Rose Petroleum plc

Appointment of Chief Operating Officer and 2010 Operational Strategy


Appointment of Chief Operating Officer and 2010 Operational Strategy

  • Head of uranium division, Kris Hefton, promoted to group COO
    • Responsible for all operational and technical activities for uranium exploration (USA), silver/gold production (Mexico), copper exploration (USA)
    • Previously head of VANE uranium division
    • Appointment follows achievements developing US uranium portfolio
    • Appointed to the State of Arizona House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Mining Regulations - member representing energy minerals.
  • Operational Priorities for 2010:
  • Uranium (USA): Progress Uranium One JV with an emphasis on properties located on State Lands, together with recently acquired Coyote Basin towards audited resources/mine development;
    • Wate breccia pipe: complete pre-feasibility study and submit Mineral Lease application (South Arizona Strip)
    • Further drilling to advance Tank 4½ and Miller projects which contain ore grade mineralization (+1% eU3O8) and are on State Lands (South Arizona Strip)
    • Generate and test the most prospective high-grade breccia pipe targets (South Arizona Strip) and continue with ongoing programmes
    • Coyote Basin, Colorado - uranium/lignite asset. Confirmation drilling of historic high-grade mineralization and conduct metallurgical test work
  • Gold/silver (Mexico)
    • Targeted production 200,000 oz Ag and 2,000 oz Au
  • Porphyry Copper exploration(USA)
    • Exploration drilling at Lordsburg project, New Mexico, and generate further targets through access to Freeport-McMoRan exploration database.
Steve Van Nort, VANE’s CEO commented: “Kris Hefton has been working closely with the company for 5 years and as a Director since April 2008. His move to Chief Operating Officer brings a wealth of experience in both the uranium and base and precious metals sectors, through his time at both Energy Fuels Nuclear Inc., Freeport-McMoRan, and Homestake/Barrick, giving him solid depth of experience with relevance to all VANE operations. Kris’s extensive operational and exploration experience will be invaluable in the development of our portfolio and will enable us to expedite our strategic plan for 2010”.
For further information, please contact:
VANE Minerals Plc
+44 (0) 20 7667 6322
Matthew Idiens
Arbuthnot Securities
+44 (0) 20 7012 2000
John Prior /Richard Johnson
Threadneedle Communications
+44 (0) 20 7653 9850

Laurence Read/ Beth Harris 



VANE Minerals plc today announces that Mr. Kristopher K. Hefton, Director of the Company, has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (“COO”) with immediate effect. The Company also provides a strategic operational overview for 2010.
Mr. Hefton, aged 55, has a wealth of operational experience. Today’s appointment to the position of COO reflects the excellent work he has done progressing resources within the Company’s uranium portfolio. Mr. Hefton will now take overall responsibility for all operational and technical activities concerning VANE’s exploration and production, including the Diablito Mine (Mexico), copper exploration (USA) and uranium exploration (USA). VANE has a series of advanced uranium exploration assets in North America. VANE’s foremost uranium project, the Wate breccia pipe (Arizona), is due to produce a NI43-101 resource statement shortly. In addition to resource delineation, Mr. Hefton has also been instrumental in the significant enlargement of VANE’s overall uranium project portfolio with prospective assets in Colorado recently being secured. Mr. Hefton currently sits on the State of Arizona House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Mining Regulations as the member representing energy minerals.
Mr. Hefton holds a degree in geology from the University of Texas at Austin. His experience in uranium began on the Colorado Plateau in 1976 with Century Geophysical Co. In 1978, he joined Energy Fuels Nuclear as a project geologist. Between 1988 and 1997, he was employed by Freeport-McMoRan where he was promoted to the position of Chief Exploration Geologist at the Grasberg copper-gold mine in Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Following his work in southeast Asia, he was employed by Homestake Mining Co., and subsequently Barrick Gold, where he managed gold exploration projects in Europe and Chile. Mr. Hefton joined VANE Minerals (U.S.) LLC in 2004 to direct uranium operations in southwestern U.S. He was appointed a Director of the parent company in 2008.
VANE’s operational strategy for 2010 is as follows:
Uranium Division
VANE Minerals (US) LLC (“VANE US”) is the 100% wholly-owned subsidiary of VANE Minerals plc and dedicated to creating value through acquisition, exploration and development of uranium assets, particularly in the US.
Arizona Strip, Northern Arizona Breccia Pipe project
Southern Arizona Strip
VANE US and Uranium One Exploration U.S.A. Inc. (“U1”) signed a joint venture agreement (“JV”) in September, 2008. This agreement covers an area of interest of 6,250 mi2. The JV is 50:50 on ownership and cost sharing, with VANE US managing exploration and U1 managing mining and milling. Each party has the right to market its own product. At this time, the JV has 89 individual pipe targets, 11 of which have confirmed mineralization and the remainder have yet to be drill tested.
The 2010 objectives of the JV with U1 are as follows:
  • To finalize the Wate pipe NI 43-101 resource statement Q1, 2010;
  • Complete the pre-feasibility study at the Wate breccia pipe; apply for a Mineral Lease from the State of Arizona;
  • Prioritize State land targets including Tank 4½ and Miller via additional drilling to expand the portfolio of high-grade, uranium-bearing breccia pipe properties/targets within the southern portion of the Arizona Strip region of the Colorado Plateau;
  • Upon the successful conclusion of the Environmental Impact Study covering 25 JV targets in the Kaibab National Forest, expected by mid 2010, VANE will be in a position to initiate drilling to determine the economic potential of each of these targets;
Arizona Senators and the Governor of Arizona have publically stated their support for uranium mining in the region. With this support during 2010 VANE will focus a large part of its operations on State land targets. VANE will be proud to contribute to the education budgets of the State of Arizona through the fees and royalties attached to State lands.
North Arizona Strip (100% VANE US)
VANE has 79 pipe targets north of the Colorado River. These will be systematically explored, mapped and prioritized for drilling
Coyote Basin Project, NW Colorado
The Coyote Basin project in NW Colorado has a historic resource (non NI43-101) estimate of 35.4mm lbs of U3O8, hosted in lignite.
  • Commence applications for permits to drill between 5 and 10 confirmation core holes.
  • Complete initial drill programme
    • Confirmation of high-grade mineralization
    • Complete bench scale metallurgical testing for confirmation of recovery of Uranium form Lignite
  • Subject to grade and metallurgical results additional drilling is planned to confirm the historic resources
All additional uranium assets within Utah will be kept current with minimal expenditures.
Mexico-Silver/ Gold Production
Minerales VANE SA de CV (“MV”) is the 100% wholly-owned subsidiary of VANE Minerals plc with its primary assets being the Diablito silver-gold mine (“Diablito”) in the State of Nayarit, Mexico and the San Dieguito de Arriba mill (“SDA”) located 5 km east of Acaponeta, State of Nayarit, Mexico. MV has offices in San Luis Potosi and Acaponeta.
Targeted 2010 production from Diablito is:
  • Underground production rate of 2,200 tonnes per month at an average grade of 2.4 g per tonne gold and 244 g per tonne silver.
  • Underground operations run 24/7, 340 days per year.
  • 20 tonne trucks haul ore 35 km to the SDA mill site for crushing, grinding and flotation concentration of the silver and gold.
  • Cash costs for mining are projected at $52.00 per tonne milled.
Targeted 2010 SDA mill operation is:
  • Mill feed amounts to 2,600-2,700 tonnes/month and consists of underground production of 2,200 tonnes per month and supplemented with 400-500 tonnes of stockpiled ore averaging 1.5 g per tonne gold and 150 g per tonne silver.
  • Mill operates 24/7, 340 days per year. Availability is projected at 90%.
  • Projected recoveries are 83% and 86% gold and silver respectively.
  • Cash costs for milling are projected at $30.00 per tonne milled.
  • Concentrates are shipped and sold to Peñoles, in Torreon, State of Durango, Mexico.
  • Projected 2010 production is estimated at 2,040 oz gold and 207,000 oz silver.
MV continues to evaluate prospects within trucking distance of the SDA mill as potential supplemental feed for the mill.
MV is also looking for and evaluating stand-alone opportunities away from the SDA infrastructure.
Porphyry Copper Projects
AVEN Associates LLC (“AVEN”) is a 100% wholly-owned subsidiary of VANE Minerals plc has its office in Tucson, Arizona from which it carries out porphyry copper exploration. 
Copper production from the South West USA, southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, accounts for over 60% of all USA copper production. Of the 30 some known and worked deposits, the majority occur in outcropping pre-mineral rocks yet 2/3 of the southwest copper province is covered by post mineral rocks, gravels and/or younger Tertiary volcanics. Geologically speaking there is no reason why the density of porphyry copper deposits should be greater in the pre-mineral outcropping areas versus the area covered by post mineral rocks. Areas of post mineral rocks have had far less exploration carried out over them thus the odds of finding a shallowly buried porphyry copper deposit are still pretty good. The odds indicate that if one explores 10-20 post mineral targets, at least one porphyry copper deposit will be found.
In 2009, AVEN drilled 3 such targets with negative results, has 2 new targets under control, Lordsburg and Yuma King, and a number of identified targets in our portfolio which are open but unclaimed.
During 2010, it is planned that AVEN will drill the Lordsburg project, on receipt of drilling permits from the New Mexico land department, which is expected imminently. A drilling contractor has been selected; drilling permits are pending. At least two more projects are planned to be claimed and drilled during the year. Each target drilled will cost approximately $200,000 to test.
The Company will continue to utilise the Freeport-McMoRan exploration database, which covers nearly 100 years of exploration data across the world. VANE’s geologic team is well positioned to enhance shareholder value through acquisition and exploration for uranium, copper, silver and/or gold and the development or sale of subsequent mineral discoveries.