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A 1,300-metre autumn campaign at the Northwest Athabasca project wrapped up with its first results released November 26:
- 2.48% U3O8 over 1.5 metres at a down-hole depth of 26 metres
- (including 5.77% U3O8 over 0.5 metres)
- 0.27% U3O8 over 20 centimetres at a down-hole depth of 50 metres.
We now have a very dominant position in the Athabasca Basin. Our strategy is to find assets that are at the shallower sections of the basin and have existing geophysical signatures that make them prospective.—NexGen CEO/director
With more results to come, the project is scheduled for additional drilling in 2013. Northwest Athabasca’s Maurice Bay deposit has an historic, non-43-101 resource of 680 tonnes averaging 0.6% U3O8. NexGen has acquired Mega’s share of a JV within a JV, giving NexGen and Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC an option to earn 30% each of the project. Until that’s completed, Cameco TSX:CCO holds 87.5% while AREVA Resources has the remaining 12.5%.
The other projects aren’t as advanced, Curyer points out, “but have the characteristics that meet our strategy of shallower parts of the basin and good geophysical signatures.” Thorburn Lake is 10 kilometres from the Cigar Lake mine, which Cameco and its JV partners have slated for production in 2013. Cigar Lake has proven and probable reserves of 216.7 million pounds averaging 18.3% U3O8. The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) has 50% earn-in options on each of NexGen’s Border Block and Virgin Trend projects. Sandhill Lake and NexGen’s single Nunavut property, Thelon Basin, both underwent early-stage exploration this year.
Contingent on the NexGen/Clermont amalgamation is a NexGen private placement closing on at least $6.6 million. After the financing, Curyer explains, Mega would hold about 31% of the new entity while the Tigers Realm Group would hold about 35%, the same interest Tigers Realm currently holds in NexGen.
As for uranium demand, Curyer sees it increasing “especially when Japan starts turning on more reactors in 2013. But the ability to bring on additional supply is quite limited. Hence the fundamentals look very strong for the next decade. You’ve also got the Middle East constructing 17 reactors, the first one in 2018. The UK just approved their next reactor. South Korea will double their consumption of uranium by 2016.”
Curyer’s resume includes time with Southern Cross Resources, which helped form Uranium One TSX:UUU. While CFO for Southern Cross, he was credited with managing Australia’s Honeymoon uranium project through feasibility and raising over $250 million. He and the NexGen team claim wide experience with uranium projects up here, Down Under and globally.
As a result, “we’re becoming the premier uranium exploration company in the Athabasca,” Curyer maintains. “It’s exploration, but we’re in the world’s most prolific uranium district. We have very strategically located properties with very sound technical expertise on top of them.”
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