Lakeland Resources and Alpha Exploration plan a strategic Athabasca Basin combination
by Greg Klein
The news followed the Fission Uranium TSX:FCU/Denison Mines TSX:DML announcement by two weeks yet Jonathan Armes says, “I don’t think there’s a better fit in the Basin.” Revealed July 22, the proposed combination of Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK and Alpha Exploration TSXV:AEX would bring together “our treasuries, our dream team of directors and technical advisers, and of course our properties. There’s synergies especially in the Carter Lake-Hook Lake projects. We’d have 15 kilometres of virtually untested corridors on strike with the Patterson Lake South, Arrow and Spitfire uranium discoveries.”
Lakeland’s CEO sees Basin companies divided by a big gap in market capitalization, where one group of explorers struggles with caps of $3 million or less while the next group starts with $13 million or more. “We want to tighten our share structure and provide more leverage to our existing shareholders,” Armes explains. “We think that having 41 million shares and $3 million in the bank would put us in a different category from a lot of our peers right now. We could execute probably two drill programs before the Christmas break. And, given our treasuries, people and properties, we’d have the ability to raise additional funds.”
The unified portfolio would feature “a string of Tier 1 drill targets,” including a combination of Lakeland’s Carter Lake and Alpha’s Hook Lake, now held 100% each by their respective companies. Together they cover an approximately 15-kilometre length of the PLS conductive corridor hosting Fission’s Triple R deposit and R600W zone, as well as the Arrow zone of NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE and the Spitfire zone of Cameco Corp TSX:CCO, AREVA Resources Canada and Purepoint Uranium TSXV:PTU.
Three other priorities from Alpha’s portfolio include Kelic Lake, Carpenter Lake and Gorilla Lake. Alpha holds a 100% option on Kelic, straddling the southern Basin’s rim east of PLS. East of Kelic and just south of the rim, Alpha holds the larger part of a 60/40 joint venture with Noka Resources TSXV:NX on Carpenter. East of the former Cluff Lake mine Alpha holds 80% of Gorilla, a JV with 20% partner Logan Resources TSXV:LGR. Results are pending for geophysics flown over the three properties earlier this year.
Three more Lakeland priorities, held 100%, include Gibbon’s Creek on the Basin’s north-central rim, Newnham Lake to the east and, on the southern rim, Lazy Edward Bay. The company considers Lazy Edward and Newnham drill-ready. Last winter’s Phase I drilling at Gibbon’s, meanwhile, brought near-surface intervals grading to 333.8 ppm U3O8 over 1.1 metres, including 0.13% over 0.23 metres.
As president/CEO/director of the merged entity, Armes would co-manage with Alpha CEO Michael Gunning, who would become executive chairperson. Alpha VP of exploration Sierd Eriks would retain his position. Each company would nominate three candidates to the six-person board.
Over the coming weeks geologists and Lakeland directors Neil McCallum and Jody Dahrouge will work with Eriks and Gunning to “set priorities, establish a timetable and put together a 24- to 36-month strategy of drilling,” Armes says. “Any or all of these eight projects have the potential of a significant discovery.” As for some non-core assets, the team would consider putting them up for JVs or sale.
Of the approximately $3-million combined treasury, roughly one-third would consist of “hard dollars” and the remainder subject to flow-through commitments.
The deal does, however, call for a hiatus on non-essential summer exploration prior to closing.
Subject to all approvals and a shareholder vote planned for early September, the arrangement begins with a three-to-one reverse split for Lakeland followed by the company exchanging one new share for every two Alpha shares. As a result, Lakeland shareholders would get about 60% of the new company’s 41 million shares, with the rest in the hands of Alpha shareholders.
“Both groups are excited about getting together our teams, our treasuries and our projects,” Armes says. “Everything lines up. In my opinion there’s no better merger that could happen in the Basin.”
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.