Sunday 20th September 2020

Resource Clips

Athabasca Basin and beyond

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Noka updates wholly owned Basin properties

In addition to its 25% interest in WASP, Noka holds 15 wholly owned properties totalling 201,333 hectares in and around the Athabasca Basin. On September 24 the company stated it was compiling previous data to identify exploration priorities that will include ground radon and geophysical surveys.

Near the Basin’s south-central rim, the Carpenter Lake and Nyberg Lakes properties host some of the highest known lake-bottom sediment uranium grades in the area, which generally coincide with strong radiometrics and base metal geochemistry, Noka stated.

Mkango renews Thambani licence in Malawi, grants options

Mkango Resources TSXV:MKA announced September 24 a two-year prospecting licence renewal for its Thambani property in southeastern Malawi. Prospective for uranium, zircon, corundum, niobium and other minerals, the 486-square-kilometre property has undergone ground radiometric and historic airborne radiometric surveys that found two uranium anomalies, one approximately three kilometres by 1.5 kilometres and another about 1.5 kilometres by 0.4 kilometres. Mapping and geochemical sampling are now underway, with further geophysics planned. Mkango has budgeted US$715,000 over two years for the project.

On September 25 the company announced it granted 1.98 million options to insiders at $0.20, valid for 10 years. Mkango’s flagship is its Songwe Hill rare earth deposit, also in southern Malawi, which is undergoing pre-feasibility.

Beruschi rejects Boss Power offer, $30-million government settlement stalled

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 21 to 27, 2013

Boss Power and Morning Star Resources disagree
over a $30-million B.C. government settlement.

A $30-million settlement from the British Columbia government remains in limbo while a dispute festers between the beneficiaries. Boss Power TSXV:BPU won the settlement in October 2011, following B.C.’s sudden ban on uranium and thorium exploration in 2009. But Boss agreed to transfer a number of properties to the province, including those known as the B claims. It turned out Boss didn’t own those claims. Anthony Beruschi, now president of Morning Star Resources, does. He’s not satisfied with any of Boss’ offers so far, including the $1.55 million proposed on September 23.

Boss stated its current offer is based on an independent valuation report. Should Beruschi reject it, Boss said it will submit the dispute to binding arbitration by the B.C. International Commercial Arbitration Centre. “Pending the outcome of this arbitration, Boss would place $5 million of the settlement proceeds in trust as security for your claim to compensation for the B claims,” Boss’ lawyers informed Beruschi. “To be clear, in the view of Boss and its directors, that amount grossly exceeds the value of the B claims.”

The next day Beruschi shot back by attacking the valuation report’s validity and stating (in all upper-case letters) that the fair market value of his claims is $4 million. Alleging a conflict of interest, Beruschi called for the resignation of “at least a majority” of Boss directors. He intends to field his own slate of nominees prior to a November 14 shareholders’ meeting. Morning Star has previously stated that, along with its affiliates, it holds about a third of Boss’ shares.

Read more about the dispute.

Strateco challenges Quebec’s rationale for permit refusal

After the Quebec government stated the Matoush uranium exploration project lacked “sufficient social acceptability,” Strateco Resources TSX:RSC has once again challenged the province’s minister of the environment. In a letter to the minister, the company stated he “has all the elements needed to make a favourable decision,” Strateco reported on September 23. “Strateco points to the lack of directives, policies, guidelines or any other document that might provide a clear understanding of what constitutes social acceptability in Quebec,” the company added.

Strateco was informed of the refusal in June, following opposition by the James Bay Cree Nation and a provincial moratorium on all uranium exploration pending a review. Strateco emphasized that further work is needed on the project to “provide more accurate answers to the concerns raised. In fact, the [environmental] minister recognized this recently in relation to the matter of Anticosti Island oil.”

The company also stated that “a project’s social acceptability cannot be limited to a single stakeholder, in this case the Cree. Furthermore, the minister cannot abdicate his authority and give the Crees a veto on Category III lands, thereby creating an historic precedent in the development of Quebec’s natural resources.”

Strateco said it’s been waiting for approval since August 2011. “This period was characterized by losses of well-paid jobs (85 layoffs), as well as substantial uncertainty surrounding the $125 million already injected into Quebec by the company through its investors.” Strateco plans to challenge the government in court.

Zadar acquires eastside Athabasca Pasfield Lake project from Canterra

Zadar Ventures TSXV:ZAD announced a definitive purchase and sales agreement on September 27 with Canterra Minerals TSXV:CTM, its subsidiary Triex Minerals and Thelon Capital TSXV:THC for a 100% interest in the Pasfield Lake uranium project. Under the agreement Zadar pays $75,000, issues Canterra 1.43 million shares and issues Thelon 315,000 shares. Canterra retains a 2% NSR, of which Zadar may buy half for $1 million.

The 37,445-hectare eastside Athabasca Basin property has already undergone work by Triex including lake sediment sampling, soil and biogeochemical sampling, airborne electromagnetic and gravity surveys, and drilling. “Two zones with increased radioactivity and elevated uranium, boron and other key pathfinder elements were identified, one at the unconformity and another 800 metres above the unconformity,” Zadar stated.

Earlier this month the company reported finding radioactive boulders on its PLS-vicinity PNE project.

MPVC options Manitoba uranium property from CanAlaska

CanAlaska Uranium TSX:CVV announced an option on September 26 with MPVC Inc TSXV:MVC.H for the Northwest Manitoba uranium project. MPVC may earn an 80% interest by paying $35,000, issuing 12 million shares and six million warrants, and spending $11.6 million over a three-stage process. MPVC must spend $3.2 million on exploration by 2015.

The companies agreed to form a JV “once MPVC completes the third stage or elects not to proceed further after having completed the first or second stage.” If either company’s JV interest falls below 15% it will be converted to a 2% royalty and the JV will be terminated.

Located along the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border, the 143,603-hectare property has radon surveys planned, with drilling expected early next year. In late August CanAlaska, which faces a TSX delisting review, optioned a 50% interest in a PLS-area property to Makena Resources TSXV:MKN.

U3O8 Corp reports initial findings from PEA in progress

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 21 to 27, 2013

Continuous surface mining could provide a low-cost method
for U3O8 Corp’s near-surface Laguna Salada deposit.

With a preliminary economic assessment underway for its Laguna Salada deposit in Argentina, U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE released some initial results for beneficiation work and a potential mining method on September 26. The company stated its exceptionally shallow deposit might allow continuous surface mining, in which soft gravel would be excavated to a depth of about three metres, then trucked to a facility where it’s washed and screened. While mining continues, about 95% of the gravel would be returned to the site, leaving no open pit.

The company also reported a wet screening process followed by hydrocyclone beneficiation had concentrated about 80% of the uranium and 18.6% of the vanadium contained in the gravel into 5.3% of its original mass. As a result the uranium grade increased 15 times to 0.0358% U3O8 and the vanadium grade 3.5 times to 1,250 parts per million vanadium pentoxide (V2O5).

Laguna Salada’s 2011 resource estimate shows:

  • an indicated category of 47.3 million tonnes averaging 0.006% U3O8 and 550 ppm V2O5 for 6.3 million pounds U3O8 and 57.1 million pounds V2O5

  • an inferred category of 20.8 million tonnes averaging 0.0085% U3O8 and 590 ppm V2O5 for 3.8 million pounds U3O8 and 26.9 million pounds V2O5

Now under discussion is a possible JV between U3O8 and a state-owned mining company with concessions adjacent to Laguna Salada. U3O8 also has a PEA for its Berlin project in Colombia, a potential uranium mine with phosphate, vanadium, nickel and rare earths credits. The company holds two earlier-stage projects in Argentina and Guyana.

Uranium One to go private October 18

The $1.3-billion takeover of Uranium One TSX:UUU by ARMZ, the mining branch of Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, has received its final regulatory approval. The Toronto-headquartered company is now scheduled to go private on October 18. With next year’s production forecast at 13 million pounds, Uranium One has properties in Kazakhstan, the United States, Australia and Tanzania. ARMZ had already acquired 51.4% of the company. Uranium One shareholders approved the remaining buy-out in March, following an offer that had been called strategic and opportunistic.

In brief…

Its 1:10 share consolidation in effect, Crosshair Energy began trading as Jet Metal TSX:JET on September 23. Crosshair had been facing a TSX delisting review after having been delisted from the NYSE in June. Jet Metal holds interests in a Labrador uranium-vanadium resource and a Wyoming uranium resource.

Energy Fuels TSX:EFR announced a $5-million bought deal private placement on September 24, with 31.25 million shares at $0.16 and an option to buy an additional 15%. The company, which supplies about 25% of American uranium production, acquired Strathmore Minerals earlier this month.

Also on September 24 Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN announced the appointment of Thomas Drolet to its advisory board. During his 43-year career Drolet spent 26 years with Ontario Hydro, was involved in M&A for American Electric Power for Canada and assisted at the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island accidents.

On September 25 Ur-Energy TSX:URE stated its recently opened Lost Creek mine is “exceeding expectations” with a daily recovery rate of 2,200 pounds U3O8, the equivalent of more than 800,000 pounds a year. The company expects to start shipping finished product from the Wyoming in-situ recovery operation in Q4.

Uranium Participation Corp TSX:U reported September 26 TSX approval of a normal course issuer bid allowing the company to buy and cancel up to 8.03 million shares within a year. The process will decrease the potential spread between the net asset value per share and the shares’ market price, the company stated. Uranium Participation holds quantities of U3O8 and uranium hexafluoride (UF6) for investment purposes. The company is managed by a Denison subsidiary.

Uranium Energy Corp NYSE MKT:UEC announced management and board changes on September 27. Harry Anthony, previously COO/director, becomes senior adviser. Robert Underdown, previously VP of production, becomes VP of production and operations. Andy Kurrus, previously chief geologist and Texas exploration manager, becomes VP of resource development. Ronald Dildine joins Uranium Energy as regulatory co-ordinator. Earlier in September the company said it would cut production and reassess projects due to low uranium prices.

With its September 27 announcement of a resource update filed on SEDAR, Macusani Yellowcake TSXV:YEL repeated its claim of “a 167% increase” in measured and indicated categories for its Peruvian deposits. There was no increase in the measured category.

See previous uranium news updates:

Read analyst David Talbot’s insights about uranium and the Athabasca Basin in a global context.

Read about uranium supply, demand and prices.

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