Quaterra’s Arizona Strip uranium project totals approximately 38 square miles with more than 200 VTEM geophysical anomalies. The Company’s land position covers much of the future production potential of the northern district of the Arizona Strip.
On January 9, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Interior (“DOI”) announced a Public Land Order to withdraw approximately one million acres of Federal land for a twenty year period. The stated effect of the order is to withdraw the acreage from new mining claims and sites under the 1872 Mining Law, subject to valid existing rights and does not prohibit previously approved uranium mining, or development of new projects that could be approved on claims and sites with valid existing rights. The withdrawal order affects all 1,000 of Quaterra’s unpatented claims on Federal lands but does not affect future exploration or development on the Company’s 24.9 square miles of State leases.
On April 18, 2012, Quaterra, together with co-Plaintiff the Board of Supervisors, Mohave County, Arizona, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the State of Arizona naming as Defendants the United States Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management.
Because the Arizona Strip represents one of the few areas in the U.S. that has been officially set aside for mining and public use by an act of Congress, the DOI’s decision to withdraw federal lands in the district has become the subject of additional litigation. The Nuclear Energy Institute, together with the National Mining Association, filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal District Court in Arizona on February 27, 2012 seeking to reverse the DOI’s withdrawal order. The Northwest Mining Association filed a separate complaint in March 2012.
On state land unaffected by the federal withdrawal, Quaterra has mineral exploration permits over a total of 1,880 acres. It includes 6 separate blocks that control 13 breccia pipe targets including 11 high and moderate priority VTEM anomalies. Nine targets have State approved permits for drilling.
Since the commencement of the withdrawal process, the Company has not expended significant amounts on the Arizona uranium claims pending the withdrawal decision and has suspended plans to continue to develop uranium claims on Federal land while the issues are resolved politically or judicially.
The uranium in this district represents significant potential domestic supply of energy and many jobs at a time when both are critical to the needs of the U.S.