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Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 30th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 23 to 29, 2013

by Greg Klein

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December 6 expected for Fission to finish Alpha acquisition; Fission spinco gets court approval

Now that both companies have put it to a vote, Fission Uranium’s TSXV:FCU acquisition of Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW goes to the TSXV and Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench for final approval. The 50/50 Patterson Lake South joint venture partners announced overwhelming support at their respective meetings on November 28. The companies expect final approval on December 6.

The Fission tally was 99.55% from shareholders and 99.6% from security holders. Alpha’s enthusiasm was slightly more restrained, with 83.18% shareholder and 85.72% security-holder support.

Assuming final approvals come through, the arrangement will put the celebrated PLS uranium project under a single takeover target… er, company. Alpha and Fission will each create a spinco for their non-PLS assets.

Court approval for Fission’s spinco was announced November 29. Itself a spin-out resulting from last April’s Fission Energy acquisition by Denison Mines TSX:DML, Fission Uranium calls the new entity Fission 3.0. Each Fission Uranium shareholder gets one new share of post-arrangement PLS-holding Fission Uranium as well as a share of Fission Mach III, expected to start trading December 10.

Read more about the takeover.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

PLS regional drilling disappoints but Fission/Alpha end campaign triumphantly

Two of the final 11 autumn holes at PLS confirmed continuity along a 30-metre strike at the project’s recently discovered sixth zone. But nine others failed to find significant radioactivity, according to scintillometer results released by Fission and Alpha on November 27. The non-mineralized nonet, sunk further west of the project’s western-most R600W zone, might please only an anti-nuke activist. Nevertheless “varying degrees of secondary hydrothermal alteration were present in all holes, thus providing encouragement for the prospectivity of the western strike extension” of the PL-3B EM conductor corridor. R600W remains open in all directions, the partners maintain.

Their hand-held scintillometer measures gamma ray particles in drill core up to a maximum of 9,999 counts per second. These results are no substitute for assays, which are still to come. But don’t hold your breath—so are assays for 40 holes drilled last summer.

Of the two mineralized holes, PLS13-123 reached a total depth of 260 metres, encountering sandstone at 90.7 metres and the basement unconformity at 100 metres. Some highlights show:

  • <300 to 1,200 cps over 20 metres, starting at 95 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 5,100 cps over 7.5 metres, starting at 132.5 metres

  • 320 to 2,300 cps over 2.5 metres, starting at 142.5 metres

Hole PLS13-124 found sandstone at 97.5 metres and the basement unconformity at 99 metres before stopping at 257 metres. Highlights include:

  • 450 to 5,500 cps over 6.5 metres, starting at 97.5 metres

  • <300 to 1,300 cps over 7.5 metres, starting at 114 metres

  • <300 to 2,500 cps over 11.5 metres, starting at 197 metres

True widths weren’t available. With dips of -87 and -89 degrees respectively, the two holes’ downhole depths are close to vertical.

The 11 land-based holes bring an end to this drill program, most of which took place from barges over the lake. Fifty-three holes totalling 16,485 metres found six near-surface zones along a 1.76-kilometre trend. Ending the season on a triumphant note, Alpha president Ben Ainsworth said the 12-month campaign nearly equalled “what was completed in four years of work on Hathor’s Roughrider discovery.”

Research report examines Lakeland Resources as company acquires additional Basin property

Just one day after a research report was released on Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK, the company reported expansionary plans in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. Announced November 27, a JV teams the company with Star Minerals Group TSXV:SUV on two claims totalling 1,092 hectares. The new turf sits adjacently north of the Gibbon’s Creek target, focal point of Lakeland’s Riou Lake property.

The acquisition takes place while results are pending from autumn field work at Gibbon’s Creek. “Based on preliminary findings we decided it was important that we acquire that ground,” Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes tells ResourceClips.com. “Star Minerals is focused on a rare earth project north of the Basin so the agreement works well for both companies.”

Gibbon’s autumn campaign, including boulder sampling, line-cutting, a RadonEx survey and a ground DC resistivity survey, has just wrapped up, he adds. “We’re putting all the data together and we’ll get that out imminently.”

A distinct topographical feature of the new property is an uplifted block of basement rock that “highlights the evidence for structural offsets, a key feature of known unconformity-type uranium deposits,” Lakeland stated. Historic work by Cameco Corp TSX:CCO-predecessor Eldorado Nuclear found several anomalous soil samples around the uplifted block measuring up to 0.01% uranium. Trenching by Eldorado showed concentrations of rare earths that might also indicate unconformity-type uranium mineralization. The property has also undergone 14 historic drill holes.

Lakeland plans to follow up on the previous work while reviewing Gibbon’s Creek data to identify drill targets. “We still have two other priority projects, South Pine bordering Riou Lake on the west, and Perch Lake farther east,” Armes says. “There’s lots more field work we can do, even during winter. Both radon and resistivity can be carried out during the winter, so we’re not limited to fair weather programs.”

Gibbon’s Creek and the new claims also benefit from close proximity to the town of Stony Rapids, a few kilometres away. Apart from the new acquisition, Lakeland has a portfolio of nine properties totalling over 100,000 hectares in the northern and eastern Basin.

Under the JV agreement, Lakeland may earn a 100% interest in the two additional claims by paying Star $60,000 and issuing 600,000 shares over 12 months. Star retains a 25% buy-back option for four times the exploration expenditures up to 90 days following a resource estimate.

One day before the announcement, prospect generator Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC released a report on Lakeland. Written by Zimtu research and communications officer Derek Hamill, it places Lakeland in the context of Athabasca Basin exploration, the nuclear energy industry and the outlook for uranium prices. Presented as both research and opinion, Hamill’s work shows a shareholder’s perspective—Lakeland is a core holding of Zimtu.

So a degree of self-interest can be acknowledged. But the breadth of research goes far beyond Lakeland, its people and projects, providing a level of detailed scrutiny not often applied to early-stage companies.

Download the Lakeland Resources research report.

Read more about Derek Hamill’s research.

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

UEX announces final Shea Creek results, initial 2014 uranium exploration plans

North from PLS along Highway 955, and 13 kilometres south of the Cluff Lake past-producer, a year’s drilling has wrapped up at Shea Creek. UEX Corp TSX:UEX reported final results for two concurrent programs reported November 27.

UEX picked up the entire $2-million tab for drilling around the Kianna deposit while funding $1.27 million of $2.6 million sunk into property-scale exploration as part of the company’s 49%/51% JV with AREVA Resources Canada.

Results were given in uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) using readings from a downhole radiometric probe which were calibrated with an algorithm calculated by comparing previous probe results with assays.

The most promising results came from the Kianna deposit. Kianna East hole SHE-142-3 reached a total depth of 1,065 metres, finding the unconformity at 736.9 metres and expanding the zone to the south. Highlights show:

  • 0.99% eU3O8 over 5.3 metres, starting at 961.2 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 3.21% over 1.5 metres)

In addition, UEX credited hole SHE-135-16 with a northwest expansion to Kianna East. Ending at 1,038 metres’ depth, the hole found the unconformity at 750.5 metres. Some of the better results show:

  • 0.16% over 5.2 metres, starting at 956 metres
  • (including 0.41% over 0.9 metres)
  • (and including 0.49% over 0.7 metres)

  • 0.48% over 3 metres, starting at 979.9 metres

Kianna North hole SHE-135-17 hit the unconformity at 732.2 metres before stopping at 1,059 metres, expanding the zone’s eastern extension of basement-hosted mineralization. Highlights include:

  • 0.33% over 9.4 metres, starting at 724.6 metres
  • (including 0.5% over 1.3 metres)
  • (and including 0.53% over 4.4 metres)

  • 0.8% over 31.5 metres, starting at 848.8 metres
  • (including 3.29% over 1.3 metres)
  • (and including 3.22% over 1.3 metres)
  • (and including 4.05% over 4.1 metres)

Of 10 exploration holes that tested two conductors, eight failed to find significant results. Two holes at Anne South showed these results:

  • 0.14% over 0.9 metres, starting at 765.4 metres

  • 0.21% over 0.9 metres, starting at 748.4 metres

(True widths were unavailable for all holes.)

Four of the 10 holes confirmed the Saskatoon Lake East conductor’s location, providing a new target area parallel to the roughly three-kilometre trend hosting Shea’s four deposits. Combined, they comprise the Basin’s third-largest resource after Cameco’s McArthur River and Cigar Lake, showing:

  • indicated: 2.07 million tonnes averaging 1.48% for 67.66 million pounds U3O8

  • inferred: 1.27 million tonnes averaging 1.01% for 28.19 million pounds

Still undecided are next year’s plans for Shea Creek, where AREVA acts as project operator. UEX states work will depend on Q1 capital market conditions.

But another November 27 announcement reported a $2-million budget for three western Basin projects. Plans include about 4,000 metres of drilling to test EM conductors at the Laurie and Mirror River projects, and a 50.4-line-kilometre ground tensor magnetotelluric survey at the Erica project. Work is expected to start in January. By that time ownership will be divided approximately 49.1% by UEX and 50.9% by AREVA, again acting as operator.

Among other UEX projects, its 100%-held Hidden Bay on the Basin’s east side has three deposits totalling:

  • indicated: 10.37 million tonnes averaging 0.16% for 36.62 million pounds U3O8

  • inferred: 1.11 million tonnes averaging 0.11% for 2.71 million pounds

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

October 26th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for October 19 to 25, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Forum reports radon results from PLS-adjacent Clearwater

Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC released soil and water radon surveys from its Clearwater project adjacently southwest to Patterson Lake South. Soil results “are similar and higher than those located immediately west” of the PLS R00E zone, according to Forum’s October 22 announcement. Radon surveys played an important role in identifying drill targets at R00E and east along trend. The Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW/Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU joint venture now plans autumn drilling west of R00E while waiting for freeze-up.

Forum’s results for three grids show:

  • Bear grid: Up to 1.33 picocuries per square metre per second (pCi/m2/s)

  • West Bear grid: Up to 1.08 pCi/m2/s

  • Mungo grid: Up to 0.92 pCi/m2/s

Additionally, a small lake in the Mungo grid returned up to 18 picocuries per litre (pCi/L), “which is considered to be very anomalous when compared with a maximum value of 12 pCi/L immediately over the Patterson Lake South deposits,” Forum stated. The company added that 428 samples were taken “over areas with electromagnetic conductors and over the interpreted extension of the Patterson Lake structure that hosts the PLS deposits.”

Near-term plans include a ground gravity survey over the same areas and possibly further radon studies prior to setting targets on the 9,910-hectare property for a drill campaign to begin in late January.

Lakeland Resources appoints expert adviser, closes second tranche

In joining the Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK advisory board, Athabasca Basin veteran John Gingerich returns to some familiar turf. With over 30 years’ experience, the geoscientist worked for Eldorado Nuclear from 1979 to 1986, spending most of that time in the north-central Basin exploring property now held by Lakeland, the company stated on October 23. Additionally he served in the Noranda group’s senior management, founded Geotechnical Business Solutions and chairs both the Canadian Mining Industry Research Organization’s exploration division and the Ontario Geological Survey’s advisory board.

The radon survey is done and line-cutting and resistivity are underway. Once we compile that data we’ll have it interpreted and zero in on drill targets likely for January. We’ll have a fairly steady stream of news over the next few months.—Jonathan Armes, president/CEO
of Lakeland Resources

Speaking to ResourceClips.com, Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes says Gingerich “co-ordinated exploration activities from Stony Rapids to Fond du Lac, on properties we’re now exploring, so he’s quite familiar with that neck of the woods. But at that time they didn’t have some of the technologies we now have in the way of geophysics and radon surveys. He said it was tough determining where to drill back in those days. But he certainly feels there’s potential based on the historic findings. He’s also trying to dig up some additional historic work besides the data we’ve already found. He’s definitely a valuable addition to our board, given his experience up there.”

Gingerich joins two other industry authorities on Lakeland’s advisory board, Richard Kusmirski and Thomas Drolet.

Lakeland also announced the closing of a second and final tranche of its private placement, bringing in $318,948 for a total of $1,057,718 to fund further work. Activity focuses on the Gibbon’s Creek target of the Riou Lake property.

“The radon survey is done and line-cutting and resistivity are underway,” Armes says. “Once we compile that data we’ll have it interpreted and zero in on drill targets likely for January. We’ll have a fairly steady stream of news over the next few months. We also retained an interest in the gold project we vended to New Dimension Resources [TSXV:NDR], which will likely be drilled in the next few weeks. That’s a bonus side story for us while we continue our focus on the Basin. So things are going extremely well.”

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

Rockgate reluctantly recommends Denison bid, Denison extends deadline

It’s an “unsolicited opportunistic hostile takeover bid,” according to Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT directors. So it was with obvious reluctance that they recommended shareholders accept the offer from Denison Mines TSX:DML. Nearly five weeks of effort failed to find a superior proposal, Rockgate announced October 21.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for October 19 to 25, 2013

A crew prepares to drill a target on
Rockgate’s flagship Falea project in Mali.

But three days later, and just one day before its offer was to expire, Denison extended the deadline to November 1. Denison stated that, while its bid remains open for acceptance, the company needed time to remedy change of control protections that Rockgate had provided to employees and consultants: “In light of these actions, the conditions to Denison’s takeover bid offer cannot be fulfilled.”

Read more about Denison’s offer, Rockgate’s response and the failed merger with Mega Uranium.

Read about other uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Zadar completes PNE Phase II, grants options

Results are pending but Phase II exploration at Zadar Ventures’ TSXV:ZAD PNE project has wrapped up, the company announced October 22. Work included scintillometer prospecting, boulder mapping and radon surveys over nine areas. The company added that an eight-kilometre conductive trend on the adjacent Patterson Lake North project announced earlier this month by JV partners Fission and Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ marks a “very positive development” for the 15,292-hectare PNE property.

Zadar also announced 100,000 incentive options at $0.25 for two years.

Last month the company signed a definitive agreement to acquire the 37,445-hectare Pasfield Lake property on the Athabasca Basin’s east side.

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