Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 30 to December 6, 2013
by Greg Klein
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Introducing the Alpha Minerals spinco—Alpha Exploration Inc
With court blessing announced December 2 for the Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW takeover by Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU, the deal faces just one more approval, this one from the TSXV. That was expected, but not announced, on December 6. Alpha’s spinco, Alpha Exploration Inc (anticipated ticker TSXV:AEX) gets about $3 million cash and all non-Patterson Lake South assets, including properties in Ontario and British Columbia as well as Saskatchewan. Each Alpha Minerals share fetches 5.725 Fission shares and one-half spinco share. Since December 3 Alpha Minerals shares have no longer traded with spinco shares attached.
The current Alpha Minerals board and management will “substantially” move into AEX positions.
Court approval for Fission Uranium’s spinco—tentatively titled Fission 3.0 to also commemorate Fission Uranium’s predecessor and Denison Mines’ TSX:DML acquisition Fission Energy—was announced the previous week. Each Fission Uranium shareholder gets one share of post-arrangement Fission Uranium as well as a share of the Fission spinout, expected to start trading December 10.
Having obtained full PLS ownership from its 50/50 joint venture ally, Fission Uranium has undoubtedly caught the attention of much bigger takeout artists.
Lakeland/Declan Resources JV accelerates work, strengthens their positions
In this market you have to work with strong partners. You have to collaborate and be a bit creative. We’re fortunate to work with people like Declan president Wayne Tisdale’s team and the financial connections they can bring.—Ryan Fletcher, director of Lakeland Resources
A new team of Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK and Declan Resources TSXV:LAN means an accelerated winter drill program for their Gibbon’s Creek flagship as well as the opportunity to put additional work into other Basin-area projects.
Declan’s first-year commitment will inject another $1.25 million into Gibbon’s, a 12,771-hectare north-central Basin property that already underwent over $3 million of work prior to last fall’s field campaign by Lakeland. Declan may earn 50% of the project by spending that $1.25 million, paying Lakeland $100,000 and issuing two million shares in 12 months. Over four years Declan may obtain a 70% interest for a total of $1.5 million in cash, 11 million shares and $6.5 million in spending.
The agreement further demonstrates Declan’s new direction, following its acquisitions in September and October of the 9,000-hectare Patterson Lake Northeast and 50,000-hectare Firebag River properties.
Declan’s commitment also allows Lakeland to ramp up its campaign for two other north-central Basin properties, South Pine and Perch Lake. Work on all those properties will be managed by Dahrouge Geological Consulting, led by PLS and Waterbury Lake veteran Jody Dahrouge.
Macusani claims low-cost uranium potential in Peruvian PEA
Macusani Yellowcake TSXV:YEL presented its case for a low-grade but potentially low-cost uranium mining operation in Peru with a preliminary economic assessment released December 5. The company envisions both open pit and underground operations with “a low stripping ratio in the open pit operations, anticipated low acid consumption and high process plant recoveries expected to be achieved in a short period of time.”
The report, using U.S. dollars, uses an 8% discount rate to calculate a $417-million after-tax net present value with a 32.4% internal rate of return. Those numbers assume a long-term price of $65 a pound uranium oxide (U3O8).
Initial capital expenditures would come to $331 million to build the mine and a plant processing 8.5 million tonnes per year. Total sustaining capital costs for the 10-year lifespan would reach $228 million. Payback would take 3.5 years.
Life of mine cash costs would average $20.57 a pound but, Macusani emphasized, years one to five would average $19.45, “placing it in the lowest quartile in the world using 2012 production figures.” Those first five years would produce an average 5.17 million pounds annually which would, were it operating now, rank the mine the world’s sixth largest, the company maintained. The 10-year average would be 4.3 million pounds.
The project, on the Macusani plateau in southeastern Peru, features multiple deposits, some adjacent to each other, others a few to several kilometres apart. The December 5 news release once again claimed last August’s resource update showed a 167% increase in measured and indicated categories. But there was no increase in the measured category. In fact measured pounds equal less than 1% of the M&I total.
Calling the project potentially “one of the lowest-cost uranium producers in the world,” Macusani CEO Laurence Stefan added, “The PEA demonstrates that the Macusani plateau has significant potential to become a major uranium-producing district, considering that only small areas have been explored to date.”
The company expects to begin pre-feasibility work in 2014.
NexGen announces initial geophysical results for Rook 1
An airborne radiometric survey over the PLS-vicinity Rook 1 project found at least five zones with elevated readings, NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE reported on December 2. Two of the zones are “proximal” to last summer’s drilling and could provide targets for another program beginning in January. Additionally aeromagnetic data identified regional and local basement structures.
The company will pursue the source of the elevated radiometrics next summer through ground radiometric surveying, mapping and sampling. Meanwhile the current data from 5,772 line-kilometres of high-resolution magnetic, very low frequency and radiometric surveys undergoes more comprehensive analysis.
Still to come are assays from NexGen’s nine-hole, 3,473-metre campaign at the eastside Basin Radio project, where the company holds a 70% option two kilometres east of Rio Tinto’s NYE:RIO Roughrider deposits. Having raised $5 million in late August, NexGen stated it’s still well-financed.
More near-surface, district-wide potential found in Argentina, says U3O8
In mid-November U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE said a discovery roughly 40 kilometres northeast of its Laguna Salada deposit could indicate district-scale potential. On December 4 the company stated another Argentinian discovery, on the southern extension of Laguna Salada, further suggests that potential. In both cases vertical channel sampling found near-surface, soft gravel uranium-vanadium mineralization.
Laguna Salada trials showed that screening could concentrate over 90% of its uranium in about 10% of the gravel’s original mass, resulting in 10 to 11 times greater grade, U3O8 stated. The company maintains its deposits offer continuous surface mining potential with alkaline leaching.
Dubbed La Susana, the new discovery’s slated for pitting and trenching to determine the extent of mineralization. While Laguna Salada’s PEA nears completion, the company continues JV negotiations with a province-owned mining company that could unite Laguna Salada with adjoining concessions.
U3O8 has a Colombian uranium-polymetallic project with a PEA and an earlier-stage project in Guyana.
Aldrin finishes Triple M gravity survey, offers $2-million private placement
With its ground gravity survey complete, Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN stated anomalies coincide with previous results and already-identified drill targets. Data from 871 stations on Triple M, adjacent to and southwest of PLS, covered two parallel bedrock conductors already noted from an airborne VTEM survey and surface radon anomalies, the company reported on December 4.
Gravity anomalies consist of relatively low readings “reflecting the dissolution and removal of rock mass by the same basinal fluids that may also precipitate uranium,” Aldrin explained.
Two days earlier the company announced a $2-million private placement for Triple M exploration and drilling. The offer comprises 18.18 million units at $0.11, with each unit consisting of one flow-though share and one-half warrant, with each full warrant exercisable at $0.16 for 18 months.
In early November Aldrin reported closing a $972,500 first tranche of a private placement that had been announced the previous month. The company has also indicated plans to buy the Virgin property around the Basin’s south-central rim.
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