of vanadium oxide.
VANE has a highly qualified and experienced group of exploration, development and management personnel. AVEN Associates, the U.S. subsidiary of VANE, has four senior geologists, two of whom are directors of VANE Holdings Plc, with cumulative experience in exploration, development and mining of over 150 years. VANE Holdings Plc has two further directors with combined experience in assembling large exploration land positions, raising funds and initiating, organizing and managing start-up ventures.
The company is looking forward to the result of the drilling programme, although an expected date for the first setoff results is not yet in the public domain.