The Bigrlyi Joint Venture (BJV) covers ten granted Exploration Retention Licences located approximately 320km north-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Participants in the Joint Venture are Energy Metals Limited (53.29% and Manager), Northern Territory Uranium Pty Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Paladin) (41.71%) and Southern Cross Exploration NL (5%).
Potential for uranium mineralisation at Bigrlyi was first recognised in the early 1970s. In 1973 discovery of carnotite mineralisation at Bigrlyi resulted from a basin-wide systematic ground radiometric survey across units of the Mount Eclipse Sandstone. Since then 16 radiometric anomalies have been identified but not all have been drill tested. From 1974 to 1983 a comprehensive exploration programme was undertaken on the Bigrlyi tenements including regional and detailed geological mapping, percussion and diamond drilling, mineral resource calculations and preliminary metallurgical extractive testwork. In 1983 the project was placed on care and maintenance following the adoption of the “Three Mines Policy” by the then Australian Government which, together with low uranium prices, stifled the development of new uranium projects in Australia. On-ground exploration at Bigrlyi did not resume until 2005 following changes in Government policy towards uranium mining and a rapidly rising uranium price.
The current BJV has evolved from the Four Party Discovery Operating Agreement, originally entered into in 1981 by Central Pacific Minerals NL, Agip Australia Pty Ltd, Urangesellschaft Australia Pty Ltd, Offshore Oil NL, Southern Cross Exploration NL and Cocks Eldorado NL. The original four party agreement remains in force today but, pursuant to various deeds of assignment, the parties to the agreement are now Energy Metals Limited (ASX Code: EME), Northern Territory Uranium Pty Ltd and Southern Cross Exploration NL (ASX Code: SXX).
Paladin acquired its interest in the BJV following the company’s successful takeover bid for all the issued capital in Valhalla Uranium Ltd in 2006. Northern Territory Uranium Pty Ltd was and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Valhalla Uranium Ltd. The company was established to hold Valhalla’a uranium interests in the Northern Territory.