In 2001 Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Co. ("Freeport") elected to disband their world-wide mineral exploration program to focus on Indonesia. At that time Senior Vice President of Exploration at Freeport, Steven D. Van Nort, took early retirement and together with other members of his team at Freeport formed NuVu LLC, a consulting company. They then negotiated an agreement with Freeport for exclusive rights to review the more than 7,000 world-wide exploration files assembled by Freeport during the previous 85 years ("The Databank"). The Freeport contract was then transferred to AVEN Associates LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of VANE Minerals Ltd and remains with VANE to this day.
VANE Minerals Limited, was incorporated in April 2002 as a minerals exploration and development company primarily focused on defining and developing projects generated from the review of the Freeport Data Bank and from contacts of the Directors and their associates. VANE Minerals plc was admitted to AIM in 2004.
The Company has a highly qualified and experienced group of exploration, development and management personnel capable of maximizing the potential of any project. AVEN Associates, the US subsidiary of VANE, has the benefit of three senior geologists, all of whom are directors of VANE Minerals plc, with cumulative experience in exploration, development and mining of over 100 years. VANE Minerals plc is also able to draw on other directors with further experience in assembling large exploration land positions, raising funds and initiating, organizing and managing start-up ventures.
With its vast experience in porphyry copper exploration the team has assembled, through both contacts and the Freeport data base, a number of potential targets in the southwest US area. These targets are being systematically investigated.
Since December 2004, VANE (US) LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of VANE, has aggressively acquired a uranium portfolio in the US. VANE (US) LLC has built up a considerable portfolio of projects, covering both strata-bound deposits in Utah and the unique high grade breccia pipe projects in Northern Arizona, where on part of the district VANE has a 50/50 Joint venture agreement with Uranium One Exploration (USA) (“U1”) in which, in general terms, VANE does the exploration and U1 will do the mining, allowing VANE to concentrate on what it is good at, the exploration. Each breccia pipe has the potential to contain between 1 and 5 million lbs of U3O8 at a grade in the region of 1% U3O8, amongst the highest grade in the US.
The Company also has producing gold/silver assets in Mexico, a wholly-owned mill, and a Merrill-Crowe cyanide leaching plant in Mexico, helping finance the group's exploration programme. The Mill has the potential for additional capacity for feed from other projects and enables the company to seek further sources of cash flow in the region.
Related page: Freeport Data Bank