Thursday 20th October 2016

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Posts tagged ‘france’

How a Brexit could affect the gold price

July 7th, 2016

The precious metal’s recent run could just be getting started

by | July 7, 2016

Gold was already one of the best-performing asset classes in 2016 before British citizens unexpectedly voted to leave the European Union on June 23. We believe this will turn out to be the most important catalyst for the precious metal since it began its most recent bull run.

How a Brexit could affect the gold price

Despite beginning the New Year below $1,100, gold had failed a few times to hold above the $1,300 level since its upward move began back in January. We feel confident that the Brexit uncertainty will hang over the markets for at least the remainder of 2016, providing a firm support above $1,300.

The most immediate catalyst likely coming gold’s way is U.S. employment data for the month of June, which is expected to be released on July 8. The Labor Department expects 170,000 new jobs to be created during the month.

Given May’s dismal 38,000 employment gain, only a figure well above 200,000 will create any potential headwinds for the precious metal.

This all leads to the next U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that is happening during the final week of July. Minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting (released on July 6) suggested that the impact of a Brexit would need to be more certain before the Fed would decide to raise interest rates again, all of which is good news for gold bulls.

Also helping gold is negative interest rates on long-term debt in Germany, France, Japan and, most recently, Switzerland, which has seen its 50-year interest rates go negative for the first time.

Could the United States be next? In fact, that country’s 10- and 30-year interest rates on July 6 reached all-time lows of 1.32% and 2.1% respectively. According to data released by Fitch Ratings, a record US$11.7 trillion of global sovereign debt has dipped to sub-zero yield territory.

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Canada’s gold sell-off bucks international trend

February 15th, 2016

by Greg Klein | February 15, 2016

Canada’s gold sell-off bucks international trend

With no help from Canada, central bank gold purchases totalled
588.4 tonnes last year, second only to the 2013 record of 625.5 tonnes.
Chart: World Gold Council


Other countries have been net buyers of gold since 2010, but not Canada. The Great White North has less than one tonne left, the CBC reports. Last year’s reserve was modest enough, but still stood at over US$100 million through most of 2015. Recent selling drove the stash down to $19 million by February 8, according to finance ministry figures cited by the network.

Canada’s gold sell-off bucks international trend

Photos: Royal Canadian Mint

They show sales of 41,106 ounces in December and another 32,860 ounces the following month, all in maple leaf coins. That left 21,929 ounces at the end of January, which the Bank of Canada called “negligible,” the CBC stated.

Gold’s recent price spike, which on its February 11 peak had some retailers offering over C$1,780 for one-ounce maple leafs, had nothing to do with the sales, finance ministry spokesperson David Barnabe informed the CBC.

“The government has a long-standing policy of diversifying its portfolio by selling physical commodities (such as gold) and instead investing in financial assets that are easily tradable and that have deep markets of buyers and sellers,” he stated in an e-mail.

That seems to be at odds with the policies of other countries. The World Gold Council attributes the metal’s attraction to other central banks to the “size and diversity of gold supply and demand,” which means it’s “highly liquid and remains so throughout periods of uncertainty. Gold’s historic lack of correlation with other reserve assets and negative correlation to the U.S. dollar mean it is commonly used to manage market risk and improve portfolio performance.”

Central bank buying “surged” in H2 2015, according to WGC figures released February 11, “resulting in the second-highest annual demand in our records.”

With Canada apparently among the exceptions, central banks have been net buyers of gold since 2010, “driven in part by uncertainty over the future of the international monetary systems and the need to diversify reserves,” the WGC stated.

But the CBC found, “Our gold holdings amount to less than 0.1% of the US$82.6 billion that Canada has in official international reserves.” The world’s largest officially reported hoard belongs to the U.S., with its 8,133.5 tonnes making up 72% of total American reserves in 2015, according to the WGC. Following the U.S. is Germany (3,381 tonnes, or 66% of reserves), Italy (2,451.8 tonnes or 64%) and France (2,435.6 tonnes or 60%). To consider a country more comparable with Canada, Australia reported 79.9 tonnes, or 6% of reserves.

Among those selling gold last year, the WGC noted Germany (3.2 tonnes), El Salvador (5.4 tonnes) and Colombia (6.9 tonnes).

Canada held more than 1,000 tonnes of gold during the 1960s, the CBC stated.

The centre cannot hold

December 9th, 2015

Those who realize it are best able to adapt, says Michael Campbell

by Greg Klein

Maybe it’s a sense of the absurd that drives his humour. Michael Campbell says we live in a time of momentous change that few people, let alone governments, really understand. Not only has Chinese economic growth slowed but the West staggers under high unemployment, migrants threaten to swamp Europe and terrorists slaughtered over 32,600 people last year alone, he says. Then there’s the demographic conundrum. But how does Campbell illustrate it? By relaying comments from Dave Barry.

“Nowdays there’s more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra than on Alzheimer’s research. This means that by 2030 there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs, huge erections and absolutely no recollection about what to do with them.”

Those who realize this can adapt best to change, says Michael Campbell

Michael Campbell: “The status quo
in government cannot be maintained.”

Campbell’s funny but he’s an analyst to be reckoned with, judging by a bio that claims credit for “advocating picking up blue-chip dividend-paying stocks in every major dip since 2011, getting out of gold in September of 2012, recommending U.S. dollar-denominated assets in December of 2013 and getting out of oil stocks in January of 2014.” The man behind Money Talks regaled a December 8 lunchtime audience by interspersing grim news with humour and hope for the future. Hosted by the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia, the 100-strong crowd heard less about their own industry than about wider economic issues affecting everyone.

“We’re living in the demise of the welfare state,” Campbell maintains. “Governments have made promises they’re never going to keep.” In Canada, all three levels of government persist with tax increases while cutting services.

Getting back to demographics, the problem wasn’t acknowledged during our recent federal election. Yet Campbell says we’re stuck with an unfunded $244-billion liability for public sector pensions. “Twelve hundred Canadians turn 65 every day, 10,000 every day in the States. We’ve got more people over the age of 65 than under 15…. Health care costs are growing faster than government revenues.”

France, an especial bête noir of the Campbell worldview, hasn’t balanced its budget since 1974, he says. Its socialist government raised taxes 87 times in its first two years. Tax-and-spend governments ultimately face financial collapse, as is already happening in some countries and municipalities. “The status quo in government cannot be maintained.” The demise will last a few more decades but is already underway, he says.

Campbell says taxaholic governments act on “the Willie Sutton mandate.”

According to the story, the serial thief once answered simply when asked why he robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is.” Hence governments go after successful businesses and individuals.

That policy won’t go down without a fight, Campbell says. “And the impact on economic growth and personal finances will be huge.”

[Governments show] no sign that they understand it’s not business as usual…. They don’t get it.

Yet governments show “no sign that they understand it’s not business as usual…. They don’t get it.”

They’re not the only ones. Campbell quotes investment analyst John Mauldin as saying, “We believe what we want to believe because to do otherwise would upset our world. The potential emotional stress of a contrary opinion is too much for us to deal with. So we go along with the least stressful emotional choice.”

Campbell says in September 2012 he advised a few major gold miner CEOs to hedge some production. “But they didn’t do it.” He thinks they found the warning “too emotionally painful.”

“Oil is even more blatant,” he says. “I don’t know how they could miss this incredible supply increase coming out of fracking, coming out of the oilsands. Those numbers were really readily available. You couldn’t think that oil would be able to withstand that, then you add two more components,” a rising U.S. dollar and dropping demand.

Looking at currencies, he says the key to comprehension is that “confidence moves money” and the U.S. dollar still maintains confidence. Of its closest competitors, Japan suffers severe demographic and debt-to-GDP problems. “I personally think the euro is going to go much lower.” Canadian, Australian and New Zealand dollars will continue to fall.

[The Canadian dollar’s] next number’s 66, the next number’s 62, the next number’s 55.

Having predicted a 70-cent Canuck buck for three and a half years, he says, “the next number’s 66, the next number’s 62, the next number’s 55.” Against that, he foresees a spike in the U.S. dollar.

As for commodities, he thinks they’re still headed toward a bottom in U.S. dollars. But there’s good news. “In Canadian dollar terms, we may have already been there.”

The resemblance to his brother, former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell, helps prompt the question of how he’d fare in politics. As he moves back and forth across the stage, irreverently castigating the status quo, one can’t help thinking he’d bring a refreshing change to public discourse. But eventually it becomes clear that our chattering classes would have no place for him.

Anyway, the ideological outsider evidently sees himself on the winning side. Pointing out that people are increasingly turning to business for education, security and health care, among other services long associated with government, Campbell says, “As government goes down, recovery will come from the private sector.”

Athabasca Basin and beyond

April 17th, 2015

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to April 17, 2015

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

India’s fast-emerging market becomes a Cameco customer

What was confirmed on April 15 had been anticipated all along—otherwise, why would Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall just happen to join the Ottawa announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi? Athabasca Basin heavyweight Cameco Corp TSX:CCO clinched a five-year deal to supply India with 7.1 million pounds of uranium.

The contract, valued by the feds at $350 million, completely overshadowed the day’s other 15 bilateral announcements. Yet it’s not all that big to a company that sold 33.9 million pounds U3O8 last year. Most importantly, the deal “opens the door to a dynamic and expanding uranium market,” said Cameco president/CEO Tim Gitzel. “Much of the long-term growth we see coming in our industry will happen in India and this emerging market is key to our strategy.”

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to April 17, 2015

An emerging economy that’s a quickly-growing uranium market,
India marked a new stage in its Canadian relations by signing
a contract with Cameco. Photo: O’SHI/

Indeed Cameco described its new customer as the second-fastest-growing uranium market in the world. India’s 21 reactors now produce 6,000 megawatts, only 3% of the country’s consumption. Six new reactors should add another 4,300 MW by 2017, Cameco noted. By 2032 India’s projected to have about 45,000 MW of nuclear capacity.

As for the impact on prices, Dundee Capital Markets analyst David Talbot told the Financial Post that the deal could cause a chain reaction for future contracts.

But the deal also aggravated an old wound. A group of anti-nuke activists meeting in Quebec—a province now considering an outright ban on uranium mining—denounced the sale to “a country that maintains an arsenal of nuclear weapons and has never signed the United Nations’ Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

Attendees of the World Uranium Symposium reminded Canadians that “India has already broken its promise to Canada in the past by using a Canadian reactor given as a gift in 1956 to produce the plutonium for its first atomic bomb, detonated in 1974.”

Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility added, “Despite rules specifying no military use of Canadian materials, some uranium from Canada could well end up in Indian bombs. At the very least, Canadian uranium will free up more Indian uranium for weapons production purposes.”

Yet India plans to double its coal consumption by 2020, “overtaking the U.S. as the world’s second-largest coal consumer after China,” the Financial Post reported.

And as a supplier to India, Canada will hardly be alone.

Citing figures from India’s Department of Atomic Energy, the World Nuclear Association stated the country had imported 4,458 tonnes of uranium since 2008, when India appeared to regain some of its pre-1974 credibility by signing the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group agreement. Russia supplied 2,058 tonnes, Kazakhstan 2,100 tonnes and France 300 tonnes, according to the WNA. Several other countries, most recently Australia, have signed so-far unconsummated and not necessarily binding supply agreements with India.

Fission finishes winter work at Patterson Lake South

With another season of drilling wrapped up, Fission Uranium TSX:FCU reported results from multiple fronts at Patterson Lake South. The last few dispatches outlined progress at the R780E zone, as well as R00E and two areas of exploration drilling. R780E, mainstay of the Triple R resource, has been extended laterally, vertically and along strike. But four holes from R00E, scene of the PLS discovery, fell short of spectacular. Four exploration holes from Patterson Lake found no significant radioactivity while 20 others at Forest Lake presented a mixed bag of insignificant to anomalous radioactivity.

Released April 16, some step-out highlights from the eastern part of R780E showed:

Hole PLS15-330

  • 0.66% U3O8 over 33 metres, starting at 142 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 1.87% over 2.5 metres)
  • (and including 8.78% over 1 metre)


  • 0.42% over 40.5 metres, starting at 61.55 metres
  • (including 2.87% over 1 metre)


  • 5.4% over 4 metres, starting at 162.5 metres
  • (including 14.07% over 1.5 metres)

  • 0.23% over 7 metres, starting at 182.5 metres


  • 1.6% over 10.5 metres, starting at 144 metres
  • (including 3.71% over 4 metres)

  • 0.37% over 12.5 metres, starting at 172.5 metres

True widths weren’t available.

Four holes at R00E, 225 metres west of R780E, fell short of the project’s high standards, with the best result showing 0.19% over 2 metres, starting at 67.5 metres.

About seven kilometres southeast of Triple R, four holes at Forest Lake intersected anomalous radioactivity on three basement EM conductors, Fission stated. Sixteen other holes didn’t. Nevertheless, Forest Lake remains a priority.

Four other regional holes at Patterson Lake northeast of Triple R also came up empty.

Scintillometer results announced April 8 extended Triple R’s high-grade area and increased the extent of known mineralization. The hand-held device measures radiation from drill core in counts per second. Its results are no substitute for the still-pending assays.

The standout was hole PLS15-379 which found, within a 105-metre section, a total composite of 8.01 metres above 10,000 cps, peaking up to 61,100 cps. Another five showed mineralization in areas that had little previous drilling. Of 11 holes in the April 8 batch, all found mineralization and eight hit intervals above 10,000 cps, the level once considered “offscale” due to the limitations of older scintillometers.

An April 6 batch of assays increased R780E laterally, vertically and along strike, with all 16 step-outs finding mineralization. The more outstanding assays showed:


  • 1.91% over 33.5 metres, starting at 60.5 metres
  • (including 14.09% over 3.5 metres)


  • 1.41% over 22.5 metres, starting at 147.5 metres
  • (including 12.03% over 2 metres)


  • 3.13% over 13.5 metres, starting at 56.5 metres
  • (including 8.14% over 5 metres)


  • 0.92% over 5.5 metres, starting at 83.5 metres
  • (including 2.29% over 2 metres)


  • 0.53% over 27 metres, starting at 149.5 metres
  • (including 4.31% over 1 metre)
  • (and including 2.42% over 2.5 metres)


  • 1.3% over 6.5 metres, starting at 160.5 metres
  • (including 7.74% over 1 metre)

  • 0.55% over 15.5 metres, starting at 183.5 metres
  • (including 3.99% over 1.5 metres)


  • 8.14% over 6 metres, starting at 215 metres
  • (including 21.18% over 2 metres)

Again, true widths weren’t available.

Fission ended the winter with 88 holes totalling 28,296 metres and lots more assays to come. While R780E’s pre-eminence was confirmed by 50 mineralized holes out of a seasonal total of 51 on that zone, earlier results also brought renewed interest to the project’s R600W zone.

Read about the Triple R resource estimate.

See an historical timeline of the PLS discovery.

Purepoint finds semi-massive pitchblende in the Hook Lake JV’s last winter hole

A 40-metre step-out, the last hole of the season, added encouragement to Purepoint Uranium’s (TSXV:PTU) Hook Lake joint venture in the southwestern Basin. Announced April 15, hole HK15-33 gave up an 8.6-metre intercept starting at a downhole depth of 344 metres, averaging 8,900 counts per second with semi-massive pitchblende peaking at 32,600 cps. Another interval in the same hole averaged 1,500 cps for 4.4 metres starting at 304.5 metres in depth. True thicknesses were estimated at 75% to 85%.

The hole was collared 35 metres west of HK15-27, which last month revealed 2.23% U3O8 over 2.8 metres. Purepoint said another hole, HK15-31, backed up 35 metres from HK15-27 and found two intervals of 3.4 metres and 4.1 metres just under 0.05% eU3O8 between 387 and 396 metres in depth. The Spitfire zone remains open in most directions, the company added.

Purepoint gleaned its results from a hand-held scintillometer that measures drill core for radiation in counts per second, and two downhole probes that measure uranium oxide-equivalent. Applicable is the usual disclaimer that scintillometer results are no substitute for the still-pending assays.

Purepoint holds a 21% interest in the 28,683-hectare JV, with Cameco and AREVA Resources Canada each holding 39.5%.

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Blood diamonds prominent as multi-billion-dollar Swiss Leaks scandal hits HSBC

February 9th, 2015

by Greg Klein | February 9, 2015

HSBC’s secret Swiss bank accounts facilitated billions of dollars in money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, arms trafficking and possibly terrorism, a team of investigative journalists reported February 8. Almost 2,000 of the account-holders are associated with the diamond industry.

The probe began in 2008 when a former HSBC employee handed files over to French tax authorities. After Le Monde got ahold of the info the paper turned to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which assembled a team of over 140 reporters from 45 countries to “sift through the data from all angles.” Excerpts from their Swiss Leaks report were released February 8 and 9.

Their revelations have rich and famous—from celebrity athletes to politicians, and from rock stars to royalty—running for their spin doctors. Diamonds were central to several enormous crimes.

Diamonds have a long history of being linked to conflict and violence. The ease with which diamonds can be converted into tools of war, when not sourced responsibly, is astonishing.—Michael Gibb
of Global Witness

The report noted that the HSBC files “document huge sums of money controlled by dealers in diamonds who are known to have operated in war zones and sold gemstones to finance insurgencies that caused untold deaths.”

A co-founder of the Kimberley Process, Ian Smillie, told the ICIJ that “diamonds are a great way to launder money, to hide money, to evade taxes and all the rest.” Referring to wars financed by conflict diamonds, he added, “Half a million died in the Angolan civil war. Tens of thousands died in Sierra Leone, Congo and elsewhere. It was a huge humanitarian crisis that destabilized huge regions.”

One HSBC client, Emmanuel Shallop, got a six-year prison sentence and lost $59 million in diamonds and real estate to Belgian authorities in 2010 after being convicted of crimes related to blood diamonds from Sierra Leone.

“Diamonds have a long history of being linked to conflict and violence,” the report quoted Michael Gibb of the human rights group Global Witness. “The ease with which diamonds can be converted into tools of war, when not sourced responsibly, is astonishing.”

HSBC replied that it has “taken significant steps over the past several years to implement reforms and exit clients who did not meet strict new HSBC standards.” Its Swiss unit has shed about 70% of account-holders, the bank added.

Read more about the ICIJ Swiss Leaks report here and here.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

October 4th, 2014

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

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jody Dahrouge, president of Dahrouge Geological Consulting, told 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.

Next Page 1 | 2

Athabasca Basin and beyond

February 10th, 2014

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

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

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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The Fed gave back Germany only five tonnes of gold in over a year

January 21st, 2014

by Frik Els | January 20, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of

On January 16, 2013, Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, said it would ship back home all 374 tonnes it had stored with the Banque de France in Paris, as well as 300 tonnes held in Manhattan by the U.S. Federal Reserve, by 2020.

Fast forward a year and the Germans have managed to bring home a paltry 37 tonnes of gold.

And a mere five tonnes of that came from the U.S., the rest from Paris. The Fed holds 45% of the total 3,396 tonnes of German gold.

Needless to say this prompted renewed questions about whether Germany’s gold still exists in those Manhattan vaults or whether it has been melted down, leased or even sold. At the time of the original Bundesbank announcement, there were rumours that Germany wanted its gold back because the Fed refused German officials a viewing of the bullion a couple of months earlier.

The rather flimsy reasons supplied by German officials to Die Welt am Sonntag why only five tonnes have been repatriated from America won’t satisfy the conspiracy theorists who maintain there is no gold in U.S. vaults:

“The Bundesbank explained by saying that the transport from Paris was simpler and therefore was able to start up quickly.”

Another explanation was that the gold held by the Fed on the Bundesbank’s behalf in the U.S. was non-standard size and shape:

“The bullion stored in Paris possesses the elongated shape with bevelled edges of the “London Good Delivery” standard. The bars in the basement of the Fed, on the other hand, have a previously common form. They will need to be remelted. And the capacity of smelters is just limited.”

The inability to move the bullion also occurred despite Germany enlisting the help of the Bank for International Settlements, the central bank of central banks, which is in the business of leasing hundreds of tonnes of bullion each year.

At the time of the initial announcement Bill Gross of Pimco, the world’s largest money manager, summed up the situation in a tweet, which today appears even more prescient:

@PIMCO Gross: Report claims Germany moving gold from NY/Paris back to Frankfurt. Central banks don’t trust each other?

In November 2011, Venezuela repatriated some 180 tonnes of gold held in vaults in London and elsewhere to store it with the Caracas central bank under orders from late president Hugo Chavez.

Reprinted by permission of

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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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.