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Athabasca Basin and beyond

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Western Athabasca Syndicate releases Preston drill results

The four-company Western Athabasca Syndicate released assays from the Preston project’s first drill program on July 22. Seven of nine holes totalling 1,902 metres tested the Swoosh target.

The companies consist of Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY

The group emphasized that thorium, uranium and lead isotope ratios, along with evidence for deformation and alteration, suggest parts of the Swoosh area might have once hosted significant uranium mineralization that has been depleted. “As such, directly adjacent targets should be investigated for places where the uranium could have been re-deposited,” the companies added.

The best Swoosh result showed 0.0008% uranium and 0.036% thorium over 0.5 metres. Nineteen kilometres west, a single hole tested the project’s CHA area, finding one metre of 0.0004% uranium and 0.0062% thorium.

About 27 kilometres west of Swoosh, one hole in the FSA area found 0.005% uranium and 0.0019% thorium over one metre. Highly anomalous silver values and a relatively high lead isotopic signature warrant further drilling, the syndicate stated.

The companies plan follow-up drilling in these areas as well as work to better define 12 other target areas. At 246,643 hectares, Preston comprises the largest property in the PLS vicinity. Most of its targets have yet to be drilled.

Meanwhile syndicate members have also kept busy individually. Among other news, Athabasca Nuclear joined Strike Graphite TSXV:SRK the previous week to announce their intention to merge into a company searching Saskatchewan for both uranium and diamonds. Skyharbour and JV partner Aben Resources TSXV:ABN have ground electromagnetics planned for their Mann Lake project in August.

Summer exploration underway at Noka/Alpha’s Carpenter Lake

And another syndicate member, Noka Resources, joined Alpha Exploration TSXV:AEX to release a July 24 update to their Carpenter Lake project straddling the Basin’s south-central rim. A recently completed airborne gamma spectrometer survey has found several areas of anomalous radioactivity attributed to uranium, the companies stated. Prospecting is now following up on that survey as well as previous VTEM and magnetometer surveys. Also on the agenda are radon-in-soil and soil geochemical surveys to elaborate on last winter’s geochem work.

Alpha acts as operator on the 20,637-hectare property, where the company may earn 60% by spending $1.25 million.

Paladin refinances Langer Heinrich as minority sale closes

The 25% sale of its flagship Langer Heinrich mine to “China Inc”—aka China National Nuclear Corp—has wrapped up, Paladin Energy TSX:PDN announced July 23. The US$190-million deal allows the new JV partner to buy its share of output at the prevailing market price.

Paladin also stated it reworked the Namibian project’s US$110-million finance facility and $20 million of working capital facility into a new $70-million syndicated loan. The company used $30.83 million of the Langer Heinrich sale to pre-pay part of the original loan. As a result, annual repayments of the principal will drop from $18.33 million to $9.09 million over the first three and a half years, the company added.

Although uranium prices forced Paladin to suspend operations at its Kayelekera mine in Malawi last May, the company continues to develop new resources, including last month’s upgrade to its Michelin project in Labrador.

Denison, Uranerz, Declan announce separate financings

Indeed the money flowing into uranium companies expresses confidence in the commodity’s future. Fission has committed $28 million to PLS this year, $12 million for summer alone. On July 24 Denison Mines TSX:DML announced a bought deal of $13.04 million in flow-through shares expected to close on or about August 12. The company had already budgeted $15 million to 2014 Canadian exploration. Last month Denison’s activities included a substantial increase to its Wheeler River resource and completion of its International Enexco takeover.

On July 25 Uranerz Energy TSX:URZ closed a US$12-million private placement offered the week before at $10 million. Most of the money’s earmarked for development and operations at the company’s Nichols Ranch ISR operation in Wyoming. Already shipping resin to Cameco’s Smith Ranch plant, the mine’s scheduled for commercial production in Q3.

Moving down in market cap, Declan Resources TSXV:LAN announced closing of a $2-million private placement July 24. Among other interests, the company holds an option with Lakeland Resources to earn 70% of Gibbon’s Creek, a 12,771-hectare project that showed some of the highest radon levels measured in the Basin, along with surface boulders grading up to 4.28% U3O8.

Central Resources, Canadian Uranium agree to amalgamation

With a definitive amalgamation agreement signed July 22, Central Resources TSXV:CBC moves closer to its acquisition of the privately owned Canadian Uranium Corp. A condition of the transaction, Central’s 1:3 reverse split took effect as market opened July 25. In September Canadian Uranium entered into an assignment agreement with Lions Gate Metals, now trading as CSE:LGM, to acquire the 67-hectare Whitford Lake property in the eastern Basin.

See previous uranium news roundups:

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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