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Golden Deeps Ltd (ASX: GED) has entered into a binding Heads of Agreement (HOA) to earn an 80% interest in the holders of four granted and highly-prospective exploration licences in the world class Lachlan Fold Belt Copper-Gold Province of NSW (see Figures 1, 2 and 3).

Under the HOA with Acros Minerals Pty Ltd (Acros) and Crown Gold Resources Pty Ltd (Crown), Golden Deeps will reimburse $179,263 previous exploration expenditure, and earn an 80% interest by spending $300,000 on exploration within three years (see Significant Terms, Appendix 1).
The Acros and Crown tenements in the Lachlan Fold Belt straddle the boundary between the Siluro-Devonian Hill End Trough – which hosts the Hill End and Hargreaves goldfields (2Moz historic production1) – and the Rockley-Gulgong Volcanic Belt, which is highly prospective for porphyry copper-gold deposits (see Figure 1). Major deposits in the Lachlan Fold Belt include the world-class Cadia-Ridgeway deposit (456Mt @ 0.83 g/t Au, 0.24% Cu endowment2).Golden Deeps is currently drilling at the Havilah Copper-Gold Project (EL8936) within the Rockley-Gulgong Volcanic Belt to test a series of porphyry/volcanics hosted copper-gold targets at the Hazelbrook prospect3 (see location, Figure 1 and magnetics with key targets, Figure 2). Targets within the Acros (EL9114, EL9069 & EL9118) and Crown (EL9060) tenements include: Extensions of the Sofala Volcanics south of the Havilah Project. Magnetics indicate continuity of the highly-prospective volcanics and intrusives which project south under Permian cover into EL9114. No previous work has tested the underlying volcanics and/or the intrusive boundary (see Figures 1 and 2). Extensions of the Rockley-Gulgong belt along the Mudgee Fault (Figure 1), which includes the mineralised Sofala Volcanics and buried porphyry intrusion targets, into EL9069 and EL9060 north of the Havilah tenement (see Figures 1 and 2). Extensions of the Hargreaves and Tuckers Hill high-grade gold trends north into EL9118 (see Figure 1). The Company will build on previous work which has shown that the mineralised Sofala Volcanics and porphyry Cu-Au targets are present on EL9114 and EL9069. Planned work includes further geophysical surveys (detailed gravity, magnetics & Induced Polarisation), with a focus on extensions of the Rockley-Gulgong belt south and north of the Company’s projects (Figure 2). This work will aim to define drilling targets targeting major porphyry/volcanics hosted copper gold deposits in an area which has received limited exploration due to shallow cover.

Golden Deeps CEO Jon Dugdale commented:

“This HOA gives Golden Deeps access to extensions of mineralised volcanics and intrusives within the Rockley-Gulgong Volcanic Belt. This belt is highly prospective for major porphyry/volcanic hosted copper gold discoveries and is a similar setting to major deposits such as the world-class Cadia-Ridgeway mine.

“The Acros and Crown tenements also include extensions to the Hill End gold corridor which has produced over two million ounces of gold.

“We now look forward to immediately advancing geophysical programs to define drilling targets south and northwest of the Company’s Havilah Project, where drilling is currently testing copper-gold targets which continue under cover into the Acros and Crown ground.”

About the Acros and Crown Tenements

Acros holds three exploration licences (EL9114, EL9069 and EL9118) and Crown one exploration licence (EL9060) near Mudgee in the Eastern Lachlan Fold Belt region of NSW (see Figure 1 for locations). Details of the tenements are shown in Table 1 below:

Table 1: Acros and Crown Tenements expenditure and commitments:

The Acros and Crown tenements are located close to the eastern margin of the Lachlan Fold Belt and straddle the boundary between the Siluro-Devonian Hill End Trough – which contains the Hill End gold field (2Moz produced), and the Rockley-Gulgong Volcanic Belt which is highly prospective for porphyry related copper-gold deposits (see Figure 1).

In the eastern tenements (EL9114, EL9069 and EL9060), the Company is targeting porphyry/volcanic hosted copper-gold mineralisation in a belt of Ordovician age (Sofala) volcanic rocks in the Rockley Gulgong Volcanic Belt. This belt is part of the Macquarie Arc in the Lachlan Fold Belt – a major geological province known for world-class copper-gold deposits such as Cadia-Ridgeway2 and North Parkes4 (see Figure 3, below). These major deposits are hosted by Ordovician volcanic rocks and associated with “porphyry” intrusives and sit within parallel volcanic belts to the west of the Rockley-Gulgong Belt.

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Uranium stocks are benefiting as prices rise and more countries commit to building and expanding their nuclear energy supply. Investors are recognizing the value in the reliable, clean electricity that uranium can produce.

Positive market fundamentals pushed the spot uranium price to 16 year highs in January, when values rose to US$106 per pound. However, the level proved unsustainable as prices contracted to a Q1 low of US$85.17 in mid-March.

Values beganclawing back lost ground alongside news that production out of Kazakhstan could be impacted by a sulfuric acid shortage. The investment thesis was further strengthened when US President Joe Biden signed the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act into law in early May. The measure, which is aimed at further sanctioning Russia and its invasion of Ukraine, will take effect on August 11. As the largest end user of uranium for nuclear fuel, the US is now poised to increase domestic supply while also strengthening partnerships with ally nations Canada and Australia.

This bodes well for uranium-mining stocks, which are likely to benefit from rising demand and energy security concerns.

“When physical uranium is in play, the uranium miners behind the scenes provide a crucial element of support,” a Sprott special report from April notes. ‘There is no uranium without mining, and we believe miners will continue to provide a strong foundation for the continued growth of uranium markets.”

The list below provides an overview of the five largest uranium companies by market cap. All data was current as of May 28, 2024. Read on to learn about these stocks and their operations.

1. BHP (NYSE:BHP,ASX:BHP,LSE:BHP)

Company Profile

Market cap: US$151.91 billion

Mining major BHP owns and operates Australia’s Olympic Dam mine, considered one of the world’s largest uranium deposits. While the site is included in the company’s Copper South Australia operations portfolio and copper is the primary resource extracted, the mine also produces significant quantities of uranium, gold and silver.

In its half-year results announcement in February, BHP reported that higher average realized prices for copper, uranium, gold and silver had added an additional US$100 million of value to Copper South Australia.

According to BHP’s results for the nine months ended on March 31, uranium production at Olympic Dam totaled 863 metric tons year-to-date and 2,674 metric tons for the full nine month period.

While BHP shelved plans to expand the Olympic Dam mine in 2020, opting instead to invest in the existing infrastructure at the underground site, the company is currently evaluating options for a new two stage smelter, with a final investment decision expected between its 2026 and 2027 fiscal years.

2. Cameco (NYSE:CCJ,TSX:CCO)

Company Profile

Market cap: US$23.49 billion

Uranium major Cameco holds significant stakes in key uranium operations within the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan, Canada. This includes a 54.55 percent interest in the Cigar Lake mine, the world’s most productive uranium mine.

The company also owns 70 percent of the McArthur River mine and 83 percent of the Key Lake mill. Orano Canada is Cameco’s primary joint venture partner across these operations.

Weak spot uranium prices between 2012 and 2020 weighed heavily on pure-play uranium producers. In 2018, Cameco closed the McArthur River and Key Lake operations, reducing annual uranium output from 23.8 million pounds in 2017 to 9.2 million pounds in 2018. Improving market dynamics prompted the company to restart MacArthur Lake in 2022.

As a full nuclear fuel cycle provider, Cameco, in partnership with Brookfield Renewable Partners and Brookfield Asset Management, completed the purchase of Westinghouse Electric Company — a leading provider of nuclear power plant services and technologies — in November 2023. The deal was announced in 2022.

In its Q1 results, Cameco reported the production of 5.8 million pounds of uranium during the period, up from 4.5 million pounds in the same quarter of 2023. The company anticipates combined full-year uranium production of 18 million pounds from its McArthur River/Key Lake and Cigar Lake operations.

“Our strategy continues to demonstrate the benefits of aligning our operational, marketing, and financially focused decisions in a market where we are seeing sustained, positive momentum for nuclear energy like never before,” President and CEO Tim Gitzel told company investors during a Q1 conference call.

“We remain in the enviable position of having what we believe are the world’s premier, tier-one assets operating in stable geopolitical regions, along with our investments across the fuel cycle and reactor life cycle.”

3. NexGen Energy (NYSE:NXE,TSX:NXE,ASX:NXG)

Company Profile

Market cap: US$4.29 billion

NexGen Energy, a company specializing in uranium exploration and development, is primarily focused on the Athabasca Basin. Its flagship project is the Rook I project, which includes significant discoveries such as Arrow and South Arrow.

The company also owns a 50.1 percent interest in exploration-stage company IsoEnergy (TSXV:ISO,OTCQX:ISENF).

In late May, NexGen completed the purchase of 2.7 million pounds of U3O8 for US$250 million. This acquisition was financed through the issuance of US$250 million in five year, 9 percent unsecured convertible debentures.

In a company release, CEO Leigh Curyer stated that the transaction enhances the progress of ongoing offtake negotiations, aiming to maximize the value of NexGen’s substantial uranium inventory in preparation for future production and sales. He highlighted the strategic importance of having 2.7 million pounds of uranium in inventory following the enactment of the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act.

Also in May, the company announced the start of an expanded summer drill campaign to evaluate the extensive hydrothermal system at its Patterson Corridor East discovery at Rook I and broaden the mineralized area. The initiative will involve over 22,000 meters of diamond drilling with four drill rigs.

4. Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN)

Press ReleasesCompany Profile

Market cap: US$3.11 billion

Paladin Energy holds the title of the largest ASX-listed primary uranium miner. The company owns a 75 percent stake in the Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia and has exploration projects in Canada and Australia.

Operations at Langer Heinrich were halted in 2018 due to low uranium prices, but the company initiated the restart process in 2022. In its Q1 results, Paladin Energy reported that it had successfully achieved commercial uranium concentrate production at Langer Heinrich in late March. The milestone was completed on schedule and within the company’s US$125 million budget, according to a press release.

Paladin will now focus on ramping up output and building inventory for customer shipments.

5. Uranium Energy (NYSEAMERICAN:UEC)

Press ReleasesCompany Profile

Market cap: US$3.03 billion

Uranium Energy (UEC) has two production-ready in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium projects — its Christensen Ranch uranium operations in Wyoming and its Texas Hub and Spoke operations in South Texas — as well as two operational processing facilities. It plans to restart uranium production in Wyoming in August and resume South Texas operations in 2025.

The company has built one of the largest US-warehoused uranium inventories, and in 2022 it secured a US Department of Energy contract to supply 300,000 pounds of U3O8 as part of the country’s move to establish a domestic uranium reserve.

UEC also holds a wide portfolio of uranium projects in the US and Canada, some of which have major permits secured. In August 2022, UEC completed its acquisition of uranium company UEX. That same year, UEC also acquired both a portfolio of uranium exploration projects and the Roughrider uranium project from Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,NYSE:RIO,LSE:RIO).

In May, the company released a statement in support of the US government’s decision to ban Russian uranium imports. In the announcement, Amir Adnani, UEC’s president and CEO, expressed gratitude for the bipartisan bill, emphasizing its role in bolstering US energy and national security by ending reliance on Russian uranium imports.

He went on to note that this new law, along with the Nuclear Fuel Security Act, supports the growth of the US uranium industry, ensuring a reliable supply of clean energy.

FAQs for uranium investing

What is uranium?

First discovered in 1789 by German chemist Martin Klaproth, uranium is a heavy metal that is as common in the Earth’s crust as tin, tungsten and molybdenum. Named after the planet Uranus, which was also discovered around the same time, uranium has been an important source of global energy for more than six decades.

What country has the most uranium?

Australia and Kazakhstan lead the world in both terms of uranium reserves and uranium production. Australia takes first prize for the world’s largest uranium reserves, representing 28 percent globally at 1,684,100 MT of U3O8. However, the Oceanic country ranks fourth in global uranium production, putting out 4,087 MT of U3O8 in 2022.

For its part, Kazakhstan controls 13 percent of global uranium reserves and leads the world in uranium production with 2022 output of 21,227 MT. Last year, Canada passed Namibia to become the second largest uranium producer, putting out 7,351 MT of U3O8 in 2022 compared to Namibia’s 5,613 MT. The countries hold 10 percent and 8 percent of global reserves respectively.

Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Overview

Nuclear energy is a critical component in the transition to net zero. There’s a growing acknowledgment of the pivotal role nuclear power can play in meeting decarbonization objectives, thanks to its clean emissions profile, dependable baseload capabilities, and secure operation. Global electricity demand is set to grow 50 percent by 2040 and nuclear energy will play an integral role in meeting this demand. This is evident in the recently released World Energy Outlook 2023 published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which highlighted the role that nuclear energy can play in making the journey towards net-zero faster, more secure, and more affordable.

According to the World Nuclear Association, there are currently 439 reactors operating globally. This capacity is increasing steadily with about 61 reactors under construction in 15 countries and a further 400 that are either ordered, planned or proposed. The IEA anticipates a substantial growth of over 43 percent in installed nuclear capacity from 2020 to 2050, reaching approximately 590 gigawatts of electrical output. This should drive demand for uranium over the coming decades.

UxC, a nuclear industry market data and analysis firm, estimates that annual uranium demand could soar by nearly 65 percent, surpassing 300 million pounds (Mlbs) U3O8 by 2030 from the current demand level of 197 Mlbs U3O8. Against this, the mine supply for 2024 is estimated to be around 155 Mlbs U3O8, implying a deficit of nearly 40 Mlbs. Further, substantial underinvestment in new mining projects has exacerbated an already constrained supply side, leading to prolonged strain in the years ahead.

As a result, spot uranium prices have seen a big jump. Uranium prices are now the highest since 2008 at over US$80/lb. Prices are expected to remain strong due to the ongoing tightness in the uranium supply/demand balance. As mentioned earlier, this tightness is likely to intensify over the next 24 months as demand continues to rise, new supply remains restricted, and inventories/stockpiles continue to diminish. The risks to the supply side far outweigh risks to the demand side given that more than 50 percent of global uranium production comes from countries with significant geopolitical risk.

This is where companies such as Skyharbour Resources (TSXV:SYH), with a presence in jurisdictions such as the Athabasca Basin in Canada, stand out for its geopolitical stability. The Athabasca Basin is the world’s most prolific uranium jurisdiction, boasting uranium grades averaging over ten to twenty times higher than those found elsewhere, with levels at 3.95 percent U3O8 in contrast to the global average of 0.15 percent.

Skyharbour Resources possesses a broad portfolio of uranium exploration projects within the Athabasca Basin and is strategically positioned to capitalize on the improving fundamentals of the uranium market. The company follows a dual strategy of mineral exploration at its core projects (Russell and Moore) while utilizing the prospect generator model to advance its secondary projects with strategic partners. Employing the prospect generator model provides advantages to Skyharbour as partner firms finance exploration and development activities, as well as making cash and stock payments directly to Skyharbour Resources as they earn in on the projects. The model allows Skyharbour to retain upside exposure through minority interests and royalties at the partner projects while limiting equity dilution and ensuring that partner companies fund the majority of exploration costs.

Skyharbour Resources has seven partner companies, including Orano Canada, Azincourt Energy, Thunderbird Resources (previously Valor), Basin Uranium Corp, Medaro Mining, Tisdale Clean Energy, and North Shore Uranium. Skyharbour’s option agreements total over C$33 million in exploration expenditures, with more than C$27 million in stock being issued and over C$20 million in cash payments potentially coming into Skyharbour.

Company Highlights

Skyharbour Resources is a junior mining company with an extensive portfolio of uranium exploration projects in Canada’s Athabasca Basin. They comprise 29 uranium projects, 10 of which are drill-ready, totaling over 587,000 hectares.The Athabasca Basin is the world’s most prolific uranium jurisdiction, boasting uranium grades averaging over 10-20 times higher than those found elsewhere.The company employs a multi-faceted strategy of focused mineral exploration at its core projects (Russell and Moore) while utilizing the prospect generator model to advance its secondary projects with strategic partners.The company’s co-flagship Moore project is an advanced-stage uranium exploration asset featuring high-grade uranium mineralization at the Maverick Zone. Previous drilling has returned results of 6 percent U3O8 over 5.9 meters, with a notable intercept of 20.8 percent U3O8 over 1.5 meters, at a vertical depth of 265 meters.Adjacent to the Moore project is Skyharbour’s second core project, the Russell Lake uranium project, wherein Skyharbour has the option to acquire an initial 51 percent and up to 100 percent interest from Rio Tinto. The Russell Lake uranium project is a large, advanced-stage uranium exploration property totaling 73,294 hectares.The 2024 winter drill program at the Russell Lake uranium project led to a new discovery of high-grade, sandstone-hosted mineralization up to 2.99 percent U3O8 intersected over 0.5 meters.Management intends to continue building the prospect generator business by offering projects to partners who will fund the exploration and provide cash/stock to Skyharbour for an ownership interest in the projects; Skyharbour typically retains minority interests in the projects and equity holdings in the partners.The increasing focus on nuclear energy by governments globally to achieve decarbonization goals bodes well for uranium prices. Skyharbour, with key uranium assets in a top mining jurisdiction, stands to benefit from this shift in the global energy mix.

Flagship Projects

The Moore Project

This project covers an area of 35,705 hectares, located in the eastern Athabasca Basin near existing infrastructure with known high-grade uranium mineralization and significant discovery potential. Skyharbour acquired the project from Denison Mines (TSX:DML), a large strategic shareholder of the company. The project can be easily accessed year-round via winter and ice roads, streamlining logistics and reducing expenses. During the summer months, a significant portion of the property remains accessible as well. The property has been the subject of extensive historic exploration with over $50 million in expenditures, and over 140,000 meters of diamond drilling completed historically.

Moore hosts high-grade uranium mineralization at the Maverick zones. Over the past few years, Skyharbour Resources has conducted diamond drilling programs, resulting in the intersection of high-grade uranium mineralization in numerous drill holes along the 4.7-kilometer-long Maverick structural corridor. Some of the high-grade intercepts include:

Hole ML-199 which intersected 20.8 percent U3O8 over 1.5 meters at 264 meters,Hole ML-202 from the Maverick East Zone which intersected 9.12 percent U3O8 over 1.4 meters at 278 meters.Hole ML20-09 which intersected 0.72 percent U3O8 over 17.5 meters from 271.5 meters to 289.0 meters, including 1 percent U3O8 over 10.0 meters represents the longest continuous drill intercept of uranium mineralization discovered to date at the project.Drill hole ML-61 returned 4.03 percent eU3O8 over 10 meters;Drill hole ML -55 encountered high-grade mineralization, returning 5.14 percent U3O8 over 6.2 metersDrill hole ML -47 intersected 4.01 percent U3O8 over 4.7 meters

Merely 50 percent of the total 4.7-kilometer promising Maverick corridor has undergone systematic drilling, indicating significant discovery potential both along its length and within the underlying basement rocks at depth. Skyharbour has announced a 3,000-meter 2024 drill program which will include infill and expansion drilling at the high-grade Maverick Corridor as well as testing several regional targets including the Grid Nineteen target area.

Apart from the Maverick Zone, diamond drilling in various other target areas has encountered multiple conductors linked with notable structural disturbances, robust alteration, and anomalous concentrations of uranium and associated pathfinder elements.

Russell Lake Uranium Project

The Russell Lake project is a large, advanced-stage uranium exploration property spanning 73,294 hectares, strategically positioned between Cameco’s Key Lake and McArthur River projects. Skyharbour entered into an option agreement with Rio Tinto which gives it the right to acquire an initial 51 percent and up to 100 percent of the project. Skyharbour can earn an initial 51 percent by paying C$508,200 in cash, issuing 3,584,014 shares to Rio Tinto, and funding C$5,717,250 in exploration on the Russell Lake project, over three years. Skyharbour has a second option to earn an additional 19 percent interest for a total of 70 percent, and a further option to obtain the remaining 30 percent interest in the project.

The project is adjacent to Denison’s Wheeler River project and Skyharbour’s Moore uranium project. It is supported by excellent infrastructure in terms of highway access as well as high-voltage power lines. The project has undergone a significant amount of historical exploration which includes over 95,000 meters of drilling in over 220 drill holes. The exploration identified numerous prospective target areas and several high-grade uranium showings as well as drill hole intercepts.

The property hosts several noteworthy exploration targets, including the Grayling Zone, the M-Zone Extension target, the Little Man Lake target, the Christie Lake target, and the Fox Lake Trail target. Skyharbour completed a 19-hole drilling program totaling 9,595 meters in three phases in 2023. The initial drilling phase encompassed 3,662 meters across eight completed holes at the Grayling Zone, followed by a second phase involving four holes totaling 2,730 meters drilled at the Fox Lake Trail Zone. The third drilling phase involved 3,203 meters across seven holes targeting additional areas within the Grayling Zone.

Drilling at Russell in 2024 was completed in two separate phases with a total of 3,094 metres drilled in six holes. Phase One of drilling resulted in the best intercept of uranium mineralization historically on the property from hole RSL24-02, which returned a 2.5 metre wide intercept of 0.721 percent U3O8 at a relatively shallow depth of 338.1 metres, including 2.99 percent U3O8 over 0.5 metres at 339.6 metres just above the unconformity in the sandstone. This high-grade intercept represents a discovery in a newly delineated target area and will be a top-priority target in the upcoming summer drill program.

Secondary Projects

Falcon Uranium Project

This project comprises 11 claims covering 42,908 hectares located approximately 50 km east of the Key Lake mine. Skyharbour Resources has entered into an option agreement with North Shore Uranium which provides North Shore with an earn-in option to acquire an initial 80 percent interest and up to a 100% interest in the Falcon Property. North Shore can acquire an initial 80 percent interest in the claims within three years by meeting combined commitments of C$5.3 million in cash, share issuance, and exploration expenditures. Additionally, there’s an option to buy the remaining 20 percent for an extra C$10 million in cash and shares.

North Shore Uranium has collected multiple samples from two of the first three uranium prospects drilled at its 55,699-hectare Falcon property in 2024. The samples returned anomalous uranium values of greater than 300 ppm U3O8 and up to a maximum of 572 ppm U3O8.

South Falcon East Uranium

This project comprises 16 claims covering 12,234 hectares located approximately 55 km east of the Key Lake mine. Skyharbour has optioned up to a 75 percent interest in a portion of the project to Tisdale Clean Energy. Tisdale will issue Skyharbour Resources 1,111,111 shares upfront, fund exploration expenditures totaling C$10.5 million, and pay Skyharbour Resources C$11.1 million in cash of which C$6.5 million can be settled for shares over a five-year earn-in. Skyharbour Resources will retain a minority interest in the South Falcon East.

East Preston

This project comprises 20,674 hectares located on the west side of the Athabasca Basin. In March 2017, Skyharbour Resources signed an option agreement with Azincourt Uranium (TSXV:AAZ) to option 70 percent of a portion of the East Preston project to Azincourt. Since then, Azincourt earned a majority interest in the project which currently stands at 85.8 percent. Skyharbour retains 9.5 percent ownership and Dixie Gold owns the remaining 4.7 percent.

Azincourt completed a 2023 drill program comprising 3,066 meters in 13 drill holes. The company also completed the winter 2024 diamond drill program of 1,086 meters of drilling in four diamond drill holes.

Preston

This project comprises 49,635 hectares strategically located near Fission’s Triple R deposit and NexGen’s Arrow deposit. In March 2017, Skyharbour Resources signed an option agreement with Orano (formerly AREVA) Resources Canada to option a majority stake in the Preston project. Orano has fulfilled its first earn-in option interest for 51 percent in the project. Following this, Orano has formed a joint venture (JV) with Skyharbour and Dixie Gold for the advancement of the project. Orano holds 51 percent interest, and the remaining is split evenly (24.5 percent each) between Skyharbour and Dixie Gold.

Orano Canada has completed a geophysical program at the 49,635-hectare Preston uranium project which included a ground electromagnetic survey (ML-TEM) and a ground gravity survey. Orano is now preparing for a Spatiotemporal Geochemical Hydrocarbons (SGH) soil sampling program that will take place this summer at the project.

Hook Lake

This project comprises 16 claims covering 25,847 hectares on the east side of the Athabasca Basin. In February 2024, Thunderbird Resources (previously Valor) completed an earn-in for 80 percent interest and formed a JV partnership with Skyharbour which retains the remaining 20 percent interest.

Yurchison Lake

This project consists of 13 claims totaling 57,407 hectares in the Wollaston Domain. In November 2021, Medaro signed an agreement to acquire an initial 70 percent interest by spending C$5 million on exploration, C$800,000 in cash payments, and C$3 million in Medaro shares over 4 years. Medaro may acquire the 30 percent interest, within 30 business days of earning the initial 70 percent interest, by issuing C$7.5 million of shares and a cash payment of $7.5 million to Skyharbour.

Mann Lake

This project is strategically located on the east side of the Athabasca basin, 25 km southwest of Cameco’s McArthur River Mine and 15 km northeast and along strike of Cameco’s Millennium uranium deposit. In October 2021, Basin Uranium signed an earn-in option to acquire a 75 percent interest in the project. Basin will pay a combination of cash and stocks over three years comprising C$4.85 million in cash plus exploration expenditure and C$1.75 million worth of shares.

In addition to the projects being advanced by Skyharbour and its partners, the Company has an additional twenty 100% owned projects that they’re actively seeking to option out to potential new partners in the future to add to their growing prospect generator business. All in all, Skyharbour is very well positioned to benefit from an accelerating uranium bull market with increasing demand in the backdrop of a strained supply side.

Management Team

Jordan Trimble, B.Sc., CFA – President and CEO

With a background in entrepreneurship, Jordan Trimble has held various positions in the resource industry, focusing on management, corporate finance, strategy, shareholder communications, business development, and capital raising with multiple companies. Prior to his role at Skyharbour, he was the corporate development manager at Bayfield Ventures, a gold company with projects in Ontario. Bayfield Ventures was subsequently acquired by New Gold (TSX:NGD) in 2014. Throughout his career, Trimble has established and assisted in the management of numerous public and private enterprises. He has played a pivotal role in securing significant capital for mining companies, leveraging his extensive network of institutional and retail investors.

Jim Pettit – Chairman of the Board

Jim Pettit currently serves as a director on the boards of various public resource companies, drawing from over 30 years of experience in the industry. His expertise lies in finance, corporate governance, management and compliance, particularly in the early-stage development of both private and public enterprises. Over the past three decades, he has primarily focused on the resource sector. Previously, he served as chairman and CEO of Bayfield Ventures, which was acquired by New Gold in 2014.

David Cates – Director

David Cates currently serves as the president and CEO of Denison Mines (TSX:DML). Before assuming the role of president and CEO, Cates was the vice-president of finance, tax, and chief financial officer at Denison. In his capacity as CFO, he played a pivotal role in the company’s mergers and acquisitions activities, including spearheading the acquisition of Rockgate Capital and International Enexco. Cates joined Denison in 2008, initially serving as director of taxation before he was appointed CFO. Prior to joining Denison, he held positions at Kinross Gold and PwC with a focus on the resource industry.

Joseph Gallucci – Director

Joseph Gallucci was previously a senior manager at a leading Canadian accounting firm. He possesses more than two decades of expertise in investment banking and equity research, specializing in mining, base metals, precious metals, and bulk commodities worldwide. He serves as a senior capital markets executive and corporate director. Presently, Gallucci is the managing director and head of investment banking at Laurentian Bank Securities, where he assumes responsibility for overseeing the entire investment banking practice.

Amanda Chow – Director

Amanda Chow is a chartered professional accountant (CPA, CMA) and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Simon Fraser University. Chow commenced her career with public companies in 1999.

Dave Billard – Head Consulting Geologist

Dave Billard is a geologist with over 35 years of experience in exploration and development, focusing on uranium, gold and base metals in western Canada and the western US. He served as chief operating officer, vice-president of exploration, and director for JNR Resources before its acquisition by Denison Mines. He played a crucial role in the discovery of JNR’s Maverick and Fraser Lakes B zones. Earlier in his career, he contributed to the discovery and development of several significant gold deposits in northern Saskatchewan. Prior to joining JNR, Billard worked as a geological consultant specializing in uranium exploration in the Athabasca Basin. He also spent over 12 years with Cameco Corporation.

Christine McKechnie – Senior Project Geologist

Christine McKechnie is a geologist with a specialization in uranium deposits, particularly those hosted in the basement and associated with unconformities in the Athabasca Basin and its vicinity. Throughout her career, she has worked with various companies such as Claude Resources, JNR Resources, CanAlaska Uranium and Cameco, engaging in gold and uranium exploration activities. She completed her B.Sc. (High Honors) in 2008 from the University of Saskatchewan and completed a M.Sc. thesis on the Fraser Lakes Zone B deposit at the Falcon Point project. She also received the 2015 CIM Barlow Medal for Best Geological Paper.

Sean Cross – Project Geologist

Sean Cross is a geologist primarily dedicated to uranium exploration, with supplementary expertise in VMS and orogenic gold deposits. Sean has been involved in various flagship projects, including Foran’s McIlvenna Bay Deposit and NexGen Energy’s Arrow Deposit. His expertise extends to greenfield uranium exploration south of the Athabasca, geological mapping with the Saskatchewan Geological Survey, and environmental and archaeological mitigation projects in British Columbia and Alberta.

Dylan Drummond – Project Geologist

Dylan Drummond is a geologist experienced in uranium and rare earth elements exploration. He has been involved in numerous prestigious projects, including NexGen Energy’s prominent Arrow Deposit and Orano Canada’s Cigar Lake project. Additionally, he has served in various capacities at Appia Energy Corp, ranging from on-site prospecting to supporting drill program supervision.

This profile was written in collaboration with Couloir Capital.

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2024 has been positive for silver stocks, as silver prices soared during the second quarter of 2024, breaching the US$30 mark in May for the first time since 2012.

Silver’s gains are being driven by a variety of factors. According to the Silver Institute, demand for the metal is set to outstrip mining supply for the third year in a row, due in part to rising demand from sectors dependent on the energy transition including photovoltaics and electric vehicles.

India in particular has seen demand soar as the country introduced new regulations for domestic production for new solar projects, leading the country to import more silver through the first four months of the year than all of 2023.

How has silver’s price movement benefited silver stocks on the TSX and TSXV? The five companies listed below have seen the biggest gains since the start of the year. Data was gathered using TradingView’s stock screener on July 9, 2024, and all companies listed had market caps over C$10 million at that time.

1. GR Silver Mining (TSXV:GRSL)

Press ReleasesCompany Profile

Year-to-date gain: 137.5 percent; market cap: C$57.8 million; share price: C$0.19

GR Silver Mining is a small-cap explorer and developer that is working to advance its Rosario Mining District in Sinaloa, Mexico, to production. The district consists of three core mining areas: Plomosas, San Marcial and La Trinidad.

The company’s primary focus has been the development of Plomosas and neighboring San Marcial, a 9,764 hectare land package that hosts a past-producing silver, gold, lead and zinc underground mine.

In March 2023, the company released an updated resource estimate for Plomosas showing total indicated quantities of 97 million silver equivalent ounces, with additional inferred quantities of 53 million silver equivalent ounces.

Shares of GR Silver saw significant gains in the first quarter alongside a rising silver price and a March 4 news release. In the announcement, GR Silver reported that it had started small bulk sampling and test mining at Plomosas.

In an update on June 27, the company provided results from the sampling program. In the report, GR Silver said it had completed 280 meters of development and processed 15,170 metric tons of material. Silver recovery rates from the samples were between 84 and 92 percent. Assays from channel sampling produced high grades, with one sample grading 1,625 grams per metric ton (g/t) silver and 14.1 g/t gold over 2.5 meters.

GR Silver’s share price reached a year-to-date high of C$0.23 on June 2.

2. Defiance Silver (TSXV:DEF)

Press ReleasesCompany Profile

Year-to-date gain: 108.33 percent; market cap: C$65.32 million; share price: C$0.25

Explorer Defiance Silver is working to advance its district-scale Zacatecas silver project in Zacatecas, Mexico.

The project consists of a 4,300 hectare land package and includes four project areas: San Acacio, Lucito, Panuco and Lagartos. Both San Acacio and Lagartos have seen previous exploration and mining activity.

On January 15, the company announced results from its 2023 drill program at the San Acacio target, reporting well-developed silver and zinc values with elevated gold and copper. This includes a highlighted assay of 223.53 grams per MT (g/t) silver over 12.82 meters with an interval of 306.86 g/t silver over 7.79 meters.

Defiance provided an update on April 15 on a surface-sampling campaign at the Lucita target. The results show widespread high-grade polymetallic mineralization, with Defiance highlighting grades of up to 795 g/t silver from Lucita North and 2,350 g/t silver from Lucita South. The company said the results reinforce the district-scale potential at Zacatecas.

Shares of Defiance reached a rear-to-date high of C$0.425 on May 15.

3. Endeavour Silver (TSX:EDR)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 105.32 percent; market cap: C$1.35 billion; share price: C$5.40

Endeavour Silver is a silver company with two operating silver-gold mines in Mexico — Guanaceví and Bolañitos — an advanced-stage development project and several exploration properties.

Its primary focus for 2024 has been the development of its Terronera project in Jalisco, Mexico, which is under construction. Once complete, the new mine will become the company’s flagship operation. According to a 2023 update to its 2021 feasibility report, Terronera will produce an estimated 4 million ounces of silver per year over a 10 year mine life.

The most recent update from the project came on April 23, when the company announced construction at the site had progressed on the upper plant platform with structural steel in place for crushing, grinding and ore storage elements. The company also indicated it had reached 53 percent completion and that progress remained on schedule for mechanical installation and project commissioning in Q4 2024.

In the company’s Q2 2024 production results released on July 9, Endeavour said that its existing Guanaceví and Bolañitos mines combined for production of 4.4 million silver equivalent ounces over the first half of the year. Production is currently in line with the upper end of the company’s guidance for 2024, which is 8.1 million to 8.8 million silver equivalent ounces.

Shares in Endeavour Silver reached a year-to-date high of C$5.63 on May 27.

4. Avino Silver and Gold Mines (TSX:ASM)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 89.44 percent; market cap: C$182.3 million; share price: C$1.35

Avino Silver and Gold Mines is a precious metals miner with two primary silver assets: the producing Avino silver mine and the neighboring La Preciosa project in Durango, Mexico.

Avino, the company’s only producing asset, features 2,500 MT per day ore-processing capabilities, and according to its management’s discussion and analysis for 2023, was responsible for the extraction of 928,643 ounces of silver, 7,335 ounces of gold and 5.3 million pounds of copper. While within the company’s guidance, there was a 6 percent decrease in silver production over 2022, when it produced 985,195 ounces in the same time frame.

In addition to its mining operation, Avino is working to advance its La Preciosa project toward the production stage. The site covers 1,134 hectares, and according to a February 2023 resource estimate, holds measured and indicated quantities of 98.59 million ounces of silver and 189,190 ounces of gold.

On February 28, the company provided an update for La Preciosa, saying it was preparing for the first phase of production at the Gloria and Abundancia veins. Avino also said it has the equipment needed to commence operations at the site once it receives the necessary environmental permits, which it expects later in 2024.

In the company’s financial highlights released on May 8, Avino reported that silver production for the first quarter of the year had reached 250,642 ounces, representing an increase of 7 percent over the same quarter in 2023. It also reported revenue of US$12.39 million, a 26 percent increase from Q1 2023.

Avino’s share price marked a year-to-date high of C$1.51 on May 26.

5. Gatos Silver (TSX:GATO)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 77.92 percent; market cap: C$342.45 million; share price: C$1.15

Gatos Silver is a silver-focused production and exploration company. Its flagship asset is the Cerro Los Gatos mine and district located south of Chihuahua City, Mexico.

The site consists of 14 predominantly silver, lead and zinc mineralization zones, and is a joint venture with Dowa Metals and Mining, which holds a 30 percent stake in the operation; Gatos owns the remaining 70 percent.

On February 21, the company released its full-year results for 2023, indicating it had produced 9.2 million ounces of silver, marking a decline from the 10.3 million ounces produced in 2022. However, the company said it improved operational efficiencies to offset inflationary pressure, lowering all-in-sustaining costs (AISC) to the lower end of 2023 guidance.

In the release, Gatos also notes that it expects similar production totals for 2024. It is looking for a range of 8.4 million to 9.2 million ounces of silver at an AISC of US$9.50 to US$11.50 per payable ounce. The company anticipates that exploration efforts at the South-East Deeps target will further extend the life of the mine.

The most recent news from the project came on April 25, when Gatos provided an exploration update from the South East Deeps zone, with a highlighted intercept of 338 g/t silver over 8.5 meters, including an intersection of 632 g/t silver over 3.7 meters. It also said it had been working to advance greenfield exploration work at the Portigueño target in preparation for increased drilling beginning in Q2.

In an update on July 9, the company reported that production through Q1 and Q2 was near the top end of guidance with 4.67 million ounces of silver produced, an increase from the 4.43 million ounces produced in the same period in 2023.

Shares of Gatos reached a year-to-date high of C$16.91 on May 30.

Securities Disclosure: I, Dean Belder, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Artificial intelligence (AI) may be an emerging technology, but there are plenty of billion-dollar companies in this space.

As the market has grown over the past few years, AI technology has made strong inroads into several key industries, including logistics, manufacturing, finance, healthcare, customer service and cybersecurity.

While AI-driven advancements in robotics have received the most press in recent years, the latest buzz has centered around OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This intelligent chatbot shows how quickly generative AI is advancing, and has attracted the attention of heavyweight technology companies such as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which has reportedly invested billions of dollars in the privately held OpenAI. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has also released its own AI chat tool, Google Gemini.

On a global scale, Fortune Business Insights predicts that the AI industry will experience a compound annual growth rate of 20.4 percent between 2024 and 2032 to reach a market value of more than US$2.74 trillion.

American AI stocks

According to Tracxn Technologies, the number of US AI companies has more than doubled since 2017 with over 75,740 companies working in the sector today.

One of the major factors fueling growth in the American AI market, states Statista, is “the growing investments and partnerships among technology companies, research institutions, and governments.’

Below are three of the top US AI stocks organized by market cap.

1. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Company Profile

Market cap: US$3.37 trillion; share price: US$452.69

In addition to the reported billions Microsoft is committed to investing in OpenAI, the technology behemoth has built its own AI solutions based on the chatbot creator’s technology: Bing AI and Copilot. OpenAI officially licensed its technologies to Microsoft in 2020.

An update to Windows 11 in 2023 integrated the Bing chatbot into the operating system’s search bar, allowing users to interact with the chatbot directly with Microsoft’s Edge browser, Chrome and Safari.

Microsoft’s moves into generative AI have translated into higher revenues for its Azure cloud computing business and a higher market capitalization as the tech giant pushed past the US$3 trillion mark in January 2024.

In late May, Microsoft unveiled its Copilot+ Windows PCs, the company’s first range of AI PCs, which the company says are the “fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built.”

2. NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)

Company Profile

Market cap: US$3.07 trillion; share price: US$124.61

The global leader in graphics processing unit (GPU) technology, NVIDIA is designing specialized chips used to train AI and machine learning models for laptops, workstations, mobile devices, notebooks, and PCs. The company is partnering with a number of big name tech firms to bring a number of key AI products to market.

Through its partnership with Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL), NVIDIA is developing AI applications for enterprises, such as language-based services, speech recognition and cybersecurity. The chip maker has been instrumental in the build out of Meta Platforms’ (NASDAQ:META) AI supercomputer called the Research SuperCluster, which reportedly uses a total of 16,000 of NVIDIA’s GPUs.

In the first quarter, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM) and NVIDIA released the world’s first multi-die chip specifically designed for AI applications: the Blackwell GPU. Blackwell’s architecture allows for the increased processing power needed to train larger and more complex AI models.

In early June, NVIDIA saw its market cap zoom past the US$3 trillion mark to surpass that of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). On June 18, its valuation jumped to as high as US$3.34 trillion to briefly pass Microsoft before pulling back.

3. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)

Company Profile

Market cap: US$2.3 trillion; share price: US$185.14

Alphabet holds court with both Microsoft and NVIDIA as part of the tech sector’s Magnificent 7, and its foray into AI has similarly brought the tech giant much success. Alphabet’s market cap surpassed the US$2 trillion mark in April.

It would seem investors still remain confident in the potential for growth in Alphabet’s AI ventures despite its hiccups in the rollout of its subsidiary Google’s AI chatbot Gemini, formerly called Bard. “While the headlines haven’t been favorable, Google’s role in generative AI products will present massive growth opportunities for the stock,” said Sylvia Jablonski, chief executive officer at Defiance ETFs.

In early April, Google introduced a custom AI chip designed for its cloud services customers. Set to be delivered later this year, the technology uses British semiconductor company Arm Holding’s (NASDAQ:ARM) AI architecture. In the same week, Google revealed its new A3 Mega AI processor based on NVIDIA’s H100 Technology.

Canadian AI stocks

Recognized as a world-leading AI research hub, Canada ranks fifth out of 62 countries in the Global AI Index. Since 2017, the Canadian government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into accelerating the research and commercialization of AI technology in the country through the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

Recent research by IBM (NYSE:IBM) says Canadian businesses are increasingly adopting AI, with 37 percent of IT professionals in large enterprises reporting that they have deployed the technology in their operations.

Below are three of the top Canadian AI stocks.

1. CGI (TSX:GIB.A)

Company Profile

Market cap: C$31.42 billion; share price: C$137.44

Montreal-based CGI is among the world’s largest IT systems integration companies, and offers a wide range of services, from cloud migration and digital transformation to data analysis, fraud detection and even supply chain optimization. Its more than 700 clients span the retail, wholesale, consumer packaged goods and consumer services sectors worldwide.

Through a partnership with Google, CGI is leveraging the Google Cloud Platform to strengthen the capabilities of its CGI PulseAI solution, which can be integrated with existing applications and workflows.

CGI is aggressively working to expand its generative AI capabilities and client offerings, and reportedly is planning to invest US$1 billion into its AI offerings. In early March, the company launched Elements360 ARC-IBA, an AI powered platform for brokers and insurers to settle accounts in the UK broking industry.

2. Descartes Systems Group (TSX:DSG)

Company Profile

Market cap: C$11.14 billion; share price: C$133.15

Descartes Systems Group provides on-demand software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. The multinational technology company specializes in logistics software, supply chain management software and cloud-based services for logistics businesses.

AI and machine learning enhancements to Descartes’ routing, mobile and telematics suite are helping the company’s customers optimize fleet performance.

“AI and ML are perfect extensions to our advanced route optimization and execution capabilities,” Ken Wood, executive vice president at Descartes, said. “From dynamic delivery appointment scheduling through planning and real-time route execution, we’ve used AI and ML to improve our ability to deliver the next level of fleet performance for customers.”

3. OpenText (TSX:OTEX)

Company Profile

Market cap: C$11.08 billion; share price: C$40.86

Ontario-based OpenText is one of Canada’s largest software companies. The tech firm develops and sells enterprise information management software. Its portfolio includes hundreds of products in the areas of enterprise content management, digital process automation and security, plus AI and analytics tools. OpenText serves small businesses, large enterprises and governments alike.

OpenText’s AI & Analytics platform has an open architecture that enables integration with other AI services, including Google Cloud and Azure. It can leverage all types of data, including structured or unstructured data, big data and the internet of things to quickly create interactive visuals.

Early in the year, OpenText launched its Cloud Editions 24.1, which includes enhancements to its OpenText Aviator portfolio.

‘Leveraging AI for impactful results depends on reliable data – without it, even the most skilled data scientists will struggle,” OpenText CEO and chief technology officer Mark J. Barrenechea stated. “By expanding the Aviator portfolio in conjunction with our world class information management platform, Cloud Editions 24.1 empowers customers with the tools and insights needed to get ahead.’

Australian AI stocks

AI investment in Australia is expected to reach AU$5.7 billion in 2026, according to research firm IDC. The biggest spenders when it comes to AI in Australia are the banking industry, the federal government, professional services and retail.

Below are three of the top Australian AI stocks.

1. Xero (ASX:XRO)

Company Profile

Market cap: AU$20.51 billion; share price: AU$135.44

New Zealand-based technology company Xero provides cloud-based accounting software for small- and medium-sized businesses. The company’s product portfolio also includes the Xero Accounting app, Xero HQ, Xero Ledger, Xero Workpapers and Xero tax tools.

Xero has made a number of AI enhancements to its platform in recent years, including bank reconciliation predictions that save time and reduce errors, and Analytics Plus, a suite of AI-powered planning and forecasting tools.

In March, the company launched its Gen AI assistant, named Just Ask Xero, or JAX. Some of its features include the automation or streamlining of repetitive and time-consuming tasks; the ability to anticipate tasks based on previous user actions and the ability to make cashflow projections on request.

2. TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE)

Company Profile

Market cap: AU$5.96 billion; share price: AU$18.45

TechnologyOne is another large enterprise technology software firm in Australia. In fact, it is the country’s largest enterprise resource planning SaaS company. TechnologyOne has a client base of over 1,200, including customers in the government, education, health and financial services sectors across Australia, New Zealand and the UK. The company’s research and development center is targeting cloud-based technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Municipalities such as Shoalhaven in the UK are using TechnologyOne AI-based SaaS solutions to manage city services, including waste management and road maintenance.

TechnologyOne’s H1 2024 financial results highlighted its 15th year of record first half revenue, profit and SaaS fees.

3. Wee Bit (ASX:WBT)

Company Profile

Market cap: AU$647.6 million; share price: AU$2.43

Israeli semiconductor IP company Weebit Nano develops silicon oxide-based resistive random-access memory (ReRAM) technologies. The company seeks to address the need for significantly higher-performance and lower-power computer memory technology.

Weebit’s products can be used to enable edge AI applications and AI systems such as neuromorphic computing. An advancement in AI and machine learning, neuromorphic computing is based on architectures designed to function in the same way as the human brain’s operation.

Weebit says its ReRAM cell “functions similarly to a synapse in the brain, making it a promising solution for neuromorphic computing.” The company is collaborating with research partners in academia and industry to further develop the use of ReRAM for neuromorphic computing.

FAQs for AI stocks

Which company is leading the AI race?

Google and Microsoft are battling it out for king of the AI hill. While Goldman Sachs sees Alphabet’s Google as leading the AI race, other analysts are pointing to Microsoft as the clear frontrunner. Microsoft stands to benefit in a big way from its billions of dollars investment in OpenAI’s ChatGPT as advancements in generative AI may have the potential to increase the company’s revenues for its Azure cloud computing business.

Which country is doing best in AI?

North America is the global hotspot for advancements in AI technology and is home to the majority of the world’s largest AI providers. Of the countries in this region, Canada’s AI industry is showing the fastest growth, according to a report by Deloitte. Techopedia positions the US as the primary hub for AI development, and many of the world’s leading tech giants are headquartered there. According to the report, China comes in a close second.

What is Elon Musk’s AI company?

In November 2023, Elon Musk launched Grok, a new AI technology company based in Nevada. While not much is known about the company yet, Musk said he is starting it as a ‘third option’ to ChatGPT and Google Gemini; its product will be named TruthGPT.

Does Tesla have its own AI?

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has developed proprietary AI chips and neural network architecture. The company’s autonomous vehicle AI system gathers visual data in real time from eight cameras to produce a 3D output that helps to identify the presence and motion of obstacles, lanes and traffic lights. The AI-driven models also help autonomous vehicles make quick decisions. In addition to developing autonomous vehicles, Tesla is working on bi-pedal robotics.

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Galan Lithium Limited (ASX: GLN) (Galan or the Company) is pleased to provide a further update on the progress at its 100% owned Hombre Muerto West (HMW) Phase 1 lithium brine project. Lithium inventories continue to build in the HMW Phase 1 ponds, in line with Feasibility Study expectations, which will provide the feedstock for the HMW processing plant. Over the last month, Galan has re-worked its construction activities to preserve cash with a view to procuring both a definitive sales agreement and an associated funding package for the Project in the short term.

In situ lithium mining inventory continues to build with over 2,800t LCE accumulating in ponds.
Overall project completion is close to 40%.Project construction continues to advance at a pace commensurate with preserving cash. First production from HMW is now targeted for H2 2025.Average brine flow rate, well lithium grade and evaporation rates are in line with or better than those utilised in the Phase 1 Feasibility Study.Pond inventory management system in place to protect inventory and optimise evaporation process.Offtake partners shortlisted with Galan progressing towards a definitive sales agreement and associated funding package.

Overall completion of the HMW Phase 1 project now sits at approximately 40% with the ponds system at 60% capacity. The designed ponds system can allow an inventory, until H2 2025, of up to 10,000tpa LCE without the need for processing. Approximately 750,000 m2 of evaporation area has now been built, currently housing 2,800t LCE contained inventory. This current evaporation area is sufficient to produce a lithium chloride volume of approximately 3.0 ktpa LCE. The key processing parameters, including brine well average flow rates, lithium grades and evaporation rates are all aligned with the Phase 1 DFS. Due to the slower pace of construction activities, first production from HMW is now expected to be within H2 2025.

As previously announced, the HMW project was separated into four production phases. The initial Phase 1 Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) focused on the production of 5.4ktpa LCE of a lithium chloride concentrate by H2 2025, as governed by the approved production permits. The Phase 2 DFS targets 21ktpa LCE of a lithium chloride concentrate in 2026, followed by Phase 3 production of 40ktpa LCE by 2028 and finally a Phase 4 production target of 60ktpa LCE by 2030. Phase 4 will include lithium brine sourced from both HMW and Galan’s other 100% owned project in Argentina, Candelas. The positive Phase 2 DFS results were announced on 3 October 2023 (https://wcsecure.weblink.com.au/pdf/GLN/02720109.pdf).

Galan’s Managing Director, Juan Pablo (JP) Vargas de la Vega, commented:

“We are very proud of the solid progress made to date especially in light of current market conditions. During this time, the Board also made the prudent decision to strategically slow construction activities so as to preserve our cash.

Our current in situ inventory of 2,800t LCE has been the first step of our production pathway. Our inventory will continue to increase as we have a low energy cost operation that only requires brine pumps to operate. As a result, once Galan finalises sales and funding arrangements, which are progressing well, the Company will be in a strong position to produce a competitive low-cost lithium product.

It should also be noted that we have received strong international market interest in our HMW lithium concentrate. In our view, this evidence indicates that the current lithium pricing environment and market oversupply is not expected to be a long term trend.”

Click here for the full ASX Release

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Augustus Minerals (ASX: AUG; “Augustus” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the results of rock chips collected recently at the 3,600 sq km Ti-Tree Project in the Gascoyne Region.

Augustus Minerals has received the following assays from new rock chip samples recently collected as part of an ongoing regional targeting program:

35% copper and 236 g/t silver from rock chip assays at Tiberius prospect.32% copper, 3.26 g/t gold and 129 g/t silver from rock chips from the South Snowy prospect.10.1g/t gold from rock chips from the Justinian prospect.53.1 g/t silver and 5,000ppm molybdenum from rock chips from the Claudius prospect.537ppm molybdenum and 47 g/t silver from rock chips from Minnie SE prospect, 1.4km SE of the existing Minnie Springs Mo-Cu porphyry drilling area.

Mapping and field work is continuing around these prospects as well new targets identified from a combination of geology, geophysics and multi-spectral image analysis.

Andrew Ford, GM Exploration

“These rock chips continue to highlight the untapped potential of the Ti-Tree Project to host significant precious and base metal mineralisation. Mapping and sampling continue over both existing prospects and in virgin areas with exciting results.

Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the diamond drilling to test the deeper potential at Minnie Springs Mo-Cu porphyry. Dilling is planned for Q3 2024 with assistance from the co funded EIS drilling grant as announced 2nd of May 2024”.

Rock Chip sampling

The Augustus Minerals geology team continues to cover the ground at Ti-Tree, with 231 samples collected in June. Assays have now been returned for these samples with encouraging results from existing prospects, as well as the definition of new prospects which have had no previously documented exploration (Figure 1). Meanwhile, soil sampling continues along strike of major structural trends hosting existing prospects2.

Highly anomalous rock chip results are listed in Table 1 and more comprehensive sample details are attached at the end of this announcement in Table 3, 4, 5 and 6.

South Snowy

South Snowy is a large area centred 8km NE of Minnie Springs Cu-Mo deposit and covers an area of structural complexity related to the major Minga Bar Fault System which runs from southeast to northwest through granitic rocks of the Moorarie Supersuite. The area is also cut by late NE trending dolerite dykes and quartz veins. Thirty-five samples have been collected in this area, with several samples returning elevated gold, silver and copper. A major NW trending fault defined by shearing, quartz veining and iron oxides after sulphide returned elevated gold in 5 samples, with a maximum of 3.26g/t Au in sample REE0012 (Figure 2). Sample WA001026, from northwest trending veining adjacent to a dolerite located 5km north of the major fault, returned high grade silver (129g/t Ag) and copper (32%) as well as anomalous gold (0.38g/t Au) (Figure 3). Nearby sample WA001028, also related to veining proximal to a dolerite dyke assayed 5.0g/t Ag and 1.14% Cu. Pathfinder elements include Bi and Te.

Click here for the full ASX Release

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Kazakhstan’s announcement of a significant increase in the Mineral Extraction Tax (MET) for uranium sent uranium stocks trending higher on July 10 as concerns of a potential supply disruption grew due to Kazakhstan’s position as the world’s largest uranium-producing country.

The new tax rate changes will come in two waves. The first, effective January 1, 2025, will impose an initial hike from the current 6 percent to 9 percent.

Starting in 2026, they will take on a more complex and differentiated rate structure, structured to vary based on production volumes and the price of natural uranium concentrate (U3O8).

For production volumes up to 500 metric tons, the rate will be 4 percent, increasing incrementally to a maximum of 18 percent for volumes exceeding 4,000 metric tons.

Additionally, if the price of U3O8 exceeds certain thresholds, an additional rate increase will apply, starting at 0.5 percent for prices above US$70 per pound and rising to a maximum of 2.5 percent for prices above US$110 per pound.

The country’s national uranium company Kazatomprom (LSE:KAP,OTC Pink:NATKY) is directly impacted by this tax change. Kazatomprom is a key player in the global uranium market, accounting for approximately 20 percent of global primary uranium production in 2023. The company has already faced challenges this year, including securing sulfuric acid necessary for production.

The company’s recent financial results highlight its strong market performance. In 2023, the company reported consolidated revenue of 1,434,635 million Kazakhstani tenge, or US$3.19 billion, a 43 percent increase from 2022. Despite a 2 percent decline in U3O8 production, sales volume rose by 10 percent, driven by increased buyer demand.

The company acknowledged the impending tax changes in a press release.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s government stated the tax increase as part of broader economic reforms aimed at balancing the budget and redistributing wealth more equitably.

‘Our minerals extraction tax rates are among the lowest in the world,’ Economy Minister Alibek Kuantyrov told Reuters. ‘I think we can carefully raise it by 10-20 percent.’

These changes come amid increased government spending in response to global economic pressures and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Securities Disclosure: I, Giann Liguid, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Indigo Exploration (TSXV:IXI) has announced the acquisition of a 100 percent interest in the Hot property, a uranium project located in the Shirley Basin of Wyoming, US.

“Gaining 100 percent interest in a project of this calibre, located in a key uranium district next to past production and some of the preeminent US-focused uranium producers and developers, and with extensive historical drill results, is an exciting new development for the Company,” Indigo’s President and CEO Paul Cowley commented in the company’s press release.

The Hot property covers 71 unpatented mineral claims over a 5.75 square kilometer area and has been the site of extensive historical exploration since the 1960s.

Wyoming is historically the largest uranium-producing state in the US and has the greatest uranium ore reserves. The Shirley Basin produced over 51 million pounds of U3O8 from 1960 to 1992 at an average grade of 0.22 percent U3O8. However, depressed uranium prices in the late 1900s led to many mines in the region shuttering. The resurgence in uranium prices in recent years has brought interest back to the region as companies look to restart operations, develop uranium deposits or make new discoveries.

The Hot property is situated near notable uranium projects, including Ur-Energy’s (TSX:URE,NYSEAMERICAN:URG) Shirley Basin in-situ recovery project and Nuclear Fuels’ (CSE:NF) Bobcat uranium project.

Ur-Energy’s Shirley Basin project hosts an NI 43-101 measured and indicated resource of 8.8 million pounds of U3O8 grading 0.23 percent. It is currently under construction with the goal of entering production in 2026.

Historical drilling data from the 1960s at the Hot property shows shallow mineralization. Of the 202 holes drilled, 46 percent intercepted shallow uranium mineralization, with depths ranging from 3 to 130 meters, including two near-surface intercepts of 1.83 meters of 1.1 percent U3O8 at a depth of 43 meters and 3.35 meters of 0.28 percent U3O8 at a depth of 26.8 meters.

The acquisition terms involve Indigo paying C$20,000 and issuing 200,000 shares to a private vendor, for which it would acquire 100 percent of the private company that owns the Hot property. It remains subject to the approval of the TSXV.

Currently, Indigo plans to design an initial verification and infill drill program for the Hot property, with drilling projected to start in early fall 2024.

The uranium market experienced notable volatility in Q1 2024, with prices reaching over US$100 per pound in January. They have since consolidated below US$90 per pound. The long-term outlook for the uranium market is positive as analysts highlight supply-side fragility, particularly with production issues in Kazakhstan, as a key driver of future price increases.

Securities Disclosure: I, Giann Liguid, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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In recent weeks, Elon Musk’s Neuralink has captured the public’s attention and imagination with its futuristic vision of connecting the human brain to computers.

As Neuralink, which is registered as a medical research company, continues to make strides, investors are wondering how to get a piece of the action by investing in the neurotechnology venture.

Because it is privately held, Neuralink stock isn’t accessible to the average person — but that doesn’t mean getting exposure is impossible. Read on to learn how to participate in the growth of this exciting business.

What is Neuralink?

Neuralink is a neurotechnology startup that was founded in 2016 by Musk, who is perhaps best known as the CEO of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), in 2016.

It was first reported on in 2017, and two years later, in June 2019, the company held and streamed its public launch event to showcase the technology it is developing: an innovative brain-computer interface (BCI).

Instead of using traditional electrodes, which according to a company whitepaper can be bulky and damaging to brain tissue, Neuralink’s BCI uses “ultra-thin threads” that are implanted into the brain using a robotic device that resembles a sewing machine. Once implanted, the electrodes develop a BCI, stimulating the brain and monitoring activity, and the threads connect to a custom-designed chip that can read data from groups of neurons.

Potential uses of BCI technology include helping paralyzed individuals regain control of their limbs and restoring vision. Musk told his audience during Neuralink’s 2019 launch event that this technology could have a wide range of applications in medicine, such as restoring sensory and motor function in people with spinal cord injuries or neurological disorders. Additionally, an early goal of development is translating neuron signals into computer commands, which would allow humans to control devices like computers and smartphones with their brainwaves.

Musk has claimed that BCI could even facilitate direct communication between humans and machines, although some members of the neuroscientific community are skeptical. Other experts have suggested that Neuralink’s work is not necessarily novel — as Dr. Jason Shepherd, an associate professor of neurobiology at the University of Utah, told Business Insider in 2020, “All the technology that he showed has been already developed in some way or form. Essentially what they’ve done is just package it into a nice little form that then sends data wirelessly.”

How much is Neuralink worth?

Neuralink was reportedly valued at around US$5 billion in June 2023, but as a privately held business, much of its financial information is kept under wraps. That said, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents containing information about its funding rounds provide some insight.

The earliest came in 2017, when the company raised US$27 million out of a planned US$100 million in a Series A funding round. In April 2019, SEC filings show the company acquired US$39 million out of a planned US$51 million in a Series B funding round. A limited amount of information has been made available to the public, and the identities of the investors have not been publicly disclosed. However, some news outlets have speculated that funding could have come from a combination of venture capitalists, or from Musk himself and the Neuralink team.

In 2021, Neuralink received what was then its largest amount of money to date, raising US$205 million in a funding round led by tech investment firm Vy Capital. Other participants included Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL); OpenAI CEO Sam Altman; Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Paradigm and Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN); and Ken Howery, co-founder of PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) and Founders Fund.

In May 2023, as Neuralink faced public backlash over accusations of animal mistreatment, it received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration to run the first human trial of its brain implant. The company’s latest round of funding, worth US$280 million, came shortly after in August 2023; Reuters reported that it was led by Founders Fund. The filing was amended in November 2023 to reflect an additional US$43 million, bringing the total to US$323 million.

Is Neuralink approved for human trials?

Neuralink opened a patient registry in early 2023 that allowed people who had at least one of a qualifying list of conditions to volunteer for upcoming clinical trials. The first study, dubbed PRIME — Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface — is specifically focused on patients with cervical spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Musk said in January 2024 that the brain chip being used for testing is named Telepathy. It is about the size of a coin, and each one is equipped with over 1,000 electrodes 20 times finer than human hair that fan out into the cerebral cortex. The first operation was performed on January 29 of this year. Musk shared the results on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating that the patient was “recovering well” and that “initial results show promising neuron spike detection.”

The next update came during a Spaces event on X on February 19, during which Musk stated that the patient had recovered and was able to move a computer cursor using thought. However, the lack of third-party validation and limited information shared with the public about the trial has raised concerns about transparency among some researchers. In mid-May, Neuralink’s first patient Noland Arbaugh, who is quadriplegic, shared his experiences in his first 100 days with the Neuralink brainchip.

According to Arbaugh, despite some setbacks, he believes his trial is a success. One of the largest benefits was that the Link allowed him to operate his computer and other devices lying down, while he needed assistance for set up and repositioning with prior devices. This gives him more freedom to live on his own time, he explained. Additionally, it offers greater control than other devices he has used.

‘The games I can play now are leaps and bounds better than previous ones,’ Arbaugh said. ‘I’m beating my friends in games that as a quadriplegic I should not be beating them in.’

Reuters reported in late May that Neuralink is set to enroll another three patients in its clinical trial. The study has an estimated primary completion date of 2026, and fully completed by 2031.

How to invest in Neuralink?

With Neuralink continuing to move forward, how can investors get a piece of this up-and-coming technology?

As mentioned, the firm has yet to go public, so purchasing Neuralink stock is not an option for many investors. The vast majority of Neuralink’s funding has come from venture capitalists and a handful of billion-dollar companies.

However, there are still ways for investors to potentially profit from Neuralink’s growth before it goes public. For example, investing in publicly traded companies that have invested in Neuralink can provide an indirect stake. Many of Musk’s investors are venture capital firms or private individuals, but some of these firms, such as Google Ventures, are subsidiaries of publicly traded companies. By investing in Alphabet, individuals can indirectly benefit from its investment in Neuralink, as any profit from the investment could potentially flow back to Alphabet.

This indirect approach can be a viable strategy for individuals who want to gain exposure to Neuralink without waiting for the company to go public. Coinbase is another company that offers indirect exposure to Neuralink’s growth; the enterprise is owned by Ehrsam, whose venture capital fund Paradigm has invested in Neuralink.

Those who qualify as accredited investors could also potentially invest in a Neuralink funding round. According to the SEC, an accredited investor must have a net worth of at least US$1 million, not including the value of their primary residence, or an annual income of at least US$200,000 for individuals and US$300,000 for married couples. There must also be a reasonable expectation of the same level of income in the year of filing.

Individuals can also qualify as accredited investors if they are an investment professionals in good standing. In that case, the SEC’s guidelines indicate that they need to hold either a general securities representative license, an investment advisor representative license or a private securities offerings representative license.

Entities like banks, insurance companies or investment firms with total assets of at least US$5 million may also qualify as accredited investors. Certain types of entities, such as private business companies and small business investment companies, may be exempt from the standard asset value requirements for accredited investor status.

It’s also worth noting that Neuralink is just one of several companies currently working on developing BCI technology. One competitor is Synchron, a company with similar ambitions that has received funding from the likes of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. On February 1, Synchron acquired a minority stake in German manufacturer Acquandas. This acquisition secures exclusive access to Acquandas’ advanced metal layering technology, which is a critical component for Synchron’s device, the Synchron Switch. Synchron launched a patient registry in April to prepare for an upcoming large-scale brain implant trial required to apply for US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) medial device approval.

Precision Neuroscience is another company working in the brain-computer interface field, although it is also private. Founded by one of Neuralink’s co-founders, the BCI company is currently testing its Layer 7 Cortical Interface, which is a thin, flexible film that sits on a brain’s gray matter instead of being implanted in it, making it less invasive. Precision Neuroscience recently set a record for the highest number of electrodes used to detect a person’s thoughts at 4,096 when they combined four of their interfaces on one brain.

Although the field is nascent, the potential for BCI to impact various industries such as robotics, medicine and biotech has generated a growing amount of interest and excitement. Additionally, heightened interest in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector has led to more research and exploration in related fields, and has attracted increased investment in fields benefiting from AI advancements, including robotics and medicine. AI is also being used as a tool to help discover new insights and make moves that might not have been possible without its use.

Finally, one of the simplest ways to gain direct exposure to Neuralink would be through an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that invests in companies related to BCI technology. While there isn’t an ETF that exclusively focuses on BCIs, there are funds that offer exposure to related themes. One example is the iShares Healthcare Innovation ETF (LSE:HEAL,OTC Pink:BLKIF). This fund consists of companies that are developing new and innovative healthcare technologies.

Two other options are the Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic ETF (NASDAQ:BOTZ), which includes companies that are involved in the development of robotics and AI, and the ARK Innovation ETF (ARCA:ARKK), which focuses on disruptive technologies across multiple industries, including healthcare and robotics.

As with any investment decision, it’s important to perform due diligence on available options, including comparing ETFs, to ensure they align with one’s investment goals.

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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