“This Secretive Argentinian Just Solved Our Energy Crisis”

I should tell you up front that this isn’t the newest teaser in my inbox — I’ve had it come in from readers a few times in the last month or so, but I think it was probably written right around the beginning of the year … in part because of some of the specific news teased, and in part because of the fact that the stock being teased is a uranium junior, and the tease was clearly written before the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.

Which isn’t to say that it’s necessarily a bad or stale investment — indeed, if you believe in the inevitable picture of increased uranium demand that is drawn by Luke Burgess in this long-winded ad, or by many other teasermeisters in the aftermath of the Fukushima plant’s destruction, then perhaps now is a fabulous time to get in on a commodity that has a rising demand curve but an expected upcoming severe supply shortage. And yes, I suppose “aftermath” is probably the wrong term to use, since they’re still trying to stabilize those reactors and stop radiation leaks even now, as we’re hitting the two-month anniversary of that earthquake.

The big picture is one you can decide for yourself — do you think most of the reactors currently deployed, and the majority of the ones in planning or construction (mostly in China) will be built and operated five years from now? If so, the uranium shortfall from the end of the Soviet decommissioning program (“megatons to megawatts,” which ends in 2013) will mean that supply falls significantly short of the demand from all of those reactors. If you think many old reactors will be shut down, as they’re fighting about doing with the Vermont Yankee reactor (which is about 40 miles away from Gumshoe Manor), or new reactor plans will be kiboshed, particularly in China … well, then maybe there will be plenty of uranium. Uranium is not a particularly liquid commodity, and it’s largely traded on long term contracts and pretty tightly controlled, but it is currently, according to Cameco, the most prominent pure play company in the business, trading at about $56 a pound … way off of the highs of about $140 in 2007, and off of the highs of about $70 that it hit at the turn of the year before the Japanese earthquake, but also well above the lows in the $40 range in early 2010.

Burgess, at least when he put his name to this teaser, was a staunch believer in uranium for the foreseeable future — and given the strong wording, it’s hard to believe that a single nuclear plant disaster would change his mind, at least a disaster like this one that seems (so far, at least) to be far less damaging than Chernobyl. It’s certainly possible that he’s since been opining otherwise about uranium, though I haven’t seen that — and most of the mining folks whose teasers and notes I see believe strongly in a much higher future price for uranium even if they might, in some cases, be cautious at the moment.

The basic spiel of the ad is that cheap energy, in the form of fossil fuels, is ending — with reiterations of the peak oil arguments and charts, and with lots of frightening pictures and quotes about gas lines, food shortages, and rioting in the streets. All of which is possible, though figuring the probabilities is probably beyond my pay grade (and the folks who do figure those probabilities? They have to do a lot of guessing, too. Sorry, I mean “estimating” and “forecasting”).

And he doesn’t try to keep secret the idea that he’s pitching uranium as the only feasible solution to our need for cheap energy:

“You see, we already know where our next 80 years of energy will come from…

“1 gram = 3 tons of Coal

“Ironically, the element that will save humanity is the same element that almost destroyed it just a few decades ago.

“This fuel is so powerful, in fact, the Navy’s largest and most expensive ship — the Nimitz class aircraft carrier — will run for five years on just a few pounds.

“And it’s 97% cleaner than any fossil fuel known to man, producing no greenhouses gases at all.”

What he does try to keep secret is the name and ticker symbol of the company he believes has cornered one of the most prospectively valuable uranium projects in the world, in Argentina.

As so often they do, Burgess invents a name for the secret figure who he says has “solved our energy crisis” — he calls him Carlos Becker. Here’s the intro to the teaser:

“You’ve never heard of Carlos Becker…

“In fact, that’s not even his real name.

“I had to change it to protect him and the identities of his multi-billion dollar corporate clients.

“Because in a few short years, your way of life — and the lives of everyone you know — will become profoundly dependent on Carlos Becker’s work.

“Everything you take for granted…

“The heat in your home… the electricity feeding the lights in your office… all the way down to essentials like clean water, fresh produce, and hot coffee…

“Will be around for at least another 80 years, thanks to an accidental discovery he made half a world from where you live.”

And no, he didn’t have to change the guy’s name to protect his clients — the company he’s working with certainly discloses the guy’s real name, and quite proudly … but he did have to change his name if he wanted to keep the name of the company a secret for his subscribers.

Anyway, this “Carlos Becker” is a geological consultant, and apparently he was on an interview with Burgess about the discovery of this massive resource — I’ll save you the details since my blather’s going pretty long today anyway, but he basically says that the geiger counter readings were so high and so consistent that they thought the machine was broken.

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And the site he discovered? In Burgess’ words:

“It was so huge, in fact, that it would take years to map out the specific contours and boundaries of this project… all 1.2 million acres of it.”

And the ad also tosses in the fact that President Kirchner last year re-opened the potential for Argentina to be a uranium producer, something it had cut off after Chernobyl … they even plan to have their third reactor (mostly constructed for years, but delayed since Chernobyl) online this year — they have two older nuclear reactors that have operated for decades, but both the uranium and nuclear industries were “on hold” for a long time until recently. So far, they don’t seem to have backed off of that plan after Fukushima.

After that, we get to what is always my favorite part — the part where, once we’re hopped up on excitement about the huge potential of a particular theme or trend … we’re told that it all rests on the back of one little company that can make you rich. Here’s that bit:

“What’s most shocking is that this future will not be in the hands of a huge multi-national conglomerate…

“Or even a network of smaller companies…

“The gigantic resource will be in the hands of a single junior mining outfit valued at less than $22 million today.”

Yes, that’s freakishly small — keep that in mind when we get to the part where I tell you the ticker, I don’t know if you’ll even like this stock, but if you and half a dozen of your friends go out and buy shares it will probably move the price … so be careful.

But not yet — we’ll be careful in a