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Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 31st, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 24 to 30, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Fission proposes Alpha takeover for sole control of Patterson Lake South

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asked for more time to consider its proposal.

This week’s Patterson Lake South news came not from the field or an assay lab but from the boardrooms. Separate August 26 news releases from 50/50 joint venture partners Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW revealed that talks had been underway about the former taking over the latter.

It transpired that after the market closed on Friday, August 23, Fission gave Alpha until the following Sunday afternoon to respond to Fission’s all-share offer, then valued at $7.26 per Alpha share or about $170.44 million. When Alpha asked for more time to consider, Fission went public, saying it “will consider making a formal offer directly to Alpha’s shareholders.”

By press time August 31, neither company had made further announcements on the subject.

Read more about Fission’s proposal and Alpha’s response.

Read commentator Tommy Humphreys’ suggestions for a combined Fission/Alpha team.

Update: On September 3 both companies announced a letter of intent for Fission to acquire Alpha. Read more.

Ashburton finds radioactive boulders at Sienna West, reports historic data

Ashburton Ventures TSXV:ABR has wrapped up Phase I exploration at its 1,090-hectare Sienna West property about 40 kilometres southwest of the PLS discovery, the company announced on August 28. “Numerous” radioactive boulders showed gamma ray readings above 200 counts per second, with some measuring 1,500 to 1,800 cps. About 20 boulders will be assayed, the company stated. In addition 40 radon detector cups were placed, to be retrieved for analysis after 30 days.

Ashburton also cited historic, non-43-101 Geological Survey of Canada sediment samples from two lakes on the property that showed results in the 98th percentile of 909 samples from roughly 16,000 square kilometres of northwestern Saskatchewan. The lakes are two kilometres apart, suggesting the results “are not an isolated occurrence,” the company added.

The Sienna project includes the 147-hectare Sienna North property contiguous with PLS’s northern boundary. Two weeks earlier Ashburton reported a crew found radioactive boulders there, which were sent for assays, and placed radon cups. The company plans to identify drill targets for Sienna’s next phase.

Enexco/Denison drill Bachman Lake

Drilling has begun at Bachman Lake, an 11,419-hectare property about four kilometres west of Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO proposed Millennium mine in the southeastern Athabasca Basin. The three-hole, 1,900-metre program will cost JV partners Denison Mines TSX:DML and International Enexco TSXV:IEC $570,000, the latter announced on August 26. The helicopter-supported campaign will test three conductors that lie 2.5 to five kilometres apart.

Enexco may earn a 20% interest by funding $500,000 by year-end. Denison, which holds a 7.4% interest in Enexco, acts as project operator. Enexco also holds a 30% interest in the 3,407-hectare Mann Lake JV 20 kilometres northeast, along with Cameco (52.5%) and AREVA Resources Canada (17.5%). In Nevada, Enexco’s 100% Contact copper project now undergoes pre-feasibility.

Fission finds “significant and strongly radioactive” anomalies on North Shore

On the northwestern Basin, airborne geophysics found two “significant and strongly radioactive” anomalies on Fission’s North Shore property, the company reported August 29. “The northern anomalous region occurs within a 1.5-kilometre by 0.5-kilometre area and contains several parallel trends up to 300 metres,” the company stated. Another anomaly about seven kilometres southwest ranges between one to 10 kilometres wide and up to three kilometres long. The company added that radiometrics suggest some of the larger anomalies “are likely to be part of the outcrop/sub-crop, as opposed to boulders.”

Fission credited the find to its patent-pending System and Method for Aerial Surveying or Mapping of Radioactive Deposits, which the company says is the same technology that found the PLS boulder field. In August Fission’s collaborator on the system, Special Projects Inc, flew a 12,257-line-kilometre magnetic and radiometric survey at 50-metre line-spacing over the entire property. The system can distinguish between radioactivity released by uranium, thorium or potassium, as well as determine the relative concentration of each element, Fission stated.

Along with further data analysis, the company plans to follow up with mapping and prospecting. The property underwent a seven-hole, 1,260-metre drill program in 2007 and 2008. Fission has interests in seven Basin uranium projects and one in Peru.

U3O8 negotiating JV with Argentinian state-owned company

U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE announced August 27 that advanced discussions are underway with the state-owned mining company of Chubut province, Argentina, to form a JV. The proposal would combine U3O8’s Laguna Salada uranium-vanadium project with adjoining concessions held by Petrominera Chubut SE, onto which U3O8 believes its deposit extends. The company said the deal would also “establish a framework for potential development of the Laguna Salada deposit in compliance with the stringent requirements of the current provincial mining law.” The project has a preliminary economic assessment scheduled later this year.

Having acquired Calypso Uranium last May, U3O8 holds Argentina’s two largest uranium deposits. The country plans to bring a third reactor online this year, boosting its proportion of nuclear energy to 9%, while a fourth reactor is out for tender and a fifth is being planned, U3O8 stated. Argentina currently imports all of its nuclear fuel.

In Colombia, U3O8’s Berlin project has a December PEA for a potential uranium mine with phosphate, vanadium, nickel and rare earths credits. The company also has a uranium project in Guyana.

Boss Power/Morning Star dispute stalls $30-million settlement

A $30-million settlement dating to October 2011 is being held up by a dispute between its beneficiaries. After the British Columbia government suddenly banned uranium and thorium exploration in 2009, the province eventually settled Boss Power’s TSXV:BPU lawsuit out of court. But a condition required the company to surrender its exploration properties, the Blizzard properties and the peripheral B claims. According to an August 19 news release from Morning Star Resources, the settlement hasn’t closed because Boss included those claims in the settlement “without the knowledge and consent of the B claims owner,” Anthony Beruschi.

An August 27 Boss news release acknowledged Beruschi, “sole director and president of Morning Star” and a former Boss director, as “beneficial owner of the B claims.”

Boss’ news release claimed Beruschi “appears determined to extract more than his fair share of the settlement proceeds” and “now appears to be leveraging media and threats of a board replacement to obtain payment for his B claims.”

Morning Star’s August 19 statement said Beruschi “has privately presented several fair offers to Boss’ management and the board to enable Boss to deliver the B claims under the settlement” and accused Boss of “a refusal to negotiate in good faith.”

Morning Star said it will present its own slate of nominees for election to Boss’ board at a meeting Morning Star expects to be held by mid-November “so that it can promptly close the $30-million settlement.” Morning Star stated that it and its affiliates hold about 33% of Boss’ shares.

Boss countered it will “continue its efforts to reach an agreement with Mr. Beruschi while at the same time pursuing court proceedings to allow the settlement proceeds to be paid into court and the settlement to complete.”

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

July 28th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 20 to 26, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Denison reports best grade/interval result from high-grade Wheeler River

A radiometric probe has found the most impressive result so far from Denison Mines’ TSX:DML Wheeler River project in the eastern Athabasca Basin. Of four holes reported July 24, one showed the project’s highest grade-times-thickness calculation.

Three holes at the Phoenix A deposit showed:

  • 43.2% uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) over 10.3 metres, starting at 401.6 metres in vertical depth
  • 16.4% over 1.7 metres, starting at 403.5 metres
  • 13% over 3.1 metres, starting at 403.7 metres.

Roughly 2.1 kilometres from the Phoenix deposits, one hole at the 489 zone showed:

  • 0.3% over 3.2 metres, starting at 411.1 metres.

Intercepts are approximate true widths. The company explained eU3O8 as “radiometric equivalent uranium oxide calculated from a total gamma downhole probe.” Radiometric probes are not chemical assays.

The Phoenix A drill holes tested for possible extensions of the deposit’s higher-grade domain, defined as approximately 20% U3O8. Using a 0.8% cutoff, the December 2012 resource estimate for Phoenix A showed:

  • an indicated category of 133,500 tonnes averaging 15.8% for 46.5 million pounds U3O8
  • an inferred category of 6,300 tonnes averaging 51.7% for 7.2 million pounds.

With the same 0.8% cutoff, the Phoenix B deposit showed:

  • an indicated category of 19,000 tonnes averaging 14.1% for 5.9 million pounds
  • an inferred category of 5,300 tonnes averaging 3.5% for 400,000 pounds.
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 20 to 26, 2013

With continued drilling, Denison hopes to expand
Wheeler River’s high-grade resource.

Combined, Wheeler River’s resource comes to 52.4 million pounds indicated and 7.6 million pounds inferred.

With 15 of 23 holes in three areas now complete, drilling continues. Wheeler is held 60% by project operator Denison, 30% by Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and 10% by JCU (Japan-Canada Uranium) Exploration.

This summer will also see Denison busy at seven other Basin properties: Waterbury Lake (held 40% by the Korea Electric Power Corp), Packrat, South Dufferin, Johnston Lake and Moon Lake (held 45% by Uranium One TSX:UUU, which is expected to be taken private by the Russian state-owned company ARMZ in Q3).

WASP extends VTEM-Plus, advances radiometrics on PLS-area’s largest package

A four-company strategic alliance announced progress on its airborne surveys over the Patterson Lake South-area’s largest land package. Jointly funded by Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY and Noka Resources TSXV:NX, the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project totals 287,130 hectares, with 275,361 hectares in the vicinity of the near-surface, high-grade PLS discovery of Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW and Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU.

A VTEM-Plus survey has flown 720 line-kilometres in addition to the original 4,120-line-kilometre survey. The additional coverage consisted of infill and extension of conductive anomalies and structural features identified in preliminary data, the syndicate reported on July 23. Meanwhile Goldak Airborne Surveys is wrapping up a 4,400-line-kilometre radiometric program at 200-metre line spacing to measure radioactivity in outcrops and boulder trains. Goldak compiles the data using a proprietary digital acquisition system.

“We should have complete interpretation done by [geophysicist] Phil Robertshaw in early or mid-August,” Skyharbour president/CEO Jordan Trimble tells ResourceClips.com. “That will delineate the highest-priority targets for fieldwork but we’ve already had boots on the ground doing some preliminary surveying and prospecting. We plan to have a small team back there in early August and that will lead to the full-fledged field program that will commence probably in late August.”

With the four companies earning 25% each, the alliance plans to spend $6 million over two years. “The syndicate is a real advantage to budget,” Trimble points out. “Skyharbour’s obligation is just one-sixth of that. The same with Athabasca Nuclear and then Lucky Strike and Noka pay just one-third each, so it’s not onerous for any one company. It makes the project a lot more viable, especially in these tough markets. And we’re really starting to see the synergies pay off here with the different geologists and their contact base. Their networks are open too.”

Read more about the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.

VTEM-Plus, radiometric collaboration flies Aldrin’s Triple M

The VTEM-Plus and radiometric surveys also cover PLS-area properties held by Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN and Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC, a money-saving collaboration announced in May. On July 24 Aldrin also reported the program completed VTEM-Plus infill lines and began radiometrics using 100-metre line spacing over its Triple M property.

Scheduled for August is radon sampling as well as follow-up work on any anomalies found by the radiometrics. The company hopes to start drilling next January to test basement conductors reported in June.

NexGen expands PLS-adjacent Rook 1 drill campaign

NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE has doubled its drill plans for Rook 1, the company announced July 24. With two rigs scheduled to start in mid-August, the campaign now calls for approximately 20 holes totalling 3,000 metres, twice the amount announced in May. Land-based, shallow drilling will test targets identified by airborne VTEM and ground gravity and DC resistivity surveys in the property’s southwestern section, immediately northeast of PLS. NexGen interprets a conductor to extend from the Fission/Alpha discovery into southwestern Rook 1.

In June NexGen began a 4,000-metre campaign on its Radio project, part of a 70% earn-in on the property adjacent to Rio Tinto’s Roughrider deposit.

Fission, Azincourt announce summer program for Patterson Lake North

Immediately north of Patterson Lake South lies, of course, Patterson Lake North. On July 22 joint venture partners Fission and Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ announced a $530,000 summer program to start in early August.

Following up on “conductive areas of interest” found by a previous survey, an airborne VTEM max will fly 303 line-kilometres at 400-metre line spacing over the approximately 25,000-hectare property’s northern half. That will be followed by a single-line 6.3-line-kilometre ground magnetotellurics survey. The property’s southern portion will get a ground TDEM survey. The partners hope results will help identify targets for a drill campaign anticipated for next winter.

The companies say PLN sits within a large gravity low structural corridor that incorporates PLS, the former Cluff Lake mine and the Shea Creek deposits of UEX Corp TSX:UEX and AREVA Resources Canada. Additionally PLN shows EM anomalies that might be interpreted as an extension of the Saskatoon Lake EM conductor associated with Shea Creek.

Azincourt may earn 50% of PLN by paying $4.75 million in cash or shares and spending $12 million by April 2017. Fission gets a 2% NSR and acts as project operator. Fission has already spent about $4.7 million exploring PLN. Earlier this month the company applied for a patent on its “System and Method for Aerial Surveying or Mapping of Radioactive Deposits.”

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

July 6th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for June 29 to July 5, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Conductive trend links Forum’s Clearwater with Patterson Lake South

A conductive trend hosting the Patterson Lake South discovery extends into Forum Uranium’s TSXV:FDC adjacent Clearwater property, the company announced July 3. Preliminary results from an electromagnetic and magnetic survey link the trend with the high-grade, near-surface uranium found by Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW and Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU over the last several months.

Along with three other companies, Forum took part in a jointly funded VTEM-plus time domain survey to fly contiguous PLS-area properties held by Forum, Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN, Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH and Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC. A radiometric survey will follow later this summer to search for radioactive boulder trains.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for June 29 to July 5, 2013

Core trays hold Patterson Lake South samples with off-scale gamma ray readings over 9,999 counts per second. Fission and Alpha have now announced details of their $6.95-million PLS campaign.

Clearwater sits adjacent to the southwest of Patterson Lake South and also borders properties that would form part of the Western Athabasca Syndicate. Under a memorandum of understanding announced June 24, Skyharbour and Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC plan to combine their Athabasca Basin properties into a single 287,130-hectare package. The two companies, plus Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY and Noka Resources TSXV:NX, would then fund $6 million of exploration over two years. Except for the 11,769-hectare Wheeler project on the Basin’s east side, the entire package lies within the PLS area.

As a result of its find, Forum increased the resolution of its airborne survey. The company plans to follow up with radon surveys, ground geophysics and detailed prospecting.

Fission, Alpha unveil $6.95-million Patterson Lake South plan

With barges and drills onsite and permits in hand, the Alpha/Fission joint venture released details about their imminent $6.95-million, 44-hole, 11,000-metre PLS program on July 2. The 50/50 partners plan 40 holes focusing on three zones along an 850-metre trend, while an additional four holes will test additional targets along strike. Equipment will include a reverse circulation drill for overburden, two diamond drills for bedrock and three barges to keep them afloat. Two of the three zones are underwater with lake depths of about four to six metres.

All holes will get a radiometric probe. Ground geophysics and environmental baseline studies will also take place.

So far over 90% of drill targets have found mineralization, the companies stated. The 31,000-hectare project’s three zones are separated by gaps of 300 metres and 360 metres that have yet to be drilled. All three zones remain open in all directions, the partners added.

Fission serves as project operator until April 2014, when it swaps roles with Alpha.

Japanese utilities to apply for nuclear reactor permits

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority will begin receiving applications on July 8 for reactor re-starts, Bloomberg reported. The news agency’s July 3 dispatch said 48 reactors, providing over a quarter of the country’s electricity, had been shut down following the 2011 earthquakes and Fukushima accident. Since then Japanese utilities have been “bleeding cash from importing extra oil and gas for backup generation.”

Speaking to ResourceClips.com on July 5, Dundee Capital Markets senior analyst David Talbot said he’s heard three agencies will be reviewing the applications in a process that might take as long as six months. “It’s not whether their reactors are coming back online because I think everybody realizes they are,” he said. “It’s how many reactors are going to come online and how quickly…. How many of these reactors get up and running by the end of the year is probably one of the biggest questions. Once they start coming back online, I think that’s going to give a psychological push to the entire sector.” As a result the price of uranium, now below $40 a pound, could get the boost needed to spur mine development, Talbot explained.

Japan, Uzbekistan to co-operate on uranium exploration

Meanwhile, Japan expects to sign a uranium exploration agreement with Uzbekistan, the Kyodo news service reported on July 6. Two state-owned companies, the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp and Uzbekistan’s Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat, will meet July 8 to ink a five-year plan to assess uranium deposits in Uzbekistan. Japan depends completely on imported uranium.

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