Blue Sky Uranium (TSX-V: BSK) CEO Niko Cacos on Excellent Metallurgical Results from the Ivana Uranium-Vanadium Deposit in Argentina
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is President and CEO of Blue Sky Uranium (TSX-V: BSK)(OTC: BKUCF), Mr. Niko Cacos. Niko, how are you today?
Niko Cacos: I'm doing very well, Gerardo. Thank you very much for having me on your show again. It's a real pleasure.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you for coming on. We had some behind the scenes delays. I appreciate your patience and I'm glad we got to get it up and going. Thank you so much for hanging in there. Listen, we are in 2019. We all know that 2018 was a pretty tough year in general for the resource space. One of the few exceptions, however, was the uranium space.
You just put out some pretty important news on behalf of Blue Sky Uranium. You reported some metallurgical test work results for the Ivana Uranium vanadium deposit in Argentina. This is an important release because you have a PEA coming out soon and the met work, of course, is critical. Can you talk about the news a bit? And then I'd love to get your thoughts on the overall uranium space and kind of what you see in 2019.
Niko Cacos: Absolutely, Gerardo. The news that we put out today is really excellent news. This news will, of course, also be incorporated in our upcoming PEA that's due before the end of this month. This is a very critical step because it talks about our ability to extract both the vanadium and the uranium from the rock. And then second of all, it talks about the process that's involved in actually yielding out uranium and vanadium for sale.
What the results and what the news basically says in layman's terms is it's a very simple two-step process. It's a process that's been used often. Basically, what it means it's a very cheap way to go. The first stage, which results in a four-fold increase in the grade of both uranium in vanadium. It basically just involves scrubbing the large pebbles and removing them so you're basically increasing the grade. And the second step, using just a leeching process we're able to extract 95% of the uranium and 60% of the vanadium, which is better than what we expected. It has very, very minimal environmental impact. So we're very, very pleased with this
Gerardo Del Real: Overall process recoveries after the entire process are approximately 85% for uranium and 53% for vanadium. Is that correct, Niko?
Niko Cacos: That is correct. And these are excellent numbers.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Can you, for people not familiar with the deposit, can you explain this? I mean district scale is an understatement. The 145-kilometer trend that you're working with. I mean, the project has massive upside.
Niko Cacos: Absolutely. Right now, on this project we have an initial deposit that we announced, the initial deposit, about just a little under a year ago, just under 20 million pounds of uranium and 10 million pounds of vanadium. Since that time we've done a lot of work, we're getting ready to do the PEA, but what we've seen, from the work that we've done on the land that we control, it stretches a strike length, like you stated, of 145-kilometers long, about 50 kilometers wide. This is a brand new uranium district. We control it all that we've been able to uncover in Argentina. This is Argentina's largest uranium deposit and we believe it's going to get much, much larger.
We're seeing not only just uranium. Uranium here occurs with vanadium, just like in the Colorado Plateau. But there are also regions, which are primarily vanadium. And this is very exciting because all of this is happening right now in an environment where we're seeing the price of uranium going up. In the last year alone uranium has been up by 50% and very elevated prices of vanadium. I mean, I've seen vanadium, I remember a few years back, was $3 or $4 a pound. Last year it touched $30. So we're trading around between $20 and $30. This speaks excellent in terms of potential economics for our deposit, and our ability to grow this.
Gerardo Del Real: I couldn't help but notice that Chuck Edwards did the metallurgical work. For those not familiar, can you explain to people Chuck's background, his experience and why that experience lends a lot of credibility to the diligence undertaken for this latest set of results on the metallurgical front?
Niko Cacos: The fact that all of this metallurgical and process work was overseen and conducted by Chuck Edwards gives us a lot of confidence in the reliability of these results. Chuck is probably the world's foremost metallurgical and process engineering expert. He works out of Saskatchewan at the Saskatchewan Research Council, where they do all the work for Athabasca and most of the major uranium mines there. And on a global basis, he is a true expert. His background is he's involved with the International Atomic Energy Agency, former President of the CIM and so forth.
He's got a very impressive background. We're honored to have him oversee the work here. Like I said, it makes the work that he's done become very, very reliable. It will be interesting to see after this is all incorporated into the PEA what the overall economics are going to look like.
Gerardo Del Real: Niko, I'm looking forward to having back on when those results are published. Give me your views here for 2019 on both the uranium and the vanadium space? I'm excited. Particularly in the uranium space, I think we're in for a heck of a year. But I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Niko Cacos: Well, I agree with you, Gerardo. Uranium, it continues to move upwards. We're seeing a lot of interest from investors and especially institutional investors looking to gain more exposure in the uranium interest. We're already talking with some of these folks. We're seeing interest from various larger companies looking to add resources, because in this last few years there hasn't been a lot of exploration in both uranium or vanadium. So there's a lack of new resources on the market.
This is a project that's got potential to be one of the lowest cost producers in the world and also to grow and become one of the larger deposits in the world. We're seeing a lot of interest and it's going to be a very fun year for Blue Sky and its shareholders. I think we're really poised right now, in this upcoming environment, for some significant growth and hopefully shareholders will be very much rewarded.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, one of the beautiful things that a bear market does, especially a brutal one in the resource space that we've had here these last few years, is it gets rid of a lot of the weak players. I think it's a testament to you and your team that you were able to come on to that and have shareholders positioned for a much, much better 2019. Niko, thank you so much for coming on. I can't wait to see the PEA and hopefully, you'll come back on and share that with us.
Niko Cacos: Awesome. Thank you very much, Gerardo, a pleasure.