VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 31, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Thomas Drolet is one of the world's leading energy experts. His 43-year career includes senior positions in nuclear, geothermal, coal, natural gas and renewable power sectors. Mr. Drolet is a consultant to a variety of international organizations, assisting at Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986 and has been on various major news networks talking and advising on the recent Fukushima incident. He is one of the few people in the nuclear industry to have operational experience on the uranium demand and supply sides of nuclear energy. He spent three years with the RCAF on the C 130 Hercules on International military assignments. Mr. Drolet recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Financial Press to talk about the future of uranium and investment opportunities in the red hot Athabasca Uranium Basin in Canada.
Financial Press: Mr. Drolet, can you tell us a bit about your background?
Drolet: I'll give you the condensed version. I worked for what is now called Ontario Power Generation for 27 years in nuclear operations, engineering, construction and project management. I also sold our technology to Utilities and reactor operators all around the world.
Financial Press: Is that where you gained your international perspective?
Drolet: Yes - analysing other country's nuclear systems, I became knowledgeable about the global demand for uranium fuel. So I have spent a major part of my career dealing with the demand side. Where do the reactors buy the uranium? How do we convert it from U308 Yellowcake? Or convert it to UF6? Or enrich it?
Financial Press: How did you forge relationships with uranium explorers and producers?
Drolet: About 5 years ago, uranium exploration and production companies started asking for assistance in bridging the demand side with the production side.
Financial Press: What exactly do you mean by "demand side"?
Drolet: Utility companies that own nuclear reactors in China, Japan, Europe or elsewhere. These are motivated investors because they require an assured supply of uranium.
Financial Press: Hard data supports the view that nuclear energy is the safest form of energy in the world.
Drolet: Yes, but I have literally had tomatoes thrown at me for stating that publically. The public erroneously links nuclear power with nuclear weapons. So, for emotional reasons, not scientific ones, it is hard to win a public debate about nuclear safety.
Financial Press: What is the best argument?
Drolet: The economic argument is the most powerful. Utility operators need a "base load" - a steady supply of electricity that you can always count on. Renewable energy has an important role to play but when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine – it breaks down. Hydroelectric and geothermal together provide about 16% of the world's base load requirements. Environmental concerns around coal are growing. That leaves a growing future role for nuclear energy.
Financial Press: How do you identify the best uranium explorers?
Drolet: When I am approached by a uranium exploration company, I enter a methodical phase of due diligence. I first look at the management and then the geological potential of their properties. If the company scores very high in both categories, I continue my investigation.
Financial Press: What companies are you watching now?
Drolet: I have recently joined the advisory board of a company called Aldrin Resources (TSX-V:ALN), who are developing a property in a very interesting part of the Athabasca Basin.
Financial Press: What do you like about them?
Drolet: Aldrin has good looking properties. No, not good. Very good. Their CEO, Johnathan More is aggressive and progressive. What I mean is, he is down to earth. He doesn't live on hype. He gets things done. Jonathan talks my type of technical language. At the end of the day, these are the things that matter: the geology, the technical approach and the management.
Financial Press: What stage of development is Aldrin at?
Drolet: From an investing point of view, it is probably in the sweet spot. Compared to some other junior explorers, Aldrin has raised a lot of cash, so they are able to execute a large drill program, which began a few days ago. The scope and design of the drill program is important. Everybody wants a win on the first hole, but to get meaningful geological data on uranium mineralisation, you need a rigorous and extensive drill program.
Financial Press: What is your role as an advisor to Aldrin?
Drolet: To assist them in developing their project to meet future uranium demand. My other function is to bring investors to the company. These could be straight capitalist investors or partnerships with nuclear utilities looking for secure supply.
Financial Press: What is your assessment of the Athabasca Basin?
Drolet: In the future, the Athabasca basin will be the biggest source of uranium for the whole world. Kazakhstan is currently a big supplier. But it is connected to the Russian supply vector. The Russians are aggressively building new reactors. So that supply may not always be totally available to the rest of the world's users.
Financial Press: There are a number of explorers in the Athabasca Basin - what is Aldrin's differentiator?
Drolet: Aldrin is distinguished by its location, size and the geological indicators which suggest there is a strong potential for an economic uranium mine. Yes they have very good management, but the key differentiator is the geology of their properties.
Financial Press: Thank you very much for your expertise, your opinions and your time.
Drolet: My pleasure.
Editor's note: On March 25, 2014 Aldrin announced the commencement of drilling on its Triple M Property in northern Saskatchewan, adjacent to the high-grade uranium discovery at Patterson Lake made recently by Fission Uranium Corp. The drill program is planned for up to 4,000 meters, and is testing coincident geological, structural, gravity, basement conductor, magnetic and radon anomalies.
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CONTACT: Aldrin Resource Corp.
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