Bankruptcy Lawyer: When to Hire One

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If you are having difficulties with finances and are considering debt consolidation or bankruptcy, you may also be considering hiring a bankruptcy lawyer.

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If you are having difficulties with finances and are considering debt consolidation or bankruptcy, you may also be considering hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. Of course for those who are in a financial rut or on the verge of financial ruin, coming up with extra funds to pay a bankruptcy lawyer can be downright impossible. Despite the shortage of money, it is often best to still consider at least consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer before you begin the process.

The main purpose of a bankruptcy lawyer is to help an individual or business go through the legal procedures for filing bankruptcy. Lawyers are meant to help deal with creditors, meet with the court systems to set up payment plans or repayment programs, gather together and liquidate assets, and fill out and file necessary paperwork. Just as a realtor would be the knowledgeable party in the selling or buying of a home, a bankruptcy lawyer will be that knowledgeable source during a bankruptcy proceeding.

In most state and county legal systems, you are not required to have a bankruptcy lawyer for the legal proceedings. This does not always mean it is wise to do without a bankruptcy lawyer, though, as most specialize in just financial law. Unless the court case would be easily cut and dry or you already know a great deal about the legal system in this case, a bankruptcy lawyer can help from becoming overwhelmed with the legalities of the system.

From the start, a good bankruptcy lawyer should help you to determine which chapter of bankruptcy to file and will offer sound reasons why. If you don’t know anything about the different chapters, this is an excellent reason to begin consulting a lawyer. Many lawyers will even offer a free consultation where you can simply claim the advice and move on to take care of the remainder of the case yourself. Often, though, lawyers will charge by visit or by activity, such as appearing at the courthouse or filing paperwork.

Keep in mind that not all bankruptcy lawyers specialize in the same type of cases, so it is important to find a lawyer who can help you with the type of financial difficulties you are having. Some bankruptcy lawyers work specifically with businesses, while others work solely with individuals. Having a good experience with your lawyer will undoubtedly include finding someone knowledgeable in the areas you need expertise.

Another excellent reason to consider hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is simply to have someone knowledgeable who can help guide you through the paperwork process. In bankruptcy cases the paperwork is the most overwhelming aspect and more often than not, bankruptcy lawyers will actually fill out and file all of the paperwork for you. This takes away the burden of dealing with paperwork in the middle of a financially and emotionally straining time.

If you decide that hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is right for you, ask the local court house for names of lawyers in the area. You may also want to consider asking trusted friends or family advice for finding bankruptcy lawyers. If all else fails, take advantage of technology and research cases in your area to see which bankruptcy lawyers most often represent individuals or businesses. This is a great way to determine who the best lawyers are for your financial needs.

4 Money-Saving Tips For Every Homeowner

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Losing weight. Finding a new job. Spending more time with the family. A new year means setting new goals. Why not make saving money one of them?

4 Money-Saving Tips For Every Homeowner

Losing weight. Finding a new job. Spending more time with the family. A new year means setting new goals. Why not make saving money one of them?

If you’re a homeowner, there are many ways you can cut costs and still live comfortably. The following tips will help lead you to financial success.

* First, set a budget. Figure out exactly how much you spend on the upkeep of your home. Compare each month’s expenses with the previous month’s to get a better idea of how much to budget for each necessity. Then, see what costs you can cut. Once you set a budget, stick to it.

* Save energy. You might be losing a substantial amount of energy dollars during the winter and summer because of air leaks. By caulking, sealing and weather-stripping all cracks and openings, you can save 10 percent or more on your energy bill.

Also, look into replacing older appliances with newer, more energy-efficient alternatives. Your light bulbs can make a difference, too. Fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs.

* Refinance. Shop around to see if you can replace your existing home loan with one that has a lower interest rate. You can easily save hundreds of dollars each month by refinancing your home.

* Purchase a home warranty. Most homeowners don’t account for possible repairs in their annual budget. There is a 68 percent likelihood of a home system or appliance failure in a given year. The average replacement cost of one of these systems or appliances is $1,085. A home warranty is your best defense against unexpected and costly repairs to your home’s appliances and mechanical systems.

The American Home Shield Home Warranty, for example, ensures you get the best possible service through the company’s network of pre-screened technicians. The minute something breaks down, you can contact American Home Shield and a local service technician will schedule an appointment that fits your schedule. The warranty covers a multitude of household systems and appliances, regardless of age.

The American Home Shield Home Warranty is a one-year contract that requires no home inspection to enroll. Several affordable plans are available to fit every budget.

Cutting Heating Costs

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Proper furnace care and smart purchases can help you reduce the high costs of heating your home.

Cutting Heating Costs

Proper furnace care and smart purchases can help you reduce the high costs of heating your home. That’s good news considering that energy bills-which are already historically high-are expected to continue to climb. In fact, a recent article in USA Today reported that homeowners on average will see a 25.7 percent increase in heating costs compared to a year ago.

To reduce heating costs, experts say that the energy efficiency of your furnace is extremely important. According to Jim Miller of Amana brand furnaces, “Homeowners don’t have much control over the price of natural gas, but they can take steps to minimize the impact of home heating costs.” He offers these tips:

1. Have Your Furnace Checked. “If you haven’t already done so this year, have a licensed HVAC contractor inspect your furnace now,” Miller emphasized. “He can perform a safety inspection and clean your furnace so that it runs as efficiently as possible.”

2. When Buying a New Furnace, Choose High-Efficiency. A furnace’s efficiency is indicated by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency percentage, or “AFUE,” a measurement developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. The higher a furnace’s AFUE, the more efficient it is. “Furnaces older than 15 years operate at efficiencies of approximately 60% AFUE. This means that for every dollar spent on heating costs, only 60 cents actually helps warm your home, while the remaining 40 cents is wasted.

“If you were to replace that 60% AFUE furnace with a high-efficiency unit, such as the Amana brand AMV9 96% AFUE Variable-Speed Furnace, you would get 96 cents worth of warmth for every dollar you spend toward heating your home,” said Miller.

He added that furnaces with a variable-speed blower are even more efficient because the blowers typically require up to 75 percent less electricity than a standard motor. In addition, a furnace’s blower also works with the home’s cooling system, meaning consumers experience increased efficiency year-round.

3. Investigate Tax Credits for High-Efficiency Furnace Purchases. Thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT), homeowners who purchase furnaces with an AFUE of 95% or higher in 2006 and 2007 may qualify for a tax credit of $150. And if that furnace uses a variable-speed blower, they may qualify for an additional $50 tax credit.

Asking for a lot of money

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Most people dream of making a lot of money. Few actually get there–and more often than not, it’s because they themselves don’t believe that they’re worth it, so they never ask.

This article begins with a discussion on defining “a lot” of money and ends with a story detailing one person known to the author who went from a salary of $40,000 to $115,000 in four years.

Wealth, Money, Riches, Salary, Raises, Asking for a raise

Most people dream of making a lot of money. The question is, what does that mean?

The truth is that money is highly subjective. Certainly, a billion dollars is a lot of money; there are only a handful of billionaires in the world. Is a million dollars a lot? In terms of total wealth, no; a significant minority of the population has a million dollars or more in total assets to leave to their heirs, largely due to the appreciation of real estate. Were one to make a million dollars a year, however, that person would be among the most highly paid in the world.

Personal perception has a significant role in determining the amount of money that a person can expect to make. The reason for this is that the two factors that most influence earnings–level of demonstrable skill, and payment requested from an employer–are very dependent upon the individual. Moreover, while skill is partially based on individual confidence and partially dependent upon innate ability, the amount of money that a person asks an employer to provide is solely based on the individual.

Of course, the two are related. One cannot have a minimal skillset and expect to receive a high salary. However, many people have excellent skillsets yet are paid comparatively little versus their peers. Why?

The truth is, they probably didn’t ask–or if they did, they didn’t ask in a way that conveyed they really thought that they deserved what they wanted. In many cases, the boss knows the most that he or she can pay, but will be pleased to pay less if an employee will accept it.

Of course, the boss will not tell the employee what he or she can actually afford to pay. But dealing with that is comparatively easy in the Information Age: there are salary guidelines for given locales and positions available on the Internet. The real challenge is not asking a high level of compensation, but feeling that you deserve the high level of compensation for which you are asking.

To do that, one must understand the relative value of money. We have established that being a billionaire is truly remarkable, and that accumulating a million dollars over a lifetime is not but that making a million dollars per year is. What about lower income levels–the sort that we tend to see in everyday life?

How much is a lot?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of four in 2006 is $20,000. A family that makes this amount or less is, by definition, poor.

The median income reported for a family of four in 2006, however, ranged from a low of $45,867 in New Mexico to a high of $87,412 in New Jersey. These figures include single- and multi-earner households.

Consider a candidate in New Jersey who holds a degree in a moderate-demand field. Will he or she accept a salary of $20,000? Probably not. Expecting a salary of $87,412 may seem excessive, though, because he or she would, as a single earner, be requesting the average income of a family of four.

But is it excessive? Actually, no; if $87,412 is the median salary–meaning there are an equal number of earners above and below that mark–the candidate could, in fact, confidently request $90,000 or more. The reaction from a hiring manager would depend in part on the industry and also in part of the applicant’s specific skillset. Another candidate, in another job, however, could ask for it and get it. The trick is to have the audacity to ask.

A real-life story

Shortly after I finished college, someone I knew earned $40,000 a year. His stated goal was to reach a salary of $50,000. He worked hard to apply himself to education and professional development, and volunteered for special projects to expand his skillset.

His next job offer caught him off-guard: $73,000. He took it, of course, astonished at how much he now made. Within a few months, though, he realized that others in the field made considerably more. He stayed active in professional development and worked hard to master new skills.

A year into the job, he requested an increase in salary, providing his employer with salary survey data and other information. He received a raise to $89,000 and was offered an incentive plan based on performance.

After three years, he decided to leave. He interviewed at a number of top companies that were excited to meet him. He had an offer from one for $110,000 and then got an offer from another for $115,000. Deciding that he prefered the first company, he asked if they would increase their offer. Knowing that this would require approval, however, he offered to take an initial salary of $100,000 until he finished his probationary period. They accepted.

Four years ago, he aspired to someday make $50,000. Today, he makes $115,000–and considers $200,000 to be easily within reach given a few more years. And why?

Because he asked.

Bargain Finder Secrets

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How do some people find all the deals? The same way you will once you know the bargain finder secrets. Here is one secret to get you started.

bargain finder, bargain, save money, secrets

Want to be a bargain finder? Want to be the one that always finds the deals and has money left over? Start by learning the secrets of opportunism.

Do you know that you can eat a wider variety of fruit than your neighbor, and spend only half as much to do so? How? By buying fruit in season, when it is at the lowest price. As a bonus, it is also of the highest quality at these times. This is opportunism.

Notice that this means not always getting exactly what you want when you want it. You get more variety this way, and you spend much less, but you go with the flow. If oranges are cheap, you’ll be eating oranges. If apples are in season, you’ll be eating apples. Whatever the case, you’ll always be finding bargains.

You never have to eat things you don’t like or deny yourself pleasure. You just shop for those things that you like among those that are cheaper now. There will be other, different, great deals next week or next month. Unless you are extremely picky about what you eat, you’ll almost always find delicious foods that you like on sale.

That’s the premise of opportunism – that you get more by going with the flow. A true bargain finder gets more variety in the long run, and more for the money. This can be applied to many areas of life.

Bargain Finder Examples

When I went to Ecuador a few years ago, there were many interesting places I wanted to go. I chose Ecuador because it was a thousand dollars less to go there than to any other country. I had a fantastic time for a month for $1040 (including airfare). I also met the most wonderful woman I know there, and eventually married her, so you never know what riches you’ll find when you go with the flow.

We go to the movies here in Tucson on Tuesdays, when we can get in for $2.00 each. Others are paying $8.75 a couple miles away. What are they getting by paying four times as much? They get to see the movie six weeks earlier. The movies don’t change in those six weeks, by the way, and enough friends have seen them by then to let us know if they’re good or not.

Opportunism means not paying more unless you are getting more. It also means making honest choices. Will you actually enjoy that movie more by seeing it now? More than you’ll enjoy the FOUR movies you can see in it’s place? Do you have to take that fishing trip now? If you’re planning to take both a fishing trip and a gambling trip, why not do each when it’s cheapest?

When William Danko and Thomas Stanley wrote “The Millionaire Next Door,” they found that MOST millionaires bought used cars. They bought BMWs and Mercedes, not old Ford Pintos, but the lesson was clear: They understand opportunity. Cars often lose half of their value in the first three years, but they’re not half used-up, are they? Is it worth an extra $6,000 to say you have a new car (And you will have to tell people, since it’s hard to tell a three-year-old car from a new one)?

To be an opportunist doesn’t mean just settling for whatever is easy and cheap to get in life. We all have our areas that are more important to us. If you really love those $15 cigars, why not buy them? On the other hand, if you really can’t tell the difference between the $5 and $50 wine, why not buy the former? Opportunism is one of the keys to being a true bargain finder.

Cost-Effective Ways to Cool Your Home

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As the temperature rises, so does the cost of cooling your home. But a new federal law may help keep your home both cool and cost-effective.

Cost-Effective Ways to Cool Your Home

As the temperature rises, so does the cost of cooling your home. But a new federal law may help keep your home both cool and cost-effective.

In January, the U.S. Department of Energy raised the minimum efficiency standards for air conditioners and heat pumps from 10 to 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Although homeowners aren’t required to replace systems that are less than 13 SEER, doing so could shave 23 percent off energy bills.

Think of SEER ratings like gas mileage: The higher the SEER or miles per gallon, the more energy “mileage” you get. So as SEER levels rise, your cooling and heating products use less energy, giving you more bang for your buck while providing real environmental benefits through decreased energy consumption.

“The new 13 SEER standard not only conserves energy but it also reduces associated carbon dioxide emissions,” says Rick Roetken, director of marketing at Indianapolis-based Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems.

Bryant recently introduced a new line of 13 SEER models that provide superb savings, efficiency and comfort. The improved top-of-the-line Evolution System reaches levels of up to 20 SEER while allowing users to control heating, cooling, humidity, indoor air quality, schedules and maintenance reminders from a single, easy-to-navigate source.

To keep your home cooling system at peak efficiency, Roetken recommends having it inspected at least once a year by a trained service technician. Here are some additional tips:

* Install more attic insulation. Upgrading from 3 inches to 12 inches can cut cooling costs by 10 percent.

* Plant a tree. One well-placed shade tree can reduce your cooling costs by 25 percent. Place leafy shade trees to the south and west and evergreens to the north.

* Use ceiling and box fans to help circulate air throughout the house.

* Set the fan on your central air conditioner to “on” rather than “auto.” This will circulate air continuously, keeping the temperature constant throughout the house and aiding in dehumidification.

* If you use a window air conditioning unit, make sure it’s the proper size. It’s better to get one that’s too small rather than too large. A larger unit will start up and turn off more frequently and won’t do as good a job dehumidifying the air.

* Invest in a programmable thermostat.

* If you don’t have central air conditioning, try a whole-house attic fan. This device pushes hot air out through the attic vents, lowering the temperature throughout your home by about 5 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

Convert To Roth IRA Regardless of Income ?2010

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An odd quirk in the recent legislation to extend the Bush Tax Cuts is giving IRA holders a huge break. For one year, and one year only, the income cap will be gone.

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An odd quirk in the recent legislation to extend the Bush Tax Cuts is giving IRA holders a huge break. For one year, and one year only, the income cap will be gone.

Convert To Roth IRA Regardless of Income ?2010

2010 may seem like a long way off, but something magical is going to happen then if you prepare for it. The recent legislation extending the Bush tax cuts contains a unique clause regarding the Roth IRA. Specifically, it contains language that makes the Roth IRA available to anyone regardless of their income, but only for one year.

A Roth IRA is a retirement account that offers a lot of advantages. The primary advantage is found in the distributions from the account. Simply put, they are tax free if a couple of requirements are met. First, the distributions must be made after you pass the age of 59 years and six months. Second, you must have owned the Roth IRA for at least five years. If you meet this test, the money is yours free and clear including all the gains you have made from your investments over the years.

The only criticism of Roth IRAs has to do with income caps. Simply put, a person with a modified gross adjusted income of $100,000 or more cannot convert an existing IRA to a Roth. While many people fall below this income cap, those that were just over it certainly have had a beef.

In an effort to extend his tax cuts, the President agreed to a number of oddities in the new tax legislation. One of the strange clauses is a single year cap exemption. In 2010, the income cap of $100,000 will not apply to the Roth IRA. Put in simple terms, you can convert to a Roth in 2010 regardless of how much you make. You can only do it in 2010, not 2009 or 2011.

There appears to be no reason why the politicians would create a one year exemption to the Roth IRA income cap. It certainly seems a bit fishy, but you might as well take advantage of it. While 2010 seems far off in the future, it gives you time to plan any conversion. Remember, if you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth, you must pay taxes on the moved money. If at all possible, you will want to do this with cash you save between now and then. The more money you can cram into a Roth, the better off you will be in the end.

Speculators Could Drive Uranium to $55/Pound

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TradeTech LLC Chief Executive Gene Clark talked with StockInterview about the uranium bull market, where his price models show uranium prices heading and when to expect the peak of the current upward cycle of the bull market. When will “hard?times again hit the uranium market, and how long will the trough last? And what does the future hold for the uranium price? An industry insider gives us his insights.

Uranium, nuclear energy, Cogema, bull market, stocks, mining, nuclear reactors, China, India, France,Uranium Participation Corporation, TVA, California

TradeTech LLC Chief Executive Gene Clark talked with StockInterview about the uranium bull market, where his price models show uranium prices heading and when to expect the peak of the current upward cycle of the bull market. When will “hard?times again hit the uranium market, and how long will the trough last? And what does the future hold for the uranium price? An industry insider gives us his insights.

StockInterview: When the uranium bull market began, did you foresee $40/pound uranium, now that the spot price has risen above this level?

Gene Clark:
I don’t think any of us saw $40 per pound coming. We had price projections at the time that indicated probably $25 per pound, which would be a long term equilibrium price in constant dollar terms. But, I think it was a surprise the price went up so high. I think what’s going, the biggest factor right now, is the advent of the so called hedge funds or speculator fund and groups of people. The price started to go up, and they came into the market with the express purpose of buying for holding and then selling into the market later to realize the trading profit. In 2005, the hedge funds were responsible for purchasing about 10 million pounds of the 29 million pounds purchased. I think the market is now finally adjusting to the realities of primary supply and demand. It’s been a depressed market for 20 or 30 years, primarily from the draw down of excess inventories, and what we call secondary supply.

StockInterview: Will the speculators remain active in driving the spot uranium price higher?

Gene Clark:
I think there is still some room for further speculation activity. Uranium Participation Corporation, for example, is rumored to be about to come to the equities market again to raise funds for another purchase. They’re asking for authority to buy UF6, as well as U308, and different forms of uranium than they were locked into before. Whether it be at the 10 million pound level (size of purchase), I think it kind of depends on where the market goes. If it tends to flatten out, then I think there’s going to be obviously less interest on their part. When they were active in the market, they, of course, wanted the price to go up. Therefore, they weren’t too careful about what they paid for uranium. I think that’s a part of it. In the long run, it was due for a readjustment to reflect prices of the cost of new production facilities. But, the hedge funds came in and kind of overdrove the market. Eventually, what it’s going to wind up doing is, if they sell off, it could have the impact of driving prices back down below where they would otherwise have gone.

StockInterview: Did the speculators interfere with the trading efficiency of the uranium market?

Gene Clark:
In theory, speculators come in, tend to take the risk and smooth out market prices. But, it never really works out that way. They always come in and only take the risk, if there’s an opportunity to make money. So some people make a lot of money. It does tend to upset the market. If you get away from the primary users of uranium and primary producers of uranium as your market participants, then you tend to introduce more noise than you would like.

StockInterview: With that in mind, in which direction are your price projections going?

Gene Clark:
We’re actually updating our uranium price forecast right now. We haven’t decided on a reference case yet. The reference cases we’re looking at will peak at about $50 to $55 per pound in about three years, and will then drop off pretty drastically. It has to do with a selling of the speculator reserves, the uranium that’s being held (for speculative purposes). I can see it coming back down to $30, maybe below $30 per pound. Then, in the long run ?out through 2020 ?getting easily back up over $40 per pound.

StockInterview: Are you predicting a down cycle during the course of the uranium bull market?

Gene Clark:
Yes. It’s pretty consistent with everything we’re doing with the changes in requirements, in different cases of high, low, and medium demand. Our modeling system is projecting this. It has to do with the supply and demand balance and the cost on the margin. The way to describe it is that prices have come to a point now of higher than we would have projected them to be, such that the supply is going to evolve. The large low cost projects will reach a point where supply then overshoots demand for a few years, which causes the price to come back down. Then demand growth, in the long run, picks up and puts a lot of pressure on the supply market to be able to meet the demand. So you wind up with pressure toward the end of the period.
StockInterview: But the markets are finicky, filled with variables, and can frequently trick price models.

Gene Clark:
Here’s what it would take to shoot that down: We have a problem with small numbers, and there are some very large projects ?Cigar Lake, for example. The expansion of Olympic Dam in Australia would be going from about 12 million pounds of production to over 30 million pounds, if they finish. If you shift that out by four or five years, or if the owner decides, “No, we’re not going to expand at all,?you have a drastic effect. Then you would wind up with $100 per pound uranium, I think.

StockInterview: What are your estimates on the peak price years and the bottom years?

Gene Clark:
A lot of things could change, but here is what we’re looking at. In one case scenario, the speculators are really going to stay out of the market and holding onto their stuff for a long time. If so, then we’re going to be at the peak by the end of this year. If they stay active in the market and buying, then that stretches it out further. Depending on the scenario, we see the peak possibly at 2008 or so. I would say we’re looking at a trough around the timeframe of 20011 to 2013. Then back up after that.

StockInterview: How do you arrive at your weekly numbers for the spot uranium price?

Gene Clark:
We get our data from all of the key sources: the utility fuel managers, sales staff and management of uranium producers and processors, and uranium traders, brokers and asset managers. Some are, of course, more cooperative than others, and whom we call depends on the type of information we are seeking. Since our price indicators are a judgment call, we often focus on the losers in particular recent transactions, as those will be the next to make offers in the market.

StockInterview: Let’s back up a bit. Why has uranium gone up past the levels of the “cost of production,?which would place the spot price between $25 and $35/pound?

Gene Clark:
The biggest factor, in signaling the market, was when utilities went out for long term bid requests. They found they reached a period in which producers would have to build new facilities. Producers building those facilities felt, “I have to make at least enough profit to cover the construction costs for those facilities.?That was much higher than the market at the time. Basically, you reached a point where the chief stuff has been sold. Now, we have to actually spend some money, some capital, to build new facilities, new mines and new mills. That was, I think, the earliest signal of the price needing to adjust.

StockInterview: Isn’t there a ton of hype across all media channels about the “nuclear renaissance?and the demand for more nuclear energy?

Gene Clark:
First of all, all the hype about nuclear renaissance is really in the United States. The Chinese have had plans to expand for a long time. The Japanese have been steadily adding new capacity. Koreans have been adding new capacity. Indians have been adding new capacity all along, all the way through this, even before we started this discussion on nuclear renaissance. I think that phrase is really focused more in the United States., which really hasn’t ordered a plant since 1976 or something like that. There is a boom. Maybe it’s the uranium renaissance.

StockInterview: Is all of what we’ve been reading just plain hype?

Gene Clark:
There is some hype, but there is also some substance. A part of it is certainly a change in public attitude about nuclear power. If I was riding on an airplane, ten years ago, and someone asked me what I did for a living, I was guaranteed to have a lousy trip, arguing about nuclear power. When I mention it now, I get a positive response. There’s been a market shift in public attitude about nuclear power. From the standpoint of the utilities that would be ordering nuclear plants. To the extent that they need new capacity, looking at nuclear now is not off the drawing boards, partly because of public attitude. The industry has been moving through this trough period, preparing itself for a new era. It remains to be seen when the first order comes. But when the first actual order of a nuclear power plant, along with the license application does come, I think you’ll see several U.S. utilities following, probably five utilities very actively involved.

StockInterview: When will that actually happen?

Gene Clark:
I think it will come within the next five years, the ordering process. Of course it will be probably another eight years before we actually see the first power plant from that process. We’re talking probably about 13 years. That’s how long it takes. You can actually construct one in 48 months, but you have to have been through the licensing. If you don’t believe the anti-nuclear people are going to be psyched up to fight the first plant coming through, then you’d be very naïve. The first one is going to be more difficult and take more time, I think.

StockInterview: One anti-nuclear group told us they do not believe we’ll have more nuclear power plants in the United States.

Gene Clark:
That’s possible, but given the current circumstances, my guess is we will have more nuclear plants. We need the capacities, whether we’re going to build coal plants (or other types of power generating plants). I just came from California, moved here (to North Carolina) six months ago. They were talking about building gas-fired plants for base load generation, which is the most ridiculous thing you can imagine. The plants are cheap to build, but the fuel cost is exorbitant. I did a speech a couple of years ago, having looked at the Energy Information Administration’s projections of gas demand. All the growth and natural gas demand is going to be in the electric utility sector. We are going to be importing 60 percent of our gas supplies by 2020. Does that make any sense? No. We have a lot of coal, but there are lots of complaints about coal burning. In our state of North Carolina, the attorney general is actually suing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for the damage from coal burning of the TVA’s power plants in the adjacent state, in Tennessee. There’s going to be continued pressure on coal burning. I think nuclear has as good a shot as any in terms of new capacity.

StockInterview: Some critics have argued China and India will not be able to afford the massive nuclear power plant build up they’ve envisioned.

Gene Clark:
If you think the Chinese are going to have any problem financing things, you’d better think twice. Let’s focus on India. India is a clear case where, and it is a good rule of thumb, one percent growth in gross domestic product requires one percent growth in electricity requirement. For India to grow economically, it needs electric power. Where are they going to get it? They have coal plants there, as well. Once you use up all your hydro capacity, you really don’t have much to choose from, except coal, natural gas, and nuclear. To the extent that they can have economic growth and income, coming into their country, they would be able to finance nuclear power plants. My guess is they’re going to get the vendors of the nuclear plant to finance them.

StockInterview: Are you talking about the French?

Gene Clark:
Cogema and Primaton ?the companies that construct the nuclear plants. Financing is generally part of the package. The first plants in China were basically financed by the French government. If the French go into India, you’ll see the same thing. The Russians have financed plants for developing countries. That’s not unusual for them to do. The United States may, or may not, get involved. I think there have been some types of guarantees in the past, but not at the same level as the Russians and French do it. I think those are the big choices. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the South Koreans involved in the reactor export market. They’ve pretty much developed their own technology now. They have the capability of building 100 percent of a nuclear power plant in South Korea: the pressure vessels, all the steel requirements. They can do it all. We really haven’t seen them export yet, because they’ve used up all their manufacturing capacity for their own program. At some stage, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen. And I think they would be able to finance reactor export sales.

StockInterview: How are the U.S. utilities going to fare in getting their “share?of uranium to fuel our domestic nuclear power plants in the context of the apparent overwhelming Asian demand?

Gene Clark:
In reality, the U.S. utilities, which tend to wait longer to contract, are going to be the ones on the losing end because the Chinese and the Indians will contract early. The implication is the Chinese and Indians are not going to be able to find enough uranium for their new plants. They are committing for supplies way out into the future. When the U.S. guys come to the market, they’re going to look around say, “Oh blankety- blank, what happened? Where’s the uranium??They’ll be the ones that sat around. I think that is what’s going to happen unless things really change in the way contracting is done in the United States.

Will Lightning Strike A Third Time For Dr. Boen Tan?

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A Renowned Exploration Geologist Is Pursuing Another Major Uranium Deposit in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin

In late January, Cameco Corp’s director of advanced exploration tantalized the audience at Vancouver’s Minerals Exploration Roundup, discussing the geology, and especially the size, of his company’s Millennium uranium deposit. Drill indicated resources are estimated at 449,000 tonnes with a grade of 4.63 percent uranium oxide. Additional tonnage is inferred at the l…

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A Renowned Exploration Geologist Is Pursuing Another Major Uranium Deposit in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin

In late January, Cameco Corp’s director of advanced exploration tantalized the audience at Vancouver’s Minerals Exploration Roundup, discussing the geology, and especially the size, of his company’s Millennium uranium deposit. Drill indicated resources are estimated at 449,000 tonnes with a grade of 4.63 percent uranium oxide. Additional tonnage is inferred at the lesser grade of 1.81 percent, but still a respectable grade by anyone’s calculations (one percent of uranium oxide is reportedly comparable to about 50 grams of gold). Because of soaring spot uranium prices, this deposit’s gross value might someday conceivably exceed $2.4 billion.

“The geological setting of the Key Lake Road shear zone is quite similar to the Millennium deposit,?Dr. Boen Tan told StockInterview. “The Key Lake Road shear zone is located within the same north-northeastern structural trend as the Millennium deposit.?Cameco’s (NYSE: CCJ) director of advanced exploration, Charles Roy, called the Millennium uranium deposit, “the most significant new basement discovery in more than 30 years.?News reports suggest the Millennium discovery could host a resource of 57 million pounds of uranium oxide. The Millennium deposit is located north of the former world-class Key Lake uranium mine and south of two of the world’s highest grade uranium deposits, McArthur River and Cigar Lake.

So why is Dr. Tan evaluating a relatively early stage exploration project against one of the world’s most recent and highly lucrative uranium discoveries? Most junior companies exploring in Canada’s Athabasca Basin, or for that matter any junior natural resource company, are unduly sanguine about measuring their property’s exploration prospects in relation to a major, often recently discovered, world-class deposit. All too frequently such “closeology?(“we’re close to the big deposit so we can find an elephant, too) comparisons are deceptive and misleading. In many investment circles, it has become a clich? However, when the comparison comes from a highly regarded exploration geologist, such as Boen Tan, one should pay attention. Especially when Dr. Tan talks about his geological insights regarding the greater Key Lake area.

Dr. Tan was the Uranerz project geologist for uranium exploration at Key Lake in the early 1970s. His exploration work led to the discovery of the Gaertner deposit (1975) and the Deilmann deposit (1976) in the Key Lake area. According to a recent Northern Miner article, “It was not until the discovery of the Deilmann and Gaertner deposits at Key Lake that the true unconformity type uranium deposit model was first recognized.?
Dr. Tan also supervised the definition drillings of these two deposits until 1978. According to the Uranium Information Centre, Key Lake once produced about 15 percent of the world’s uranium mined. Over Dr. Tan’s long career, he was also fortunate to have evaluated some of the world’s largest uranium deposits in the Athabasca Basin, which had been previously co-owned by Uranerz. These include the Key Lake deposits, the Rabbit Lake deposits (including Eagle Point, A-, B- and C-Zone, and the McArthur River deposits).

Comparisons between the Key Lake Road Project and Cameco Corp’s Millennium Uranium Deposit

Asked about his opinion of Forum Development’s Key Lake Road project, for which Dr. Tan is the chief geologist, “We have the right lithology, the right structure and, on top of that, we have uranium mineralization.?Dr. Tan was impressed with the amount of uranium mineralization scattered with the graphitic metapelites. “It is very seldom you find such a lot of uranium mineralization there,?he explained. Again, he compared that with exploration around the Key Lake deposit where he remarked, “The graphitic metapelites at the hanging wall of the Key Lake deposit had as much as 4,000 parts per million of uranium.?It’s an optimistic sign in preparation for a summer drilling program.

Let’s look at Dr. Tan’s geological comparisons between Cameco’s mammoth Millennium uranium deposit and the exploration he is overseeing for Forum Development’s Key Lake Road project.

1. Athabasca’s eastern basin is comprised of Archean granitoid gneisses and Paleoproterozoic metasedimentary rocks. Dr Tan wrote, “Both the Lower Proterozoic rocks and the Archean granitoid rocks occur within the KLR shear zone in similar geological setting (along the north-south structural trend,) as the Millennium deposit.?
2. The Millennium’s main uranium zone occurs in a pelitic to semi-pelitic stratigraphic assemblage of gneisses and schists. Asked about the drill targets on the Key Lake Road project, Dr. Tan responded, “The targets are in the pelitic stratigraphic assemblage at depth which includes the same graphitic pelitic gneiss and the calc-silicate which host the uranium mineralization in the Millennium Deposit.?
3. Cameco’s geophysical surveys indicated the presence of a significant resistivity low centered over the uranium mineralization. Dr. Tan explained, “Forum did airborne VTEM (electromagnetic survey) and multiple parallel EM conductors of over 40 kilometers long were outlined. Last year’s radiometric prospecting was carried out and several uranium showings (from 0.1 to over 5 percent uranium) were found in the graphitic metapelites, calc-silicate and pegmatites along this 40 km conductive trend.?
4. The Millennium deposit features extensive hydrothermal alteration over the lithology. The uranium mineralization was associated with dark chlorite and illite, and with a distal halo that included sericite. Dr. Tan remarked, “In the Key Lake Road area, we did observe moderate clay alteration in the fractured and brecciated calc-silicates and pelitic gneiss which appear to be chlorite and sericite. In 1980’s five reconnaissance holes were drilled in the area and chlorite alteration in the meta-pelites was reported from the drill cores. In a project Forum has scheduled for drilling this winter, Dr. Tan pointed out, “In the Costigan Lake area clay alteration in the pelitic gneiss were intersected in several holes. One drill hole intersected uranium mineralization of 0.43% U3O8 in 0.36 m of clay altered graphitic pelitic gneiss.?
5. The Millennium deposit’s ore mineralogy is comprised of pitchblende, with lesser amounts of coffinite and uraninite. Dr. Tan discussed the comparative mineralogy, saying, “We found uraninites in the calc-silicates which occur as fine to coarse disseminated grains and as nuggets up to 2 centimeters in diameter (over 5 percent uranium). Fine grained uranium mineralization (up to 0.6 percent U) found in the fractured graphitic meta-pelite appear to be secondary uranium mineral.?In the Key Lake Road’s “Molly Zone,?Dr. Tan indicated, “Uranium mineralization was found within the calc-silicates and pegmatites along the shear zone. The calc-silicates contained up to 5 percent uranium with visible pitchblende?He also pointed out that at Forum’s Maurice Point project, which the company may drill in 2007, “the prospector discovered a zone of mineralization of 100 by 10 meters wide with uranium mineralization from 1 percent up to 7 percent uranium in an outcrop.?
6. Finally, Dr. Tan explained, “Because all the unconformity uranium deposits in the Athabasca Basin, such as the Millennium, Key Lake and McArthur, always have lots of boron. That is indication of the hydrothermal diagenetic ore-forming process. Do any of Forum’s properties show boron? Dr. Tan said, “The Beach Zone in the Maurice Point project has high boron elements. On top of the good uranium grades, yes, that is the extra special thing. Because it is characteristic for a hydrothermal uranium deposit in Athabasca, like Key Lake. It’s a good indication like pathfinder elements.?
Evaluation of Forum Development’s Exploration Prospects

As with any early exploration project, additional drilling helps define the property’s potential. Many of Dr. Tan’s comparisons, while valid, require drilling the most promising targets. Asked about what questions that drilling the Key Lake Road project might answer, Dr. Tan responded, “If the uranium is deposited under hot water, in a hydrothermal environment around 300 degrees, if you don’t see the uranium during drilling, you want to see the rock alteration, the pathfinder geochemistry, the boron, and elevated uranium.?He also pointed out the most obvious answer you want to see during a drill program, “The thing you want to see in drilling is to see some uranium.?
Some might consider Forum Development Corp’s relatively shallow drilling approach with hesitation. The company plans drill holes between 150 and 200 meters deep, not the 700 meters usually drilled in the Athabasca Basin. Forum’s Chief Executive Rick Mazur, who is also a geoscientist, saw the positive side to that philosophy, calling his exploration model “unique?(which it is). He added, “The Key Lake project was a concept where we were looking for near or at surface mineralization. We acquired ground just outside the erosional context of the Athabasca sandstone, where we believe that basement hosted deposits could be found at or near surface.?
Expensive drilling in the Athabasca Basin can break any junior uranium exploration company’s bank. Financing for these drill programs can run into the millions. Exploration can take years. Investors should note that deep drilling into hundreds of meters of overburden can quickly drain a company’s exploration budget. Mazur explained, “We are fortunate enough to have rock exposed on surface, and not covered with 400 to 800 meters of Athabasca sandstone.?What is Forum’s advantage for shallow drilling? “We can go in there and with a very cost-effective program of geological mapping and prospecting, evaluate areas on our property where uranium mineralization has already been discovered in detail,?Mazur concluded.

David Scott, an eResearch geological analyst, issued a speculative buy recommendation on Forum Development Corporation (TSX: FDC) in October, 2005, and wrote the company “has an excellent management and advisory team with decades of experience in the Basin. They have staked two well-positioned properties and have moved quickly to explore them.?eResearch set a 12-month target price of C$0.60/share on FDC shares, with a potential target price of C$0.90/share “if the company continues to get good results in the Athabasca Basin.?
The analyst re-iterated the speculative buy recommendation on February 13th with the target price of C$0.60/share. The analyst based his investment opinion and price target by comparing Forum Development against “peer group?junior uranium exploration companies. Valuation was arrived at his price target by comparing Forum Development in terms of (a) similar-sized uranium exploration companies and (b) uranium exploration companies with properties next to Forum Development. FDC shares traded between C$0.40 and C$0.50/share during February.

Snapshot: Dr. Boen Tan

Dr. Boen Tan is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan, and possesses over twenty-five years of uranium exploration experience. Dr. Tan joined Uranerz, a private German company, in 1969 and after a number of years as a field geologist in Germany and Australia, moved to Canada in 1973 as a senior geologist and Project Manager for Uranerz Exploration & Mining Ltd. (UEM), conducting uranium exploration in the Athabasca Basin.

Dr. Tan was instrumental in the discovery of the Key Lake uranium deposit and the development of the Key Lake Mine which produced 195 million pounds of U3O8 at a grade of 2.5% over a fifteen year mine life from 1983 to 1997. After the development of the Key Lake Mine, Dr. Tan continued to supervise UEM’s uranium exploration and drilling programs in the Athabasca Basin, including regional exploration in the greater Key Lake area. Dr. Tan monitored the exploration and diamond drilling of UEM’s joint ventures with Cameco Corporation at the McArthur River, Maurice Bay, Millennium and Rabbit Lake deposits until all uranium property and project interests were sold to Cameco in 1998.