How To Rate Your Favorite Uranium Company

Many investors invested in the Great Uranium Bull Market with little rationale behind their speculation. Through the robust rallies of the past two years, it was easy to play the momentum of a newsletter writer’s recommendation. Quite a few did so, often employing the ‘greater fool strategy’ and hoping the last and dumbest investor would provide an exit strategy for the early and nimble speculator.

We have created a 7-point ratings system to help you in determining which c…
uranium, nuclear power, electricity, utilities, stocks, mining, exploration, Canada, Wyoming, energy
Many investors invested in the Great Uranium Bull Market with little rationale behind their speculation. Through the robust rallies of the past two years, it was easy to play the momentum of a newsletter writer’s recommendation. Quite a few did so, often employing the ‘greater fool strategy’ and hoping the last and dumbest investor would provide an exit strategy for the early and nimble speculator.

We have created a 7-point ratings system to help you in determining which companies might be best suited for your degree of investment risk. It’s a guideline you can use, and we’ve not assigned a weighting to each item. Nor have we named any uranium companies. This is a do-it-yourself ratings system, which requires but two actions on your part: (a) be persistent in your data-gathering from each company by asking the questions we posed below, and (b) be honest in your assessment when you review this data.

Some of the more speculative, pure exploration plays might abandon their properties by the end of the year or in 2007. Those would include under-capitalized companies with the more speculative properties and who also fare poorly on our ratings system. This ratings checklist would also apply to the pure specs. We began with our article, “How to Choose a Uranium Stock,” featuring Sprott Asset Management Market Strategist Kevin Bambrough and Senior Portfolio Manager Jean Francois Tardif, as a starting point to create a more advanced ratings system for you.

Uranium producers are likely to make a strong comeback as they cross over or switch to more lucrative long-term contracts. But, it could be the smaller, but more solid, uranium development companies which could emerge as the preferred investment vehicles, when the bull resumes the next leg of its long run. Now that we have had a shakeout, with possibly another one on the horizon, it is wise to properly evaluate the important merits of the more serious uranium development companies.

Below are some of the key criteria we are using in our ratings system to objectively evaluate uranium companies covered in our new book, “Investing in the Great Uranium Bull Market: A Practical Investor’s Guide to Uranium Stocks.” Please determine if your favorite exploration and/or development company meets these standards. This is one way of obtaining sufficient data to help you form a snapshot of a company’s prospects.

1.Cash Position. The more cash a company has in its treasury, the longer it can survive. Find out if your favorite company has a minimum of $20 million in cash. More than $30 million gives a company some breathing room. Exploration and development are very expensive propositions. Raising money in a down market is very tough.

2.National Instrument 43-101. This independent geological assessment determines how many pounds of uranium a company’s property hosts. While there are flaws with this system, it can be a workable yardstick. Find out if your favorite company has a minimum of 20 million pounds of a NI 43-101-compliant uranium resource. One should consider historical resources inadequate for evaluation purposes. They may also be misleading and open to hyperbole.

3.Pedigree of Known Deposits. Many of the uranium development companies hold properties, which were once held by the minerals or uranium divisions of major oil companies. Some were continuously held, during the 20-year bear market in uranium by one company or another, and then abandoned during the nadir of the drought. Find out if your favorite uranium company’s primary properties were continuously held until 2000 or a bit longer, but before the spot uranium market reversed. The earlier a company acquired its properties, the greater the probability that company got the best ones. Those who came into the game late often got the crumbs.

4.Drill Databases. Those previous land tenants, the major oil companies, who spent tens of millions of dollars drilling the uranium properties, accumulated drill databases. Some companies got the property, but not the drill databases. Some companies bought the drill database as part of their property acquisition. Find out if the company’s primary properties also have the drill database accompanying it. You may be surprised at what you find.

5.Pedigree of Uranium District. There are several premier uranium districts, which have a history of large-scale uranium production: Athabasca, Australia’s Northern Territories or South Australia, Grant’s New Mexico, Wyoming, Kazakhstan, Niger, and Namibia. Find out if your favorite company has holdings in these districts. Some companies have holdings in multiple uranium districts, which may also become recognized as a wise decision by their management.

6.Management’s Technical Experience. There are three categories of uranium experience: exploration geologist, project geologist and mine operations. Find out how much experience your company’s geological team has in each of those three categories. Those with less than 100 man-years of uranium experience behind them may be lacking. Those companies which have strength in all three categories could become the next uranium producers.

7.Political or Environmental Risk of Primary Assets. Finally, you should assess the risk of the company’s primary assets with regards to its location. Primary uranium assets in North America or Australia’s Northern Territories hold the lowest risk. Those companies exploring or developing in Niger, Namibia or Brazil have slightly higher political risk. Companies with prospects in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kazakhstan or Mongolia hold more risk than some investors may wish to tolerate. Areas which forbid mining such as Queensland, Western Australia or the U.S. state of Virginia carry an enormous degree of risk and a Kierkegaardian leap of faith.

Now you can rate your favorite uranium company and use this ratings system to help you sift through the more than 300 potential stocks in which you might have considered investing.

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