Saturday 24th October 2020

Resource Clips

A Patterson Lake South saga

As Fission releases its maiden resource, we look at how two juniors made uranium exploration history

by Greg Klein

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As Fission releases its maiden resource, we look at how two juniors made uranium exploration history

The initial resource comprises two of Patterson Lake South’s four zones.


Originally scheduled for December, the maiden resource for Fission Uranium’s (TSX:FCU) Patterson Lake South hit the streets after the market closed on January 9, all the better time—no doubt coincidentally—for a greater sensation at this month’s investor and trade shows. With 79.6 million pounds U3O8 indicated and 25.88 million pounds inferred, the numbers confirm the newly named Triple R deposit’s status as the Athabasca Basin region’s largest undeveloped resource and third-largest overall. Outdone only by two operating mines, McArthur River and Cigar Lake, PLS stands out for mineralization beginning at exceptionally shallow depths of 60 to 250 metres.

There’s gold too, 38,000 ounces indicated and 16,000 ounces inferred.

As Fission releases its maiden resource, we look at how two juniors made this historic uranium discovery

By last summer, Fission had five barge-based rigs
devoted to delineation drilling.

As Fission president/COO and chief geologist Ross McElroy pointed out, “The entire deposit is located in basement rock, which is a preferred host rock for development of economic uranium deposits” in the region.

Included in the resource are two of the project’s four zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike. Zone R00E runs about 125 metres in strike length. Beginning 225 metres east, R780E stretches out for about 900 metres in strike. Triple R’s indicated category takes up about 75% of the resource, which uses a 0.1% cutoff (based on $50 uranium) to show:

  • indicated: 2.29 million tonnes averaging 1.58% U3O8 and 0.51 grams per tonne gold for 79.61 million pounds U3O8 and 38,000 ounces gold

  • inferred: 901,000 tonnes averaging 1.3% U3O8 and 0.56 g/t gold for 25.88 million pounds U3O8 and 16,000 ounces gold

Within the resource lies a higher-grade zone containing 44.3 million pounds indicated and 13.86 million pounds inferred.

Mineralization remains open in multiple directions, Fission stated. Upcoming programs, which include a $10-million, 63-hole, 20,230-metre campaign expected to begin January 15, will focus partly on resource expansion.

A closer look at the indicated resource, including its 18.21% high-grade area, shows:

R00E zone

  • 126,000 tonnes averaging 1.15% U3O8 and 0.15 g/t gold for 3.18 million pounds U3O8 and 1,000 ounces gold

R780E high-grade area

  • 110,000 tonnes averaging 18.21% U3O8 and 2.77 g/t gold for 44.3 million pounds U3O8 and 10,000 ounces gold

R780E lower-grade area

  • 1.9 million tonnes averaging 0.69% U3O8 and 0.39 g/t gold for 28.76 million pounds U3O8 and 24,000 ounces gold

The inferred resource breaks down as follows:

R00E zone

  • 8,000 tonnes averaging 3.57% U3O8 for 669,000 pounds U3O8

R780E high-grade area

  • 24,000 tonnes averaging 26.35% U3O8 and 3.77 g/t gold for 13.86 million pounds U3O8 and 3,000 ounces gold

R780E lower-grade area

  • 23,000 tonnes averaging 1.26% U3O8 and 0.89 g/t gold for 648,000 pounds U3O8 and 1,000 ounces gold

Other R780E areas

  • 585,000 tonnes averaging 0.68% U3O8 and 0.56 g/t gold for 8.8 million pounds U3O8 and 11,000 ounces gold

Low-grade halo

  • 260,000 tonnes averaging 0.22% U3O8 and 0.22 g/t gold for 1.91 million pounds U3O8 and 2,000 ounces gold

The new year announcement obviously marks another milestone for PLS, an historic find that both excited the market and sparked an ongoing exploration rush in and around the Basin. All that for a deposit just off a route that geologists travelled for years, Highway 955 leading to the Shea Creek deposit and former Cluff Lake mine. But PLS sits outside the Basin. According to past wisdom, uranium had no business being there. Massive pitchblende and strong radioactivity shattered that mode of thinking in November 2012. A timeline shows how the dogged perseverance of two junior exploration companies, along with new approaches that complemented their geological expertise, brought about the PLS discovery.


Patterson Lake South, from early exploration to maiden resource


1969 Wainoco Oil and Chemicals conducts regional mapping, airborne radiometrics and magnetic surveys without finding significant results.

1977 to 1982 Exploration by the Saskatchewan Mining Development Corp includes five holes north of PLS along the same conductive corridor that extends into PLS. SMDC concludes the area has a favourable setting for unconformity-type uranium deposits.

1977 Canadian Occidental Petroleum finds “very strong” radon anomalies that the company attributes to “exotic radioactive boulders.” A ground EM survey delineates the Patterson Lake conductive corridor.

1979 CanOxy drills the conductors finding anomalous uranium, copper and nickel with “two curious spikes in radioactivity.”

July 2007 Fission Energy spins out of Strathmore Minerals, which transfers its Canadian and Peruvian assets to Fission in order to focus on U.S. properties.

November 2007 Alpha Minerals predecessor ESO Uranium and Fission Energy conduct EM and magnetic surveys on the northern part of PLS.

January 2008 ESO Uranium and Fission Energy form a 50/50 joint venture called Patterson Lake South, contributing two claims each for a total of 4,771 hectares. The project would eventually expand to 17 claims totalling 31,039 hectares.

October 2008 The JV conducts radon and radiometric surveys on the northern part of the property.

June 2008 The JV stakes the area explored by CanOxy.

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