Friday 28th October 2016

Resource Clips

Athabasca Basin and beyond

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Alpha expands portfolio, Ben Ainsworth steps down

Alpha Exploration TSXV:AEX gained ground with a 100% option on Kelic Lake, a 17,247-hectare property on the Basin’s inferred southern margin. Among the acquisition’s attributes are depths to the basement unconformity between zero and 120 metres, conductive graphitic pelites confirmed by drilling and “strongly anomalous uranium values in historic lake sediment and biogeochemical sampling surveys indicating possible shallow sources of mineralization,” according to the September 3 statement. Additionally, irregular topography at the unconformity might have allowed “deposition of higher-grade uranium mineralization.” The project has several drill-ready targets, Alpha added.

The deal would cost the company $80,000, a million shares and $750,000 in exploration by December 14, 2016. The vendors retain a 2.5% production royalty which Alpha may reduce to 1% for $1.5 million.

East of Kelic Lake lies Carpenter Lake, a partnership of Alpha and Noka Resources TSXV:NX, where summer exploration has just finished.

Alpha also announced Ben Ainsworth’s resignation as president/CEO. Michael Gunning steps in as interim CEO/chairperson and Warren Stanyer as interim COO. A key member of the Patterson Lake South discovery team, Ainsworth remains on Alpha’s board and technical committee.

Uranerz announces first delivery from Nichols Ranch

On September 3 Uranerz Energy TSX:URZ heralded the first delivery from North America’s newest uranium mine. Drums containing approximately 36,000 pounds U3O8 arrived at an Illinois conversion plant prior to transfer to a customer.

Located in Wyoming, the Nichols Ranch in-situ recovery operation began commissioning in April and is now in transition to commercial production. Processing takes place at Cameco Corp’s (TSX:CCO) Smith Ranch plant.

Of its 29 other properties, Uranerz currently has resource estimates for six potential satellite deposits. In July the company closed a US$12-million private placement offered the week before at $10 million.

Cameco restarts Cigar Lake, strike continues at McArthur River/Key Lake

Production has resumed at Cameco’s Cigar Lake uranium operation, according to a September 4 Reuters report. Mining was suspended in mid-July to reinforce a process of freezing the rock with a brine solution to prevent flooding. The world’s highest-grade uranium mine after Cameco’s McArthur River, Cigar Lake finally began operations in March after numerous delays.

The company has stated the mine’s annual target of 18 million pounds U3O8 by 2018 “will not be impacted.”

Meanwhile McArthur River and the Key Lake mill remain on suspension due to a labour dispute. Management and union have yet to resume talking, according to media reports. By press time Cameco media relations manager Rob Gereghty hadn’t responded to a request for confirmation.

Cameco holds a 50.025% interest in Cigar Lake, a JV with AREVA Resources Canada (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (7.875%) and TEPCO Resources (5%). Cameco has a 70% stake in McArthur River and 83% in Key Lake, with AREVA holding the rest.

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.

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