As drilling nears, Lakeland Resources finds more similarities between its Star/Gibbon’s project and Athabasca Basin deposits
by Greg Klein
Surface samples show gold, platinum group elements and rare earths, but Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK considers them signposts en route to a destination. The goal is uranium, the high-grade stuff the Athabasca Basin’s famous for. On its adjacent Star and Gibbon’s Creek properties, the company sees a number of geological features distinctive to Basin deposits. That puts the two properties—now one project—at the forefront of Lakeland’s large portfolio and focus of a busy autumn/winter program of field work and drilling.
Gibbon’s Creek came back to the company on September 29, with the termination of an option with Declan Resources TSXV:LAN. That now lets Lakeland “independently operate the project free and clear of any prior obligations,” the company stated. Located on the Basin’s north-central rim, the 12,771-hectare property features some of the highest RadonEx measurements reported in the Athabasca. Ground work confirmed existence of a radioactive boulder field with eight samples surpassing 1% U3O8, one of them hitting 4.28%. Another 11 samples assayed above 0.2%, with nine more below 0.2%. Anomalous values for nickel, arsenic, lead and cobalt also appeared.
Then, three days later, the company announced exploration results from the Star property next door, where Lakeland holds an option to earn 100%. Gold accompanied by PGEs, along with some rare earths and anomalous low-grade uranium, all bode well for the high-grade kind, Lakeland stated. Of 73 rock samples, nine assayed over 0.1 gram per tonne gold, including two that surpassed 2 g/t and one that hit 3.7 g/t gold.
Of 124 soil samples, 29 exceeded 0.1 g/t gold. Six of them passed 1 g/t and one reached 2.21 g/t gold.
One area of mapping and sampling focus was the Star uplift, a basement outcrop about 700 metres by 350 metres. There, the crew found “intense hematite-chlorite alteration, a style of alteration that’s not necessarily unique to the Athabasca Basin but distinctive and it occurs with a lot of uranium deposits,” says Jody Dahrouge, president of Dahrouge Geological Consulting. “Over half the samples from this area were over 100 parts per billion gold. Many were over one gram per tonne gold. This is significant and often can lead back to new discoveries. I don’t know many soil sampling programs in or around northern Saskatchewan with this amount of gold. This is remarkable for an early-stage program.”
“Not only that, there’s up to three-quarters of a gram per tonne platinum and palladium in these samples. So you have gold, platinum and palladium, scattered rare earths, and you have low-grade uranium—presumably related to this big structural corridor that goes from north to south.”
That’s another of the project’s attractions. Dahrouge describes it as “a major regional structural lineament that’s about 30 or 40 kilometres in length, and it’s been reactivated many times over 100 million years or more. This is a key ingredient to every uranium deposit in the Athabasca Basin. Every significant uranium deposit is structurally related, you need a fault zone, you need a structure of some magnitude. Having it reactivated time and time again allows multiple generations of fluid to flow along that structure and deposition of perhaps multiple ore bodies.”
About one kilometre south of the uplift “there’s a massive alteration zone which is shown in the resistivity data set and which was drilled on its periphery in the 1970s. It hit up to 1,500 parts per million uranium proximal to this structure.”
This is a key ingredient to every uranium deposit in the Athabasca Basin. Every significant uranium deposit is structurally related, you need a fault zone, you need a structure of some magnitude. Having it reactivated time and time again allows multiple generations of fluid to flow along that structure and deposition of perhaps multiple ore bodies.—Jody Dahrouge, president of Dahrouge Geological Consulting
“A couple more kilometres south, immediately west and down-ice of the structure, is where the boulder field occurs,” where samples graded up to 4.28% U3O8. “You have three unique mineralizing systems, all within a five- to 10-kilometre distance of the same structure. Clearly something’s going on and clearly it’s related to the structure.”
That brings to mind some other major Basin discoveries. Fission Uranium’s (TSXV:FCU) Patterson Lake South and the Arrow zone on NexGen Energy’s (TSXV:NXE) Rook 1 project share the same structural corridor, Dahrouge points out. McArthur River features “a 10-kilometre-long conductor, a significant structure offsetting the basement.” Denison Mines’ (TSX:DML) Wheeler River joint venture hosts the structurally related Phoenix and Gryphon zones. “What people don’t realize is that to the southwest of those is a significant rare earth deposit at the unconformity, all within kilometres of each other, all related to presumably the same structural corridor.”
The Basin’s uranium comes from “hydrothermal systems that scavenge reams of uranium from felsic rocks, which have a high background of uranium, and then concentrate it in one place where there’s a chemical change in the waters. This is similar to how many structurally controlled gold deposits are formed, albeit maybe at slightly higher temperatures. Given the preponderance at Star of gold and PGEs, I suspect that maybe we’ve discovered a new occurrence of mineralization in the Athabasca Basin—not really unknown, because similar things have been documented before, but which could be extremely significant in size.”
Although the Basin’s gold deposits are not usually economic on their own, Cluff Lake produced over 16,000 ounces in 1987. High gold grades have also been reported from the Shea Creek JV of UEX Corp TSX:UEX and AREVA Resources Canada, as well as Patterson Lake South.
Of three 1979 drill holes in and around the Star uplift, none were assayed for gold, Dahrouge says. “But when you look at the geologists’ descriptions, they’re remarkably similar to the outcrop samples that did contain gold. So this type of alteration is fairly extensive and appears to be documented in the subsurface by drill logs.”
All things considered, the Star/Gibbon’s Creek project warrants very extensive exploration, Dahrouge maintains. Immediate plans are under discussion but could include a regional geochemical survey and additional geophysics over the alteration. The goal is to begin drilling this winter, if not sooner. “There are reams and reams of historic data that we can work with in conjunction with what we’re collecting now, so I think we can develop some realistic drill targets.”
“All the permitting’s done. We have shallow depths to the unconformity. There are no lakes or rivers so we can work year-round. The project’s just a few kilometres from a community, so we can drive to it.” Lakeland’s also sufficiently cashed up to finance the program.
“This is a regional structure,” Dahrouge emphasizes. “It’s very lengthy and there’s mineralization of various types spread out over at least five kilometres. It’s either a very big system that’s diffuse and not going to yield an ore body, or it’s more typical of these alteration systems, where if you get smoke there’s a fire somewhere. And now it’s a matter of finding that fire.”
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