Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for December 7 to 13, 2013
by Greg Klein
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Spincos Fission 3.0 and Alpha Exploration debut on TSXV, Fission Uranium plans most aggressive campaign ever
Never mind Fission 3.0’s FUU ticker. When Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU was created out of Fission Energy earlier this year, only a last-minute change prevented that spinco from becoming FUC. And now that Alpha Minerals has delisted to create its spinco, Alpha Exploration TSXV:AEX, two new companies join the Venture while Patterson Lake South comes under the sole ownership of Fission Uranium, a particularly tempting takeover target.
Fission 3.0 debuted December 10 at $0.12 and quickly shot up to $0.30 before plunging to a $0.135 close. The stock finished December 13 at $0.16. With 152.96 million shares outstanding, Mach III had a $24.47-million market cap.
Alpha Exploration began trading December 12 at $0.45 and reached a daily high of $0.63. But it fell all the way to a $0.30 close. The following day’s finish dropped a penny lower. AEX’s 13.96 million shares represented a market cap of $4.05 million.
Each spinco got $3 million in start-up money from Fission Uranium. Alpha Minerals nominees Warren Stanyer and Kurt Bordian joined Fission Uranium’s board, replacing Frank Estergaard and Jeremy Ross who moved to Fission 3.0 along with Dev Randhawa and Ross McElroy, who lead both Fissions. Alpha Exploration’s management and board remains “substantially the same” as that of Alpha Minerals.
Meanwhile the PLS role played by father/son team Ben and Garrett Ainsworth (ex-Alpha Minerals now Alpha Ex) have won them the 2013 Colin Spence Award for excellence in global mineral exploration, the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia announced on December 12.
Fission 3.0 keeps its predecessor’s uranium focus with six Athabasca Basin-area projects and another in the Macusani region of Peru. Alpha Exploration lists its initial key assets as two gold projects, Mikwam in Ontario and Donna in B.C., as well as Saskatchewan uranium properties.
The spin-outs have hardly diminished Fission Uranium’s attraction, a $12.87-million financing suggests. Announced December 11, the company’s 8.58 million $1.50 subscription receipts have been exchanged for one flow-through share each, a transaction that closed after the Alpha Minerals acquisition.
Evidently emboldened by all that dough, McElroy announced Fission Uranium’s “most aggressive drill program to date at PLS—approximately 30,000 metres in up to 100 drill holes,” the news release quoted him. “Our core focus will be growth, including the specific goal of eliminating the distance between the six identified zones. We will also be testing new targets, using radon sampling on other EM conductors and employing resistivity ground geophysics to help identify additional prospective corridors.”
With assays still pending for over 50 holes, Fission Uranium might be accused of teasing investors prior to a first resource.
Late December 13 the company announced it granted a consultant one million options at $1.10 for two years.
Lakeland Resources bolsters team with Canon Bryan and Sam Wong
Two more appointments add to a busy period of announcements from Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK. On December 9 mining financial professional Canon Bryan joined Lakeland’s advisory board. Two days later another mining specialist, Sam Wong, took the position of chief financial officer.
With Bryan’s appointment Lakeland not only gains additional expertise but renews a relationship that’s already proved successful. Bryan’s resume lists management positions for several public and private companies including Uranium Energy Corp NYSE MKT:UEC, which Bryan co-founded. He also founded Terrestrial Energy Inc, which is developing a commercial molten salt reactor, and operates a merger-and-acquisition consulting service for the uranium sector.
Now he’s working again with people who’ve benefited from his past accomplishments. Lakeland director Ryan Fletcher recalls the genesis for what’s now NioCorp Developments TSXV:NB. “Canon came to us [Zimtu Capital Corp TSXV:ZC] with the idea to go to Nebraska and acquire a niobium project,” Fletcher says. “It was a great project, although difficult because we had to acquire it from 40 farmers. It took quite a while and a bit of money but we were successful.”
I co-founded [Uranium Energy Corp] with three other folks and took it through the hoops. It’s now listed on the New York Stock Exchange and producing uranium in Texas.—Lakeland Resources
adviser Canon Bryan
Known as Elk Creek, NioCorp calls it “the only primary niobium deposit in the U.S., and… the highest-grade, large-tonnage undeveloped deposit in North America.”
Bryan says, “I found the project and Zimtu was able to facilitate funding, so it was a good collaboration and profitable for everyone.”
With Uranium Energy Corp, “I co-founded the company with three other folks and took it through the hoops,” Bryan adds. “It’s now listed on the New York Stock Exchange and producing uranium in Texas. Producing uranium in the U.S. is quite a rare thing. It’s something I’m personally quite proud of.”
He says working with Lakeland renews “a collaboration that’s never really gone away. We’re colleagues in the industry. We agreed it would be a good fit for everybody, very much an organic fit.”
“Uranium M&A is my area of expertise,” Bryan says. “So naturally that’s something I would like to bring to the table.”
Wong, Lakeland’s new CFO, holds the same position at Lowell Copper TSXV:JDL and Chesapeake Gold TSXV:CKG. He’s also served as corporate controller at Luna Gold TSX:LGC, where he oversaw the finance division during Luna’s transition from development to commercial production. Wong articled as a chartered accountant at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he specialized in assurance and advisory for mining companies.
In a statement accompanying the December 11 announcement, Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes said Wong brings “strength in financial reporting, strategic planning, corporate governance, equity financings, due diligence for acquisitions and corporate development to our growing team. His attention to detail and in running a tight ship will be another strong asset for Lakeland as we advance as an up-and-coming leader in the Athabasca Basin.”
The appointments follow a flurry of recent news from the uranium explorer, which includes a joint venture with Declan Resources TSXV:LAN that expands Lakeland’s upcoming Gibbon’s Creek drill program, another JV with Star Minerals Group TSXV:SUV that increases Lakeland’s portfolio and the publication of a research report by Zimtu research and communications officer Derek Hamill.
Meanwhile results are pending from last season’s exploration on the Riou Lake/Gibbon’s Creek property in the north-central Basin.
Forum completes ground gravity survey, plans ground EM at Clearwater
A December 11 announcement moves Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC closer to drilling its Clearwater project. With a ground gravity survey finished, around 11 drill targets have been chosen. The survey followed up on previously identified electromagnetic conductors and radon anomalies to find four gravity lows, three of which held several conductors. An early January ground EM survey will further refine targets for drilling that’s expected to start later that month.
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