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Fission now operates the 50/50 JV, but swaps the duty with Alpha every two years. “It’s been a huge team effort, a very pleasant joint venture,” says Ainsworth. “I’ve worked on some where it was hard to keep everyone working towards the same goal.”
Despite its remote location, the project has an all-weather highway running right through it, connecting the historic Cluff Lake mine 80 kilometres north with civilization to the south. With surprisingly shallow water of only five or six metres’ depth, Patterson Lake allows drilling from barge or ice.
So work will resume in mid-January after solid ice settles in. “We plan an aggressive program for winter, at least two drills,” McElroy says. “There’s always a lot of excitement going into a new season, particularly for us with this target.”
On the east side of the basin, Fission holds a 60% interest in the 40,256-hectare Waterbury Lake uranium project. The remainder is held by a consortium headed by Kepco, the Korean power utility. Fission retains a 2% net smelter return, after which the 60/40 split would take effect.
The property’s J-Zone has a May 2012 resource estimate showing an indicated category of 163,335 tonnes grading an average 1.99% U3O8 for 7.37 million pounds U3O8. The inferred category shows 149,626 tonnes grading 0.46% for 1.51 million pounds. (See updated resource below.)
The J-Zone sits on a trend that includes Cameco’s McArthur River and Rabbit Lake mines, as well as its Millennium deposit, McElroy says. “The J-Zone is an extension of the Roughrider deposit of Hathor Exploration, which was bought out by Rio Tinto earlier this year for $654 million. Hathor outlined 58 million pounds. We’re still in an earlier stage of building up the resource.” McElroy hopes to release an updated estimate by year-end, possibly followed by a PEA.
The neighbourhood includes an airstrip, a power grid up to the property boundary and two mills within five kilometres of Waterbury Lake.
“Between Patterson Lake South and Waterbury we have the two most exciting plays in the basin,” he says. “We’re in a part of the world where significant discoveries are made about every 10 years and we’ve made two major discoveries in only two and a half years. We’ve put together a technical team that’s second to none and it’s showing its merit.”
Update: On December 6, 2012, Fission released an updated resource for Waterbury Lake’s J-Zone. Using a 0.1% cutoff, the resource now shows:
- an indicated category of 307,000 tonnes averaging 1.52% for 10.28 million pounds U3O8
- an inferred category of 138,000 tonnes averaging 0.9% for 2.74 million pounds U3O8.
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