KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 26, 2011) - Strathmore Minerals Corp. (TSX:STM)(OTCQX:STHJF) ("Strathmore" or "the Company") is pleased to update shareholders with a year-end review of the Company's activities in 2010 and outlook for 2011. Strathmore is one of the largest holders of in-ground uranium resources in the United States. The Company's goal is to become a leading uranium producer in the United States where it is advancing two core uranium projects towards production: Roca Honda in New Mexico and Gas Hills in Wyoming. The accomplishments made by Strathmore's technical team, particularly at the Roca Honda project, which is one of the largest and highest grade proposed uranium mines in the United States in over thirty years, has significantly contributed to advancing this goal. At the Gas Hills project in Wyoming, new drill data obtained from the purchase of two data libraries, in addition to a supplementary drill program carried out late in the year, will enable the completion of NI 43-101 reports and the submittal of a mine permit application in 2011. Strathmore exited 2010 in a strong financial position with a working capital estimate of $22.7 million at December 31, 2010, and subsequent to year end, began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).
Roca Honda, New Mexico (Roca Honda Resources LLC: Strathmore 60%/Sumitomo 40%)
In October 2009, Strathmore announced that it had submitted its Roca Honda Resources ("RHR") mine permit application for the proposed development of its underground uranium mining project in the Grants Minerals District to the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division and the US Forest Service. In November 2009, the application was deemed administratively complete, signaling the beginning of the technical review and public participation process, now underway.
The following highlights the progress made in 2010 and the ongoing permitting activities scheduled for 2011:
- The Scott Wilson Group was contracted to prepare a Feasibility Study to evaluate the overall project economics for the proposed Roca Honda underground mine (see news release dated March 11, 2010). In September, a draft Phase I Feasibility Study report, which identified data requirements and analysed project planning issues was completed. Phases II and III of the four phase study are underway. Phase II, anticipated for completion in Q2 2011, will present new mineral resource estimates for the project utilizing Maptek's VULCAN mining software with optimum underground mining grade and thickness cutoffs. Phase III will incorporate engineering designs and cost estimates for the underground mine and surface facilities. Phases II and III Feasibility Study are scheduled for completion in Q3 2011. Phase IV, which will evaluate the mill site and ore processing, will be contracted separately, and is targeted for completion in Q3 2011.
- Mangi Environmental Group was hired as the third party independent consultant to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Public information meetings to inform local citizens and allow for their input were held in December 2010. The EIS is currently under preparation and a draft report is expected to be available for comment in late 2011. Completion of the final EIS report for publication is expected during the first half of 2012.
- At the Company's proposed Mill Site in New Mexico, data gathering in support of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) permit application has resumed. In 2010, Strathmore performed archaeological, soil characterization, surface radiological, and air quality and meteorological studies of the preferred site as part of the preparation of a mill license application for submittal to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in early 2012. Monitoring wells will be installed and geotechnical borings and studies will be completed in 2011 to complete baseline data. For 2011, the Company is advancing its existing mill design to the 60% level and plans to develop a tailings disposal design later in the year.
Church Rock (Strathmore 100%)
Strathmore placed its Church Rock property on care and maintenance in 2006, when litigation challenging the development of Uranium Resources Inc's (URI) immediately adjacent uranium development project, also known as Church Rock, ensued. The recent court ruling in favour of URI has enabled Strathmore to complete an internal review to determine the best alternative for enhancing the value of this previously dormant asset (See news release dated July 6, 2010).
- In January 2011, Strathmore announced Behre Dolbear and Company (USA), Inc. had been contracted to complete a scoping study for the Company's Church Rock uranium deposit. Behre Dolbear has begun a phased study that will evaluate the extraction of uranium by both In-Situ Recovery (ISR) and conventional underground techniques. The study is scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 2011 and will provide Strathmore with an independent review of mining alternatives for determining the best option for advancing this project and enhancing shareholder value (See news release dated January 11, 2011).
Marquez, New Mexico (Strathmore 100%)
- Strathmore completed a NI 43-101 compliant technical report for the Marquez property in 2010. The NI 43-101 report estimates a Measured and Indicated resource of 3,610,209 tons grading 0.126% for 9,130,343 pounds eU3O8. An additional 2,159,520 tons grading 0.114% for 4,906,695 pounds eU3O8 was estimated as an Inferred resource (See news release dated June 21, 2010). The Company is exploring alternatives for this project.
Gas Hills, Wyoming (Strathmore 100%)
Strathmore is the dominant land holder in the Gas Hills Uranium District with over 34,000 acres of mineral claims. The Company regards this project as a core holding for the development of future long-term uranium production in the United Sates. Historically, the Gas Hills was the second largest uranium producing region in the United States, having produced in excess of 100 million pounds of uranium concentrates from 1957-1989. To date, the majority of the Company's permitting efforts have been to advance the preparation of a Mine Permit application for the George-Ver deposit. George-Ver is the first of a series of sequentially planned open pit deposits.
- Acquired two historical data libraries (See press release dated August 9, 2010), enabling the Company to expand its permitting activities to several of the remaining project areas including: Day Loma, Loco Lee, and New Rock Hill.
- In November, Strathmore carried out field activities including: confirmation, expansion and pit delineation drilling, monitor well installation, and collection of core samples for metallurgical testing at George Ver, Day Loma and Loco-Lee., Geotechnical drilling and monitor well installation were completed within the Sagebrush-Tablestakes site, which is under evaluation for a uranium recovery facility (See news release dated Nov. 18, 2010).
- At Loco Lee, a new mineralized area, not previously known by the Company was identified by the data library. Drill hole LLS-2 intersected 33.5 feet grading 0.198% eU3O8, including 15.0 feet of 0.404% eU3O8, while Hole LLS-3 identified 53.5 feet of 0.059% eU3O8, including 11.5 feet of 0.234% eU3O8 at shallow depths beginning at 58.5 feet and 47 feet respectively.
- Strathmore is currently preparing NI 43-101 compliant resource calculations for Georg-Ver, Day Loma and Loco-Lee. The George-Ver mine permit application is targeted for submittal by the end of Q2 2011. Baseline permitting activities at other Gas Hills properties will continue in 2011.
Non-Core Property Dispositions
Strathmore holds an extensive and diverse uranium property portfolio in New Mexico and Wyoming. In 2009 the Company embarked on a plan to enhance shareholder value by monetizing or joint venturing non-core projects. The following transactions were completed by the Company in 2010:
Pine Tree-Reno Creek Sale
- Strathmore completed the sale of the Pine Tree-Reno Creek properties to Bayswater Uranium Corporation for US $17.5 million cash and 4,402,807 Bayswater common shares valued at $2.5 million. In addition, the Company retained 5% production royalty valued at US $10 million, which can be purchased by Bayswater prior to commercial production. (See news release dated April 7, 2010)
Juniper Ridge Sale
- In November 2010, Strathmore announced its plans for the staged sale of its Juniper Ridge property to Crosshair Exploration and Mining Corp for cash and shares. Crosshair paid STM US $0.20 million on signing and is required to pay an additional US $0.50 million on the first anniversary of the agreement. Further staged payments (50% cash and 50% shares) will be based on a formula after NI 43-101 compliant resource/reserves have been determined. Strathmore retained a 2% gross revenue royalty on the project, which can be purchased by Crosshair prior to commercial production. (See news release dated November 1, 2010)
On January 10, 2011, Strathmore commenced trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), under symbol "STM". In addition, the Company began trading on OTCQX International electronic trading system in the United States under the symbol "STHJF" (see news releases dated January 7, 2011 and December 10, 2010 respectively). Other significant developments include:
- An $8.3 million non-brokered private placement was completed in January 2010. (See news release dated January 20, 2010).
- Timothy Janke, a mining engineer with over thirty-five years experience in uranium, coal, and gold mining, joined the Company's Board as an independent Director last November. Mr. Janke replaced Michael Halvorson, who continues to serve the Company on its Executive Advisory Board (See news release dated November 29, 2010)
- Received Exchange approval in September to undertake a normal course issuer bid with the for the purchase of up to 5% of the Company's issued share capital over a twelve month period (See news release dated September 9, 2010)
- On December 13, 2010, Strathmore received a NRC License (#42-29415-01) to operate the Company-owned "Prompt Fission Neutron" logging-tool. The PFN tool will allow for direct assay of uranium content in drill holes, and has already demonstrated its value for use at the Gas Hills near-surface uranium deposits. The Company plans to make the PFN Logging Tool, along with the Company's other standard geophysical logging available to interested parties on a contract basis.
The uranium spot price has increased from a low of approximately US $40 per lb in March 2010 to US $70 per lb at January 24, 2011, and many analysts have forecast the price to remain strong in the years ahead. Management shares this positive outlook, and with the successful repositioning of the Company completed during 2010, a more aggressive pursuit of its goals is planned for the year ahead. Strathmore entered 2011 in a strong financial position. With working capital estimated at $22.7 million with no debt at year-end, the Company is well positioned to continue advancing its core Roca Honda and Gas Hills uranium development projects. The Capital budget for 2011 is the largest in the Company's history and will total US $13 million, including US $3.2 million from its partner Sumitomo for their pro-rata share of the Roca Honda project. In addition, the Company will continue with its plans to enhance shareholder value through the divestiture of non-core properties, and is now in a position to evaluate new opportunities.
A list of all of Strathmore's properties and uranium resources can be found at the Company's website http://www.strathmoreminerals.com/s/ResourceTable.asp.
Historical resource estimates presented herein were completed prior to the implementation of the NI 43-101 requirement. Given the experienced companies and the quality of their historic work completed on the properties in Wyoming and New Mexico discussed herein, and the production history of Gas Hills Uranium District (~100 million pounds) and the Grants Mineral District (~350 million pounds), the Company believes the resource estimates to be both relevant and reliable. However, a qualified person has not completed sufficient work to classify the historic mineral resources as current mineral resource, and the Company is not treating the historic resources as current. Hence, they should not be relied upon. The NI 43-101 resource estimates for the Marquez property used in this press release were taken from the report entitled "Marquez Uranium Property: McKinley and Sandoval Counties New Mexico, National Instrument 43-101 Mineral Resource Report", dated June 10th, 2010, and prepared by M. Hassan Alief, a qualified and independent person under National Instrument Policy 43-101. The technical information in this news release has been prepared in accordance with the Canadian regulatory requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101 and reviewed by David Miller, Chief Executive Officer for Strathmore Minerals Corp., a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101.
STRATHMORE MINERALS CORP. is a Canadian based resource company specializing in the strategic acquisition, exploration and development of advanced uranium properties in the United States. Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia with a branch administrative office in Kelowna, the Company also has a U.S. based Development Office in Riverton, Wyoming and a Government, Regulatory & Environmental Affairs Office in Santa Fe, New Mexico. STRATHMORE MINERALS CORP. Common Shares are listed on the TSX under the symbol "STM" and trade on the OTCQX International electronic trading system in the United States under the symbol "STHJF".
This news release contains "forward-looking information" that is based on Strathmore Minerals Corp.'s current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections. This forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements with respect to Strathmore's exploration and development plans, outlook and business strategy. The words "may", "would", "could", "should", "will", "likely", "expect," "anticipate," "intend", "estimate", "plan", "forecast", "project" and "believe" or other similar words and phrases are intended to identify forward-looking information.
Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Strathmore's actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such factors include, but are not limited to: uncertainties related to the historical resource estimates, the work expenditure commitments; the ability to raise sufficient capital to fund future exploration or development programs; changes in economic conditions or financial markets; changes in input prices; litigation; legislative, environmental and other judicial, regulatory, political and competitive developments; technological or operational difficulties or an inability to obtain permits required in connection with maintaining, or advancing projects; and labour relations matters.
This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect our forward-looking information. These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking information. Strathmore Minerals Corp. disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
David Miller, CEO