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Energy Fuels, Uranerz advance assets prior to merger
While working towards its merger with Uranerz Energy TSX:URZ, Energy Fuels TSX:EFR nabbed a 50% stake in an historic Arizona deposit, a JV with a Uranium One subsidiary. The February 17 announcement labelled the Wate project as a breccia pipe deposit, which Energy Fuels described as high grade with potentially low recovery costs.
Wate sits on state land “and is therefore not subject to the U.S. government’s withdrawal of certain lands in Arizona from new mineral location,” the company stated. The JV has asked the state to convert an exploration permit into a mineral lease, which would allow mining. Energy Fuels anticipates approval this year.
The 50% stake cost US$250,000, a $500,000 non-interest-bearing promissory note and a 2% production royalty. Should the JV meet certain permitting milestones or other conditions, Energy Fuels would pay another $250,000.
Energy Fuels also holds breccia pipe deposits at its Pinenut, Canyon and Arizona 1 projects. The company expects Pinenut production to finish in Q2, as the resource becomes depleted. At that time staff would move to Canyon, also in Arizona, where EFR has underground development underway to resume mining. Unhelpfully mixing uranium, uranium oxide-equivalent and either short or long tons, a 2012 resource estimate gives Canyon an inferred “1.63 million pounds of uranium with an average grade of 0.98% eU3O8 contained in 83,000 tons,” the company stated.
The definitive agreement, announced in January, would create the largest holding of uranium resources in the U.S. Energy Fuels operates the country’s only conventional uranium mill. In Wyoming, Uranerz began in-situ recovery at its Nichols Ranch mine last April. On February 18 the company announced expansion of its ISR wellfield by enlarging the mine’s fourth header house and adding a fifth, which would bring 90 more production wells online in Q2. “A sixth header house with associated production wells is also expected to be installed during the second half of 2015.”
Uranerz has resource estimates for six potential satellite deposits.
The two companies foresee “a deep development pipeline of projects highlighted by conventional assets such as the Canyon mine (Arizona), the Sheep Mountain project (Wyoming), the Henry Mountains project (Utah) and the Roca Honda project (New Mexico), paired with Wyoming ISR development assets including the Jane Dough, Hank, West North Butte and Reno Creek projects.”
Under the deal, Energy Fuels would exchange 0.255 of its own shares for each Uranerz share. As a result Energy Fuels shareholders would get about 45% of the merged company, with Uranerz shareholders owning the other 55%. The companies expect Q2 consummation.
As the world’s biggest uranium consumer, the U.S. has 100 nuclear reactors now in operation and five more under construction, Energy Fuels stated. “Yet, despite being the world’s largest producer of uranium as recently as the early 1980s, the U.S. is now heavily reliant on imported uranium to fuel its reactor fleet.”
Initial results from 19 holes at Hidden Bay’s Dwyer Lake area failed to show anomalous radiation. But UEX Corp TSX:UEX expressed optimism about the geology on February 26.
Results confirm the presence of a major hydrothermal alteration zone covering 175 metres by 75 metres. The “prolific occurrence” of kaolinite-illite clays in the alteration system “confirms Dwyer Lake as a high-priority area,” the company stated.
With about 4,000 metres complete as of February 20, the company has another 6,000 metres of its $2.5-million winter program to go. Targets include Dwyer Lake, Wolf Lake and areas of Hidden Bay. A second rig has already started at Wolf Lake.
The 57,321-hectare eastern Basin property has a 2011 resource for three deposits totalling:
- indicated: 10.37 million tonnes averaging 0.16% for 36.62 million pounds U3O8
- inferred: 1.11 million tonnes averaging 0.11% for 2.71 million pounds
Shea Creek, where UEX has a 49.1% stake and project operator AREVA Resources Canada holds the rest, gets $2.8 million worth of drilling and electromagnetics this winter and summer. The project’s resource shows an indicated category of 67.66 million pounds U3O8, with UEX’s share coming to 33.22 million pounds. Another 28.19 million pounds inferred gives UEX a 13.84-million-pound share.
In a western Athabasca joint venture with AREVA, UEX holds another 49.1% interest in the Erica project, slated for $1.5 million in drilling and EM this year.
On the Basin’s northern rim, UEX began a $455,000, 1,900-metre campaign on Black Lake, held 89.99% by UEX and 10.01% by AREVA. Uracan Resources TSXV:URC takes part under a 60% earn-in of the project out of UEX’s share.
Forum begins drilling Fir Island
Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC began a 3,000-metre campaign on Fir Island, its 14,205-hectare project straddling the Basin’s northeastern rim. Running through the property is the Centennial-Black Lake structural corridor that transects the entire Basin, the company noted. One of the project’s largest targets lies parallel to the former Nisto mine, adjacent to Fir Island, and to “associated outcropping uranium mineralization 300 metres to the west.”
In January Forum reported two holes totalling 526 metres on its 9,912-hectare Clearwater project adjacent to Patterson Lake South. One hole found results ranging from 14 ppm to 84.9 ppm U3O8, with the highest value extending for six metres.
“Partial digestion of the rock extracts easily leached uranium, suggesting the uranium mineralization was remobilized from a nearby source,” Forum stated.
The second hole found 12 metres of 36.5 ppm starting at 242 metres in downhole depth and another 12 metres of 29.5 ppm starting at 272 metres. Two samples showed boron, a uranium pathfinder. The results call for further drilling to the north, the company added.
While Forum acts as operator, Uracan may earn 51% by spending $3 million over three years, or up to 70% for $6 million over five years.
Northern mobilizes new rig after encouraging NW Manitoba hole
Of the four most recent holes on the Maguire Lake area of Northern Uranium’s (TSXV:UNO) 50%-held Northwest Manitoba project, the company’s celebrating one as especially encouraging. The core showed “an intense hydrothermal (alteration) system suggesting that uranium mineralization may occur in close vicinity,” Northern stated February 25.
The alteration begins near surface “and increases in intensity and quality down hole,” the company explained. “Unfortunately, as the rock became ever more altered the core recovery diminished” and eventually ceased. With a new rig en route, the company hopes to improve recovery by following the vertical hole with larger-diameter angled drilling.
The hole tested a large, intense gravity low that coincides with anomalous conductive and radon-in-water results. Down-ice boulders have graded up to 66% uranium
Currently holding a 50% interest in the project on the Mudjatik Wollaston tectonic zone, Northern now works towards 70%, which would require another $2.8 million in exploration by the end of 2016. The option with CanAlaska Uranium TSXV:CVV allows an eventual 80% earn-in.
On February 10 Northern announced closing the final tranche of a private placement that totalled $1.05 million. Fifteen days later the company offered another private placement up to $2.5 million.
Macusani picks up stray Peruvian property
Macusani Yellowcake TSXV:YEL added a 300-hectare concession to its Peruvian assets when the previous owner fell behind in government fees. The acquisition, announced February 24, cost the company all of US$1,000.
Lying between Macusani’s previously drilled Agaton and Sayanas areas, the new turf features a “strong radiometric anomaly and uranium mineralization on surface,” the company stated.
On January 30 the company proposed settling a debt to president/COO Laurence Stefan by issuing him 3.15 million shares at a deemed price of $0.05 each.
Macusani plans to update its resource estimate to include Peruvian properties acquired from Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ. The next step would be an updated preliminary economic assessment.
Makena finds Patterson gravity low
Makena Resources TSXV:MKN announced a significant gravity low on its Patterson project February 19. The find correlates with VTEM data and is associated with a VTEM-defined structural lineament. The company expected to “have crews back on the ground within days to further investigate this anomaly.”
Under an amended option with CanAlaska announced last July, Makena works a 3,015-hectare claim block bordering PLS.
PDAC presents oil and gas expertise in the Basin
Some PDAC 2015 technical programs will consider how mineral exploration might benefit from oil patch tools and techniques. Among the presentations, one company will demonstrate how it applied basement mapping and predictive analytics methods to Athabasca Basin public domain geophysical data. The NEOS GeoSolutions presentation takes place March 2 at 10 a.m. More info here and here.
Disclaimer: Lakeland Resources Inc is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of ResourceClips.com. The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Lakeland Resources.
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