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Athabasca Basin and beyond

April 12th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for April 5 to 11, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission Uranium reports seven strong holes from Patterson Lake South

They probably don’t surprise anyone anymore but Fission Uranium’s (TSXV:FCU) weekly dispatches from Patterson Lake South continue to impress. Radiometric readings from all seven holes released April 7 showed wide intervals and “off-scale” radioactivity.

The results, which are no substitute for assays, come from a hand-held scintillometer that measures gamma radioactivity from drill core in counts per second up to a maximum possible (“off-scale”) reading of 9,999 cps. Lab results are pending.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for April 5 to 11, 2014

Fission Uranium found off-scale radiometric readings for intervals
from each of seven holes in this week’s news from Patterson Lake South.

This week’s batch comes from zone 780E, the third of five zones along a west-east strike that just last week extended to 2.24 kilometres and remains open at both ends.

The star hole was PLS14-201, which gave up a composite total of 82.5 metres (not true widths) of mineralization including a composite of 16.8 metres straining the scintillometer at 9,999 cps. The interval closest to surface began at 84 metres in downhole depth while the deepest stopped at 340.5 metres.

The other six holes showed intervals in roughly similar ranges of depth, with one beginning as close as 58.5 metres from surface and the deepest ending at 415 metres.

The company has now finished 70 of 100 holes totalling 30,000 metres planned for the $12-million winter campaign. Four rigs will sink about 85 of those holes to delineate the 31,039-hectare project’s main mineralized trend. A fifth rig explores farther away.

Also on April 7 Fission Uranium granted insiders 500,000 options at $1.65 for five years. The previous week the company granted 6.5 million options on the same terms.

Lakeland Resources stakes five more Saskatchewan properties totalling 52,255 hectares

A quintet of new acquisitions in and around the Athabasca Basin bolstered Lakeland Resources’ (TSXV:LK) portfolio to 16 properties totalling about 157,000 hectares. The turf came through staking which, president/CEO Jonathan Armes told ResourceClips.com on April 11, is ideal for juniors “because you own it 100% with no encumbrances, underlying NSRs and so on.”

Neil McCallum, a company director and project geologist/manager with Dahrouge Geological Consulting, says Lakeland had been studying the properties while waiting for them to come available. “A lot of people get land because it’s in or near the Basin without targeting anything in particular. You can do a lot of research, if you know what you’re looking for, to find good targets before you acquire them.”

A lot of people get land because it’s in or near the Basin without targeting anything in particular. You can do a lot of research, if you know what you’re looking for, to find good targets before you acquire them.—Lakeland Resources
director Neil McCallum

The new ground includes Lazy Edward Bay, a 21,990-hectare project on the Basin’s southern margin with four shallow trends that Lakeland considers drill-ready.

Just off the Basin’s northeastern rim, the 7,195-hectare Karen Lake project has yet to be drilled despite several silt samples grading over 1% uranium. Another 2,889-hectare property along the Basin’s northern edge, Black Lake has a shallow depth to the unconformity of about 260 metres and has undergone historic and recent geophysics.

The 16,925-hectare Hidden Bay sits about eight kilometres east of the Basin and hosts an outlier of Athabasca sandstone and at least four graphitic corridors. About 70 klicks south of the Basin, the 3,258-hectare Fedun Lake property sits on the Wollaston domain that hosts most of the Basin’s uranium deposits.

With cash in hand from last month’s oversubscribed $2.8-million private placement, McCallum says Lakeland is “certainly funded to prioritize the projects we want to work ourselves. If we find JV opportunities for other projects, we wouldn’t mind that either. We have enough projects that we can work some ourselves and have those JV opportunities at the same time.”

Speaking of joint ventures, Gibbon’s Creek is about to undergo a ground electromagnetic survey prior to an anticipated 2,500-metre drill campaign funded by partner Declan Resources TSXV:LAN. Boulder samples from the 12,771-hectare northern Basin project have graded as high as 4.28% uranium oxide (U3O8) while a RadonEx survey showed some of the highest measurements ever found in the Basin.

Read more about Lakeland’s new acquisitions.

MPVC/CanAlaska report radon anomalies from Northwest Manitoba project

Now trading under TSXV:UNO following its change of business, MPVC Inc joined CanAlaska Uranium TSXV:CVV on April 8 to announce “highly anomalous radon results” from the Maguire Lake area of their Northwest Manitoba project. The land-based survey covered a three-by-10-kilometre section of the 143,603-hectare project finding trends “in some cases over four kilometres and approximately 100 to 200 metres wide.” The survey also identified areas of about 400 by 800 metres where radon measured over three times the background levels, sometimes coinciding with gravity and resistivity lows.

Two islands with anomalous values also feature radioactive outcrops. Boulder samples from one island have graded up to 66% U3O8.

The Manitoba property shares some geological features with the Basin, with a distinction that “uranium mineralization outcrops within our project area rather than being deeply buried as is the case with many deposits in the Basin,” the companies stated.

Upcoming plans include a radon survey over the lake itself prior to a drill program scheduled to begin in late April. As part of its 80% option with CanAlaska, MPVC must spend $3.2 million on exploration by 2015.

The previous week CanAlaska sold its Kasmere South project in Manitoba to a private company for $1.8 million to help advance its “core Japanese and Korean joint ventures at West MacArthur and Cree East.”

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

December 7th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 30 to December 6, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Introducing the Alpha Minerals spinco—Alpha Exploration Inc

With court blessing announced December 2 for the Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW takeover by Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU, the deal faces just one more approval, this one from the TSXV. That was expected, but not announced, on December 6. Alpha’s spinco, Alpha Exploration Inc (anticipated ticker TSXV:AEX) gets about $3 million cash and all non-Patterson Lake South assets, including properties in Ontario and British Columbia as well as Saskatchewan. Each Alpha Minerals share fetches 5.725 Fission shares and one-half spinco share. Since December 3 Alpha Minerals shares have no longer traded with spinco shares attached.

The current Alpha Minerals board and management will “substantially” move into AEX positions.

Court approval for Fission Uranium’s spinco—tentatively titled Fission 3.0 to also commemorate Fission Uranium’s predecessor and Denison Mines’ TSX:DML acquisition Fission Energy—was announced the previous week. Each Fission Uranium shareholder gets one share of post-arrangement Fission Uranium as well as a share of the Fission spinout, expected to start trading December 10.

Having obtained full PLS ownership from its 50/50 joint venture ally, Fission Uranium has undoubtedly caught the attention of much bigger takeout artists.

Read more about the takeover.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Lakeland/Declan Resources JV accelerates work, strengthens their positions

In this market you have to work with strong partners. You have to collaborate and be a bit creative. We’re fortunate to work with people like Declan president Wayne Tisdale’s team and the financial connections they can bring.—Ryan Fletcher, director of Lakeland Resources

A new team of Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK and Declan Resources TSXV:LAN means an accelerated winter drill program for their Gibbon’s Creek flagship as well as the opportunity to put additional work into other Basin-area projects.

Declan’s first-year commitment will inject another $1.25 million into Gibbon’s, a 12,771-hectare north-central Basin property that already underwent over $3 million of work prior to last fall’s field campaign by Lakeland. Declan may earn 50% of the project by spending that $1.25 million, paying Lakeland $100,000 and issuing two million shares in 12 months. Over four years Declan may obtain a 70% interest for a total of $1.5 million in cash, 11 million shares and $6.5 million in spending.

The agreement further demonstrates Declan’s new direction, following its acquisitions in September and October of the 9,000-hectare Patterson Lake Northeast and 50,000-hectare Firebag River properties.

Declan’s commitment also allows Lakeland to ramp up its campaign for two other north-central Basin properties, South Pine and Perch Lake. Work on all those properties will be managed by Dahrouge Geological Consulting, led by PLS and Waterbury Lake veteran Jody Dahrouge.

Field results from Lakeland’s fall campaign are pending, while new appointments are anticipated from Declan.

Read more about the Lakeland/Declan JV and their other projects.

Read more about Lakeland Resources here and here.

Macusani claims low-cost uranium potential in Peruvian PEA

Macusani Yellowcake TSXV:YEL presented its case for a low-grade but potentially low-cost uranium mining operation in Peru with a preliminary economic assessment released December 5. The company envisions both open pit and underground operations with “a low stripping ratio in the open pit operations, anticipated low acid consumption and high process plant recoveries expected to be achieved in a short period of time.”

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 30 to December 6, 2013

The under-explored Macusani plateau shows considerable
uranium potential, according to the eponymous Macusani Yellowcake.

The report, using U.S. dollars, uses an 8% discount rate to calculate a $417-million after-tax net present value with a 32.4% internal rate of return. Those numbers assume a long-term price of $65 a pound uranium oxide (U3O8).

Initial capital expenditures would come to $331 million to build the mine and a plant processing 8.5 million tonnes per year. Total sustaining capital costs for the 10-year lifespan would reach $228 million. Payback would take 3.5 years.

Life of mine cash costs would average $20.57 a pound but, Macusani emphasized, years one to five would average $19.45, “placing it in the lowest quartile in the world using 2012 production figures.” Those first five years would produce an average 5.17 million pounds annually which would, were it operating now, rank the mine the world’s sixth largest, the company maintained. The 10-year average would be 4.3 million pounds.

The project, on the Macusani plateau in southeastern Peru, features multiple deposits, some adjacent to each other, others a few to several kilometres apart. The December 5 news release once again claimed last August’s resource update showed a 167% increase in measured and indicated categories. But there was no increase in the measured category. In fact measured pounds equal less than 1% of the M&I total.

Calling the project potentially “one of the lowest-cost uranium producers in the world,” Macusani CEO Laurence Stefan added, “The PEA demonstrates that the Macusani plateau has significant potential to become a major uranium-producing district, considering that only small areas have been explored to date.”

The company expects to begin pre-feasibility work in 2014.

NexGen announces initial geophysical results for Rook 1

An airborne radiometric survey over the PLS-vicinity Rook 1 project found at least five zones with elevated readings, NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE reported on December 2. Two of the zones are “proximal” to last summer’s drilling and could provide targets for another program beginning in January. Additionally aeromagnetic data identified regional and local basement structures.

The company will pursue the source of the elevated radiometrics next summer through ground radiometric surveying, mapping and sampling. Meanwhile the current data from 5,772 line-kilometres of high-resolution magnetic, very low frequency and radiometric surveys undergoes more comprehensive analysis.

Still to come are assays from NexGen’s nine-hole, 3,473-metre campaign at the eastside Basin Radio project, where the company holds a 70% option two kilometres east of Rio Tinto’s NYE:RIO Roughrider deposits. Having raised $5 million in late August, NexGen stated it’s still well-financed.

More near-surface, district-wide potential found in Argentina, says U3O8

In mid-November U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE said a discovery roughly 40 kilometres northeast of its Laguna Salada deposit could indicate district-scale potential. On December 4 the company stated another Argentinian discovery, on the southern extension of Laguna Salada, further suggests that potential. In both cases vertical channel sampling found near-surface, soft gravel uranium-vanadium mineralization.

Laguna Salada trials showed that screening could concentrate over 90% of its uranium in about 10% of the gravel’s original mass, resulting in 10 to 11 times greater grade, U3O8 stated. The company maintains its deposits offer continuous surface mining potential with alkaline leaching.

Dubbed La Susana, the new discovery’s slated for pitting and trenching to determine the extent of mineralization. While Laguna Salada’s PEA nears completion, the company continues JV negotiations with a province-owned mining company that could unite Laguna Salada with adjoining concessions.

U3O8 has a Colombian uranium-polymetallic project with a PEA and an earlier-stage project in Guyana.

Aldrin finishes Triple M gravity survey, offers $2-million private placement

With its ground gravity survey complete, Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN stated anomalies coincide with previous results and already-identified drill targets. Data from 871 stations on Triple M, adjacent to and southwest of PLS, covered two parallel bedrock conductors already noted from an airborne VTEM survey and surface radon anomalies, the company reported on December 4.

Gravity anomalies consist of relatively low readings “reflecting the dissolution and removal of rock mass by the same basinal fluids that may also precipitate uranium,” Aldrin explained.

Two days earlier the company announced a $2-million private placement for Triple M exploration and drilling. The offer comprises 18.18 million units at $0.11, with each unit consisting of one flow-though share and one-half warrant, with each full warrant exercisable at $0.16 for 18 months.

In early November Aldrin reported closing a $972,500 first tranche of a private placement that had been announced the previous month. The company has also indicated plans to buy the Virgin property around the Basin’s south-central rim.

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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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<p class=Fission Uranium threatened to go hostile when Alpha Minerals
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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