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Athabasca Basin and beyond

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Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for February 22 to 28, 2014

UEC’s Hobson plant processes resins from the company’s Palangana ISR mine in southern Texas.

Uranium Energy Corp updates Burke Hollow drilling in Texas

With three rigs turning and 42 of the currently planned 80 holes now complete, Uranium Energy Corp NYSE MKT:UEC updated its Burke Hollow project in southern Texas on February 27. The company stated it’s now delineating two new mineralized horizons and will explore other areas over a nearly 6.5-kilometre prospective trend.

To determine baseline water quality for the potential in-situ recovery operation, six more monitoring wells have been added, bringing the total to 30.

In December the company updated construction progress at its Goliad ISR mine, also in Texas, which has production planned this fiscal year. Read more about UEC and Burke Hollow.

Powertech Uranium to merge with Azarga Resources

A strategic alliance has grown into a merger between Powertech Uranium TSX:PWE and Azarga Resources Ltd, a privately held Hong Kong-based company. Under a share swap announced February 26, Powertech would acquire Azarga, which now owns 45% of Powertech, to create a new entity called Azarga Uranium Corp. Current Azarga shareholders would then hold about 77% of Powertech, according to the news release.

Azarga’s assets include 80% of the Kyzyl Ompul deposit in Kyrgyzstan. The company also holds interests in two ASX-listed companies, a 34% stake in Black Range Minerals, which owns the Hansen-Taylor Ranch deposit in Colorado and 12% of Anatolia Energy, which owns the Temrezli project in Turkey.

“Adding these significant interests is intended to reduce Powertech’s exposure to permitting risk at Dewey Burdock,” Powertech stated. In mid-February a South Dakota committee voted down a bill that would have delayed or prevented the project, which is now undergoing licensing and permitting procedures. A revised preliminary economic assessment was released in 2012.

Read more about Powertech and Azarga.

Azincourt commissions studies on Peruvian properties

Having closed the acquisition of Peruvian assets from Cameco and Vena Resources TSX:VEM in January, Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ announced on February 27 that two technical studies were underway. The company has engaged SRK Consulting to examine previous processing and leach test work. Henkle & Associates will review an historic resource at different cutoff grades and identify areas for infill drilling on the 4,900-hectare Macusani project. Although the acquisition came with over $12 million of previous work, no drilling has taken place for two years. The project has been “essentially on care and maintenance due to depressed uranium market conditions post-Fukushima.”

Azincourt emphasizes that work by other companies in southeastern Peru’s Macusani district “suggests potential for low-cost production.” Azincourt’s assets in the area consist of the 4,900-hectare Macusani project, sometimes referred to as Minergia, and the earlier-stage 9,600-hectare Muñani project.

Read more about the properties.

In brief…

Declan Resources announced the appointment of David Miller as president/CEO and director on February 28. His 20-year career includes a stint as CEO of Strathmore Minerals, where he played a key role in its sale last year to Energy Fuels TSX:EFR. Miller currently sits on the U.S. National Conference of State Legislatures High Level Radioactive Waste Committee and Energy Council. Wayne Tisdale continues to serve on Declan’s board of directors.

Preston Lake drilling should start the second week of March, the Western Athabasca Syndicate announced February 27. The previous week the four-company alliance announced geophysical surveys had found 23 gravity lows on the 246,643-hectare PLS-vicinity property. A ground EM survey is currently underway. The syndicate consists of Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY.

On February 25 syndicate member Noka reported closing a second tranche of $536,000 for a total private placement of $1.13 million.

The same day U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE announced closing a first tranche of $840,200, with another $309,800 anticipated to come.

Also on February 25, Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU granted 300,000 options exercisable for five years at $1.31.

European Uranium Resources TSXV:EUU stated February 28 that it now anticipates closing a $1.25-million private placement with Global Resources Investment Trust on March 7, when Global expects to begin LSE trading. Read more here and here.

Word from Japan lifts uranium stocks

More evidence of Japan’s enormous significance to the uranium space came on February 25 with reaction to a draft report reinforcing the country’s long-term commitment to nuclear power. Two weeks earlier energy expert Thomas Drolet offered readers his insights into the Japanese situation. In part two of that interview, posted February 28, Drolet discussed other aspects of global energy, focusing on uranium.

Meanwhile an agreement to share nuclear technology with the United Arab Emirates further demonstrates “Japan’s ongoing commitment to nuclear energy,” the World Nuclear News stated on February 27.

In a research note published the same day, Toll Cross Securities analyst Tom Hope speculated that China has been stockpiling uranium from sources including Japan. If true, he writes, the ramp-up of Chinese reactors wouldn’t have the near-term supply/demand effect that many people predict. But it would mean the “supposed Japanese ‘excess’ inventory does not exist.” If that’s the case, Japanese re-starts could “trigger a rush by utilities for new long-term contracts.”

As for Pakistan and Ontario

In news that could be as tentative as it is intriguing, Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission is talking about installing 32 nuclear power plants to produce 40,000 MW of electricity, the country’s News International reported February 27. Details and dates have yet to be set, although Pakistan has to contend with international opposition to its civil nuclear ambitions.

And according to a February 27 Globe and Mail story, Ontario’s Bruce Power has asked its top two shareholders to back a “15-year, $15-billion project to refurbish six Candu reactors at its Lake Huron site.”

See previous uranium news updates:

Read expert commentary:

Thomas Drolet discusses nuclear power from a global point of view.

Thomas Drolet discusses Fukushima and nuclear energy’s outlook.

Tom Hope discusses uranium’s predicament and promise.

David Talbot discusses the metal’s challenges and potential, and the Athabasca Basin.

Disclaimer: Lakeland Resources Inc is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Lakeland Resources.

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