Either Alexander Molyneaux was misinformed or he was lying. Molyneaux is the Chairman of Azarga Resources, the Hong Kong-based mining firm that is in the process of taking control of Canada-based Powertech Uranium, which for years has been seeking to mine uranium in the southern Black Hills on a patch of land called Dewey-Burdock. The "in situ recovery" (ISR) mine, which will affect ground water in the area forever, has been fiercely opposed and subjected to numerous delays, so many that Powertech feared for its own financial solvency as the permitting costs kept dragging on, noting in its financial statement last Fall "that the Company’s focus is furthering its permitting applications at its Dewey-Burdock project. Therefore it will incur future losses which cast significant doubt as to the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern."
Enter Molyneaux and his Azarga Resources, the white knights who saved Powertech, its Dewey-Burdock prospects, and its shareholders from a possible total loss of their equity in the company. So confident in the new venture's coming prospects were the new bosses at Azarga that Chairman Molyneaux, in an interview dated last February 26, told the Canadian-based website CEO.CA that "Dewey Burdock is the next ISR mine to be built in the USA. It has
the highest grade of all potential projects, and is due for permitting
in the next 90 days." Well, 90 days from February 26 makes this coming May 27 the Molyneaux-established target for having its permitting done, which is ridiculous considering that South Dakota state hearings aren't scheduled until next August. I was skeptical. When a permit for the mine was issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission three weeks ago, there was much hoopla generated by the Powertech/Azarga public relations honks, but I remained dubious, mainly because the company's stock refused to budge from its measly 7 or 8 cents a share valuation. I mean, it's been nearly a month and the stock yesterday actually traded below its price on the day the NRC news broke.
Hard as the company's insiders have tried to tout its prospects, speculators just haven't been buying it. Now comes word today as to possibly why the stock has remained depressed. Three administrative judges on the Atomic Safety and Licensing board just suspended the much-hyped NRC permit. I thought that was big-time breaking news, but apparently it didn't come as all that much of a surprise. In this morning's Rapid City Journal story about it, reporter Joe O'Sullivan made this intriguing note: "The stay, which both uranium supporters and opponents expected, will
allow uranium opponents more time to make their case against the
proposal." I believe that if the stay of the NRC permit was indeed "expected," Powertech/Azarga completely ignored the prospect of it in its effusive announcement about it earlier this month.
Add that to the misinformation about the "90-day" permitting window dished out by Azarga Chairman Molyneaux and you come up with a company whose statements about the prospects of its permit applications for developing Dewey-Burdock are inconsistent with reality. These kinds of public statements can have an effect on share prices as speculators react to company news about its progress on developing the uranium mine in the Black Hills. As a South Dakota resident with an interest in my state's public lands and water resources, I think I'm being reasonable in asking for a clarification. I most certainly offer the comments section of this blog to company spokesmen to give an explanation as to why Powertech/Azarga seems to have been presenting an inaccurate picture of its permitting process and I will duly post word-for-word any statements they issue.