Monday 17th December 2018

Resource Clips

August, 2013

Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 31st, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 24 to 30, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Fission proposes Alpha takeover for sole control of Patterson Lake South

Fission Uranium threatened to go hostile when Alpha Minerals <br />asked for more time to consider its proposal Patterson Lake South” width=”400″ height=”300″ />
<p class=Fission Uranium threatened to go hostile when Alpha Minerals
asked for more time to consider its proposal.

This week’s Patterson Lake South news came not from the field or an assay lab but from the boardrooms. Separate August 26 news releases from 50/50 joint venture partners Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW revealed that talks had been underway about the former taking over the latter.

It transpired that after the market closed on Friday, August 23, Fission gave Alpha until the following Sunday afternoon to respond to Fission’s all-share offer, then valued at $7.26 per Alpha share or about $170.44 million. When Alpha asked for more time to consider, Fission went public, saying it “will consider making a formal offer directly to Alpha’s shareholders.”

By press time August 31, neither company had made further announcements on the subject.

Read more about Fission’s proposal and Alpha’s response.

Read commentator Tommy Humphreys’ suggestions for a combined Fission/Alpha team.

Update: On September 3 both companies announced a letter of intent for Fission to acquire Alpha. Read more.

Ashburton finds radioactive boulders at Sienna West, reports historic data

Ashburton Ventures TSXV:ABR has wrapped up Phase I exploration at its 1,090-hectare Sienna West property about 40 kilometres southwest of the PLS discovery, the company announced on August 28. “Numerous” radioactive boulders showed gamma ray readings above 200 counts per second, with some measuring 1,500 to 1,800 cps. About 20 boulders will be assayed, the company stated. In addition 40 radon detector cups were placed, to be retrieved for analysis after 30 days.

Ashburton also cited historic, non-43-101 Geological Survey of Canada sediment samples from two lakes on the property that showed results in the 98th percentile of 909 samples from roughly 16,000 square kilometres of northwestern Saskatchewan. The lakes are two kilometres apart, suggesting the results “are not an isolated occurrence,” the company added.

The Sienna project includes the 147-hectare Sienna North property contiguous with PLS’s northern boundary. Two weeks earlier Ashburton reported a crew found radioactive boulders there, which were sent for assays, and placed radon cups. The company plans to identify drill targets for Sienna’s next phase.

Enexco/Denison drill Bachman Lake

Drilling has begun at Bachman Lake, an 11,419-hectare property about four kilometres west of Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO proposed Millennium mine in the southeastern Athabasca Basin. The three-hole, 1,900-metre program will cost JV partners Denison Mines TSX:DML and International Enexco TSXV:IEC $570,000, the latter announced on August 26. The helicopter-supported campaign will test three conductors that lie 2.5 to five kilometres apart.

Enexco may earn a 20% interest by funding $500,000 by year-end. Denison, which holds a 7.4% interest in Enexco, acts as project operator. Enexco also holds a 30% interest in the 3,407-hectare Mann Lake JV 20 kilometres northeast, along with Cameco (52.5%) and AREVA Resources Canada (17.5%). In Nevada, Enexco’s 100% Contact copper project now undergoes pre-feasibility.

Fission finds “significant and strongly radioactive” anomalies on North Shore

On the northwestern Basin, airborne geophysics found two “significant and strongly radioactive” anomalies on Fission’s North Shore property, the company reported August 29. “The northern anomalous region occurs within a 1.5-kilometre by 0.5-kilometre area and contains several parallel trends up to 300 metres,” the company stated. Another anomaly about seven kilometres southwest ranges between one to 10 kilometres wide and up to three kilometres long. The company added that radiometrics suggest some of the larger anomalies “are likely to be part of the outcrop/sub-crop, as opposed to boulders.”

Fission credited the find to its patent-pending System and Method for Aerial Surveying or Mapping of Radioactive Deposits, which the company says is the same technology that found the PLS boulder field. In August Fission’s collaborator on the system, Special Projects Inc, flew a 12,257-line-kilometre magnetic and radiometric survey at 50-metre line-spacing over the entire property. The system can distinguish between radioactivity released by uranium, thorium or potassium, as well as determine the relative concentration of each element, Fission stated.

Along with further data analysis, the company plans to follow up with mapping and prospecting. The property underwent a seven-hole, 1,260-metre drill program in 2007 and 2008. Fission has interests in seven Basin uranium projects and one in Peru.

U3O8 negotiating JV with Argentinian state-owned company

U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE announced August 27 that advanced discussions are underway with the state-owned mining company of Chubut province, Argentina, to form a JV. The proposal would combine U3O8’s Laguna Salada uranium-vanadium project with adjoining concessions held by Petrominera Chubut SE, onto which U3O8 believes its deposit extends. The company said the deal would also “establish a framework for potential development of the Laguna Salada deposit in compliance with the stringent requirements of the current provincial mining law.” The project has a preliminary economic assessment scheduled later this year.

Having acquired Calypso Uranium last May, U3O8 holds Argentina’s two largest uranium deposits. The country plans to bring a third reactor online this year, boosting its proportion of nuclear energy to 9%, while a fourth reactor is out for tender and a fifth is being planned, U3O8 stated. Argentina currently imports all of its nuclear fuel.

In Colombia, U3O8’s Berlin project has a December PEA for a potential uranium mine with phosphate, vanadium, nickel and rare earths credits. The company also has a uranium project in Guyana.

Boss Power/Morning Star dispute stalls $30-million settlement

A $30-million settlement dating to October 2011 is being held up by a dispute between its beneficiaries. After the British Columbia government suddenly banned uranium and thorium exploration in 2009, the province eventually settled Boss Power’s TSXV:BPU lawsuit out of court. But a condition required the company to surrender its exploration properties, the Blizzard properties and the peripheral B claims. According to an August 19 news release from Morning Star Resources, the settlement hasn’t closed because Boss included those claims in the settlement “without the knowledge and consent of the B claims owner,” Anthony Beruschi.

An August 27 Boss news release acknowledged Beruschi, “sole director and president of Morning Star” and a former Boss director, as “beneficial owner of the B claims.”

Boss’ news release claimed Beruschi “appears determined to extract more than his fair share of the settlement proceeds” and “now appears to be leveraging media and threats of a board replacement to obtain payment for his B claims.”

Morning Star’s August 19 statement said Beruschi “has privately presented several fair offers to Boss’ management and the board to enable Boss to deliver the B claims under the settlement” and accused Boss of “a refusal to negotiate in good faith.”

Morning Star said it will present its own slate of nominees for election to Boss’ board at a meeting Morning Star expects to be held by mid-November “so that it can promptly close the $30-million settlement.” Morning Star stated that it and its affiliates hold about 33% of Boss’ shares.

Boss countered it will “continue its efforts to reach an agreement with Mr. Beruschi while at the same time pursuing court proceedings to allow the settlement proceeds to be paid into court and the settlement to complete.”

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Ontario’s Ring of Fire could produce “the next Fort McMurray”

August 30th, 2013

by Anthony Halley | August 29, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

“Getting it right” in developing the estimated $30 billion to $50 billion worth of untapped mineral resources in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire could transform the region, creating tens of thousands of jobs, according to Canadian Treasury Board president Tony Clement and Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs.

Ontario’s Ring of Fire could produce “the next Fort McMurray”

Hobbs wants his city—which lies 500 kilometres south of the Ring—to be “the next Fort McMurray,” referring to the Alberta oil sands boomtown.

For this to happen, Hobbs knows there must be sufficient support from the Anishinaabe/Omushkego, the first nations who live in the same area as the proposed mining projects.

Canadian government officials at the federal, provincial and municipal levels have been campaigning to overcome opposition from the Anishinaabe/Omushkego, promising a collaborative approach.

“We have to get it right, especially for the aboriginal communities, to ensure they have the tools to fully participate in the development,” said Christine Kaszycki, who runs the Ontario government’s Ring of Fire Secretariat.

But doubts about the ability of the local communities to share in the economic benefits of development continue to linger. The necessary tax burden that Ontarians would be required to shoulder is another red flag: infrastructure alone, to support the Ring of Fire, has an estimated price tag of $1 billion.

Read more here.

Reprinted by permission of

August 30th, 2013

Infographic: Refractory minerals, from mine to market by Industrial Minerals
The gold bull took one hell of a beating but… by the Grandich Report
Graphene excites an R&D sensation by VantageWire
Computer glitch halts NASDAQ options trading by Equedia
Eric Sprott and Ned Goodman to speak at the Toronto Resource Investment Conference by Goldseek
Ryan Fletcher: The next big discoveries in the Athabasca Basin by the Energy Report

‘Price hikes will be severe’

August 29th, 2013

And uranium’s rise will come sooner, not later, says Paladin’s John Borshoff

by Greg Klein

With uranium selling well under $40, “no one will or can move forward with growth, never mind maintaining current production,” said Paladin Energy TSX:PDN managing director/CEO John Borshoff. While summarizing his company’s fiscal 2013 he expressed incredulity about the uranium market’s “absolute absurdity” of low prices despite looming shortages. He also predicted a dramatic change, emphasizing “the price can only go up sooner than some think.”

Paladin Energy’s John Borshoff says uranium will rise sooner, not later

His remarks came as the company reported record production of 8.255 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8), 20% above fiscal 2012, and revenue of US$408.4 million, 12% above 2012, but an after-tax loss of $420.9 million and a total impairment of $335.9 million.

Addressing a conference call from his Western Australia office on August 30 (August 29 in the Western Hemisphere), Borshoff acknowledged “an extremely challenging year, what with the uranium price falling from about $50 in July 2012 to $35 this month and currently sitting on an eight-year low.”

He attributed this month’s fall in share value to the uranium price, a general weakness in world markets “still waiting by and large for Japanese nuclear re-starts post-Fukushima” and uncertainty about the sale of a minority interest in Paladin’s Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia. Borshoff expressed confidence a sale will go through “at a fair price in the current financial year,” with the money used to pay down debt. Paladin also operates the Kayelekera mine in northern Malawi.

But he spoke most emphatically when discussing the state of the market in general.

People who say prices will rise in 2016 following a supply shortfall “seem to miss a key point,” he said. “The uranium price, in reality, has to rise two or three years before the shortfall to justify development of the new projects. This will happen because utilities will need to come into the term market soon, in a serious sort of way, in a bid to start filling their needs post-2014, 2015. Price hikes will be severe, I believe, because of these forward shortages, and when this happens and everyone wakes up, it will take six to nine years minimum to get supply sorted. There’s absolutely no incentive for miners or juniors to develop anything today in anticipation of this shortage. This time around, prices will have to rise and stay there on a sustained basis before the time of the shortfall for the developers to commit, and the end user needs to realize this fact.”

Why this is not worrying the hell out of the utilities completely astounds me.—John Borshoff, managing director/CEO of Paladin Energy

Borshoff said new development will remain stalled “until a price of at least $70 or higher is reached to galvanize some action. It’s only at this price level, and above, that sufficient capital for new development can be raised.”

Pointing out that high prices “dramatically influenced” supply growth from 2006 to 2011, the year of Japan’s earthquakes and Fukushima disaster, he said demand will call for twice as much growth by 2020. But an effective moratorium on development has taken place. “Why this is not worrying the hell out of the utilities completely astounds me.”

Borshoff did indicate, however, that a $200-million pre-payment from Paladin’s off-take deal with Electricité de France S.A. shows utilities are becoming concerned about long-term supply.

Meanwhile, he said, Paladin intends to produce 8.3 million to 8.7 million pounds in fiscal 2014, complete the minority interest sale in Langer Heinrich, continue cost-cutting measures and “pursue negotiations of joint ventures in advanced, undeveloped assets.”

Imminent strikes to hit world’s largest copper producers

August 29th, 2013

by Cecilia Jamasmie | August 29, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

Several labour conflicts, including the threat of strikes, are currently looming over the operations of Chile’s state-owned copper giant, Codelco’s Salvador division, as well as those of global miner BHP Billiton NYE:BHP in the South American country.

Yesterday Codelco’s main unions rejected the company’s bonus offer and voted in favour of a stoppage beginning September 1, reports La Segunda (in Spanish). This is the first payroll workers-led strike to hit Salvador in the last 25 years.

The division’s 2012 output accounted for 3.6% of Codelco’s total for the year, or 63,000 tonnes of copper.

Meanwhile workers at BHP’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, are expected to vote on a new proposal regarding their bonus, as well as on a new way of calculating the bonus, Reuters quoted union leader Roberto Arriagada as saying.

Last week the miners’ representatives rejected a first proposal and warned of a new strike similar to the 24-hour stoppage staged August 14, which affected all of BHP’s operations in Chile.

Escondida is located 3,100 metres above sea level in northern Chile, close to the city of Antofagasta. In 2012 its output reached almost 1.076 million tonnes of copper, 31.3% more than in 2011.

BHP owns the majority with a 57.5% stake. Rio Tinto NYE:RIO (30%), JECO Corp (10%) and JECO 2 Ltd (2.5%) also hold shares in the copper mine.

Reprinted by permission of

August 29th, 2013

Infographic: Refractory minerals, from mine to market by Industrial Minerals
The gold bull took one hell of a beating but… by the Grandich Report
Graphene excites an R&D sensation by VantageWire
Computer glitch halts NASDAQ options trading by Equedia
Eric Sprott and Ned Goodman to speak at the Toronto Resource Investment Conference by Goldseek
Ryan Fletcher: The next big discoveries in the Athabasca Basin by the Energy Report

Hard to match

August 28th, 2013

Has Colorado Resources been victimized by its early success?

by Greg Klein

Stepping out 400 metres from North ROK’s market-shattering discovery hole in northwestern British Columbia, Colorado Resources TSXV:CXO hit a 402-metre intercept showing 0.28% copper and 0.27 grams per tonne gold. What anywhere else might be considered typical-to-good results for a near-surface porphyry copper-gold project apparently failed to meet market expectations. The stock tanked.

Of nine holes released August 28, NR13-005 to NR13-009, along with NR13-012 and NR13-013, took 100- to 200-metre step-outs southeast from the project’s very first hole. Reported last April, the discovery showed 242 metres of 0.63% copper and 0.85 g/t gold within a 333-metre interval of 0.51% copper and 0.67 g/t gold, starting at 2 metres in depth. Of the August 28 assays, NR13-005 showed:

  • 0.22% copper and 0.34 g/t gold over 120.1 metres, starting at 115.4 metres in downhole depth

  • (including 0.38% copper and 0.62 g/t gold over 42 metres)

Hole NR13-006 showed:

  • 0.1% copper and 0.12 g/t gold over 163 metres, starting at 191.1 metres

  • (including 0.13% copper and 0.14 g/t gold over 51 metres)

Hole NR13-007 showed:

Has Colorado Resources been victimized by its early success?

Having closed a $4-million private placement in July and with permits for another 40 holes, Colorado Resources expects North ROK drilling “to continue for the foreseeable future.”

  • 0.18% copper and 0.36 g/t gold over 127.3 metres, starting at 116.2 metres

  • (including 0.25% copper and 0.52 g/t gold over 40.5 metres)

Hole NR13-008 showed:

  • 0.27% copper and 0.14 g/t gold over 189.1 metres, starting at 16.5 metres

  • (including 0.41% copper and 0.2 g/t gold over 71 metres)

Hole NR13-009 showed:

  • 0.18% copper and 0.07 g/t gold over 19.1 metres, starting at 278.4 metres

Hole NR13-012 found no significant results but NR13-013 proved the highlight of the batch. Sunk to the rig’s maximum capacity of 565 metres, it showed:

  • 0.28% copper and 0.27 g/t gold over 402.2 metres, starting at 162.6 metres

  • (including 0.33% copper and 0.23 g/t gold over 279.2 metres)

  • (including 0.36% copper and 0.23 g/t gold over 224.7 metres)

  • (including 0.41% copper and 0.28 g/t gold over 160.9 metres)

  • (including 0.53% copper and 0.37 g/t gold over 57.7 metres)

A hundred metres northwest of last April’s discovery, NR13-011 found:

  • 0.23% copper and 0.15 g/t gold over 90 metres, starting at 127.9 metres

  • (including 0.31% copper and 0.24 g/t gold over 45 metres)

True widths were unavailable. Dips ranged from minus-45 to minus-55 degrees, except for the minus-70 NR13-006, making vertical depths substantially less than downhole depths.

Holes NR13-006, NR13-007 and NR13-013 were collared 150 metres west of the main trend “and may indicate the presence of a second, parallel zone developing in this area,” the company stated. An attempt to test the Edon target, 1,600 metres southeast of the discovery, had to be abandoned for technical reasons. Further drilling will follow up.

Nevertheless North ROK’s strike now extends 500 metres along a 1,200-metre magnetic high trend with mineralization open in both directions and at depth.

In a statement accompanying the release Colorado president/CEO Adam Travis pointed out the company had, “in a mere four months,” drilled nearly 6,000 metres with average grades over 0.3% copper and 0.37 g/t gold in over 1,800 metres of mineralized intercepts. Yet the stock was slipping even before the assays were released.

Having traded the previous week in the 69- to 77-cent range, Colorado closed August 27 at $0.70, a nickel below the day’s high. Colorado opened August 28 at $0.60, then closed on $0.43, the lowest point since the first hole was announced on April 25.

But with “strong cash reserves, the company expects drilling to continue for the foreseeable future,” the news release stated. Colorado closed a $4-million private placement in July. More recently, B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas has permitted another 40 holes beyond the current campaign, which is expected to finish within weeks.

The 5,188-hectare North ROK sits on a provincial highway about 15 kilometres northwest of Imperial Metals’ TSX:III Red Chris copper-gold mine, scheduled for commissioning in May 2014. With a truly impressive first hole in the neighbourhood of a development project, Colorado’s April discovery drew several other companies into a hectic area play. Read more here and here.

Tommy Humphreys’ proposed Fission/Alpha team

August 28th, 2013

by Tommy Humphreys | August 28, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

It has been quite a year for Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU CEO Dev Randhawa.

A year ago his stock wasn’t performing and he was getting beat up on the Internet.

Then, in classic mineral exploration fashion, Randhawa’s fate changed. Lukas Lundin’s Denison Mines TSX:DML paid approximately $70 million for Fission’s eastern Athabasca Basin assets, leaving the spinout company to keep the projects on the western side, including a 50% interest in the Patterson Lake South property. PLS has yielded the most significant Canadian mineral discovery of 2012/2013.

Now Randhawa’s got one of the stocks of the year.

Fission chart

Fission’s powerful performance

Randhawa wants to consolidate ownership of PLS by taking over 50% partner Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW in exchange for Fission shares which value Alpha at roughly $7.26 per share.

Fission has a valid argument for consolidation. The combined entity would reduce overhead costs, focus the market and make for a cleaner takeover candidate.

“Sooner or later the two would have to become one,” said Randhawa on BNN.

Randhawa claims that Alpha’s investors approached Fission. But Randhawa’s a promoter and I suspect he’s just making noise. Alpha’s shareholders are extremely loyal to CEO Ben Ainsworth and chairman Mike Gunning, both giants in Canada’s uranium exploration industry.

Ben’s son Garrett Ainsworth, VP of exploration at Alpha, is credited with making the discovery at PLS only a few months after his father had to lend the company money to keep it afloat.

Father and son were rewarded with a 35x+ increase in their share price and I hope they receive PDAC’s Prospector of the Year award for their perseverance.

Randhawa would be wise to keep the Alpha men around.

In fact I have a proposed management structure for a combined Fission and Alpha:

  • Let’s have Gunning as CEO. Gunning sold Hathor Exploration and both bankers and bureaucrats respect him. He is young enough and is a juggernaut in Saskatchewan’s uranium industry.

  • Ben Ainsworth can be chairman.

  • Garrett can join Fission president Ross McElroy on the exploration team. (Garrett can figure out the dynamics; he’s a great guy.)

  • Randhawa can be the IR. (Call him “president” if he insists.)

It’s the best of both worlds.

Disclaimer: Tommy Humphreys owns stock in Alpha Minerals.

Reprinted by permission of

August 28th, 2013

The gold bull took one hell of a beating but… by the Grandich Report
Graphene excites an R&D sensation by VantageWire
Computer glitch halts NASDAQ options trading by Equedia
Eric Sprott and Ned Goodman to speak at the Toronto Resource Investment Conference by Goldseek
Ryan Fletcher: The next big discoveries in the Athabasca Basin by the Energy Report

Michael England, CEO of Ashburton Ventures and Cariboo King Resources, discusses the area play around Zenyatta Ventures’ Albany graphite project

August 27th, 2013

…Read More