Saturday 22nd October 2016

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘AREVA (ARVCF)’

UN fails to staunch flow of blood diamonds, gold from Central African Republic

November 5th, 2014

by Greg Klein | November 5, 2014

Even after the Kimberley Process banned diamond imports from the Central African Republic last year, the country exported an estimated 140,000 carats worth $24 million, according to a November 5 Reuters story. As violence escalates again, a UN panel wants mining sites monitored by troops and drones.

Following an outbreak of sectarian fighting in late 2012, Muslim Seleka rebels established regional strongholds. Between December 2013 and last August, about 3,000 people were killed amid reports of looting, kidnapping and rape. Mining licences and commodity taxes help fund the carnage, the UN found.

About 8,000 peacekeepers out of a 12,000-strong commitment are currently deployed in the CAR, Reuters added.

Diamonds are a rebel’s best friend in CAR, as armed groups smuggle blood diamonds and trade them for arms.—Sasha Lezhnev,
senior policy analyst
with the Enough Project

In August at least 25 illegal miners died after an open pit collapsed at or near AXMIN Inc’s (TSXV:AXM) Passendro gold project in the south-central CAR. It was the second such accident in the area since June 2013, when at least 37 people died. AXMIN had already suspended its exploration and pre-development work at the location, declaring a force majeure in December 2012.

“The victims of the deadly collapse were artisanal miners, who use their hands and cheap tools to dig minerals out of the earth in illicit operations that help finance the violent conflicts in the war-ravaged country,” the Globe and Mail reported.

French uranium giant AREVA pulled out of the CAR in 2012, where its 90%-held Bakouma project began test mining in 2010 and was scheduled for full production in 2014 to 2015.

A May report from the Enough Project blamed illicit diamonds, oil and ivory for funding weapons, fuel and poaching equipment.

“Diamonds are a rebel’s best friend in CAR, as armed groups smuggle blood diamonds and trade them for arms,” said Sasha Lezhnev, the project’s senior policy analyst.

CAR diamonds “are sold to traders in the Darfur region of Sudan, as well as Chad, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the report stated. “The traders circumvent the international Kimberley Process certification scheme and [the diamonds] are likely sold on the world market in the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”

Athabasca Basin and beyond

October 4th, 2014

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

by Greg Klein

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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 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

July 12th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for June 28 to July 11, 2014

by Greg Klein

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NexGen extends Arrow’s reach at Rook 1

The first six summer holes at the Rook 1 project’s Arrow zone have more than doubled the potential strike, NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE stated July 7. Radiometric measurements extended the 215 metres determined by eight winter holes to a potential 470-metre strike open in all directions.

Although assays have been released for the winter program, the company bases its summer results on radiation readings from a gamma spectrometer and a gamma probe. The results are no substitute for assays, which are pending.

Some of the highlights include hole RK-14-37, which totalled a composite 8.1 metres of “off-scale” radioactivity straining the spectrometer’s limit of 9,999 counts per second. The drill hit 17 anomalous intercepts totalling a composite 78.05 metres of mineralization within a 227.8-metre section beginning at 378 metres in downhole depth.

RK-14-34 found 29 intercepts totalling a composite 100.6 metres of mineralization within a 627.9-metre section that started at 221.4 metres in depth.

RK-14-31 found 35 intercepts totalling 125.8 metres of mineralization within a 430.7-metre section beginning at 221.4 metres in depth.

True widths weren’t provided. All six Arrow holes, which totalled 4,324 metres, showed visible mineralization. One hole is still in progress.

About 200 metres away, the Dagger area took in four holes totalling 1,349 metres without showing anomalous radioactivity. In addition to further Arrow drilling, “preparations have been made for regional drilling to continue at Area K (Dennis Lake),” the company stated.

Rook 1 straddles the southwestern rim of the Athabasca Basin, on the northeastern border of Fission Uranium’s (TSXV:FCU) Patterson Lake South.

Fission Uranium drills 12.35% U3O8 over 13.5 metres, 4.68% over 25 metres at PLS

More high-grade assays from Fission Uranium continue to build Patterson Lake South’s R780E zone, focus of the highly anticipated maiden resource scheduled for December. Of nine holes released July 2 from last winter’s infill drilling, all showed mineralization. A half dozen brought especially impressive results. Some highlights include:

Hole PLS14-170

  • 0.35% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 58 metres, starting at 135.5 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 1.2% over 5.5 metres)
Fission drills 13.5 metres of 12.35%, 25 metres of 4.68% at Patterson Lake South

With 39 winter holes still to report,
Fission Uranium has embarked on
a 63-hole summer campaign.

  • 0.31% over 12 metres, starting at 202 metres

  • 2.9% over 20 metres, starting at 217.5 metres
  • (including 8.35% over 4 metres)

  • 0.58% over 11 metres, starting at 260 metres

Hole PLS14-174

  • 0.8% over 25 metres, starting at 105 metres
  • (including 3.45% over 1.5 metres)
  • (and including 2.8% over 1 metre)
  • (and including 4.39% over 1.5 metres)

  • 0.87% over 13.5 metres, starting at 135 metres
  • (including 9.24% over 1 metre)

Hole PLS14-175

  • 0.7% over 21 metres, starting at 120.5 metres
  • (including 3.35% over 2.5 metres)

  • 0.38% over 26 metres, starting at 144 metres
  • (including 1.44% over 2.5 metres)

Hole PLS14-178

  • 0.12% over 25.5 metres, starting at 135.5 metres

  • 0.19% over 15 metres, starting at 164.5 metres

Hole PLS14-179

  • 2.99% over 1 metre, starting at 184.5 metres

  • 2.25% over 8.5 metres, starting at 244 metres

Hole PLS14-180

  • 0.44% over 21 metres, starting at 136.5 metres
  • (including 3.45% over 2 metres)

  • 4.68% over 25 metres, starting at 165 metres
  • (including 18.56% over 5.5 metres)

Hole PLS14-186

  • 12.35% over 13.5 metres, starting at 157 metres
  • (including 23.41% over 7 metres)

  • 1.52% over 2.5 metres, starting at 175 metres

  • 0.9% over 7 metres, starting at 188 metres
  • (including 3.61% over 1.5 metres)

True widths weren’t provided. With five PLS zones stretching east-west along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike, Fission Uranium stated these results show “the continued strong nature of uranium mineralization as the R780E zone moves eastwards.”

Still to come are assays for 39 holes from the 92-hole winter campaign. One week before unloading this latest batch of results, the company announced a 20,330-metre, 63-hole summer program that would eat $12 million of this year’s $28-million budget. As was the case last winter, most of the drilling will focus on delineation for a December resource.

Gold, PGEs and REEs suggest a “robust hydrothermal system” at Lakeland Resources’ Star uranium project

Recently compiled data shows potential for a regional hydrothermal system on Lakeland Resources’ (TSXV:LK) Star uranium property, adjacently north of the company’s Gibbon’s Creek joint venture. That’s the verdict for samples taken last year, which assayed for gold, platinum group elements and rare earth elements, as well as uranium.

The Star property covers “a quasi-circular basement uplift,” a feature considered “an ideal location for the development of uranium occurrences associated with the unconformity or sub-unconformity of the Athabasca Basin,” the company stated July 8.

One outcrop sample assayed 5.7 grams per tonne gold, 0.36 g/t platinum and 0.39 g/t palladium. Another showed 1.8 g/t gold, 0.08 g/t platinum and 0.12 g/t palladium.

A sandstone boulder revealed 257 ppm uranium and 0.3% total rare earth oxides, including 1,216 ppm dysprosium and 321 ppm yttrium. Another outcrop sample showed 6.9% TREO, predominantly light REE-enriched.

The assays further indicate potential for a regional hydrothermal system as “demonstrated by intense alteration associated with historic uranium mineralization within the Gibbons Creek property located immediately to the south,” Lakeland stated. “Within the Athabasca Basin, there are a number of projects where highly anomalous precious metals and/or rare earth elements occur in spatial relation to uranium deposits and/or mineralization. Examples of such mineralization include the Nicholson Bay and Fish Hook Bay uranium-gold-platinum group elements occurrences, and the MAW zone-Wheeler River occurrences.”

The Star project’s now slated for a near-term mapping and sampling program. Lakeland may earn a 100% interest in the property by paying $60,000 and issuing 600,000 shares over 12 months. The vendor retains the option of a 25% buyback for four times Lakeland’s exploration expenses.

Declan Resources TSXV:LAN has an option to earn 70% of the adjacent Gibbon’s Creek JV, which has shown boulder samples grading up to 4.28% U3O8 and some of the Basin’s highest-ever radon readings.

With an acquisition announced late last month, Lakeland now holds interests in 17 properties totalling 164,316 hectares in and around the Basin.

GoviEx debuts on CSE, orders enviro/social assessment for Niger project

The company began public trading just last month but GoviEx Uranium CSE:GXU has been advancing its Madaouela project in Niger since 2008. On July 2 the company announced contracts to complete an environmental and social impact assessment expected to “culminate the detailed feasibility study and environmental work already undertaken.”

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for June 28 to July 11, 2014

Backed by Toshiba and a Cameco subsidiary, GoviEx’s
Madaouela project in Niger moves towards feasibility.

As of March 2013 Madaouela’s seven deposits showed resources totalling 22.92 million pounds uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) measured, 75.3 million pounds indicated and 24.1 million pounds inferred. Included are probable reserves of 25,300 tonnes.

Five of the deposits “have been developed to pre-feasibility level of confidence,” the company states.

The July 2 announcement quoted GoviEx chief executive Daniel Major, “Through the use of proprietary technologies never before used in Niger, our project team has presented a commercially viable project and one that seeks to limit its impact on the environment with a particular focus on limitation of dust, reduction in water usage and commercialization of the molybdenum byproduct resource.”

Executive chairman Govind Friedland’s bio lists a number of accomplishments even after he took part in the 1996 Voisey’s Bay discovery. Friedland went on to graduate from the Colorado School of Mines, provided business development services to Ivanhoe Mines and Ivanhoe Energy, and co-founded Ivanhoe Industries. Yes, he’s the son of that Friedland.

Two Niger mines operated by AREVA produce 7.5% of global supply, ranking the country as the world’s fourth-largest producer. While the government supports mining, the industry has been plagued by terrorist kidnappings and a bombing.

Fission 3.0, Azincourt report scintillometer results from PLN

One of four summer holes at Patterson Lake North shows anomalous radioactivity, JV partners Fission 3.0 TSXV:FUU and Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ reported July 7. Two intercepts of 0.5 metres and 7.5 metres (not true widths) showed variable readings up to 1,450 counts per second on a hand-held scintillometer. Assays are pending.

The hole, PLN14-019, “is still in progress at 258 metres, although no further intervals of mineralization are expected,” the companies stated. The three other holes “intersected anomalous hydrothermal clay altered intervals, associated with structurally disturbed sections. This further highlights the partners’ confidence of the prospectivity and potential of the A1 conductor to host high-grade uranium mineralization.”

This summer’s five-hole program will total about 1,600 metres. Fission 3.0 acts as operator on the 27,408-hectare property, where Azincourt has a 50% earn-in.

Last April the companies reported that winter drilling failed to find radioactivity but did “confirm the high prospectivity of the target areas.”

In late May Azincourt and Macusani Yellowcake TSXV:YEL stated they would extend to June 15 a letter of intent to consolidate their Peruvian assets. That date passed without further announcement. (Update: The companies announced a definitive agreement on July 14.)

Those properties surround a project held by Fission 3.0, which holds interests in nine others in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Along with JV partner Brades Resource TSXV:BRA, Fission 3.0 announced VTEM results from their Clearwater West project in May.

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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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Zimtu Capital analyst Derek Hamill says all roads lead to the Athabasca Basin

March 6th, 2014

by Tom Armistead | March 6, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of The Energy Report

To the World Nuclear Association, 2% uranium ore is high grade. At 14%, 16% and even 20% uranium, the grades in the Athabasca Basin are astounding analysts and investors around the world. Derek Hamill, Zimtu Capital Corp.’s new head of research, tells The Energy Report about where the investment dollars are moving in the Athabasca Basin, and what areas and companies are worth watching going forward.

Zimtu Capital analyst Derek Hamill says all roads lead to the Athabasca Basin

Derek Hamill, head of research for Zimtu Capital.

The Energy Report: Derek, thank you for joining us. Why is the Athabasca Basin generally described as the most prolific uranium source in the world?

Derek Hamill: There are a few factors that make the Athabasca Basin region of Saskatchewan and Alberta the best place to look for, and mine, uranium. Grade is the number-one factor. The average grades for a few of the bigger deposits in the Basin are above 15% U3O8, whereas the world average is far below 2% U3O8. The next important factor is that Saskatchewan is a great place to build a mine, and has been since the 1950s. There is all the necessary infrastructure (roads, power, mills) in most of the region. The western region of the Basin, including Fission Uranium Corp.’s (FCU:TSX.V) Patterson Lake South (PLS) project, does not have existing power or operating mills. But given how this deposit and potentially others are developing, it’s just a matter of time.

TER: What are the shortcomings of the Athabasca Basin compared to other uranium-producing basins?

DH: Infrastructure is a major factor that influences the economics of a potential mine. In the last few decades, the exploration in the western section of the Athabasca Basin has been markedly quiet compared to the east, where Cigar Lake, McArthur River and other mines and mills are located. The PLS area is relatively remote compared to the eastern section of the Basin. Additional exploration in the region will likely prove up another deposit, so over time the western side will build comparable infrastructure. However, there will need to be material investment to develop the necessary infrastructure in the western areas of the Basin.

Another shortcoming of some deposits in the western region is the depth. The Cigar Lake mine illustrates this point quite well. The deposit is located between 410–450 meters (410–450m) below the surface, far too deep for cheaper open-pit mining, and the entire deposit needs to be frozen in order to prevent flooding. In 2006, a breach of this freezing technology caused significant delays. The project had an original start-up date of 2007, and is now expected to be producing by the end of Q2/14. Keep in mind though that many deposits in the Basin, including the PLS project, are at conventional open-pit mining depths.

Fission Uranium Corp. has brought renewed optimism for exploration in the southwestern areas of the Basin.—Derek Hamill

TER: I have seen high praise lavished on Fission’s PLS deposit. What’s the reason for that?

DH: As mentioned, most of the past exploration and all the production in the Basin comes from the eastern side of the Basin. PLS has brought renewed optimism for exploration in the southwestern areas of the Basin that surround the discovery. Additionally, PLS is close to the surface, meaning open-pit mining of fairly high-grade uranium is an option.

TER: Is there another deposit in the basin that comes close to PLS?

DH: Right now in production is McArthur River, and Cigar Lake should start producing this year. Both are operated by Cameco Corp. (CCO:TSX; CCJ:NYSE). Average grades for both are listed as 14–16%. Once Cigar starts, McArthur and Cigar will be the two largest high-grade uranium mines in the world.

Cameco is by far the largest producer in the Basin, followed by AREVA SA (AREVA:EPA). Denison Mines Corp. (DML:TSX; DNN:NYSE.MKT) holds an interest in the McLean Lake mill and in several near-term producing deposits. Rio Tinto Plc (RIO:NYSE; RIO:ASX; RIO:LSE; RTPPF:OTCPK), which purchased the Roughrider deposit in 2012 from junior Hathor Exploration for $654 million ($654M), appears to be advancing its deposit fairly aggressively. UEX Corp. (UEX:TSX) is also a candidate for near-term production with its Shea Creek and Hidden Bay projects.

UEX Corp. is also a candidate for near-term production.—Derek Hamill

TER: How does grade affect price?

DH: The major uranium producers, such as Cameco, AREVA and Denison, generally negotiate the price of uranium on long-term contracts. These companies also process all the ore in the three mills situated in the eastern region of the Athabasca Basin. It is not like other commodities, where the final product is sold on a fluid or open market. The producers generally control the mining and milling of the ore into a product called yellowcake, which is about 70% uranium. At this point, the yellowcake is either further refined in Canada or shipped directly to customers in the U.S. or overseas.

Cameco’s estimated cash costs at Cigar Lake could be somewhere around $18/pound ($18/lb) or less. High-grade ore can help control operating costs. Many uranium analysts believe that a long-term price of $60/lb U3O8 is needed to properly incentivize investment and maintain production for close to one-third of the world’s high cost production. I believe the fact that Paladin Energy Ltd. (PDN:TSX; PDN:ASX) is placing operations at its Kayelekera mine in Malawi on care and maintenance (after continued operating losses) illustrates the material difference in cost structures that exist for producers outside the Basin.

There are also some external factors. Saskatchewan is a politically friendly, stable environment, with an established regulatory and tax environment. There’s technical expertise in the area as well. Grade is only one factor in the mining and milling economics of a deposit. The less material that you have to physically mine, truck and process, the more lucrative your operation.

TER: You have reported the average compound annual growth rate of several forecasts of electricity generating capacity from 2010 to 2025 as 2.6% for nuclear and 6.3% for non-hydro renewables. That’s a higher growth rate for renewables than for nuclear. Why is nuclear a better target for investment?

DH: Nuclear is not necessarily better; there’s actually tremendous room for both. Nuclear reactors can supply consistent electricity generation, night and day, over a long operating life, 40–60 years. The fuel costs represent 10–15% of the total cost of running a nuclear reactor. Even during the uranium price spike in 2007, operating costs for a nuclear reactor in the U.S. did not increase. That’s an attractive property. Of course, nuclear can help reduce CO2 and SO2 emissions, which also makes the technology attractive in places like China, where air quality is an issue.

Energy Consumption: Nuclear Vs. Wind and Solar

Zimtu Capital analyst Derek Hamill says all roads lead to the Athabasca Basin

(Source: BP Statistical Review 2013)

The biggest knock against nuclear energy has been the enormous capital costs of building reactors. Westinghouse Electric Co. is designing the AP1000, focused on simplifying the process—passive safety systems, fewer moving parts, etc. Hopefully, this kind of innovation can help control capital costs.

In China, nuclear power is growing at a 10-year compound annual growth of about 14.5%, but it still represents only ~2% of the country’s electricity production, so there is tremendous potential for nuclear power as well as renewables.

Nuclear Reactors Worldwide

Zimtu Capital analyst Derek Hamill says all roads lead to the Athabasca Basin

(Source: IAEA|PRIS, WNA)

TER: Most analysts are expecting the price of uranium eventually to rise from its current low. How will a higher fuel price affect the growth rate of nuclear power generation?

DH: I doubt it will. As I said, fuel costs are only 10–15% of the nuclear reactor. The demand from nuclear electricity generation going forward will have a strong influence on uranium pricing, but the price of uranium shouldn’t have a huge influence on the decision whether to build nuclear reactors.

I know there’s been a lot of talk of a nuclear renaissance, but it’s complicated. The West, outside of France, hasn’t shown much of a commitment to nuclear energy. In fact, last year the U.S. prematurely closed four reactors. It doesn’t seem like there is much support for the industry. China appears committed, but will take a few years for the country to really become the uranium market mover. In the current environment, I don’t see uranium prices materially increasing. Again, that’s why the Athabasca Basin is an important region.

TER: Are Canadian uranium producers seeing any benefit from the termination of the Non-Resident Ownership Policy?

DH: Not in particular. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Chinese utilities invest in the Basin, but I don’t see them becoming mine or mill operators. It would make more sense to partner with a company like Cameco.

TER: Is anyone visibly benefiting from the policy change?

DH: Companies out of Asia have expressed fairly robust interest in investing in the Athabasca Basin’s uranium exploration. This has more to do with long-term growth in commercial nuclear generating capacity in Asia than with any Canadian policy change.

TER: You have a half-dozen uranium companies in the basin under coverage. What are some of their strengths and weakness?

DH: Zimtu Capital Corp. (ZC:TSX.V) has equity exposure to several uranium exploration companies, including, most recently, Lakeland Resources Inc. (LK:TSX.V). The major strength we at Zimtu look for as a project generator are the people actively involved in a project.

Lakeland Resources is a great case in point. The company has a strong technical team with a clearly defined business strategy, and has added some serious uranium expertise to the advisory board.—Derek Hamill

Lakeland Resources is a great case in point. The company has a strong technical team with a clearly defined business strategy, and has added some serious uranium expertise to the advisory board. Lakeland has a large land package, much of which has historic data. Lakeland’s focus has been to enhance this historical data with modern at-surface geological and geophysical techniques before partnering the individual projects for drilling. In this way, the company is able to diversify some of the exploration risk by working on multiple targets at the same time. The large land package also allows Lakeland the freedom to act as a property vendor. If there is a weakness in this strategy, it is that by partnering, Lakeland sacrifices some of the upside in the event of a discovery.

NexGen Energy Ltd. (NXE:TSX.V) has benefited from its location near PLS, so it’s an attractive area play. NexGen has also proven to be able to raise capital during tough market conditions. Zimtu is a shareholder of the company.

Skyharbour Resources Ltd. (SYH:TSX.V) is part of a syndicate, the Western Athabasca Basin Syndicate, that shares in the costs of exploration. We don’t have any direct exposure to Skyharbour or the syndicate, but it is a different business model that, if done correctly, makes sense. Of course, efficient cooperation among four equal partners may take some work.

I’m not a geologist. My background is in finance, so I like to look at many different strategies and promote diversification.

TER: You have highlighted a lot of difficult variables in assessing the uranium space. Do you have some parting advice for people who would like to take a look at it?

DH: For investment in nuclear, in terms of mining and exploration, it’s a pretty simple strategy. You already know the major producers, such as Cameco and AREVA in Canada. In the U.S., there are a few smaller low-cost operations. So if you are a cautious investor, your money will probably be best with current producers. Next you have the near-term producers of which there are only a handful. Then there are the junior miners in Canada. Those that are in the Athabasca Basin hold a lottery ticket to a monster deposit. Hathor Exploration is an excellent example of a company that in 2006 had a market cap of about $6M, discovered the world-class Roughrider deposit in 2008, and was bought by Rio Tinto in 2012 for $654M. You need to look for a junior with a good portfolio of projects and the right people in order to make a discovery. I would caution people looking at uranium exploration companies to try to diversify. The Athabasca Basin is a low-cost producer. So if the uranium price remains under distress, the Basin should attract both domestic and foreign exploration dollars.

TER: Thank you, Derek.

DH: Thanks, Tom.

Derek Hamill completed his Master of Financial Analysis and Professional Accounting at La Trobe University, a leading Australian academic institution, and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Calgary. Between degrees, Hamill worked for several years as an investment executive for ScotiaMcLeod, a leading Canadian wealth-management firm. As the newly established head of research for Zimtu Capital, Hamill provides long-term outlooks for various commodities and updates on key internal portfolio holdings. He has access to an impressive array of experienced and knowledgeable industry professionals who are associated with the Zimtu family. Zimtu’s circle of industry contacts includes all aspects of the mineral exploration and development process, from first acquisition of mineral claims to the cutting of the ribbon at mine opening.

Read what other experts are saying about:
Fission Uranium Corp.
UEX Corp.

Want to read more Energy Report interviews like this? Sign up for our free e-newsletter, and you’ll learn when new articles have been published. To see a list of recent interviews with industry analysts and commentators, visit our Streetwise Interviews page.

1) Tom Armistead conducted this interview for The Energy Report and provides services to The Energy Report as an independent contractor. He or his family owns shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None.
2) The following companies mentioned in the interview are sponsors of The Energy Report: Fission Uranium Corp., UEX Corp. and Zimtu Capital Corp. Streetwise Reports does not accept stock in exchange for its services or as sponsorship payment.
3) Derek Hamill: I or my family own shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. I personally am or my family is paid by the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. My company has a financial relationship with the following companies mentioned in this interview: Zimtu Capital has a financial relationship with both Lakeland Resources and NexGen Energy. To my knowledge we have no relationship with Skyharbour. I was not paid by Streetwise Reports for participating in this interview. Comments and opinions expressed are my own comments and opinions. I had the opportunity to review the interview for accuracy as of the date of the interview and am responsible for the content of the interview.
4) Interviews are edited for clarity. Streetwise Reports does not make editorial comments or change experts’ statements without their consent.
5) The interview does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility. By opening this page, each reader accepts and agrees to Streetwise Reports’ terms of use and full legal disclaimer.
6) From time to time, Streetwise Reports LLC and its directors, officers, employees or members of their families, as well as persons interviewed for articles and interviews on the site, may have a long or short position in securities mentioned and may make purchases and/or sales of those securities in the open market or otherwise.

Reprinted by permission of The Energy Report

Disclaimer: Zimtu Capital Corp and Lakeland Resources Inc are clients of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in those companies.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

February 10th, 2014

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

by Greg Klein

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Fission Uranium releases final summer 2013 assays from Patterson Lake South

Having spent months doling out only occasional assays from last summer’s drilling at Patterson Lake South, on February 5 Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU suddenly dumped results for 20 holes—half of which showed no significant mineralization. They did, however, improve the company’s “understanding of the geological setting and controls of mineralization at PLS.”

The best results came from R780E, the fifth of seven zones along a 1.78-kilometre potential strike. R780E now boasts a 75-metre strike, with a lateral width up to about 60 metres. A few highlights show:

Hole PLS13-105

  • 3.93% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 3 metres, starting at 128 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 10.85% over 1 metre)

  • 1.12% over 3.5 metres, starting at 189 metres
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for February 1 to 7, 2014

Hole PLS13-107

  • 1.94% over 3 metres, starting at 171.5 metres

  • 0.57% over 6.5 metres, starting at 192.5 metres
  • (including 1.58% over 1 metre)

  • 0.23% over 13.5 metres, starting at 251.5 metres

Hole PLS13-108

  • 0.99% over 19.5 metres, starting at 152.5 metres
  • (including 3.46% over 2 metres)
  • (and including 3.92% over 1.25 metres)

  • 0.67% over 6.5 metres, starting at 174.5 metres
  • (including 1.64% over 2.5 metres)

  • 1.33% over 11 metres, starting at 184.5 metres
  • (including 6.52% over 1.5 metres)

  • 3.48% over 4.5 metres, starting at 228 metres

Hole PLS13-109

  • 4.22% over 8 metres, starting at 108 metres
  • (including 11.1% over 3 metres)
  • (which includes 24.6% over 0.5 metres)

  • 0.55% over 17.5 metres, starting at 141 metres

  • 5.89% over 6 metres, starting at 205.5 metres
  • (including 14.57% over 1.5 metres)

Off the lake and onto dry land, zone R600W shows a 30-metre strike and a lateral width up to 20 metres. Some of the better results include:

Hole PLS13-118

  • 0.34% over 6.5 metres, starting at 192 metres

Hole PLS13-121

  • 0.2% over 11.8 metres, starting at 98.7 metres

Hole PLS13-124

  • 0.29% over 6 metres, starting at 97.5 metres

The company also released assays from one hole on the R585E zone, 150 metres west of R780E. R585E now shows a 30-metre strike and a lateral width up to 10 metres. Some highlights from PLS13-106 include:

  • 0.19% over 5.5 metres, starting at 158.5 metres

  • 0.11% over 17 metres, starting at 166.5 metres

  • 0.39% over 12.5 metres, starting at 202 metres

True widths weren’t provided. Holes were vertical or close to it. One R600W hole and nine stepouts east of the zone drew blanks. These results constitute the final batch of summer assays. The current $12-million campaign, including ground geophysics as well as 90 holes totalling 30,000 metres, will primarily try to fill in the gaps separating the high-grade zones.

Rio drills Purepoint’s Red Willow

Rio Tinto NYE:RIO has begun winter drilling at Red Willow, Purepoint Uranium TSXV:PTU announced February 5. About 2,500 metres will test four target areas identified by geophysics, geochemistry and historic assays, the company stated. Rio is nearly halfway into its $5-million option to earn 51% of the 25,612-hectare property by December 31, 2015. The major may spend a total of $22.5 million by the end of 2021 to earn 80% of the eastern Athabasca Basin project.

In another project with some big name buddies, Purepoint began a $2.5-million, 5,000-metre program at its Hook Lake project in January. Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and AREVA Resources Canada each hold a 39.5% interest in the PLS-vicinity property, leaving the junior with 21%.

Continental Precious Minerals updates PEA for Swedish polymetallic project

An updated resource and preliminary economic assessment takes a new approach to Continental Precious Minerals TSX:CZQ Viken uranium-polymetallic project in central Sweden. Using a 6.5% discount rate, the study calculates an after-tax net present value of US$943 million and a 12.9% internal rate of return. Pre-production capital comes to $1.23 billion with payback in 6.9 years from an operation with two open pits and a 34-year lifespan, according to the February 6 announcement.

Viken’s original 2010 PEA considered uranium-vanadium-molybdenum production using fine grinding, tank leaching and roasting. Now Continental plans bio-heap leaching for nickel, zinc and copper sulphides as well as uranium. “This has substantially lowered operating and capital costs, and has led to more robust project economics,” stated CEO/chairperson Rana Vig.

More details will be available on within 45 days.

Eagle Plains options out eastside Basin project

Eagle Plains Resources TSXV:EPL announced a definitive option agreement on February 4 for its Tarku property in the eastern Basin. The non-arms-length deal would give Clear Creek Resources a 60% interest for $500,000 cash, $5 million in exploration and 1.2 million shares over five years. Clear Creek may increase its interest to 75% by paying Eagle Plains another $1 million and completing feasibility. Previous work, including historic airborne surveys that found northeast-trending conductors, make the property prospective for both gold and uranium, Eagle Plains stated.

Next month Clear Creek expects to complete a three-way amalgamation with Ituna Capital TSXV:TUN.P and its subsidiary. Eagle Plains holds interests in over 35 properties.

Alpha airborne over Noka’s Carpenter Lake; Noka boosts private placement

Project operator Alpha Exploration TSXV:AEX has begun flying a VTEM and magnetic survey over Carpenter Lake on the Basin’s south-central edge. The 1,892-line-kilometre survey will test the 19-kilometre strike of the Cable Bay Shear Zone, a “major regional shear zone with known uranium enrichment,” Alpha stated on February 3. The work initiates the company’s 60% earn-in on Noka Resources’ TSXV:NX 20,637-hectare property.

About 10 to 14 days have been allotted to this portion of the winter campaign, which will also include radon sampling. Spring and summer should see airborne radiometrics, ground prospecting and geochemical sampling.

With interests in several properties, the Alpha Minerals spinco announced other exploration plans in December and January.

Noka, a member of the four-company Western Athabasca Syndicate, stated on February 6 it would increase a “heavily oversubscribed” private placement from $500,000 to $1.1 million, subject to exchange approval.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 23rd, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 16 to 22, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Azincourt to acquire Peruvian company from Cameco and Vena for $2 million

So far best known for its 50% interest in the Patterson Lake North joint venture with Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU, Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ plans to acquire an advanced-stage uranium project in Peru. Under definitive share purchase agreements announced November 22, the $8.1-million market cap Athabasca Basin junior proposes to buy Minergia S.A.C. from 50/50 co-owners Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and Vena Resources TSX:VEM. As well as the 4,900-hectare Macusani project, Minergia comes with its younger sister, 9,600-hectare Muñani, both in southeastern Peru.

Subject to approvals, the deal would have Azincourt give Cameco and Vena $750,000 worth of shares and $250,000 each. Vena chairman/CEO Juan Vegarra would join Azincourt as an independent director. Azincourt would spend between $1.5 million and $2 million on the projects annually.

The deal would also allow Vena to buy Cameco’s portion of Azincourt shares for the purchase price plus 50% of any increase in the market price.

In a statement accompanying Vena’s announcement, Vegarra noted that Azincourt president/CEO Ted O’Connor is “the former director of Cameco’s corporate development group who was responsible for overseeing Cameco’s significant investment in Minergia.”

With over $12 million of work between 2007 and 2011, Macusani comes with an historic resource that was released in September 2011. Using a 0.009% cutoff, five of the property’s nine areas show:

  • measured: 10.39 million short tons averaging 0.025% for 5.69 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8)

  • indicated: 34.16 million tons averaging 0.018% for 12.52 million pounds

  • inferred: 37.79 million tons averaging 0.02% for 17.42 million pounds

The project could offer low-cost open pit, acid heap leach potential, according to Azincourt.

As for Muñani, it shows uranium mineralization in sandstone and outcrops, has undergone airborne geophysics and ground prospecting, and has drill targets ready, Azincourt stated.

Although two years of depressed prices have pushed the projects into dormancy, Azincourt plans to complete community agreements and permitting prior to another drill program.

Vena also announced that Silvia Dedios has been named general manager following David Bent’s resignation. Walter Cuba becomes project manager to work with Azincourt on Minergia’s uranium assets.

Last June Vena dropped out of negotiations with a private Peruvian company to create a JV for three other Vena projects. In August the company settled $150,350 of debt for 1.64 million shares.

Azincourt and Fission update winter plans for Patterson Lake North

Back in the Basin, Azincourt and Fission updated their previously announced winter plans for Patterson Lake North on November 18. The program now includes a radon survey at Hodge Lake as well as further electromagnetic work and eight to 10 holes totalling 2,500 to 3,000 metres.

Initial results from a five-kilometre ground magnetotelluric survey over the northern part of an eight-kilometre VTEM conductive trend suggest it comprises a series of parallel west-dipping basement EM conductors, the JV stated. Further EM work will increase resolution and orient a resistivity survey scheduled for next summer. “Many structurally controlled high-grade uranium occurrences in the Athabasca Basin are related to hydrothermal alteration systems associated with basement EM conductors,” the companies emphasized. Drill targets will be refined by identifying an EM basement conductor with a resistivity low signature, especially when associated with a cross-cutting interpreted structural feature, the partners explained.

Diamond drilling is slated to begin in January, after the holes have been pre-collared with RC rigs.

Azincourt is earning a 50% interest in the 27,408-hectare project adjacent to Fission’s better-known project, the Patterson Lake South JV with Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW. Fission acts as operator on both projects.

Denison considers compulsory acquisition as Rockgate takeover now 86% complete

Delighted with “such overwhelming enthusiasm,” Denison Mines TSX:DML president/CEO Ron Hochstein announced on November 18 his company has so far nabbed 100.54 million shares for 86% control of Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT. In another extension to the offer—the final one, this time—Denison now says Rockgate laggards have until November 29 to throw in their lot with the victor.

If the company can get just 4% more of Rockgate’s total shares, Denison intends to acquire the rest through a compulsory acquisition. Otherwise the aggressive uranium miner/explorer will try an “amalgamation or other corporate reorganization” to part the hold-outs from their holdings. On October 30 Denison stated it was lowering the minimum tender condition from 90% to two-thirds of outstanding shares.

At that time directors of the two companies softened their positions considerably. Rockgate president/CEO Karl Kottmeier initially denounced the Denison offer as an “unsolicited opportunistic hostile takeover bid” which scuttled Rockgate’s proposed merger with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA. Rockgate’s board did, however, reluctantly recommend shareholder acceptance.

Read more here and here.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Read about Denison’s Q3 report.

Denison moves its people into Rockgate management/board positions

Rockgate’s changing of the guard, meanwhile, presages its takeover. The company announced five departures from its seven-person board on November 22. Gone are Doug Ford, Edward Ford, Allen Ambrose, Gord Neal and Phil Williams. Replacing them are Denison directors Ron Hochstein, Robert Dengler and Catherine Stefan, with William Rand becoming chairperson.

Rockgate’s Karl Kottmeier, Doug Ford and Kirk Gamely step down from management, although Kottmeier and Bryan Hyde will remain on Rockgate’s board to smooth the transition of its flagship Falea project in southwestern Mali, which was scheduled for pre-feasibility in early 2014. Denison’s Hochstein now becomes Rockgate president/CEO, David Cates CFO and Sheila Colman corporate secretary.

Denison has said that on acquiring Rockgate it will spin out its African assets to concentrate on the Athabasca Basin.

Mega Uranium closes Australian sale, gains 28% of Toro Energy

Undeterred by its Rockgate failure, Mega has now picked up 28% of an ASX-listed company with “one of the larger pre-development uranium projects worldwide.” That results from the completed sale of Mega’s Lake Maitland property in Western Australia to Toro Energy. In a deal valued at about AU$37 million last August, Mega gets about 28% of Toro shares and fills Toro board positions with Mega executive VP of corporate affairs Richard Patricio and executive VP for Australia Richard Homsany, the Toronto-listed company announced November 19.

Blue Sky drills Ivana project in Argentina, offers $500,000 private placement

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 16 to 22, 2013

Located in Argentina’s Rio Negro province, Blue Sky’s
Ivana project currently undergoes a 2,000-metre drill program.

Now underway at Blue Sky Uranium’s TSXV:BSK Ivana project in Argentina, a nine-hole, 2,000-metre drill campaign targets shallow, roll-front uranium mineralization to 400 metres in depth. Announced November 18, Phase I work also includes ground geophysics. The 71,300-hectare property has previously undergone airborne radiometrics, sampling, prospecting, mapping and trenching.

AREVA funds the work under an option to spend $2 million by December 31 on Blue Sky’s Argentinian properties. On completion, AREVA may fund an additional $3 million on one project, or $4 million combined on two projects, to earn a 51% interest by the end of 2017. In addition to the project in Rio Negro province, Blue Sky currently focuses on its Sierra Colonia property in central Chubut province.

The company also announced a private placement of 10 million units at $0.05 for $500,000. Each unit consists of one share and one transferable warrant exercisable at $0.10 for two years.

Ground gravity survey underway on Aldrin Resource’s Triple M

Announced by Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN on November 20, a ground gravity survey on the PLS-vicinity Triple M property intends to find extensively altered basement rocks associated with two bedrock conductive anomalies shown in last summer’s VTEM survey. Identified by anomalous gravity lows, extensively altered rocks are associated with strong uranium mineralization elsewhere in the region, the company stated. Triple M’s schedule calls for completion of the gravity survey by year-end.

The previous week Aldrin released initial radon results from 527 sample sites. The company also plans to buy the 49,275-hectare Virgin property around the Basin’s south-central edge.

Zadar Ventures acquires two more properties from Canterra Minerals

With two new acquisitions just south of the Basin’s southeastern rim, Zadar Ventures TSXV:ZAD has signed another definitive purchase agreement. The deal, announced November 20, has Zadar issuing 160,000 shares to Canterra Minerals TSXV:CTM and 170,000 to African Oil Corp in return for the 5,831-hectare Highrock and the 5,583-hectare Riverlake projects. Canterra retains a 2% NSR on both properties, of which Zadar may buy half for $1 million.

Both properties have seen historic EM surveys, soil sampling and drilling. Radioactive pitchblende pebbles found immediately west of Highrock might have originated on the property, Zadar stated. Highrock sits eight kilometres from Cameco’s former Key Lake mine.

Riverlake features a 1,200-metre by 600-metre soil anomaly with uranium values up to 0.0374% over three EM conductors with a combined strike of five kilometres, Zadar added. A hole drilled in 2008 found 63 metres of radioactivity five to 10 times the background level.

In September the company announced its acquisition of the 37,445-hectare Pasfield Lake property, also from Canterra. Earlier that month Zadar reported finding radioactive boulders on its PLS-vicinity PNE project.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 3rd, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for October 26 to November 1, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Alpha/Fission hit 5.98% U3O8 over 17.5 metres, including 19.51% over 5.5 metres

With so many scintillometer results announced already, assays for the same holes can be anti-climactic. But that’s the way Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW have orchestrated their Patterson Lake South campaign, now giving observers a near sense of déjà vu. Assays from four holes announced October 29 add little to the news of August 8, although results from the lab are much more reliable than those from the hand-held radiation-detecting gizmo. The assays come from R00E, the farthest southwest of the project’s five zones.

Hole PLS13-074

  • 0.13% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 2.5 metres, starting at 65 metres in downhole depth


  • 0.09% over 2 metres, starting at 178.5 metres

  • 0.08% over 1.5 metres, starting at 183 metres

  • 0.16% over 4.5 metres, starting at 186.5 metres


  • 0.39% over 11.5 metres, starting at 59 metres

  • 0.13% over 15.5 metres, starting at 73 metres


  • 5.98% over 17.5 metres, starting at 83 metres

  • (including 19.51% over 5 metres) (Update: On November 4 the JV partners corrected the intercept width from 5.5 metres to 5 metres.)

True widths were unavailable. Three of the holes were vertical, while 079 dipped at -75 degrees. That hole expands the zone’s high-grade southern area, the companies stated, while all four holes confirm R00E’s east-west strike at 165 metres. The zone remains open in all directions.

With the summer barge-based campaign complete, attention now turns to a land-based program west of R00E. Fission acts as project operator on the 50/50 joint venture until its acquisition of Alpha closes. Fission shareholders will vote on the deal’s spinout aspect on November 28.

(Update: On November 4 the JV announced a sixth PLS zone west of the discovery. Read more.)

Rio Tinto plans winter drilling at Purepoint’s Red Willow

Purepoint Uranium Group TSXV:PTU announced plans on October 29 by Rio Tinto Exploration Canada for 2,500 metres of drilling at Red Willow, a 25,612-hectare property on the Athabasca Basin’s eastern edge. Rio identified targets based on historic drill logs and more recent geophysical and geochemical work. The company built a 28-person camp last summer.

Depth to unconformity in the area varies from zero to 80 metres, Purepoint stated. The company says five major deposits—JEB, Midwest, Cigar Lake, McArthur River and Millennium—“are located along a NE to SW mine trend that extends through the Red Willow project.”

Rio has so far spent about $2.25 million out of a $5-million commitment to earn an initial 51% interest by December 31, 2015. The giant’s Canadian subsidiary may earn 80% by spending $22.5 million by the end of 2021.

In early October Purepoint announced a winter drill campaign for the Hook Lake JV held 21% by Purepoint and 39.5% each by Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and AREVA Resources Canada.

Strong Q3 financials surprise Cameco shareholders

Despite historic low uranium prices, Cameco came out with Q3 earnings far beyond the same period last year. In his October 29 statement, president/CEO Tim Gitzel attributed the success to a contracting strategy “providing us with higher average realized prices that are well above the current uranium spot price.”

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for October 26 to November 1, 2013

Rabbit Lake was one of three Cameco operations that received
10-year licence renewals the same week that the company
surprised investors with an especially strong quarterly report.

Adjusted net earnings for three months ending September 30 came to $208 million, a 324% increase over Q3 2012 or, at 53 cents a share, a 342% increase. Year-to-date figures came to $295 million (up 48%) and 75 cents a share (up 47%).

Gitzel added that Cameco’s “starting to see some of the cost benefits of the restructuring we undertook earlier” and plans to “take advantage of the opportunity we see in the long term.”

However the company’s statement noted “there have been some deferrals of future projects due to uranium prices insufficient to support new production. The deferrals will not directly impact the near-term market, but could have an effect on the longer term outlook for the uranium industry. Complicating the supply outlook further is the possibility of some projects, primarily driven by sovereign interests, moving forward despite market conditions.”

The company forecast strong long-term fundamentals, mostly to China which has “reaffirmed its substantial growth targets out to 2020 and indicated plans to pursue further growth out to 2030. Their growth is palpable as construction on two more reactors began during the third quarter, bringing the total under construction to 30.”

As for Cameco’s long-delayed Cigar Lake mine, the company’s sticking to its current plan of Q1 2014 production and Q2 milling.

But while junior exploration flourishes, especially in the Athabasca Basin, the major plans a 15% to 20% cut in exploration spending this year.

Three Cameco operations get 10-year licence renewals

Licences for Cameco’s Key Lake, McArthur River and Rabbit Lake operations have been renewed for 10 years, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission announced October 29. The CNSC granted the extensions after three days of public meetings that heard from the company, 27 interveners and CNSC staff. The commission agreed to Cameco’s request for 10-year renewals, twice the previous term.

MillenMin finds radioactive outcrops on east Basin properties, reports AGM results

MillenMin Ventures TSXV:MVM completed initial field work at two eastside Basin properties, the 2,759-hectare Highrock Lake NE and 1,648-hectare Smalley Lake W. Work included prospecting, outcrop mapping and examination of previously found mineralization, the company announced October 28.

Grab samples from radioactive outcrops on both properties have been sent for assays. MillenMin first announced its foray into uranium last May and has staked 11 claims totalling about 18,983 hectares in and around the Basin.

On October 31 the company reported AGM results with directors re-elected, auditors re-appointed and other business approved.

Declan options northeastern Alberta property

Southwest of the Basin’s Alberta extremity, Declan Resources TSXV:LAN has optioned the 50,000-hectare Firebag River property. Previous geophysical survey data “shows a complex pattern of magnetic lows and highs, truncated or offset in the northern part of the property by the Marguerite River Fault,” Declan stated on October 29. Exploration in 1977 “confirmed the presence of a southwest-oriented fault zone and a geochemical anomaly with 11 ppm cobalt in lake sediments atop this structure,” the company added.

The deal would have Declan paying $85,000, issuing five million shares over two years and spending $3 million over three years. The optioner retains a 2% NSR on metals and a 4% gross overriding royalty on non-metallic commodities.

In September Declan announced an option to acquire the Patterson Lake Northeast property. The company plans to engage Dahrouge Geological Consulting to explore its uranium properties.

Rockgate takeover offer: Denison softens conditions, extends deadline

Denison Mines TSX:DML advanced its attempted takeover of Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT by lowering the minimum tender condition from 90% to two-thirds of outstanding shares. In an October 30 statement Denison also extended the offer’s deadline again, this time to November 18, and dropped conditions related to staff retention and consulting agreements.

The same day Rockgate said insiders agreed not to exercise their options unless another company comes up with a better offer. Denison had requested a cease trade order on 11 million Rockgate options granted on September 30, which Denison termed “improper defensive tactics.” The British Columbia Securities Commission didn’t agree. But rather than risk Denison withdrawing its offer, Rockgate insiders “put the interests of the shareholders of Rockgate before their own personal interests and agreed to amend the terms of the options,” company president/CEO Karl Kottmeier said.

The tone of the companies’ statements has warmed considerably since Kottmeier labelled Denison’s offer an “unsolicited opportunistic hostile takeover bid.” Denison president/CEO Ron Hochstein thanked Kottmeier and the Rockgate board “for their contributions to allowing the offer to proceed towards a successful conclusion.”

Meanwhile Rockgate continues prefeasibility work on its flagship Falea uranium-silver-copper project in Mali.

Read how Denison’s offer defeated Rockgate’s proposed merger with Mega Uranium.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Lakeland Resources’ JV partner New Dimension to drill for gold

Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK announced on October 31 an imminent drill campaign of at least 1,800 metres by JV partner New Dimension Resources TSXV:NDR on the Midas gold property in north-central Ontario. Lakeland optioned the project to New Dimension in September in order to focus on Saskatchewan uranium exploration. But Lakeland will retain a 30% interest in Midas carried to an initial 43-101 resource estimate.

I’m excited that the project’s going to continue to be worked while we focus on uranium.—Jonathan Armes, president/CEO
of Lakeland Resources

“New Dimension is a great group to work with and the deal was easy to do,” Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes tells “I’m excited that the project’s going to continue to be worked while we focus on uranium. The onus is on them to explore that project and we share in any benefits that result.”

The previous week Lakeland closed a private placement for a total of $1,057,718 and announced the appointment of Basin veteran John Gingerich to the company’s advisory board. Field work continues on Lakeland’s Riou Lake uranium project.

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

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Cameco’s profit up 324%, Cigar Lake mine to begin production in Q1 2014

October 30th, 2013

by Cecilia Jamasmie | October 30, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

Shares of Cameco Corp TSX:CCO were up close to 6% in Canada and the U.S. as the uranium miner’s third quarter earnings came in far ahead of expectations, thanks to strong uranium sales volumes and prices, and decreasing production costs.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company earned $211 million or 53 cents per share in the three months ending September 30, up from $79 million or 20 cents per share a year earlier, Cameco Corp TSX:CCO said Wednesday.

Uranium production in the quarter totalled 5.8 million pounds, up from 5.3 million pounds a year ago, while sales amounted to 8.5 million pounds, up from 5.2 million in the same quarter last year.

Cameco’s profit up 324%, Cigar Lake mine to begin production in Q1 2014

Cameco’s average realized price increased to $52.59 per pound, up from $45.77 a year ago, while its average cost slipped to $26.19 per pound compared with $28.85 a year ago.

Despite uranium prices being 30% lower in the quarter, at $37.45 a pound, the giant producer of the yellow commodity said it was able to lock in a higher price under previous orders with its customers.

The company also reiterated that its Cigar Lake project in Saskatchewan, a joint venture with France’s AREVA and two other partners, should definitely begin production in the first quarter of 2014, with the mill starting to process ore from the mine by the end of the second quarter.

Reprinted by permission of

AREVA hostages freed after three years

October 29th, 2013

by Greg Klein | October 29, 2013

AREVA hostages freed after three years in custody

AREVA operates two open pit mines in Niger, the world’s fourth-largest uranium producer.

Kidnappers have released four AREVA employees after holding them hostage for more than three years, the French government announced October 29. Al Qaeda-linked terrorists abducted the group in September 2010 from their residence in Arlit, Niger, where they worked at the uranium giant’s Somair mine. French President Francois Hollande credited their release to the president of Niger, Reuters stated.

The men, Daniel Larribe, Marc Féret, Thierry Dol and Pierre Legrand, were said to be in good health and en route to Niamey in southwestern Niger.

Somair resumed full production in August after a May 23 terrorist attack killed one employee and injured at least 14 others. AREVA’s two Niger mines produce 7.5% of global production, according to the World Nuclear Association.

The Niger operations are held 63.6% by AREVA and 36.4% by a state agency. The French government holds a majority stake in AREVA.