Laramide Resources Ltd is pleased to announce that it has entered into two separate joint venture agreements in Australia that will significantly expand and enhance its existing tenements that overlie the Westmoreland copper-gold-uranium deposit. The new joint ventures are on ground contiguous to Westmoreland although across the state border in the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory has a Labour Government which is both pro development and pro uranium mining. A map outlining Laramide’s new land position is now available on the Company’s website.
The Arafura-Lagoon Creek joint venture
Laramide has entered into a heads of agreement with Arafura Resources NL, a publicly listed Australian company (ASX: ARU) pursuant to which the Company can farm-in to Arafura’s granted exploration license EL23573, Lagoon Creek, in the Northern Territory, approximately 380 kilometres NNW of Mt Isa.
Laramide can earn 50% equity in the tenement with the expenditure of A$3 million over a four year period on exploration and development. Laramide can also earn an additional 10% equity interest in the joint venture with the expenditure of a further A$2.5 million before the end of 5 years. The Company’s minimum expenditure commitment before withdrawal is A$1 million. As part of the agreement, Laramide will make one payment of A$50,000 immediately, and another within 90 days.
Laramide believes the Lagoon Creek tenement, which covers the Westmoreland Fault Zone and encompasses an area of 18,000 hectares, is the strike continuation of the controlling structure at Westmoreland. The geology at Lagoon Creek is very similar to the Westmoreland area with the contact between the Siegel volcanics and underlying Westmoreland Conglomerate occurring throughout the EPM area. There are numerous small scale uranium occurrences which occur within the tenement area and previous exploration has identified uranium mineralization in drill holes of 1-20 metres in width grading 2.4% to 0.12% U3O8.
Hartz Range JV
Immediately north of the Lagoon Creek tenement are the tenements held by private Australian explorer Hartz Range Mines. These tenements exhibit similar geologic potential and are a part of what is a very significant and under-explored mineral district. Laramide has signed an option to earn 90% of any resource pegged under mining tenure consequent to exploration over a defined area on the three Exploration Permits (EPM’s) that Hartz Range owns in the Northern Territory. The defined area covers approximately 65,000 Hectares and Laramide’s interest encompasses all minerals with the exception of diamonds. To earn 90 % Laramide has to complete a bankable feasibility study on a prospect within the area and following this obtain a mine permit. The first year expenditure commitment with Hartz is A$300,000. The area is also adjacent to Westmoreland and has numerous small uranium – gold occurrences despite the lack of significant previous systematic exploration.
Peter Mullens, Laramide Director and VP-Exploration and Corporate Development stated “we are very excited by the two joint venture agreements which represent a very significant expansion of our land position in Australia. Our total land position now exceeds 250,000 hectares and will allow us to approach exploration from a district scale perspective within a region that we believe will soon be recognized as a world class uranium exploration belt.’ The geology and mineralization at Westmoreland are the same age and style as that further to the north west of Australia where the Ranger Uranium Mine and Jabiluka deposits (231,000 tons contained U3O8) occur. Both the Westmoreland and Jabiluka camps are the same age and style as the better known Athabasca Basin in Canada, considered the world’s premier uranium exploration district.
Unlike at Athabaska, the Westmoreland–Lagoon Creek district has had far less exploration and, of particular note, almost no sophisticated geophysics. Laramide’s new joint ventures will bring urgency and focus to the exploration and potential development of the entire district will take advantage of new and advanced exploration techniques. Laramide is currently planning an extensive exploration program for the 2005 field season which will include the completion of a major high resolution airborne magnetic and radiometrics geophysical survey. Plans also call for a minimum of 6,000 meters of drilling.
The Company has an option over tenement applications by Tackle Resources Pty Ltd which has completed all of the statutory requirements to have the Westmoreland EPM granted by the Queensland Government and anticipates that granting will occur during the current quarter. The exploration and development plan for Westmoreland will be announced on completion of the acquisition transaction with Tackle Resources (see Company news releases of August 17, 2004 and February 10, 2005)
Uranium prices have improved substantially in the past two years, with spot prices rising from below US $10/lb to current levels of US $29/lb. This trend of rising prices is attributed to strong industry fundamentals with present world mine output (43,000 t) a little more than half the level of consumption by electric utilities (78,000 t). This positive pricing picture follows a prolonged bear market dating to the early 1980’s and is expected to lead to the construction of a number of new primary uranium mines.
Under the guidelines of the 43-101 National Instrument the required qualified person for the Westmoreland Project is Mr. Peter Mullens who is a member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. This press release contains forward looking statements.
For further information contact:
Marc C. Henderson, President
Tel: (416) 599-7363
Or visit our web site at www.Laramide.com