(SD)-Another Merger For Owner of Proposed Edgemont Uranium Mine
EDGEMONT, S.D. (AP) - For the second time in 4 years, a merger could change the make up of the company trying to win approval for the proposed in-situ Dewey-Burdock uranium mine on thousands of acres near Edgemont.
If shareholders agree at meetings expected to be held next month, Azarga Uranium and URZ Energy - both based in Canada - will merge with Azarga acquiring all shares of URZ, whose stockholders will get 2 shares of Azarga for every share of stock in URZ, which as been exploring uranium in the Gas Hills area between Riverton and Casper
The merged company would have a 6-member board evenly split between appointees from Azarga and URZ with URZ CEO Glenn Catchpole chairman and Azarga CEO Blake Steele serving as President and CEO. Steele says the deal will allow development of the Dewey Burdock project to continue to advance for the benefit of all shareholders.
As part of the merger, an existing Azarga loan of $1.8-million dollars in U-S currency payable to shareholder would be converted into shares of stock at a value of 25-cents Canadian per share with URZ also giving Azarga a $450,000 U-S secured loan.
The Dewey Burdock project began in 2005 when Powertech Uranium started acquiring leases, but the company reach a deal in 2014 with Azarga that had Azarga become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Powertech but with its shareholders owning about 77% of the renamed Azarga Uranium Corporation.
Powertech USA is now the subsidiary pursuing the Dewey Burdock mine has been opposed from the start by environmentalists, Native Americans, and some ranchers. Their concerns include potential pollution of groundwater, damage to cultural and historical sites, and desecration of an area of traditional spiritual significance for many tribes.
The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled against all but one objection dealing cultural and historical sites and Azarga expects that issue to be resolved shortly. The Oglala Sioux Tribe appealed the NRC decision to the federal district court in Washington, D.C., in February of last year and the appeal is slowly working its way through the system.
The Dewey Burdock mine includes about 10,000 surfaces acres leases and about 14,000 acres of mineral leases. It would use the "in situ" method used at the Crow Butte uranium mine near Crawford, a process that injects a solution similar to bicarbonate of soda into the aquifer to dissolve uranium from the underground ore.
The water is then pumped to the surface where the uranium and other metals are processed out, the water and solution are treated, then reused before eventually being pumped into underground disposal wells at the end of production.
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