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Athabasca Basin and beyond

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Athabasca leads globally as Denison plans $15 million on 2014 Canadian exploration

Q1 results released by Denison Mines TSX:DML on May 8 showed a net loss of US$12.67 million, or three cents a share, compared with a loss of $5.47 million, or one cent, for the same period last year. The company attributes this year’s figures to $6.6 million spent on exploration (compared with $4.71 million in Q1 2013), $4.11 million in foreign exchange losses and a $1.66-million impairment.

Among the quarter’s highlights were the planned acquisition of International Enexco TSXV:IEC, commissioning of the McClean Lake mill, high-grade assays and the newly discovered Gryphon zone at Wheeler River, along with completion of engineering, metallurgy and environmental studies at the Falea acquisition in Mali, which had been taken to prefeasibility by its previous owner, Rockgate Capital.

Although the company has properties in five African and Asian countries, its focus is the eastern Athabasca Basin, where it holds interests in 43 projects totalling 582,000 hectares. Of the $6.6 million spent on global exploration last quarter, the company poured 95% of it into Canada. At the time of its Rockgate acquisition, Denison stated it intends to spin out its non-Basin assets. The company has C$15 million budgeted for Canadian exploration this year.

On May 9 Denison announced its eight-member slate was elected to the board.

Opponents challenge Powertech’s Dewey-Burdock operating licence

An operating licence granted last month has been stayed, Powertech Uranium TSX:PWE reported on May 7. In early April the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued the licence for in-situ recovery at the company’s Dewey-Burdock project in South Dakota. But after two opposing groups filed objections, the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board announced oral arguments would be heard during the week of May 12, Powertech stated. The hearings will determine whether the licence becomes effective or remains on hold until a formal hearing during the week of August 18.

Apart from its own presentation, Powertech anticipates that “the general counsel for the NRC will vigorously defend the licence as it currently stands,” the company stated.

Powertech has also applied for permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and South Dakota’s mining and water boards. “The South Dakota technical staffs have recommended that permits be granted and the EPA is currently preparing draft permits for public comment…. Powertech expects that these permits will be issued by the end of 2014.”

In February the company announced plans to merge with Azarga Resources Ltd, which holds interests in Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Colorado. Read more here and here.

Lakeland Resources gets commentators blogging about the Basin

A new blog brings together a number of contributors—some of them recognized experts in their fields—with a range of insights on uranium exploration, mining, markets and related topics. Called the Athabasca Basin blog, it’s part of Lakeland Resources’ (TSXV:LK) newly redesigned website. The first post, by Lakeland adviser Canon Bryan, points out that considerable nuclear growth is hardly limited to China and India. Some 18 non-nuclear countries are planning or proposing nuclear energy.

Read more about the blog here. See the blog itself here.

Quebec explorers want head of uranium inquiry replaced

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for May 3 to 9, 2014

Quebec’s inquiry into uranium mining “will be tainted,”
according to an industry group.

With a year-long Quebec inquiry into uranium mining beginning this month, the Quebec Mineral Exploration Association (AEMQ) has denounced the chairperson. Described by the Montreal Gazette as a “former environmental journalist,” Louis-Gilles Francoeur was appointed to lead the commission by the province’s environmental watchdog, le Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE). On May 7 AEMQ called on Quebec’s environment minister to appoint a replacement.

Referring to previous statements by Francoeur as “prejudicial and non-scientific,” AEMQ maintained the commission’s credibility “will be tainted.”

“Logic requires that the presidency of this commission be awarded to an individual possessing a scientific and economic reputation who could guarantee the rigours and objectivity of the tasks,” the exploration group added.

Opposing concerns were voiced by another group, a coalition of doctors, natives and environmentalists, the Gazette reported on May 8.

“Our community is ground zero for the environmental, health and social risks that uranium presents. The position of the Cree Nation of Mistissini is clear: There will be no uranium mining on our territory,” the paper quoted John Longchamp, executive director of the native band. “We have a vision for the responsible development of the resources of our traditional land and uranium has no place in that vision.”

Quebec’s former government proclaimed a moratorium on uranium exploration in March 2013, following opposition by the James Bay Cree Nation, on whose reserve Strateco Resources TSX:RSC was exploring its Matoush project. The company subsequently launched legal action challenging the province’s refusal to issue an exploration permit. Strateco says it spent $123 million on the project prior to the moratorium.

The company, which on May 8 signed agreements for private placements totalling $1.5 million, has stated its intention to take part in the BAPE inquiry.

Chinese utility’s new mine could more than double Namibian output

Production has begun at Husab on what’s “claimed to be the third-largest uranium-only deposit” globally, the World Nuclear News reported on May 9. With construction on the Namibian mine scheduled to finish by the end of 2015, the operation will consist of two open pits—one about three kilometres long, one kilometre wide and 412 metres deep; the other about two kilometres by 1.3 kilometres by 377 metres. By 2017 production is forecast to reach 5,770 tonnes of uranium annually.

According to the World Nuclear Association, Namibia’s 2012 output came to 4,495 tonnes of uranium. Husab’s lifespan is projected to be at least 20 years.

A Namibian state-owned company holds 10% of Husab while China General Nuclear Power Corp holds the majority stake, WNN stated. Another utility, China National Nuclear Corp, is expected to close its 25% joint venture interest in Paladin’s Namibian Langer Heinrich mine in June.

The country also hosts Rossing, one of the world’s largest open pit uranium mines. It’s held 68.6% by Rio Tinto NYE:RIO, 10% by South Africa, 3% by Namibia and 15% by Iran.

AREVA’s Trekkopje project, described as a very low-grade surface deposit 14 kilometres long and three kilometres wide, underwent test mining until low prices put it on care and maintenance in 2013.

In brief…

On May 6 Takara Resources TSXV:TKK announced the appointment of William Kerr as VP of exploration, replacing Rod Ogilvie who passed away suddenly. Last month the company announced plans to fly its Uranium City-region claims and offered a $350,000 private placement.

Following last week’s appointment of energy expert Thomas Drolet, International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT announced on May 7 that Gregory Campbell has joined its advisory board. The company granted the advisers a total of 150,000 options exercisable at $0.05 for three years.

On May 9 U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE announced a resolution to renew its shareholders’ rights plan. In March the company closed the final tranche of a $1.15-million private placement to fund its Laguna Salada deposit in Argentina, exploration in Colombia and Guyana, and general corporate purposes.

On May 9 Pele Mountain Resources TSXV:GEM announced closing a $24,000 final tranche of a private placement totalling $461,012. In March the company released metallurgical results from its Eco Ridge rare earths-uranium project in Ontario.

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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