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Athabasca Basin and beyond

December 5th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to December 5, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission strikes 3.72% U3O8 over 64.5 metres, delays maiden resource

All assays are in but Fission Uranium’s (TSX:FCU) highly anticipated resource for Patterson Lake South seems to have been put off. The milestone was originally scheduled for this month but in a December 1 statement president/COO Ross McElroy said, “We expect to be able to release preliminary results by early 2015.” Meanwhile the company announced last summer’s final 18 delineation holes, again flaunting the PLS trademark of high grades at shallow depths.

This batch comes entirely from R780E, by far the biggest of four zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike. R780E itself now extends about 164 metres at its widest point and 905 metres in strike, remaining open in all directions. The upcoming resource will focus on zones R780E and R00E.

Some of the best December 1 assays follow.

Hole PLS14-275

  • 0.2% U3O8 over 26 metres, starting at 137.5 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 1.26% over 2 metres)
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to December 5, 2014

A summer of round-the-clock drilling brought the
final assays prior to Patterson Lake South’s first resource.

  • 0.31% over 9 metres, starting at 171 metres
  • (including 1.96% over 1 metre)

PLS14-276

  • 13.84% over 10 metres, starting at 71.5 metres
  • (including 29.29% over 4.5 metres)

PLS14-278

  • 0.48% over 13 metres, starting at 117.5 metres
  • (including 1.17% over 4.5 metres)

PLS14-279

  • 0.83% over 30 metres, starting at 131 metres
  • (including 2.09% over 10.5 metres)

  • 1.24% over 6.5 metres, starting at 163.5 metres
  • (including 2.5% over 2.5 metres)

PLS14-282

  • 0.4% over 14.5 metres, starting at 251.5 metres
  • (including 1.02% over 4 metres)

PLS14-283

  • 0.54% over 9 metres, starting at 177 metres
  • (including 3.84% over 1 metre)

  • 2.61% over 9 metres, starting at 257.5 metres
  • (including 8.61% over 2.5 metres)

PLS14-285

  • 0.96% over 7.5 metres, starting at 287.5 metres
  • (including 2.56% over 2 metres)

  • 0.36% over 15 metres, starting at 299 metres

PLS14-286

  • 7.91% over 21.9 metres, starting at 61.1 metres
  • (including 17.3% over 9.5 metres)

  • 0.42% over 30.5 metres, starting at 86.5 metres

  • 1.49% over 4.5 metres, starting at 96 metres

PLS14-290

  • 3.72% over 64.5 metres, starting at 133.5 metres
  • (including 32.53% over 6.5 metres)

PLS14-293

  • 2.34% over 11 metres, starting at 198.5 metres
  • (including 11.74% over 2 metres)

PLS14-294

  • 0.8% over 10.5 metres, starting at 61 metres
  • (including 1.77% over 4 metres)

  • 0.27% over 21 metres, starting at 111 metres

PLS14-296

  • 0.7% over 33 metres, starting at 174 metres
  • (including 2.21% over 3 metres)
  • (and including 2.2% over 4 metres)

PLS14-297

  • 0.52% over 22.5 metres, starting at 184 metres
  • (including 1.39% over 3 metres)

  • 2.21% over 5.5 metres, starting at 210 metres
  • (including 6.76% over 1.5 metres)

PLS14-298

  • 1.51% over 13.5 metres, starting at 246.5 metres
  • (including 2.38% over 5 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

Fission noted that scissor drilling brought “vastly improved strength of mineralization on section 735E.” Oriented opposite to the south-to-north holes, they “provide geometry control and confirmation on the mineralization.” One scissor hole hit the star assay for this batch, 3.72% U3O8 over 64.5 metres, in an area that had previously seen only moderate results, the company stated.

With assays for 22 exploration holes still pending and a winter program in the planning stages, speculation remains on whether the company will spend more time testing the property’s lesser-known areas.

Denison drills 22.2% U3O8 over 2.5 metres at Wheeler River

The final batch of assays from Gryphon’s summer season at Denison Mines’ (TSX:DML) Wheeler River property revealed the zone’s highest grade so far, 22.2% U3O8 over 2.5 metres. Announced December 2, that hole was also the deepest, making down-plunge extensions a priority for the next round of drilling, scheduled to start next month.

As usual, the chemical assays generally show better grades than the previously reported U3O8-equivalents that came from a downhole gamma probe.

Some highlights include:

Hole WR-571

  • 8.8% U3O8 over 2.5 metres, starting at 757.5 metres in downhole depth

  • 1.9% over 1 metre, starting at 761.5 metres

WR-572

  • 2.5% over 1 metre, starting at 651.1 metres

  • 9.5% over 1 metre, starting at 675.5 metres

  • 1.8% over 1 metre, starting at 714.5 metres

  • 2.1% over 1 metre, starting at 717.5 metres

WR-573D1

  • 22.2% over 2.5 metres, starting at 768 metres

  • 1.5% over 1 metre, starting at 779 metres

WR-574

  • 5% over 2 metres, starting at 665 metres

  • 1.5% over 1 metre, starting at 675.5 metres

  • 14.6% over 2 metres, starting at 696.5 metres

WR-581

  • 2.7% over 2 metres, starting at 626.5 metres

The company estimates true widths at about 75%.

Wheeler River’s summer program comprised 20 holes totalling 14,937 metres, all of it at or near the newly discovered Gryphon zone.

Meanwhile, as a result of metallurgical testwork from the project’s Phoenix deposit, “a high-purity yellowcake product was produced that met all ASTM C967-13 specifications,” Denison stated. The sample grade was 19.7% U3O8, close to the average for Phoenix, which hosts 70.2 million pounds indicated.

The company closed a $14.99-million private placement in August.

With a 60% interest in Wheeler River, Denison acts as project operator. Cameco Corp TSX:CCO holds 30% of the 11,720-hectare southeastern Athabasca Basin property, leaving JCU (Canada) Exploration with the other 10%.

Lakeland Resources boosts portfolio, offers $1.88-million private placement

All acquired by staking, four new properties and five property expansions announced by Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK on November 19 increase the company’s portfolio by 40,218 hectares in and around the Basin.

The five expansions cover targets identified by historic data. Among the highlights is the 4,753-hectare addition to Lazy Edward Bay, which underwent extensive field work last summer. Now totalling 31,128 hectares, the project features eight exploration trends, many of them drill-ready. Other additions came to Lakeland’s Riou Lake, Hawkrock Rapids, Small Lake and Fedun Lake properties.

Of the new land, the 1,508-hectare Carter Lake property covers part of the Carter Lake Structural Corridor, parallel to the Patterson Structural Corridor hosting the discoveries of Fission and NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE.

If you look back to 2006 and 2007, there were probably 60 to 70 juniors active in the Basin. Right now you’ve got about 20. So if we do see this [price] resurgence continue, we’ll have that opportunity to link up with JV and strategic partners and get as many drills turning as we possibly can.—Jonathan Armes, president/CEO of Lakeland Resources

Cable Bay, a 1,077-hectare property on the Basin’s southern rim, benefits from extensive geophysics showing a trend of graphitic meta-sedimentary rocks in the basement, below 10 metres or less of Athabasca sandstone.

The 6,479-hectare Highrock property on the Basin’s southeastern margin features a moderately strong conductor that has yet to see follow-up work.

Extending beyond the Basin’s eastern rim, the 8,889-hectare Wright River project underwent an airborne survey showing a radiometric anomaly in the property’s centre. Regional lake sediment samples have graded up to 61 ppm.

Early new year plans include a 1,500-metre program on Star/Gibbon’s Creek, two adjacent properties forming one project on the Basin’s north-central rim. Also drill-ready are Lazy Edward Bay and, east of Star/Gibbon’s, Newnham Lake. More funding is expected from a $1.88-million private placement announced December 4.

“There’s not that much ground left to be had in the Basin,” Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes tells ResourceClips.com. “Most of what we see as quality ground is not available. If you look back to 2006 and 2007, there were probably 60 to 70 juniors active in the Basin. Right now you’ve got about 20. So if we do see this [price] resurgence continue, we’ll have that opportunity to link up with JV and strategic partners and get as many drills turning as we possibly can.”

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

NexGen plans 18,000 metres for Rook 1, updates other properties

Funded by an $11.5-million private placement that closed last month, NexGen plans a three-rig, 18,000-metre program to start in January. Work will focus on Rook 1’s Arrow zone and along strike to the northeast and southwest, but will also test some of the project’s regional targets, the company stated on December 3. An infill ground gravity survey will precede the drilling.

Now complete are airborne VTEM and magnetometer surveys over Rook 1 as well as additional nearby land that has had little or no previous mention from NexGen, the “SW2 property portfolio which includes Bishop 1 and 2, Meanwell and R-7 claims.” Winter plans include a radon-in-water survey.

NexGen also updated what it calls its “SW3 project portfolio (Rook 2, Sandhill and Dufferin).” Rook 2 and Sandhill underwent airborne gravity surveys. Dufferin got airborne VTEM and magnetometer surveys, as did the eastern Basin Madison and 2Z Lake properties.

Rook 1 covers all the southwestern Basin’s major uranium-bearing conductor corridors, according to the company. Still pending are assays from 16 summer holes on Arrow. In October the company claimed one of the Basin’s best-ever drill results.

UEC reports 77% increase in Burke Hollow’s inferred resources

Seven trends at Uranium Energy Corp’s (NYSE MKT:UEC) Burke Hollow project in Texas now have total inferred resources of 2.9 million tons averaging 0.09% for 5.12 million pounds U3O8. About 14,152 metres of drilling in 526 holes were used to calculate the 77% increase. UEC has three additional areas of the property under consideration for drilling.

Burke Hollow, potentially an in-situ recovery operation, has an application for a radioactive material licence and mine permit currently under review.

The 7,824-hectare project lies about 80 kilometres from the company’s Hobson processing plant, the centrepiece of UEC’s “hub and spoke” properties. The portfolio includes the Palangana ISR mine, the Goliad ISR development project and nearly two dozen exploration projects, two in Paraguay and the rest in the western U.S. The company released a preliminary economic assessment for its Anderson uranium project in Arizona last September, as well as a PEA for its Slick Rock uranium-vanadium deposit in Colorado last April.

On December 2 UEC stated it secured US$5.6 million of surety bonds to replace the same amount in reclamation deposits for future decommissioning. The bonds “require cash collateral of $1.7 million, allowing for the release of $3.9 million of previously restricted cash to the company.”

Last March the company received a two-year extension on a $20-million loan.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

October 4th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 27 to October 3, 2014

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Fission continues PLS main zone’s perfect score, gets conditional approval for TSX listing

In a week that saw Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU win conditional approval to move up to the TSX big board, the company maintained this season’s 100% hit rate at Patterson Lake South’s R780E zone. All seven holes released September 29 returned wide mineralization. The main zone now boasts 61 successes out of 61 summer holes.

The results come from a hand-held device used to measure drill core for radiation. They’re no substitute for assays, which are pending.

Among the most recent batch’s highlights, hole PLS14-290 revealed intervals totalling a composite 97.5 metres of mineralization, the shallowest beginning at 113.5 metres in downhole depth. PLS14-298 showed a composite 84 metres, with the shallowest intercept starting at 146.5 metres. PLS14-296 came up with a 94.5-metre composite, with one interval starting at 96 metres. True widths weren’t available.

An innovation to the summer program has been angled drilling from barges over the lake. Now Fission’s emphasizing three “scissor” holes, each sunk north to south at an opposite azimuth to a south-to-north hole. The purpose is to “provide geometry control and confirmation on the mineralization.” PLS14-290, for example, “intersected well-developed mineralization … in an area that had previously only seen moderate results.”

By far the biggest of four zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike, R780E shows a continuous strike of 930 metres and, at one point, a lateral width of 164 metres. The project’s mineralization sits within a metasedimentary lithologic corridor bounded to the south by the PL-3B basement electromagnetic conductor.

Still to come are assays to replace the summer’s radiometric results, as well as assays for the final dozen of last winter’s 92 holes. December’s still the target for a maiden resource.

Fission greeted October 3 by announcing conditional approval for a TSX listing. The company anticipates big board trading on or about October 8, retaining its FCU ticker.

In an interview posted by Stockhouse October 3, Fission chairperson/CEO Dev Randhawa contrasted Saskatchewan’s stability with that of other uranium-rich jurisdictions like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Namibia and Niger. Verifying his intention to sell the project, Randhawa told journalist Gaalen Engen, “We have about six or seven Asian and North American companies in the midst of due diligence who are interested in doing private placement and/or taking over the company.”

The previous week Fission closed a $14.4-million private placement and released regional PLS drill results.

Field work and drilling approach for Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek flagship

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 27 to October 3, 2014

Scintillometer in hand, a geologist prospects
for radiometric anomalies over the Star uplift.

Announced September 29, the termination of an option with Declan Resources TSXV:LAN gives Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK full control of its 12,771-hectare Gibbon’s Creek project, which features boulder samples up to 4.28% U3O8 and some of the Athabasca Basin’s highest-ever radon readings. Three days later Lakeland released rock and soil sample results from its adjacent Star property, showing gold, platinum and palladium, as well as some rare earths and low-grade uranium. Especially when considered for their proximity to a structural lineament that runs through both properties, the results show similarities to major Basin discoveries of high-grade uranium, the company states. With the two properties on the Basin’s north-central margin united as one project, Lakeland has additional field work planned for autumn. That leads up to a drill program slated to begin this winter, if not sooner.

Jody Dahrouge, president of Dahrouge Geological Consulting, told ResourceClips.com of geophysical data showing “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…. Having it reactivated time and time again allows multiple generations of fluid to flow along that structure and deposition of perhaps multiple ore bodies.”

He identified three mineralizing systems within five to 10 kilometres of the structure. The Star uplift, a basement outcrop about 700 metres by 350 metres, was the location of many of the samples showing gold and platinum group elements, along with some rare earths and low-grade uranium.

A massive alteration zone about a kilometre south had historic drill results up to 1,500 parts per million uranium. A few kilometres farther sits the boulder field that graded up to 4.28% U3O8. “Clearly something’s going on and clearly it’s related to the structure,” Dahrouge said.

With drill permits in place, road access from a nearby community, shallow depths, high ground that can be worked year-round and a healthy treasury, Lakeland now plans the next stage of an extensive exploration program for its flagship.

Read more about Lakeland’s Star/Gibbon’s Creek project.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

September 19th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 13 to 19, 2014

by Greg Klein

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NexGen ends season with high-grade assays from Rook 1

A summer of largely successful drilling has come to a close at NexGen Energy’s (TSXV:NXE) Rook 1 project. Patterson Lake South’s neighbour got 33 holes totalling 18,885 metres, with 24 of the holes focusing on the Arrow zone. Radiometric results for the final two holes, released September 17, confirm the 515-metre strike for a zone that’s 215 metres wide and open in all directions. At the same time NexGen released the season’s first batch of assays, which the company said confirms mineralization indicated by previously reported radiometrics.

The last two holes were sunk vertically 15 metres northeast and southwest from the project’s previously released “landmark.” One hole found intersections totalling 123.9 metres of mineralization (not true width), with the shallowest intercept starting at 328.15 metres in vertical depth. The other showed a composite total of 107.9 metres of mineralization starting at 186 metres in depth.

These results come from a hand-held device that measures drill core radiation in counts per second. They’re no substitute for assays, which have yet to come for most of the season’s holes.

But assays for six earlier holes also released September 17 correlate well with the previously reported radiometric results, NexGen stated. Some highlights include:

Hole RK-14-31

  • 0.13% U3O8 over 28.2 metres, starting at 292.5 metres in downhole depth
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 13 to 19, 2014

  • 0.38% over 5.55 metres, starting at 618.1 metres

  • 0.29% over 3.9 metres, starting at 639.1 metres

  • 5.91% over 1.3 metres, starting at 650.8 metres

Hole RK-14-32

  • 0.17% over 7.6 metres, starting at 502.2 metres

  • 0.65% over 1.35 metres, starting at 514.3 metres

Hole RK-14-34

  • 0.12% over 96.75 metres, starting at 181.25 metres

  • 6.56% over 1.2 metres, starting at 540 metres

  • 0.12% over 3.7 metres, starting at 606.3 metres

  • 0.67% over 3.6 metres, starting at 621.9 metres

Hole RK-14-35

  • 0.21% over 2.85 metres, starting at 524.35 metres

  • 0.9% over 3.3 metres, starting at 600.55 metres

Hole RK-14-37

  • 0.1% over 7.5 metres, starting at 386.5 metres

  • 0.12% over 13.5 metres, starting at 401 metres

  • 1.08% over 18.25 metres, starting at 456.8 metres

  • 1.96% over 3.05 metres, starting at 482.4 metres

  • 2.66% over 0.65 metres, starting at 499.3 metres

  • 1.24% over 2 metres, starting at 505.45 metres

  • 1.31% over 11.85 metres, starting at 522.4 metres

  • 0.17% over 5.8 metres, starting at 541.2 metres

  • 5.35% over 4.6 metres, starting at 569.6 metres

Hole RK-14-39

  • 0.9% over 3.55 metres, starting at 540.7 metres

True widths were unavailable.

Thirty of 32 holes sunk on the Arrow zone over two seasons have shown mineralization. But not so with the project’s regional drilling, where five holes proved barren. The company still hopes they’ll show pathfinder elements.

Boasting a working capital of $6.5 million, NexGen’s now planning its winter campaign.

Uranium Energy Corp releases PEA for Anderson project

An Arizona project amenable to conventional mining and heap leach recovery would require low capital costs to produce a total of 16 million pounds of uranium over 14 years, according to a preliminary economic assessment announced September 16 by Uranium Energy Corp NYSE MKT:UEC.

Quoting all amounts in U.S. dollars, assuming a uranium price of $60 and using a 10% discount rate, the study calculated the Anderson project’s after-tax net present value at $76.4 million and the internal rate of return at 42%. With uranium at $65 a pound, the NPV comes to $101.1 million with a 50% IRR.

The initial capex comes to $43.9 million with an additional $8 million for four years of pre-production including development drilling, designing the mine and heap leach operation, as well as permitting. Another $87.6 million would be needed through years four to eight as the operation makes the transition from open pit to highwall and underground mining.

Heap leach recovery would produce a resin which would be processed at Energy Fuels’ (TSX:EFR) White Mesa mill in Utah.

The project has indicated resources showing 15.5 million pounds uranium oxide-equivalent for an open pit and another 1.5 million pounds underground. The inferred resources have 2.5 million pounds eU3O8 in the pit and 9.5 million pounds underground.

Future studies will examine vanadium as a byproduct.

UEC operates the Palangana in-situ recovery mine, Hobson processing plant and advanced-stage Goliad and Burke Hollow projects in Texas. Last April the company completed a PEA for its Slick Rock uranium-vanadium deposit in Colorado. UEC holds over 20 projects in the western U.S. and two more in Paraguay.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 23rd, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 9 to 22, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission widens main zone, plans more step-outs, arranges $12.5-million bought deal

Although infill drilling has been the priority for Fission Uranium’s (TSXV:FCU) summer program, two step-outs have widened Patterson Lake South’s R780E zone, inspiring a 10-hole addition to the campaign. Radiometric results for nine holes released August 18 include one that extended the zone about 30 metres north and another 15 metres south. All nine holes returned wide mineralization, the company stated.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 9 to 22, 2014

R780E is the middle and largest of five zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike that’s open to the east and west.

These results, which are no substitute for assays, come from a handheld scintillometer that measures drill core for radiation in counts per second. Last month Fission replaced its old model, which maxed out at 9,999 cps, with a new-fangled gadget capable of measuring up to 65,535 cps. But the company still refers to anything above four nines to be “off-scale.”

By that standard several intervals were well off-scale, with a few reaching past 60,000 cps.

Another innovation introduced last month is barge-based angled drilling, allowing a better understanding of the geometry of mineralization beneath the lake. Encouraged by the widening of R780E, Fission plans another 10 step-outs. That adds 4,700 metres to a summer agenda now expected to total 25,000 metres in 73 holes.

There seems to be little worry about paying for all that. On August 18 Fission announced a $12.52-million bought deal that’s expected to close around September 23. Roughly three months later comes the maiden resource’s due date.

Winter assays reported August 13 further boosted confidence in R780E, while a summer exploration hole released two days earlier showed interesting radiometric results 17 kilometres away. Read more.

NexGen steps out to widen Rook 1’s Arrow zone

If any company can compete with Fission’s top spot as the Athabasca Basin’s number one newsmaker, it might be next-door neighbour NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE. Four “aggressive” step-out holes have extended the company’s Rook 1 Arrow zone from 180 metres to 215 metres in width for a zone that’s 515 metres in strike and open in all directions. The northwest-southeast fence of drilling announced August 20 has also revealed “multiple sub-vertical stacked mineralized shear zones” increasing the company’s hopes of finding additional high-grade areas.

One of the five holes failed to find significant mineralization.

Like Fission’s August 18 news, the results come from scintillometer readings that don’t substitute for assays, which are pending.

So far 25 of 27 Arrow holes totalling 15,318 metres have shown mineralization. Another three holes at Area A, however, failed to find anomalous radioactivity. They tested an electromagnetic conductor that NexGen interprets to be PL-3B, which hosts the PLS discovery.

Lakeland Resources updates three projects, appoints uranium veteran to board

As a busy summer progresses, Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK reported a new addition to its board and further work on one of the largest portfolios in and around the Basin. On August 20 the company announced the appointment of director Steven Khan, a veteran of Canadian investment and corporate governance with specific experience in raising funds and forging joint ventures for uranium companies. The next day Lakeland released a progress update for three of its projects.

The projects are Star, Lazy Edward Bay and Fond du Lac on the northern, southern and eastern margins of the Basin respectively. “That’s the shallowest depth—the depth to the unconformity becomes more shallow as you get closer to the Basin’s margin,” explains president/CEO Jonathan Armes. “At Gibbon’s Creek our target depths are between about 80 and 120 metres below surface. We hope the others will fall into that kind of range so we’ll be drilling 150- to 200-metre holes.”

At the Star property, crews from Dahrouge Geological Consulting have just wrapped up six days of sampling and mapping. They picked up some 73 rock samples and 124 soil samples around a basement outcrop that’s shown anomalous concentrations of gold, platinum group elements and rare earth elements, as well as highly anomalous uranium. The combination suggests a strong hydrothermal system.

“Those are typical pathfinders for uranium in the Basin,” says Armes. “At Patterson Lake South they had gold grades running two or three grams. So with the first pass on our exploration program in late 2013 we had gold grades of four or five grams.”

Lakeland holds a 100% earn-in option on Star, which has year-round road access from the town of Stony Rapids a few kilometres away.

Now that permits have arrived, mobilization to Lazy Edward Bay should begin ASAP, he adds. Under initial scrutiny will be the BAY trend, actually two parallel conductive trends, which will undergo a RadonEx survey. Field crews will also search out boulders or other signs of unconformity-style mineralization.

“We have Lazy Edward drill targets already but a lot of them were defined by yesterday’s technology,” Armes explains. “We’ll use RadonEx and other work to re-interpret the historic data to better define targets.” In all, the property has six known trends.

Lakeland adviser Rick Kusmirski knows the property from his time as president/CEO of JNR Resources. “He dug up some historic data which is very helpful to identify areas to focus on. There’s some historic areas we want to re-visit.”

Also in line for RadonEx is Fond du Lac, initially targeting a coincident geochemical and conductive target. Geologist and Lakeland director Neil McCallum thinks historic work “missed it by a couple of hundred metres,” Armes says.

But while the summer activity continues, he also looks further ahead “from a treasury standpoint as well as our projects. We’re convinced that 2015 is going to see a significant move in uranium prices. If we ever re-visit 2006 and 2007 levels, when there were 50, 60, 70 juniors active, we hope to be ready and get as many drill programs going as possible through the joint venture and prospect generator model, along with any programs we focus on 100% ourselves.”

[Khan’s JV work with Sumitomo and Kepco] was certainly a great experience in negotiating and concluding contracts, and working with them on the joint management committees. That built long-term relationships but also gave me insight into the Asian psyche and some of the issues they have to deal with.—Steven Khan, director
of Lakeland Resources

Just one day before the exploration update, Lakeland announced Steven Khan’s appointment as director. His background includes key positions with uranium companies Energy Fuels TSX:EFR, Strathmore Minerals and Fission Uranium’s predecessor, Fission Energy. He helped found the latter company, holding the role of executive VP. Khan served as president/chairperson of Strathmore Minerals until last year’s takeover by Energy Fuels, where he stayed on as a director until recently.

Khan played an instrumental part in the negotiating team that brought Japan’s Sumitomo Corp into a JV on Strathmore’s Roca Honda project in New Mexico. He also helped bring the Korea Electric Power Corp into two other JVs, with Strathmore on the Gas Hills project in Wyoming and with Fission, leading to the Waterbury Lake discovery.

Khan has nearly 20 years of experience in all aspects of the Canadian investment industry, including fundraising for early-stage private and public companies.

A confluence of factors convinced him to join Lakeland, he says. “I’ve had a long-term relationship with some of the company’s principals and I’ve always been interested in returning to the Athabasca Basin arena after I left Fission Energy in 2010. Strathmore was more focused on the U.S., where I spent the last number of years. That combination of moving back to the Basin, working with a group of people I respect and seeing a number of properties that have potential presented an opportunity for me.”

He says his work with Sumitomo and Kepco “was certainly a great experience in negotiating and concluding contracts, and working with them on the joint management committees. That built long-term relationships but also gave me insight into the Asian psyche and some of the issues they have to deal with.”

Khan thinks Asian companies might revive their previous interest in early-stage explorers. “Before Fukushima they were attracted to earlier-stage projects like Fission had at the time, as well as more advanced projects like those of Strathmore in the U.S. When uranium prices come back I think they’ll be forced to return to earlier-stage projects because most of the advanced projects will have been tied up.”

As for uranium’s current price, “its resurgence has been muted and is taking longer than expected. But I think that in the medium to longer term, demand will certainly outstrip supply.”

“I’m quite excited about getting involved with the Lakeland team and I think the opportunity for the sector is attractive,” Khan emphasizes. “I think there’s going to be more Athabasca Basin discoveries and that bodes well for companies like Lakeland that are properly positioned and properly financed. So for me the timing is good and the interplay of several factors is favourable.”

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

May 10th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for May 3 to 9, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Paladin releases Labrador infill results, plans Q2 resource update

From Labrador’s Central Mineral Belt, Paladin Energy TSX:PDN announced winter infill drilling results on May 7. Thirteen holes sunk 3,871 metres into the Michelin deposit, with each hole finding mineralization and six revealing significant intervals, the company stated. The best results showed:

Hole M14-151

  • 0.109% uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) over 10 metres, starting at 302 metres in downhole depth
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for May 3 to 9, 2014

Paladin considers Labrador’s Central Mineral Belt “one of the
few remaining under-explored uranium districts globally.”

Hole M14-154

  • 0.14% over 15 metres, starting at 214 metres

  • 0.13% over 8 metres, starting at 256 metres

Hole M14-156

  • 0.095% over 12 metres, starting at 230 metres

Hole M14-158

  • 0.096% over 16 metres, starting at 191 metres

Hole M14-162

  • 0.102% over 28 metres, starting at 348 metres

Hole M14-163

  • 0.114% over 9 metres, starting at 355 metres

Information about true widths wasn’t provided. The deposit remains open in both directions and at depth. On the agenda is a Q2 resource update in which Paladin hopes the last few years of drilling will boost confidence as well as produce a small size increase.

Michelin’s resource currently shows:

  • measured: 7.1 million tonnes averaging 0.08% for 13.06 million pounds U3O8

  • indicated: 23 million tonnes averaging 0.11% for 54.06 million pounds

  • inferred: 16 million tonnes averaging 0.1% for 36.09 million pounds

Adding in five other deposits within 50 kilometres of a potential Michelin mill, the CMB project totals:

  • measured: 8.1 million tonnes averaging 0.08% for 15.1 million pounds

  • indicated: 32 million tonnes averaging 0.1% for 68.7 million pounds

  • inferred: 29.1 million tonnes averaging 0.08% for 53 million pounds

Three kilometres south of Michelin, two holes totalling 561 metres failed to find depth extensions to the Rainbow deposit. But Paladin considers the Michelin-Rainbow trend highly prospective as a result of radiometric surveying, mapping, prospecting and some drilling. Interpretation of a 608-line-kilometre ground magnetic survey will help guide exploration in the Michelin vicinity. More drilling is planned for next winter.

Paladin holds interests in five other exploration projects in Australia and another in Niger. Last February, declining prices forced the company to place its Kayelekera mine in Malawi on care and maintenance. Paladin hopes to close the sale of a 25% interest in its Langer Heinrich flagship in Namibia in June.

Northwest Manitoba radon-in-water might be second only to PLS, MPVC says

Having reported results of a land-based radon survey last month, MPVC Inc TSXV:UNO announced preliminary but optimistic findings from a radon-in-water survey at its Northwest Manitoba project on May 7. “To the author’s knowledge” only Fission Uranium’s (TSXV:FCU) Patterson Lake South has shown higher readings for a water-based survey, MPVC stated. More detailed analysis could change the results by about 10% either way.

Of the 1,399 samples from Maguire Lake, 41 showed results above 100 picocuries per litre (pCi/L), 14 went beyond 200 pCi/L, eight exceeded 300 pCi/L and four surpassed 400 pCi/L.

The readings extend linear trends identified in last month’s land-based survey results, MPVC added.

Still to come are results from a ground gravity survey to fill in areas missed by a 2012 survey. The area has also undergone an airborne magnetic/VLF/radiometric survey in 2006 and an airborne VTEM survey in 2007.

Among future work, the company plans to scan drill cuttings with a high-resolution gamma spectrometer system to “detect young uranium which is not radioactive and therefore not detectible with other field instruments…. The detection of anomalous young uranium, radon or lead 210 ascending along fractures would signal the presence of a uranium deposit at depth.” Drilling might descend as far as 1,000 metres in search of deeper deposits.

Previous prospecting in the area has found in-situ mineralization up to 9.5% U3O8 and boulders grading above 65%.

The company’s 80% option with CanAlaska Uranium TSXV:CVV calls for $3.2 million worth of exploration on the 143,603-hectare project by 2015.

Western Athabasca Syndicate reports initial Preston drill results

The four-company Western Athabasca Syndicate announced preliminary results from seven holes totalling 1,571 metres on their Preston property’s Swoosh target May 6. Five holes showed elevated radioactivity measured by a handheld spectrometer and a downhole probe. The project’s best hole so far, PN14007, found 12 radioactive intervals, one of them 1,432 counts per second over 0.75 metres (not true width). The results are no substitute for assays, which are expected in early June.

The alliance consists of Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY.

Six holes reached downhole depths between 200 and 350 metres while poor drilling conditions eliminated one hole. But all seven “intersected a broad, hydrothermally altered and reactivated structural zone,” the syndicate stated. The six-kilometre-long Swoosh was defined by gravity, magnetic and electromagnetic surveys, and surficial geochemical anomalies.

This month the companies plan at least one hole on each of two other targets, Fin and CHA. Swoosh is slated for additional field work and drilling later this year.

Athabasca Nuclear acts as project operator on the 246,643-hectare Preston property, which the syndicate credits with 15 prospective targets.

Anfield collects Colorado claims

Anfield Resources TSXV:ARY has once again expanded its western U.S. turf with 239 unpatented mining claims on federal land in Colorado. As a result the company now “has access to mineral rights” on more than 7,082 hectares in historic uranium and vanadium districts in Colorado and Utah, according to the May 8 announcement.

Subject to approvals, Anfield gets the claims from Alamosa Mining Corp for 1.95 million shares and three years of payments totalling US$600,000.

The company previously announced Utah acquisitions in March and January. All the Utah and Colorado claims lie within a 193-kilometre radius of Energy Fuels’ (TSX:EFR) White Mesa mill. Anfield also holds claims in Arizona.

European Uranium refines portfolio sale, intends to pursue other assets

On May 9 European Uranium Resources TSXV:EUU announced that the planned sale of its entire portfolio has reached a share purchase agreement with Forte Energy that replaces the companies’ previous binding heads of agreement. As in the original deal, the ASX/AIM-listed company issues EUU 915.93 million shares, valued at $7.5 million, and pays EUU $1 million. The latter retains a 1% production royalty.

But the new arrangement calls for the shares to be issued in instalments to avoid breaching the Australia Takeovers Prohibition. On closing, EUU would get 19.9% of the shares with the rest following “from time to time.”

Nor will EUU distribute Forte shares to its own shareholders. Instead it will sell some of them over time to fund its operations. EUU stated the deal would provide initial funding to pursue options or acquisitions “in multiple commodities in the general European area.”

The Forte deal came together shortly after EUU’s planned merger with Portex Minerals CSE:PAX fell through. EUU’s portfolio consists of two Slovakian uranium projects.

The company closed a $100,000 private placement with Forte in mid-April.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

April 27th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for April 19 to 25, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission Uranium completes winter delineation, releases Patterson Lake South drill results

Delineation drilling, the focus of Fission Uranium’s (TSXV:FCU) winter 2014 Patterson Lake South program, has come to its seasonal end. While one rig worked outside the main mineralized area, four others sunk 82 infill holes, roughly 85% of the 30,000-metre campaign, since mid-January. As a result PLS now consists of five zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike that’s open at both east and west. Along with its April 24 announcement Fission Uranium released radiometric results for the last dozen holes. Two days earlier the company reported assays for nine others.

Ten of the 12 latest holes came from zone R780E, the third of the five east-west zones. With a total of 77 holes so far, R780E has about 855 metres in strike and up to about 95 metres in lateral width. Seven of the latest 10 holes showed substantial intercepts reaching the maximum possible reading of 9,999 counts per second on a hand-held scintillometer that measures radiation from drill core. Scintillometer results are no substitute for assays, which are pending for these holes.

R1620E, at the eastern extent and declared a new zone earlier this month after just one hole, now has a second which showed 38.5 metres (not true width) ranging from under 300 cps to 3,500 cps. Ironically for the discovery zone, R00E gave up just half a metre of 490 cps.

Assays released two days earlier included yet another PLS “best yet”—this time “the widest high-grade interval to date,” which helped PLS14-187 nearly equal a previously recorded best hole. This nine-hole batch marks the third set of assays, totalling 22 holes, for the winter campaign. Like the previous week’s dozen holes, all nine came from R780E. Some of the best results showed:

Hole PLS14-138

  • 0.2% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 34 metres, starting at 73 metres in downhole depth
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for April 19 to 25, 2014

  • 0.4% over 3.5 metres, starting at 137.5 metres

  • 1.04% over 17 metres, starting at 170 metres
  • (including 2.88% over 4.5 metres)

PLS14-139

  • 0.15% over 30 metres, starting at 130 metres

  • 0.28% over 8.5 metres, starting at 199 metres

PLS14-140

  • 0.1% over 19.5 metres, starting at 22.5 metres

  • 0.28% over 7.5 metres, starting at 254.5 metres

PLS14-145

  • 0.13% over 27.5 metres, starting at 89.5 metres

  • 0.97% over 22.5 metres, starting at 132 metres
  • (including 2.24% over 7.5 metres)

  • 1.34% over 2.5 metres, starting at 178.5 metres

  • 0.4% over 7.5 metres, starting at 203.5 metres

  • 0.22% over 8 metres, starting at 218 metres

PLS14-146

  • 2.18% over 47 metres, starting at 132 metres
  • (including 4.3% over 3 metres)
  • (and including 14.27% over 2 metres)

  • 1.04% over 4 metres, starting at 237 metres
  • (including 3.64% over 1 metre)

  • 3.19% over 2 metres, starting at 254 metres

PLS14-147

  • 0.15% over 28.5 metres, starting at 115 metres

PLS14-151

  • 0.31% over 6 metres, starting at 125.5 metres

Best of the batch and second-best overall was PLS14-187:

  • 5.98% over 102.5 metres, starting at 63 metres
  • (including 27.2% over 3 metres)
  • (and including 12.93% over 10.5 metres)
  • (and including 14.12% over 6 metres)
  • (and including 16.92% over 2.5 metres)
  • (and including 16.14% over 4.5 metres)

  • 2.59% over 9 metres, starting at 218.5 metres

True widths weren’t provided. “Mineralization is both located within and associated with a metasedimentary lithologic corridor, bounded to the south by the PL-3B basement electromagnetic conductor,” Fission Uranium added.

The $12-million winter agenda also calls for geophysics. And no, there’s still no word on when Fission Uranium might unveil its maiden resource.

Lakeland Resources acquisition expands Lazy Edward Bay project

Out of Lakeland Resources’ (TSXV:LK) portfolio of 16 uranium properties in and around the Athabasca Basin, Lazy Edward Bay has taken on greater prominence. A three-claim, 4,475-hectare acquisition announced April 24 expands the project to 26,375 hectares. The new turf also adds two conductive trends, giving Lazy Edward a total of six around the Basin’s southern margin.

Subject to TSXV approval, the 100% interest will cost Lakeland $5,000, 250,000 shares and a 2% gross revenue royalty.

Of the two additional conductive trends, the Ponderosa consists of two parallel graphitic trends, each about 2.5 kilometres long, Lakeland stated. Ground EM surveys and seven holes tested the trend in 1989, with more EM and another hole following in 2001.

The Jack trend extends from the original Lazy Edward property, tripling the trend to about 5.1 kilometres. In 2007 it underwent a ground fixed loop transient EM survey but hasn’t been drilled.

Historic work has sunk at least 53 holes on Lazy Edward’s six trends but, with each ranging between five and seven kilometres long, they remain under-explored. One hole on the Bay trend assayed 770 ppm uranium, along with anomalous pathfinder metals. Depths to the unconformity along the Basin’s southern edge range from zero to 350 metres.

“As a result of the historic and recent exploration on the property, all six trends are considered drill ready,” the company stated.

Among other projects in Lakeland’s portfolio is Gibbon’s Creek, a joint venture with Declan Resources TSXV:LAN that features surface boulders grading up to 4.28% U3O8 and some of the highest radon readings ever measured in the Basin.

Read more about Lakeland Resources here and here.

Aldrin reports initial findings from Triple M’s initial four holes

With drilling suspended by snowmelt, Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN reported preliminary results from the first four holes on its PLS-adjacent Triple M property. All four “intersected alteration, structures and breccia zones within a metasedimentary rock succession including elevated radioactivity counts in a graphitic fault zone,” the company stated on April 22. Assays have yet to come.

With less than 25% of the planned 4,000-metre program complete, the quartet tested the Forrest Lake fault. Aldrin plans at least four more holes over the same fault “moving towards the most intense part of the basement conductive anomaly” before starting on the Anticline target.

Drilling could resume on the 12,000-hectare property in as little as two weeks, the company added.

NexGen adds to eastern Basin holdings

The size of the property wasn’t divulged. Nor was its name. But NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE announced an eastside Basin acquisition and option on April 25. Subject to approvals, NexGen gets a 75% interest in five claims by issuing Long Harbour Exploration TSXV:LHC shares worth $135,000. NexGen’s option on the other 25% would require additional shares worth $45,000. Value would be calculated by the volume-weighted average for five days before closing. The property remains subject to a 2% NSR and 2% gross overriding royalty. The claims lie “in close proximity” to NexGen’s Thorburn Lake property.

On April 22 the company implemented a shareholder rights plan.

Late last month NexGen wrapped up winter drilling at its southwestern Basin Rook 1 flagship by announcing radiometric results for the project’s best hole so far.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

March 22nd, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for March 15 to 21, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Denison signs LOI to acquire International Enexco, finds new Wheeler River zone

The expansionist Denison Mines TSX:DML announced another potential acquisition with a letter of intent to take over one of its joint venture partners, International Enexco TSXV:IEC. The March 19 after-market announcement had Denison chairperson Lukas Lundin saying his company “continues to focus on becoming the pre-eminent exploration company in the Athabasca Basin.”

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for March 15 to 21, 2014

The acquisition of JV partner Enexco would give Denison full ownership
of Bachman Lake, one of the company’s priority projects.

The plan of arrangement would exchange each Enexco share for 0.26 of a Denison share plus an undetermined portion of a spinco or subsidiary that would hold Enexco’s assets outside the Basin.

The deal would have Enexco shareholders owning about 2.1% of Denison. The latter company already holds about 8.4% of Enexco, along with another 1.8 million warrants.

The LOI includes a non-solicitation covenant on the part of Enexco, while Denison has the right to match any superior proposal.

The two companies JV together on the 11,419-hectare Bachman Lake property four kilometres west of Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO proposed Millennium mine in the southeastern Basin. Enexco holds a 20% interest. Operator Denison describes the project as one of the company’s highest priorities “due to its location in the southeast Athabasca Basin and the presence of strong conductors, graphitic basement and sandstone alteration.”

Mann Lake, another JV 20 klicks northeast, is held 30% by Enexco, 52.5% by Cameco and 17.5% by AREVA Resources Canada. The 3,407-hectare property lies on trend between Cameco’s Read Lake and Denison’s 60%-held Wheeler River projects.

In Nevada, Enexco’s 100%-held Contact copper project is currently working towards feasibility.

Denison’s most recent acquisition closed in January, after the company grabbed Rockgate Capital to thwart its proposed merger with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA. Rockgate’s directors initially characterized Denison’s manoeuvre as an “unsolicited opportunistic hostile takeover bid.” As a result Denison gained the advanced-stage Falea uranium-silver-copper project in Mali. The company had said it intended to spin out its non-Athabasca projects.

Enexco valued the combined Denison/spinco offers at $0.64 for an Enexco share, a 63% premium over its March 19 close of $0.39, after having been trading between a 52-week low of $0.23 and a 52-week high of $0.48. But by March 21 close the stock had reached $0.53. With 47.79 million shares outstanding, the company had a market cap of $22.68 million.

Denison closed March 19 on $1.74 and March 21 on $1.72. With 484.68 million shares outstanding, its market cap came to $833.65 million.

One day after the LOI announcement, Denison’s Wheeler River JV returned to prominence with a high-grade hole from the newly found Gryphon zone, three kilometres northwest of the Phoenix deposit.

The one interval reported, from hole WR-556, showed:

  • 3.7% uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) over 12.6 metres, starting at 691 metres in downhole depth

  • (including 9.7% over 4.6 metres)

True thickness was about 70%. The results come from a downhole radiometric probe which, although more accurate than a scintillometer, are no substitute for assays.

As project operator, Denison targeted two historic holes where it found “a basement wedge that has been faulted up into the sandstone and then encountered a large interval of graphitic basement, within which is a zone of alteration and mineralization 140 metres down-dip of the old drill holes.”

Gryphon’s mineralization lies “approximately 200 metres beneath the sub-Athabasca unconformity and is open in both strike directions and down-dip,” the company added.

In late February Denison released radiometric results for eight holes on the Phoenix deposit and briefly updated some other projects.

Fission Uranium merges two more zones at Patterson Lake South

Back on the subject of M&A, Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU might be considered an acquisition waiting to happen. On March 17, for the second time in less than two weeks, the company said it merged two zones at Patterson Lake South, evidently part of its ambition to demonstrate one big deposit before the company gets swallowed by a bigger fish.

Radiometric results closed an approximately 60-metre gap, joining zone R585E to its former neighbour to the west, R390E. The project now has five zones, three of them high-grade, along a 1.78-kilometre potential strike. The $12-million winter program’s primary goal is to delete the word “potential.”

The news followed a March 5 announcement that drilling had merged two other zones into R780E and a March 10 announcement of the project’s second-strongest radiometric results. Of eight holes released March 17, five showed intervals of 9,999 counts per second, the highest possible reading on the hand-held scintillometer that measures radioactivity from drill core. Scintillometer readings are no substitute for assays, which are pending.

Maximum readings for three holes showed composites of 15.25 metres, 7.14 metres and 5.85 metres. Of all mineralized intercepts, the interval closest to surface began at 60 metres in downhole depth, while the deepest stopped at 373 metres.

Of the three high-grade zones, R00E shows a 165-metre strike and lateral width up to about 45 metres. About 135 metres east, the newly expanded R390E has an approximately 390-metre strike and lateral width up to about 50 metres. About 75 metres east again, R780E shows an approximately 300-metre strike and lateral width up to about 95 metres.

Two additional zones, R1155E and R600W, sit at the eastern and western ends of the 1.78-kilometre stretch.

Fission Uranium has four drills trying to connect the high-grade zones and a fifth exploring outside the mineralized area just south of the Basin.

Lakeland/Declan JV announces Gibbon’s Creek plans, Lakeland closes oversubscribed $2.83-million financing

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for March 15 to 21, 2014

Boulder samples at the Lakeland/Declan Gibbon’s Creek JV assayed up to 4.28% U3O8, while radon measurements returned some of the Basin’s highest results.

One day after announcing imminent exploration plans for its Gibbon’s Creek project, Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK closed an oversubscribed private placement for $2.83 million. With JV partner Declan Resources TSXV:LAN spending a first-year commitment of $1.25 million on their Gibbon’s flagship, Lakeland can now turn to its 14 other Basin projects.

Gibbon’s is about to get a ground electromagnetic survey to confirm historic work prior to an anticipated drill program of up to 15 shallow holes totalling 2,500 metres. Results released in January from the 12,771-hectare project showed some of the highest radon gas levels ever measured in the Basin, along with surface boulders grading up to 4.28% U3O8. The property is about a 10-minute drive from the northern Basin town of Stony Rapids.

Lakeland’s other properties dot the northern, eastern and southern sections of the Basin.

“Several of our projects are at that stage where we just need to do line-cutting, resistivity and RadonEx to identify drill targets,” president/CEO Jonathan Armes told ResourceClips.com. “But with all these projects, we know we can’t do them all. We’ll continue to develop other joint venture possibilities, while at the same time compiling data on the projects to identify those we want to focus on.”

Read more about Gibbon’s Creek and Lakeland’s 15-property Basin portfolio.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

March 9th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for March 1 to 7, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission Uranium merges two zones, narrows gap between two others at Patterson Lake South

Fission Uranium merges two zones, narrows gap between two others at Patterson Lake South

Fission Uranium has four of its five rigs trying
to fill the gaps in the now six-zone PLS project.

With several zones stretched along a 1.78-kilometre potential strike at Patterson Lake South, Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU obviously wants to find one big, shallow, high-grade deposit. That dream came closer to reality with radiometric results released March 5 and 7. Zones R780E and R945E are now one, forever intertwined, while the gap between two zones to the west has been narrowed.

Scintillometer results from 20 holes released March 5 show mineralization at depths as shallow as 54 metres and as deep as 459 metres. Thirteen holes showed off-scale intervals, reaching the maximum 9,999 counts per second on the hand-held device that measures drill core for gamma radiation. Scintillometer readings are no substitute for assays, which are pending.

Apart from the hope of merging more zones—the goal of this winter’s drill program—Fission Uranium sees expansion potential. The best hole of this batch was the most easterly of the newly merged zone, which “bodes extremely well for high-grade expansion to the east.”

Two days later Fission Uranium unveiled scintillometer results for four more holes, each from a different zone, starting with R780E and moving west to the discovery zone. The interval nearest to surface started at 51 metres and the deepest ended at 276 metres. Intervals from one hole showed a total of 16.18 metres of off-scale radioactivity, while another hole gave up an off-scale composite of 2.65 metres. The gap between R390E and R585E has been narrowed to about 60 metres.

With 36 of the planned 85 winter holes complete, Fission Uranium claims a 100% hit rate. The company has one rig exploring outside the mineralized trend and four others attacking the gaps between these six zones:

The discovery zone, R00E, has a 165-metre strike and a lateral width up to about 45 metres. About 135 metres east, R390E has a 255-metre strike and a lateral width up to about 50 metres. Sixty metres east again, R585E has a 75-metre strike and a lateral width up to about 20 metres. About 105 metres east, R780E now has an approximately 270-metre strike, as a result of subsuming R945E. The lateral width reaches up to about 90 metres.

R780E’s geology “is similar to other zones,” Fission Uranium stated, “consisting of mineralization primarily associated with sequences of steeply south-dipping pelitic lithology with localized mylonites and cataclasites.”

Two other zones at the eastern and western extremities, R1155E and R600W, bring the potential strike to 1.78 kilometres.

Two weeks earlier Fission Uranium released lab assays from R585E that showed the project’s best hole ever—or maybe that should be “so far.”

Update: On March 10 Fission released its “second-best” radiometric results from PLS. Read more.

NexGen announces $10-million bought deal for Athabasca Basin exploration

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for March 1 to 7, 2014

With Fission Uranium’s PLS rigs in the background, NexGen drills Rook 1.

A $10-million bought deal for NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE reinforces the company’s new prominence in Athabasca Basin uranium exploration. Announced March 4, the private placement follows news of radiometric results from a new area of the company’s Rook 1 project, which is adjacent to PLS.

Subject to approvals, the deal involves 22.3 million units at $0.45 and gives the underwriters an option to buy an additional 15%. Each unit consists of a share and one-half warrant, with each entire warrant exercisable at $0.65 for two years. Proceeds will go to Basin exploration, working capital and general corporate purposes.

NexGen’s stock took off with the February 19 release of radiometric readings from the first hole in Rook 1’s Arrow area, which the company called “a totally new zone of uranium mineralization.” The news propelled the company from a 52-week low of $0.225 to a 52-week high of $0.65 in two days. The stock closed March 7 at $0.49.

Meanwhile NexGen has moved its other rig to Arrow to focus two drills on the new area.

NexGen holds several properties in the Basin. But it has yet to release results from last summer’s nine-hole campaign on the Radio project, where the company has a 70% earn-in.

NexGen expects to close the bought deal by March 26.

Zadar announces 2014 plans for PNE and Pasfield projects

With permit applications submitted, Zadar Ventures TSXV:ZAD announced plans for two projects on March 3. The 15,292-hectare PNE, about 11 kilometres northeast of PLS, has about 3,500 metres scheduled for winter and summer drilling, along with ground-based geophysics. Previously identified radon anomalies and conductive trends will help determine targets.

Plans for the 37,445-hectare Pasfield Lake property, within the Cable Bay shear zone in the east-central Basin, include airborne and ground geophysics and a proposed 3,800 metres of drilling “followed by a staged program of uranium exploration culminating in [a] 32,000-metre drilling program,” the company stated.

Pasfield Lake is one of a number of properties that Zadar acquired from Canterra Minerals TSXV:CTM late last year.

Noka Resources/Alpha Exploration begin radon surveys on Carpenter Lake

Radon surveys on lake water and sediment have begun at Carpenter Lake on the Basin’s south-central edge. Announced March 4 by Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Alpha Exploration TSXV:AEX, the four-to-five-week agenda will include sampling from about a thousand locations over a 16-kilometre stretch of the Cable Bay shear zone, which the companies have described as a “major regional shear zone with known uranium enrichment.”

Spring and summer plans for the 20,637-hectare property include high-resolution airborne radiometrics to search for near-surface uranium boulders, followed by ground prospecting and geochemical sampling. The work is part of the Alpha Minerals spinco’s 60% earn-in from Noka, a member of the Western Athabasca Syndicate that plans to drill its PLS-vicinity Preston Lake property this month.

Late last month Noka closed a $1.13-million private placement. Alpha Exploration announced plans for other projects in December and January.

Hodgins Auctioneers pursues Basin uranium claims

A company specializing in auctioning equipment and real estate has signed a conditional agreement to acquire uranium interests in the Basin. Under a deal announced March 6 with Majesta Resources Inc, Hodgins Auctioneers TSXV:HA would get a 25% interest in a 39,125-hectare contiguous package that comes within 10 kilometres of the Key Lake mill.

Apart from TSXV approval, the transaction hinges on raising a $350,000 private placement.

An initial 25% would cost Hodgins $100,000 in cash or debt, two million shares and $300,000 in exploration spending. An additional 35% would require an extra four million shares and $400,000 in spending. A further 30% would call for another $400,000 cash or debt and two million shares.

Hodgins attributed a “low cost relative to similar transactions in the area due to the relationship between two of the insiders of the corporation and the party which owns the mineral claims.” Majesta would act as project operator.

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Potash in perspective

February 21st, 2014

The long-term outlook and an advanced-stage project bring Asian interest to Western Potash

by Greg Klein

The long-term outlook and an advanced-stage project bring Asian interest to Western Potash

As the world’s population grows, arable land shrinks, causing greater demand for fertilizer.

 

It’s an opportunity best characterized as “a marathon, not a sprint.” That’s how Western Potash TSX:WPX VP of corporate development John Costigan refers to his company’s Milestone project. The high-grade potash solution mine proposed for southern Saskatchewan achieved full feasibility in December 2012 and final environmental approval last April. Then came tumultuous times, with what Costigan calls the “Russian-Belarusian debacle” that took down the commodity’s price. Now, with solid Asian investment and indications of a market revival, the advanced-stage project might be seen as an early-stage opportunity emerging anew.

Understandably, enthusiasm for potash plunged with the price following Uralkali’s breakup with cartel partner Belaruskali last summer. Late last year, however, JP Morgan pronounced a more optimistic outlook for 2014. By January analysts were saying prices might have bottomed in the Chinese contracts signed by Uralkali and Canpotex, the marketing arm of PotashCorp TSX:POT, Agrium TSX:AGU and Mosaic NYE:MOS.

More recent news suggests funding’s picking up. On February 18 Verde Potash TSX:NPK reported significant progress in its application for US$105 million in loans, grants and investment from the Brazilian government for the company’s Cerrado Verde project. Six days earlier came news that fertilizer giant ICL was buying a $25-million stake in Allana Potash TSX:AAA, with potential up to $84 million, along with an offtake agreement for the company’s Danakhil project in Ethiopia. Last June Western got a $31.98-million cash injection from a Chinese joint venture.

The attraction was the full-feas, fully permitted Milestone. The operation calls for solution mining, in which water is pumped into underground caverns and then retrieved as potash-rich brine. A relatively simple but highly effective technique, solution mining would allow Western to build the greenfield operation in about 40 months.

The long-term outlook and an advanced-stage project bring Asian interest to Western Potash

Just 60 kilometres away the same approach is being taken by the giant K+S Group. Now under construction, the Legacy project is scheduled to begin potash solution mining in 2016.

Milestone benefits from Saskatchewan’s mining-friendly policies and rich infrastructure. Two continental railways pass through the 35,400-hectare property, as do roads, power and gas lines. An agreement with the city of Regina, 30 kilometres away, provides a supply of treated waste water to extract the potash—enough water, in fact, to flush out 2.8 million tonnes per year for the mine’s projected 40-year life.

Those benefits have already attracted a $31.98-million investment from CBC (Canada) Holding Corp, a JV comprised of fertilizer producer China BlueChemical and Benewood Holdings, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong investment firm Guoxin International Investment Corp. The deal comes with a 20-year offtake agreement for the lesser of 30% of Milestone’s production or a million tonnes a year.

With a 19.9% stake in Western, CBCHC plays an active role in the strategic alliance. One China BlueChemical appointee serves on Western’s board and another acts as an observer. The alliance has struck two six-person committees, one to study Milestone’s technical, construction and procurement details and another to recommend financing strategies, meet potential financiers and evaluate proposals.

The alliance brings technical synergies. It also offers potential financial flexibility that could help the junior put together the $2.91-billion capex—a considerable sum but substantially less than K+S is spending 60 kilometres away. One possible Milestone scenario could involve Chinese investment banks which, Costigan points out, can structure finance agreements with a 3:1 debt-to-equity ratio. With one or more additional partners, Western could make the transition to a potash producer.

The company already has mining expertise, most notably with project director Richard Lock. In fact his career has been based on projects much more challenging than a southern Saskatchewan solution mine. While with Rio Tinto NYE:RIO, Lock took the Northwest Territories’ Diavik diamond mine from exploration to production. Among other accomplishments, he also acted as project director for Arizona’s Resolution project, now in pre-feasibility and potentially North America’s largest copper mine.

As for potential partners, discussions have picked up, Costigan says. “There’s renewed interest now. People think the market has settled. If we see prices rise, there’ll be even greater interest.”

The commodity’s long-term fundamentals remain strong, he says. Nothing’s stopping population growth. Meanwhile the global decline of arable land calls for ever-higher crop yields.

“Look at the growth in Chinese potash consumption—it’s definitely why our partners came in,” Costigan says. “They recognize they’re going to see big increases in their consumption. China’s ramping up their domestic supplies, they’re in Thailand, Africa, Kazakhstan. But when you look at the projects out there, there’s nothing that compares with Milestone for volume, quality, cost, location, infrastructure and political stability. There’s nothing that compares globally.”

Athabasca Basin and beyond

January 25th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for January 18 to 24, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission Uranium resumes Patterson Lake South drilling, focuses on delineation

Nature takes its annual repose as winter settles on Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. Feathered flocks have flown to finer climes, leaving their four-footed furry friends to wander the white wilderness or succumb to seasonal slumber. Days are short but, as darkness descends, aurora borealis performs its passionate pantomime, twisting and twirling, shining and shimmering, in heavenly hues of silvery green and blue.

Purple runs the prose. And drilling resumes on Patterson Lake South.

With a few additions, that’s the gist of a January 20 announcement from Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU. The company expects to spend $12 million on PLS this season, part of the year’s $20-million budget. Five rigs will sink 90 holes totalling 30,000 metres. With seven zones open in all directions and situated along a 1.78-kilometre strike, Fission Uranium plans to direct about 80% to 85% of its drilling to the gaps between five high-grade zones. Additionally, exploration drilling will test electromagnetic conductors following interpretation of ground geophysics and radon results.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for January 18 to 24, 2014

Last year’s Patterson Lake South activity, pictured here,
will be dwarfed by this year’s $12-million winter campaign.

All that infill drilling can only heighten anticipation of a maiden resource, although the company has yet to set a target date. But to tease the market even more, Fission Uranium couldn’t resist stating its property “remains highly prospective for several kilometres, both in the immediate area of known mineralization and along strike in both the WSW and ENE directions.”

The company also granted insiders five-year options on 8.4 million shares at $1.20. The previous week Fission Uranium released assays from six holes drilled last summer.

NexGen Energy begins 6,000-metre Rook 1 program

With a geophysical interpretation that might validate closeology, NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE has begun winter drilling at Rook 1, adjacently northeast of PLS. Two rigs will sink about 6,000 metres on the property, which the company says includes an interpreted extension of the 3B conductor that hosts Fission Uranium’s near-surface, high-grade discovery. Targets will follow up on three widely spaced holes from last summer that found mineralization in an area spanning 1.6 by 1.2 kilometres, according to the January 20 announcement. Further drilling will test areas already identified by VTEM, magnetics, ground gravity and DC resistivity surveys. One large structural zone will undergo additional ground gravity.

Recent financings have contributed to the company’s $7.8-million bank account, which has about $3 million slated for the flagship’s winter campaign. The previous week NexGen announced an extension to its 70% option on the Radio project in the northeastern Basin. Results have yet to be released from Radio’s nine-hole, 3,473-metre summer program.

Azincourt and Fission 3.0 start 3,000 metres at Patterson Lake North

Also adjacent to PLS, a drill’s turning at the Patterson Lake North joint venture of Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ and Fission 3.0 TSXV:FUU, the companies announced in separate statements on January 20 and 21. The latter company, which holds the non-PLS assets spun out of Fission Uranium, acts as operator on the million-dollar program. The agenda includes a radon-in-water survey, ground geophysics and eight to 10 holes totalling about 3,000 metres over previously identified conductors.

The campaign’s focal points are Hodge Lake in PLN’s south-central area, the west-central Harrison Lake and Broach Lake in the southeast. Azincourt is earning a 50% interest in the 27,408-hectare project. The previous week Azincourt closed a $2-million cash-and-share deal with Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and Vena Resources TSX:VEM to acquire two uranium properties in Peru.

TAD to begin Athabasca exploration with airborne geophysics

Having been diverted by other area plays, TAD Mineral Exploration TSXV:TJ “finally” starts work on the 4,000 hectares it staked in the PLS area last April. On January 20 the company announced an impending VTEM max program. TAD also holds claims near Colorado Resource’s TSXV:CXO North ROK copper-gold project in British Columbia and Zenyatta Ventures’ TSXV:ZEN graphite project in central Ontario.

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