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Athabasca Basin and beyond

July 26th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 19 to 25, 2014

by Greg Klein

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3.78% U3O8 over 49 metres helps Fission build Patterson Lake South

High grades and wide intervals at relatively shallow depths continue to characterize Fission Uranium’s (TSXV:FCU) Patterson Lake South. Of eight holes released July 21, all showed mineralization, six substantially. Three standout assays boasted 3.78% U3O8 over 49 metres, 3.96% over 40 metres and 5.34% over 25.5 metres. The entire octet came from R780E, the middle and largest of five zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike that remains open to the east and west. Some highlights include:

Hole PLS14-192

  • 0.53% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 51 metres, starting at 110 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 2.36% over 5.5 metres)

  • 0.48% over 12.5 metres, starting at 191.5 metres
  • (including 1.27% over 4 metres)
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 19 to 25, 2014


  • 1.62% over 2 metres, starting at 162 metres


  • 0.86% over 2.5 metres, starting at 187 metres


  • 0.64% over 4.5 metres, starting at 244 metres
  • (including 2.81% over 1 metre)


  • 0.81% over 8 metres, starting at 87.5 metres
  • (including 3.65% over 1.5 metres)

  • 5.34% over 25.5 metres, starting at 102.5 metres
  • (including 15.81% over 5 metres)
  • (and including 8.4% over 4 metres)

  • 1.24% over 3.5 metres, starting at 151 metres

  • 2.61% over 13 metres, starting at 157 metres
  • (including 20.04% over 1.5 metres)

  • 2.17% over 2.5 metres, starting at 175.5 metres


  • 3.96% over 40 metres, starting at 95 metres
  • (including 10.35% over 14 metres)


  • 0.11% over 6.5 metres, starting at 209 metres

  • 0.42% over 10.5 metres, starting at 233.5 metres
  • (including 3.07% over 1 metre)


  • 3.78% over 49 metres, starting at 109.5 metres
  • (including 9.34% over 10 metres)
  • (and including 26.32% over 1 metre)
  • (and including 9% over 3.5 metres)

  • 1.16% over 5 metres, starting at 221 metres

True widths weren’t provided.

PLS14-199, along with the previously released PLS14-189 which included 1.93% over 15 metres, sits on the eastern edge of R780E. Their assays prompted Fission to suggest the possibility of closing a 75-metre gap between R780E and R1155E to the east. R780E currently has a strike length of about 855 metres.

While laboratory boffins analyze the final two dozen holes from last winter’s 92, Fission’s field crew continues with a 63-hole, 20,330-metre summer campaign. About 30% of the program will be exploration. But the priority is to delineate a maiden resource scheduled for December.

Ur-Energy reports 8.81 million pounds eU3O8 M&I at Shirley Basin

Ur-Energy TSX:URE released a resource estimate on July 22 for what it calls a “well-defined, high-grade uranium roll front deposit at very favourable production depths.” In the vicinity of the company’s Lost Creek in-situ recovery operation, the Wyoming property came with Ur-Energy’s discount acquisition of Pathfinder Mines. The resource was broken down into two areas:

Fab trend

  • measured: 1.06 million tonnes averaging 0.28% for 6.57 million pounds uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8)

  • indicated: 413,674 tonnes averaging 0.12% for 1.08 million pounds

Area 5

  • measured: 176,900 tonnes averaging 0.24% for 947,000 pounds

  • indicated: 84,367 tonnes averaging 0.11% for 214,000 pounds

The M&I total for both areas comes to 8.81 million pounds eU3O8.

The estimate was based on approximately 3,200 historic holes totalling about 366,000 metres sunk before 1992 and on Ur-Energy’s confirmation drilling that finished last May. Resources start at an average depth of about 95 metres. The company stated it’s “moving at a rapid pace to advance the data collection programs necessary to support amendment applications to the existing mining permits and licences.”

The previous week Ur-Energy announced its Lost Creek plant recovered 116,707 pounds U3O8 in Q2. The company set its Q3 production target at 200,000 pounds.

Two new properties expand Lakeland Resources’ Basin-area portfolio

Two more acquisitions announced July 21 solidify Lakeland Resources’ (TSXV:LK) position as one of the largest landholders in and around the Athabasca Basin. Both projects benefit from previous exploration but show greater potential with more recent methodology.

The 20,218-hectare Newnham Lake property sits contiguous to Lakeland’s Karen Lake project around the Basin’s northeastern rim. Depth to the basement rock is expected to be from zero to around 100 metres, the company stated.

Newnham Lake covers parts of a roughly 25-kilometre-long folded and faulted conductive trend that attracted over 140 drill holes by 1984. But, following the understanding of the time, most holes stopped less than 25 metres past the sub-Athabasca unconformity. More recent knowledge of the Basin’s basement-hosted unconformity-style deposits brings new potential to the project.

Previous work did show extensive alteration and anomalous geochemistry along with highly anomalous uranium, nickel and other pathfinders. Several targets remain to be tested.

When we do see that price turnaround that’s been forecast for 2015, we expect to see more joint venture interest in our projects. There’s not a whole hell of a lot of ground left to be had.—Jonathan Armes, president/CEO
of Lakeland Resources

Historic lake and stream sediment samples from Karen Lake, a Lakeland property contiguously northeast, also revealed uranium, nickel and other pathfinders. Historic overburden samples showed over 1% uranium.

Southeast of Newnham and just beyond the Basin, the approximately 21,000-hectare Hatchet Lake sits east of Lakeland’s Fond du Lac property. Although Hatchet covers part of an interpreted extension of the same basement graphitic meta-sedimentary basin, it’s seen little exploration.

As uranium continues to struggle near record-low prices Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes sees this as “a good time to get value for money, advance projects to the drill-ready stage and ideally secure partners to take them to the next level.”

“When we do see that price turnaround that’s been forecast for 2015, we expect to see more joint venture interest in our projects,” he adds. “There’s not a whole hell of a lot of ground left to be had. When companies come back to the table, they’re going to have to partner up. That’s the kind of opportunity we’ll be looking for.”

Helping evaluate the properties are Lakeland advisers with long experience in the Basin. Richard Kusmirski is a veteran of Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and JNR Resources, which became a Denison Mines TSX:DML acquisition. John Gingerich’s background includes Noranda and Eldorado Nuclear, a predecessor of Cameco. They’re working with a new generation of geos from Dahrouge Geological Consulting that includes Lakeland director Neil McCallum.

“They’re compiling all the historic data and reinterpreting it in view of what we know today,” Armes says. “It’s an interesting dynamic to see the guys, old and young, bantering about. It brings new ideas on how to approach things.”

Lakeland may earn a 100% interest in Newnham Lake by paying $100,000 and issuing 2.5 million shares over two years. The vendor retains a 2.5% gross overriding royalty with a 1% buyback provision. Hatchet Lake goes for $13,500, 500,000 shares and a 2.5% GORR, again with a 1% buyback.

The company remains cashed up with approximately $2.5 million in the till, Armes points out. “In the meantime we’ll have some exploration news coming this summer.”

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

February 15th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for February 8 to 14, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission Uranium reports more off-scale radiometrics from Patterson Lake South

Having suddenly dumped its final Patterson Lake South summer assays the previous week, Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU reverted to its scintillometer strategy on February 10. As is often the case, some intervals are showing off-scale readings.

“Off scale” means the hand-held device reaches its maximum measure of gamma ray particles at 9,999 counts per second. Scintillometer results are no substitute for assays, which will likely follow in weeks or months. For more accurate radiometric readings, Fission Uranium also uses a downhole gamma probe. But the company hasn’t been releasing those results.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for February 8 to 14, 2014

Of seven holes from four zones, six showed off-scale intervals. Among the most impressive, hole PLS14-132 showed a total of 6.1 metres above 9,999 cps within 134 metres of mineralization that occurred between downhole depths of 71.5 metres to 263 metres.

PLS14-131 came up with a total of 1.9 metres of off-scale readings within 125.5 metres of mineralization between depths of 145 to 420 metres.

PLS14-136 gave up a total of 2.26 off-scale metres within 49.5 metres of mineralization between depths of 86.5 to 284.5 metres.

Drilling was vertical and true interval widths weren’t provided.

Lateral widths increased for parts of all four zones, in some cases doubling along specific grid lines.

Along with geophysics, the 90-hole, 30,000-metre winter program will take about $12 million out of this year’s $20-million budget. Although the current campaign focuses on trying to connect five high-grade zones, no target date has been announced for an initial resource estimate. Toll Cross Securities analyst Tom Hope notes that because the project’s “far from existing mills, Fission will need to delineate a 100-million-pound resource.”

Uracan, UEX, AREVA get drill turning at northern Basin’s Black Lake

Near the Athabasca Basin’s northern rim, drilling has resumed at the 30,381-hectare Black Lake project. The $650,000 program calls for about 3,000 metres, Uracan Resources TSXV:URC reported February 11. Project operator UEX Corp TSX:UEX has an 89.99% interest with AREVA Resources Canada holding the remainder. Uracan has an option to earn 60% from UEX. Found throughout the property are “prospective fault structures offsetting the unconformity (reverse faulting on the main conductor, southeast-northwest cross structures),” Uracan stated.

Previous drilling has found intervals as high as 0.69% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 4.4 metres, starting at 310 metres in downhole depth, 0.79% over 2.82 metres, starting at 310 metres, and 0.67% over 3 metres, starting at 274 metres.

UEX wholly owns six Basin projects and has joint ventures in another eight. Resource estimates have been completed for Shea Creek and Hidden Bay.

Black Lake borders Gibbon’s Creek, where Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK and option partner Declan Resources TSXV:LAN last month reported boulder samples grading up to 4.28% U3O8 and some of the Basin’s highest-ever radon readings.

VTEM finds conductive anomalies on Makena’s Patterson project

Initial geophysical data from a VTEM max electromagnetic survey over Makena Resources’ TSXV:MKN Patterson prospect shows two distinctive anomalous zones, the company reported February 14. “Of particular note is the relationship of the conductive zones associated with the breaks in the magnetic pattern,” stated geologist Karl Schimann. “These breaks are often associated with uranium mineralization.” The company is considering ground EM and drilling to follow up.

Makena optioned a 50% stake in the project from CanAlaska Uranium TSXV:CVV last August. The prospect totals 6,687 hectares divided into three PLS-vicinity claim blocks, one of them adjacent to Fission Uranium’s property.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 10th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 2 to 8, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Alpha/Fission find sixth zone with 525-metre step-out west of PLS discovery

Almost exactly a year ago joint venture partners Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW announced their Patterson Lake South discovery hole in what came to be known as zone R00E. Since then drilling from ice or barge extended east along the lake, finding five zones along a 1.23-kilometre trend. Now initial results from a $2.25-million, 11-hole, 3,700-metre land-based extension to the 2013 summer program have found a sixth zone, R600W, 525 metres west of the discovery.

The 50/50 JV bases its claim on scintillometer results—which measure gamma radiation up to 9,999 counts per second and are no substitute for lab assays—for two holes released November 4.

Hole PLS13-116 was sunk at a dip of -74 degrees, reaching 323 metres in total downhole depth, encountering basement bedrock at 106.4 metres. Results show:

  • 300 to 310 cps over 1 metre, starting at 143 metres in downhole depth

Collared from the same location but with better results, PLS13-118 went vertical to 314 metres and hit basement at 97.2 metres. The shallower depth “possibly suggest[s] structural faulted off-set between the holes,” the companies stated. Results show:

  • <300 to 680 cps over 9 metres, starting at 174.5 metres

  • <300 to 750 cps over 3 metres, starting at 186 metres

  • 314 to 5,550 cps over 8 metres, starting at 191.5 metres

  • 650 to 880 cps over 1 metre, starting at 222 metres

  • 380 cps over 0.5 metres, starting at 254.5 metres

True widths were unavailable. Assays, as well as downhole radiometric probe results, are pending.

The targets result from a radon in sediment anomaly found last summer, which “may be associated with inferred north-south cross-cutting structures. This anomaly lies along an east-northeast trend, parallel and just north of the PL-3B EM conductor,” according to the JV. The companies plan further drilling to focus on this zone, which moves activity closer to the high-grade radioactive boulder field that sparked the PLS rush.

Non-compliant quote of the week

Despite all the verifiably positive news, Alpha disregarded geological best practices and NI 43-101 disclosure rules by distributing this semantically confused whopper about PLS, courtesy of a magazine called ResourceWorld:

“No uranium resource/reserves figures have been inferred from the status of the project as yet, but it can be implied that PLS will become a standalone operation with a minimum 50 million pounds of U3O8.”

International Enexco, Denison report three holes from Bachman Lake

Four kilometres west of Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO proposed Millennium mine in the southeastern Athabasca Basin, JV partners International Enexco TSXV:IEC and Denison Mines TSX:DML have wrapped up their 2013 Bachman Lake drill program. Three holes reported November 4 tested two of the property’s three conductors.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 2 to 8, 2013

One hole intersected the ML-1 conductor, finding “a large graphitic shear zone in contact with granite gneiss, a favourable host for mineralization warranting additional drilling,” Enexco stated.

An intersection of the CR-2 conductor “confirm[s] that the dominant clay species is illite with some dravite, both of which are commonly elevated near unconformity-related mineralization.” The partners are considering follow-up drilling.

A sandstone alteration zone encountered by the third hole suggests “it may have just overshot the favourable conductive basement horizon.”

Now that Enexco has earned its 20% interest, both companies will fund further work on a pro-rata basis. Denison, which holds a 7.4% interest in Enexco, acts as project operator on the 11,419-hectare property. Enexco also holds a 30% interest in the Mann Lake JV 20 kilometres northeast, along with Cameco (52.5%) and AREVA Resources Canada (17.5%). In Nevada, Enexco has a pre-feasibility study underway on its 100%-held Contact copper project.

Ashburton’s Phase I exploration finds three anomalous areas at Sienna West

Disruptions by the animal kingdom notwithstanding, a radon survey on Ashburton Ventures’ TSXV:ABR Sienna West project found three anomalous areas for follow-up work. Of 35 cups that were buried to measure radon gas, eight were dug up by wildlife. But some of the others identified areas of interest, the company stated on November 4.

In addition, 12 previously reported radioactive boulders have now been analysed, with two showing 12.4 and 184.5 parts per million uranium. The latter was found in an area with high radon counts.

Ashburton also announced the resignation of director Phil Taneda.

The Sienna project comprises the 1,090-hectare Sienna West property about 40 kilometres southwest of PLS and the 147-hectare Sienna North property contiguously north of PLS.

Western Athabasca Syndicate announces winter plans for Preston Lake

With its summer field program complete, a four-company alliance prepares for winter at the PLS-proximal Preston Lake property. Work so far consisted of rock, soil, radon and biogeochemical sampling, as well as airborne electromagnetic, magnetic and radiometric surveys, the companies announced November 5. The Western Athabasca Syndicate consists of Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY.

Still to come are final results. But the campaign identified eight potential corridors with 15 drill target areas to be refined with ground gravity, EM and radon surveys between December and February. The companies anticipate drilling to begin in March. So far only about half of the alliance’s 246,643-hectare land package has been explored.

Energy Fuels suspends Arizona mine development, updates corporate news

Blaming litigation and low prices, Energy Fuels TSX:EFR has suspended construction of its Canyon mine in Arizona, the company announced November 5. Legal action by environmentalists and local natives challenges the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the mine. With all surface infrastructure complete, the company has put underground development on hold until December 2014, or earlier if a court decides on the merits of the case.

According to Associated Press, low uranium prices had put the project “on standby status before, from 1992 until work resumed earlier this year.” The news agency added, “The mine sits in a nearly [404,680-hectare] area that was placed off limits to new mining claims in January 2012. Companies with existing claims that were proven to have sufficient quantity and quality of mineral resources could be developed.”

Canyon has an inferred resource of 82,800 tons averaging 0.98% for 1.63 million pounds U3O8. The deposit is part of Energy Fuels’ Arizona Strip project, acquired when the company bought out Denison’s American assets in June 2012. Canyon had been slated for production in 2015.

In another November 5 announcement rather lacking in specifics, Energy Fuels stated it had applied “to be listed on a recognized U.S. stock exchange.” The same day the company’s post-consolidation shares began trading on the TSX and OTCQX following a 1:50 reverse split agreed to the previous week. The company also changed its fiscal year-end from September 30 to December 31.

Energy Fuels supplies about 25% of American uranium production.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 3rd, 2013

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

by Greg Klein

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

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

Hole PLS13-074

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


  • 0.09% over 2 metres, starting at 178.5 metres

  • 0.08% over 1.5 metres, starting at 183 metres

  • 0.16% over 4.5 metres, starting at 186.5 metres


  • 0.39% over 11.5 metres, starting at 59 metres

  • 0.13% over 15.5 metres, starting at 73 metres


  • 5.98% over 17.5 metres, starting at 83 metres

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

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

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

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

Rio Tinto plans winter drilling at Purepoint’s Red Willow

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

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

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

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

Strong Q3 financials surprise Cameco shareholders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Cameco operations get 10-year licence renewals

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

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

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

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

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

Declan options northeastern Alberta property

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

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

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

Rockgate takeover offer: Denison softens conditions, extends deadline

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Lakeland Resources’ JV partner New Dimension to drill for gold

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

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

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

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

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

September 22nd, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 14 to 20, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Fission and Alpha sign acquisition agreement, Denison challenges Mega for Rockgate

Another burst of merger and acquisition activity hit the markets last week. Joint September 18 statements from Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW announced a definitive agreement for the former’s acquisition of the latter. The proposed Mega Uranium TSX:MGA/Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT merger, however, took a surprising turn with Denison Mines’ TSX:DML unsolicited pitch for Rockgate. Denison’s September 17 announcement claimed a 38% premium over Mega’s offer, based on the previous day’s closing prices.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 14 to 20, 2013

In addition to taking a run at Rockgate, Denison filed a revised
43-101 report for six deposits on its Mutanga property in Zambia.

The Fission/Alpha rationale is to put their 50/50 joint venture under a single owner, creating a company solely focused on Patterson Lake South and presumably a more attractive takeover target. Their other properties would go to two newly created spincos. Should Denison’s offer succeed, the company would spin out its African assets along with Rockgate’s advanced-stage Mali project. That would leave Denison focused on the Athabasca Basin.

Read more about these proposals and other uranium M&A news.

(Update: On September 24 Rockgate terminated its proposed merger with Mega. Read more.)

PLS assay backlog grows as Fission/Alpha release more scintillometer results

Step-out drilling confirmed strong mineralization in Patterson Lake South’s newest zone, Alpha and Fission stated on September 16. The JV partners released scintillometer readings for two new holes on zone R945E, the fourth of four zones along a 1.02-kilometre southwest-northeast trend.

The hand-held device measures drill core gamma rays in counts per second, up to an off-scale reading above 9,999 cps. The results are no substitute for assays, which are pending.

Hole PLS13-092 was collared roughly 10 metres north of existing holes. It reached a total downhole depth of 377 metres, striking the basement unconformity at 59 metres without encountering sandstone. Some highlights include:

  • <300 to 1,400 cps over 3 metres, starting at 157.5 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 16 metres, starting at 163 metres

  • <300 to 1,800 cps over 11 metres, starting at 192.5 metres

  • 460 to 2,500 cps over 2.5 metres, starting at 238 metres

PLS13-096 was collared about 15 metres grid west of PLS-084, replacing it as the zone’s most southwesterly hole. It found no sandstone, hit the basement unconformity at 56.5 metres and stopped at 365 metres. Highlights include:

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 42.5 metres, starting at 135.5 metres in downhole depth

  • 310 to >9,999 cps over 11.5 metres, starting at 185.5 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 10.5 metres, starting at 235.5 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 14.5 metres, starting at 249 metres

True widths weren’t available. The two holes were drilled at -88 and -89 degree angles respectively, making downhole depths close to vertical.

The $6.95-million program calls for 44 holes totalling 11,000 metres, along with geophysics. These results bring the summer’s drilling to 27 holes totalling 8,488 metres. So far just one of the holes has had lab assays released. Scintillometer readings have been reported for 18 holes this summer.

Denison files combined resources for Mutanga property in Zambia

Denison has filed a new NI 43-101 report to replace two previous reports for its Mutanga property in Zambia, the company announced on September 16. The New Mutanga Report follows an Ontario Securities Commission review of a resource filed in March 2012 for the property’s Dibwe East deposit. The OSC declared that report non-compliant because it didn’t include all resource estimates and material information for the property as a whole. Denison’s new report incorporates information covered in a 2009 report on the Mutanga and Dibwe deposits, as well as the 2012 info for Dibwe East.

Of the project’s six deposits, only Mutanga shows measured, indicated and inferred categories. Mutanga Extension, Mutanga East, Mutanga West, Dibwe and Dibwe East have inferred pounds only. Combined, the estimate shows:

  • a measured resource of 1.88 million tonnes averaging 0.048% for 2 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8)

  • an indicated resource of 8.4 million tonnes averaging 0.031% for 5.8 million pounds

  • inferred resources totalling 65.2 million tonnes averaging 0.029% for 41.4 million pounds

The 457.3-square-kilometre property is about 200 kilometres south of the capital city of Lusaka, near the Zimbabwean border.

The previous week, Denison updated two Athabasca Basin projects with a new resource for Waterbury Lake and more high-grade assays from Wheeler River.

Lakeland Resources options gold project to focus on Athabasca uranium

Now a pure play uranium explorer, Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK optioned a north-central Ontario gold property to New Dimension Resources TSXV:NDR, the companies announced September 16. New Dimension may earn a 70% interest in the Midas project by paying $100,000, spending $1.2 million and issuing 1.5 million shares. New Dimension must spend $300,000 on exploration by December 31.

We’re maintaining our focus on uranium, yet we’re not giving away what could turn out to be a valuable asset in the end. In our view there’s no downside to our shareholders, only a potential upside.—Roger Leschuk, corporate communications manager for Lakeland Resources

The 2,112-hectare road-accessible property has already seen ground magnetics, induced polarization and 16 drill holes that partially defined two gold-bearing zones, with 14 holes showing gold mineralization. Among the assays was 5.92 grams per tonne gold over 4.7 metres, starting at 45.7 metres in depth and including 8.88 g/t over 2.6 metres.

“We get to maintain an interest in a property that looks very encouraging to say the least,” Lakeland corporate communications manager Roger Leschuk tells “The people who are picking it up are a very good group and they see this as potentially becoming their flagship property. The great part about it for Lakeland is we retain a 30% interest all the way potentially to a new discovery. We’re maintaining our focus on uranium, yet we’re not giving away what could turn out to be a valuable asset in the end. In our view there’s no downside to our shareholders, only a potential upside.”

A fall drill program is expected to begin shortly, the companies stated.

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

Forum announces fall/winter plans for its PLS-adjacent Clearwater project

In a September 17 report, Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC updated its Clearwater project, which underwent ground radiometric prospecting, lake sediment geochemical surveys and soil radon surveys in late August and early September. The radon survey found anomalous zones immediately southwest of the adjacent PLS property, the company stated. Forum now plans further prospecting of radiometric anomalies, as well as an expanded radon survey to cover areas with electromagnetic conductors on strike with the PLS conductive trend. Autumn is scheduled for ground EM surveys and early winter for ground gravity work to identify drill targets for the 9,910-hectare property in late January.

One week earlier Forum said its private placement raised $2.59 million.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

September 15th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 7 to 13, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Denison updates Waterbury Lake resource, releases Wheeler River assays up to 43.8% U3O8 over 12 metres

Denison Mines TSX:DML confirmed its best-ever hole from the eastside Athabasca Basin Wheeler River project on September 11. Releasing lab assays to back up previously reported radiometric results from downhole probes, the company reported hole WR-525 with 43.8% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 12 metres, starting at 400.5 metres in downhole depth.

With intercepts approximately equal to true thicknesses, some other results include:

  • 20% U3O8 over 8 metres, starting at 407.5 metres

  • 10.9% over 8.5 metres, starting at 404.1 metres

  • 7.3% over 8 metres, starting at 405.5 metres

  • 0.5% over 5 metres, starting at 424 metres

  • 0.4% over 3 metres, starting at 411 metres

  • 0.1% over 3 metres, starting at 412 metres

The above results come from the Phoenix A zone. Apart from lab assays, the company released radiometric readings from probes of three new holes at the same zone:

Hole WR-533

  • 1.5% radiometric equivalent uranium oxide (eU3O8) over 4.5 metres, starting at 407.1 metres in downhole depth

Hole WR-534

  • 10.3% over 3.1 metres, starting at 407.7 metres

Hole WR-535

  • 19% over 2.5 metres, starting at 404.9 metres

  • 1.4% over 1 metre, starting at 408.1 metres

With 23 holes totalling 11,074 metres, Wheeler River’s summer campaign has finished. But while Phoenix A continues to impress, other parts of the project so far haven’t. Of 10 holes sunk in the 489 zone, only one found significant mineralization (0.4% over 3 metres, starting at 411 metres). Five others at the Phoenix North and REA areas also failed to find significant results.

The project has a December 2012 resource using a 0.8% cutoff. Phoenix A shows:

  • 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

The Phoenix B deposit shows:

  • 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

The joint venture is held 60% by Denison, 30% by Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and 10% by JCU (Canada) Exploration.

On September 12 Denison unveiled a new resource for the J zone of its Waterbury Lake project. The update, entirely in the indicated category, uses a 0.1% cutoff to show 291,000 tonnes averaging 2% for 12.81 million pounds U3O8. The resource reduces the overall tonnage but increases the grade reported in a December 2012 estimate compiled for Fission Energy prior to its acquisition by Denison.

Assays from 268 holes were used for the estimate. With an east-west strike as long as 700 metres and a width up to 70 metres, the J zone generally shows mineralization at depths of 195 to 230 metres, the company reported. No capping was applied because using “high composite values uncut would be negligible to the overall resource estimate,” Denison added. The crew now has a six-hole campaign following up on a DC-resistivity survey northwest along trend of the zone. Denison has a 60% interest in the project, with the Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) holding the remainder.

Denison also updated other Basin projects. Packrat has geochemical results pending, which will determine whether drilling resumes next year. Geochem results are also pending for South Dufferin, where 10 holes failed to find significant mineralization but did confirm the presence of the Dufferin Lake fault system. Crawford Lake, Moon Lake (held 45% by Uranium One TSX:UUU) and Bachman Lake (with International Enexco TSXV:IEC earning 20%) also have small drill programs underway.

Kivalliq reports geochem, metallurgical results for its Angilak property in Nunavut

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 7 to 13, 2013

Currently undergoing a $4.8-million campaign, Kivalliq Energy’s
137,699-hectare Angilak project in southern Nunavut hosts Canada’s
highest-grade uranium deposit outside the Athabasca Basin.

Extensive geochemical sampling has helped Kivalliq Energy TSXV:KIV find new anomalous areas and determine drill targets on its 137,699-hectare Angilak project in Nunavut. Some 1,538 samples brought 387 anomalous uranium soil geochem results along the three-by-12-kilometre Lac 50 trend, as well as the Nine Iron-KU trend 5.5 kilometres south. Some of the Lac 50 anomalies were found at least 600 metres beyond existing drill holes “demonstrating much more work is warranted in these areas,” the company stated on September 9. Anomalies also coincided with three electromagnetic conductor targets located 3.8 kilometres northeast, 1.8 kilometres southeast and one kilometre north of the Lac 50 resource.

Another EM target extending 8.1 kilometres from the Nine Iron zone to the KU zone showed 44 anomalous results.

Two days later Kivalliq announced positive metallurgical results for Lac 50 and J4 zone samples. In a statement accompanying the release, Chuck Edwards, director of metallurgy for the engineering firm AMEC, said: “Optimizing sulphide recovery, plus improvements to alkaline leach kinetics using oxygen as oxidant, could have a positive impact on reducing costs associated with potential treatment options.”

In addition, Kivalliq announced a trial run suggested radiometric sorting might “efficiently identify and segregate uranium-bearing minerals” from Lac 50.

Located 225 kilometres south of Baker Lake, Angilak has a 2013 exploration budget of $4.8 million. With Canada’s highest-grade deposit outside the Athabasca Basin, the project has a January inferred resource estimate using a 0.2% cutoff to show 2.83 million tonnes averaging 0.69% for 43.3 million pounds U3O8. The inferred resource also shows 1.88 million ounces silver, 10.4 million pounds molybdenum and 15.6 million pounds copper. Kivalliq operates the project in partnership with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

Alpha/Fission release scintillometer results, extend acquisition letter of intent

Somewhere there must be a considerable backlog of Patterson Lake South core waiting to be assayed. So far this year, 50/50 JV partners Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW have mostly released scintillometer readings. A preliminary indication of radioactivity, they measure gamma rays in counts per second, up to an off-scale reading above 9,999 cps. The September 12 batch comes from R780E, the third of four zones along a 1.02-kilometre southwest-northeast trend.

Hole PLS13-082 reached a total depth of 380 metres, finding the basement unconformity at 55.3 metres without striking sandstone. Some results show:

  • <300 to 500 cps over 7.5 metres, starting at 118.5 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 820 cps over 3.5 metres, starting at 141 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 35 metres, starting at 146.5 metres

  • 1,000 to 4,200 cps over 1.5 metres, starting at 237 metres

Hole PLS13-089 encountered no sandstone and hit the basement unconformity at 54.2 metres on its way to a total depth of 393 metres. Some examples show:

  • <300 to 1,800 cps over 5 metres, starting at 142.5 metres

  • <300 to 3,200 cps over 16.5 metres, starting at 150 metres

  • 740 to >9,999 cps over 1.5 metres, starting at 179.5 metres

  • <300 to 6,500 cps over 8 metres, starting at 198.5 metres

True widths were unavailable. Lab assays are pending.

With 25 holes totalling 7,746 metres complete by September 11, the campaign’s $6.95-million, 44-hole, 11,000-metre program is well advanced. Fission acts as project operator.

On September 13 the partners updated Fission’s proposed acquisition of Alpha. They’ve now extended to September 17 “the date by which the obligations set out in the LOI, including the signing of an arrangement agreement, must be completed.”

Zadar finds radioactive boulders in PLS-vicinity PNE project

With Phase I exploration complete on Zadar Ventures’ TSXV:ZAD PNE project, a scintillometer has found boulders measuring 130 to 405 cps. “The anomalous boulders sampled have basement rock lithologies similar to those reported in the early stages” of Alpha/Fission’s PLS, Zadar stated on September 11. The program also included taking boulder chip samples for assays and placing radon gas detector cups.

Phase II calls for additional scintillometer prospecting and boulder sampling, as well as a survey of more than 350 radon cups. The team also plans to locate the 15,292-hectare property’s single historic hole. PNE lies about 11 kilometres northeast of PLS and adjacent to Patterson Lake North, a 50/50 JV between Fission and Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

July 20th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 13 to 19, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Step-out hole extends PLS zone by 15 metres

The first hole of Patterson Lake South’s summer program found 85.5 metres of “the most abundant off-scale mineralization of any hole drilled on the property,” stated Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU president/COO Ross McElroy. In dual announcements made July 18, Fission and 50/50 joint venture partner Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW said scintillometer readings show the step-out extends the R390E zone 15 metres grid west. R390E is the middle of three zones along an 850-metre northeast-southwest trend.

Although its readings aren’t substitutes for assays, the scintillometer determines radioactivity by measuring gamma ray particles in counts per second, up to an off-scale reading of more than 9,999 cps. Results for PLS13-072 show:

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 13 to 19, 2013

Alpha/Fission’s $6.95-million summer drill program has begun,
with the first hole extending one zone by 15 metres.

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 85.5 metres, starting at 62 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 1,100 to >9,999 cps over 16.5 metres)
  • (and including 5,000 to >9,999 cps over 6.9 metres)
  • (and including <300 to 8,600 cps over 5 metres)
  • (and including <300 to 720 cps over 2.5 metres).

Assays are pending. True widths weren’t available. Drilling on the hole was suspended due to mechanical failure. All PLS holes will get a radiometric probe to assess radioactivity more accurately.

Interestingly, the drill found no Devonian sandstone between the overburden and the basement bedrock, which started at 55.7 metres’ depth. “This may be a result of the RC rig casing past the overburden and bedrock contact, and so the presence or absence of Devonian sandstone is inconclusive,” stated Alpha’s news release. “Alternatively, the lack of Devonian sandstone and presence of shallower mineralization may indicate that the bedrock source of the high-grade uranium boulders is possibly approaching further to the west of PLS13-072. Other step-out drill holes may resolve this.”

The program uses two diamond rigs in addition to the reverse circulation drill. With a $6.95-million budget, the 44-hole, 11,000-metre drill campaign and ground geophysics surveys continue on the 31,000-hectare property two kilometres from Highway 955.

Fission applies for boulder-finding patent

Along with collaborator Special Projects Inc, Fission wants to patent the system used to discover the PLS high-grade uranium boulder field. Calling it “an invention entitled System and Method for Aerial Surveying or Mapping of Radioactive Deposits,” Fission announced the application on July 16.

The company explained that radiometric surveys can be affected by a number of variables including weather, topography and cosmic activity, as well as more controllable factors such as sensor height and aircraft speed. The invention “is particularly sensitive to addressing these variables,” Fission stated.

The news release didn’t specify the invention of new technology.

Forum extends Key Lake-area holdings

Towards the Athabasca Basin’s southeast corner, Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC picked up the Highrock South property, adding another 1,381 hectares to its Key Lake area holdings. The company’s July 17 announcement states the property “is a continuation of the prospective Key Lake/Black Forest conductive trend” that hosted Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO former deposits and the geology “compares favourably” with PLS. Highrock South lies about 15 kilometres south of the world’s largest high-grade uranium mill.

Forum pays $2,500, issues 25,000 shares and grants a 2% NSR. The company holds six other projects totalling over 90,000 hectares in the area, as well as other projects in Saskatchewan and Nunavut’s Thelon Basin.

Brades moves into Athabasca Basin

Brades Resource TSXV:BRA marked its Saskatchewan entry with the Lorne Lake acquisition announced July 16. The approximately 39,450-hectare property shows “extensive regional faulting and lineaments and covers one of only three identified cross-cutting major fault structures located in the western Athabasca Basin,” as well as “favourable magnetic geophysical data,” the company stated.

In return, Brades will issue a total of 3.5 million shares to two vendors including Ryan Kalt, who will also get a 2% NSR. On closing the deal, Kalt becomes a company insider.

On July 19 Brades announced the appointment of Evany Hung as CFO, replacing Christopher Cherry. The company also holds the 14,133-hectare BRC porphyry copper-gold property in northwestern British Columbia.

Noka retains Dahrouge Geological Consulting

On July 18 Noka Resources TSXV:NX announced it retained Dahrouge Geological Consulting to manage and explore Noka’s Athabasca Basin properties. Dahrouge and its predecessor, Halferdahl & Associates, have over 40 years’ experience with mineral projects, including over 30 years in uranium, Noka stated. The announcement credited Jody Dahrouge and his team with “the conceptualization and acquisition of several uranium properties within the Athabasca Basin, most notably these include such projects as Waterbury Lake (J zone), Patterson Lake and in part Patterson Lake South.”

Noka’s properties include Clearwater and Athabasca North, as well as a 25% earn-in on the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project, a four-company strategic alliance with Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC and Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY that’s exploring the PLS-area’s largest land package.

Read more about the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.

Paladin reports quarterly revenue of $107.4 million, record production

Paladin Energy’s TSX:PDN quarterly report, released July 16, showed sales revenue for three months ending June 30 of US$107.4 million. The company sold 2.32 million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8) at an average price of $46.22 a pound.

Both of the company’s mines achieved quarterly production records. Langer Heinrich in Namibia produced 1.35 million pounds U3O8 while Kayelekera in Malawi gave up 789,430 pounds for a combined 2.14 million pounds, up 8% from the previous quarter. Fiscal 2013 production met guidance with 8.25 million pounds. The fiscal 2014 forecast ranges from 8.3 million to 8.7 million pounds.

The company also stated it had cut production costs by 9% at Langer Heinrich and 24% at Kayelekera, compared with June 2012. Paladin has been negotiating the sale of a minority interest in Langer Heinrich.

As for the company’s other projects, its Michelin property in Labrador has more exploration planned for summer and a resource update scheduled for next quarter. At Western Australia’s Manyingee project, work continues on an updated resource and hydrogeological modelling. Exploration on its Agadez property in Niger, however, has been suspended following the May 23 terrorist attacks that hit a military barracks and a uranium mine operated by AREVA.

In April Paladin became sole owner of the Angela project in Northern Territory, with an inferred resource of 30.8 million pounds, after buying Cameco’s 50% interest. Paladin also holds other Australian properties.

Cameco wants Canada to allow foreign ownership, Paladin concurs

Cameco “has broken ranks with the Canadian government by taking the position that Australian companies should be able to wholly own uranium mines in the country,” reported Australia’s Financial Review (subscription required) on July 15. Not surprisingly the journal added that John Borshoff, managing director/CEO of Australia’s Paladin, “says Canada must heed the words of one of its biggest companies and prioritize lifting restrictions on foreign ownership.”

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North ROK rocks the market

May 6th, 2013

Colorado Resources’ copper-gold discovery heats up B.C.’s Golden Triangle

by Greg Klein

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Geology has a way of stimulating even the most discouraged investors, as shown by the way North ROK excited an otherwise dismal market. The very first hole from the Colorado Resources TSXV:CXO project sent company stock soaring from an April 24 close of $0.16 to a May 6 high of $1.25. Along with the excitement comes revived interest in the northern part of British Columbia’s Golden Triangle, in the region around the discovery hole and Imperial Metals’ TSX:III development-stage Red Chris project, 15 kilometres east.

For anyone coming out of cryogenic slumber, here’s the first North ROK hole announced April 25:

  • 0.51% copper and 0.67 grams per tonne gold over 333 metres, starting at 2 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.63% copper and 0.85 g/t gold over 242 metres, starting at 2 metres)
  • (which includes 0.76% copper and 1 g/t gold over 180.47 metres, starting at 63.53 metres)
  • (and including 0.2% copper and 0.19 g/t gold over 91 metres, starting at 244 metres).

True widths haven’t been determined.

Still to come are assays for a second hole 350 metres west. Geophysical data, however, suggests drilling “may have been stopped short of adequately testing the IP chargeability anomaly.” Colorado now plans to deepen the second hole and sink a series of 100-metre-spaced step-outs from the 333-metre intercept.

Colorado Resources’ copper-gold discovery heats up B.C.’s Golden Triangle

Spectacular assays have put Colorado Resources on top of the world.

Could North ROK be a one-hole wonder? Maybe, but other companies aren’t wasting time getting in on the action. The region “may become the next significant mining district in British Columbia,” according to TAD Mineral Exploration TSXV:TJ. On May 6 the company reported staking a 876-hectare copper-gold prospect near the village of Iskut, north of North ROK. TAD could be a tad opportunistic, having announced on April 11 it staked 4,000 hectares in the region of Patterson Lake South, the Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU/Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW uranium discovery that sparked the southwestern Athabasca Basin acquisition rush.

Also on May 6, Teuton Resources TSXV:TUO reported it optioned its Yellow Chris South claims to Redhill Resources TSXV:RHR. Located “a few kilometres northeast” of Colorado’s discovery hole, Yellow Chris South shares a similar geophysical setting, Teuton stated. The company added that its optionee “plans an aggressive program of property-wide soil sampling, geological mapping and IP surveying” beginning immediately. Subject to regulatory approval, the option allows Redhill to earn an initial 50% by paying Teuton $300,000 and 1.4 million shares, as well as spending $4.5 million over four years.

Teuton still has several blocks in the Red Chris and Yellow Chris area totalling 10,256 hectares. “We’re currently negotiating with a number of other companies,” IR officer Gary Assaly tells ResourceClips. “We have several properties that are optioned in the Stewart region [roughly 190 kilometres south] and there will be a lot of work done by other companies on our properties,” he says. But there’s been sudden interest in the North ROK area. “The phone started ringing a week ago, on the weekend.”

Teuton president Dino Cremonese adds, “We feel that our claims have a lot of potential, especially those which have discrete mag highs, some associated with flanking mag lows, the latter suggesting an area where alteration has been so intense that the magnetite has been replaced. So far, because our attention has been on our many claims further south, we have done only very minor soil geochem. This, however, has also been positive, with a few areas reporting values to 271 parts per million copper.”

A company that diversifies its opportunism, Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST was advancing an Ontario graphite property while a big-name joint venture partner drilled one of its Athabasca Basin uranium projects. Then the Colorado Resources discovery drew Pistol Bay back to its Summit Lake B property contiguous to North ROK.

“When this hit we went back and looked at the results from our 2010 program,” Pistol Bay president/director Charles Desjardins tells ResourceClips. “When you look at the showing in North ROK and compare it to our Kitty showing, we have some good numbers.”

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Week in review

October 19th, 2012

A mining and exploration retrospect for October 13 to 19, 2012

by Greg Klein

Unhappy birthday. Many unhappy returns

With Friday marking Black Monday’s 25th anniversary, pundits around the world reflected on the calamity, its causes and whether it helped set off the financial crises that followed. Among the not-reassuring news for the future was this headline from Thursday’s Der Spiegel: “Euro Exit by Southern Nations Could Cost 17 Trillion Euros.”

Referring to a study by an economic research group called Prognos, the German weekly stated, “The researchers arrived at a particularly bleak assessment because they didn’t just calculate the losses of creditors who had lent money to the crisis-hit nations. They also analysed the possible impact of a euro collapse on economic growth in the 42 most important industrial and emerging economies that make up more than 90% of the world economy.”

Prognos predicated that result on a chain reaction set off by Greece reverting to the drachma. But keeping Greece also has its costs, as another headline from Thursday’s Der Spiegel stated: “Corruption Continues Virtually Unchecked in Greece.”

Chinese companies bring Canada investment, skills, controversy

Revelations continued this week about a plan by Chinese interests to import Chinese workers to staff four proposed British Columbia coal mines. The first 200 are expected to arrive any time now, with possibly 2,000 more to come.

A mining and exploration retrospect for October 13 to 19, 2012

On Monday Mark Olsen, President of the Bargaining Council of B.C. Building Trade Unions, called the plan “simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal mining in China … a culture which leads them to accept the possibility of death as a cost of having a job.”

Also on Monday, Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham noted that the workers will be “indentured” to one employer, “dependent on staying in the company’s good graces in order to hold their jobs [and] in a remote area fully reliant on [their employer] for help in getting housing, health care and ensuring their safety.”

The companies’ rationale was partly based on insufficient response to job ads posted in Canada. But another story in Monday’s Vancouver Sun stated that the ads offered wages far below Canadian standards. “Chances are they won’t find an underground miner (in Canada) who will work for $25 an hour,” said the manager of one mining personnel agency. “I mean, they’re putting their lives at risk.”

Additionally, Olsen stated that neither the federal nor provincial government “has a mechanism in place to verify the wages these foreign workers actually receive.”

More news hit the fan on Tuesday when the United Steelworkers revealed that at least four of those Canadian job ads, for approximately 70 positions, required applicants to speak Mandarin.

According to a Tuesday Vancouver Province column by Michael Smyth, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat Bell claimed, “This is a unique situation for the next six to eight months. Once those mines go into full production, I expect those jobs will be filled by British Columbians first and Canadians second.”

On October 11, however, HD Mining International spokesperson Jody Shimkus told ResourceClips that the first of the four proposals, the Murray River Project, will probably rely on Chinese underground workers for 10 years after its projected 2015 start date.

On Thursday a labour-sponsored online journal called the Tyee stated that two companies recruiting miners in China were charging exorbitant fees. A reporter who responded to ads on a Chinese Web site was told applicants pay about $4,700 in advance, approximately two and a half years’ salary for a Chinese miner. Once working in Canada, the miner would pay another $7,800 in $400 monthly instalments.

The fees are illegal in B.C. The wages offered by the recruiter were $22 to $25 an hour, the Tyee stated, below the minimum $25 that the company claimed in Canadian job ads.

But two solid weeks of wide-ranging controversy haven’t stopped Canadian Dehua International Mining Inc from picking up another acquisition. On Friday Lions Gate Metals TSXV:LGM announced a $15-million LOI in which Canadian Dehua may option 100% of the 77,705-hectare Poplar Copper-Gold-Silver Project in west-central B.C. The agreement is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

A big-time B.C. operator Canadian Dehua may be, but its Web site reads like a parody of broken English. Here’s just one example, about the Murray River Project:

Proved and inferred reserves the coal seam area is 17 square kilometers.

That would be an especially interesting use of NI 43-101-ish terminology were the Vancouver-headquartered company a reporting issuer in any Canadian jurisdiction. B.C. Securities Commission spokesperson Richard Gilhooley would only tell ResourceClips that Canadian Dehua is “not currently listed on SEDAR, which is where issuers typically are.”

Plan Nord not dead, just modified

Following dismissive comments by her mining minister, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois saw fit to reassure French investors that Plan Nord will go ahead after all. Prior to the province’s September 4 election, Marois had spoken of altering the former government’s proposed $2.1-billion in public funding for an infrastructure program. On October 1 La Press reported that Quebec Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet said Plan Nord was merely a “marketing” strategy for projects that were already underway or in planning. But on Wednesday the Nunatsiaq News reported that a modified Plan Nord “could involve companies chipping in financially or giving Quebec shares if Quebec built a road or a port in northern Quebec, and the company benefitted from this infrastructure. These changes will be made ‘in the coming months,’ Marois said. ‘But we remain focused on the development of the North.’”

Iron ore an indulgence or a strategic asset?

In a Thursday story picked up by media including the Globe and Mail, the Financial Times reported that the world’s largest steelmaker is considering selling a chunk of its Canadian assets. Sources told the FT that ArcelorMittal might put 30% of its Canadian operations, which total some $8 billion to $10 billion, up for grabs.

ArcelorMittal Mines Canada produces about 15 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate and 9 million tonnes of iron oxide pellets annually, accounting for approximately 60% of Canada’s total production. The company’s Mont-Wright and Fire Lake mines in Quebec’s Labrador Trough region were slated for $2.1 billion in upgrades by 2013. But according to the FT, “One sector specialist described ownership of iron ore assets as an ‘indulgence’ in the current environment.”

Iron ore prices plummeted in August due to a situation in China variously described as over-supply, slumping demand or a buyers’ strike. China is the world’s largest importer of iron ore.

In July 2011 Forbes reported China’s intention to “break the grip” of its three main suppliers, Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, which together provide 62% of China’s imports. Li Xinchuang, Deputy Secretary-General of the China Iron & Steel Association, told media his country should get more than half its supply from Chinese-invested mines overseas.

The FT stated that “Chinese companies and commodities trading houses had expressed an interest” in ArcelorMittal’s Canadian operations.

South Africa updates

Junk status looms for AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields as Standard & Poor’s considers lowering the companies’ debt ratings, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

On Friday provided another weekly update of 12 major companies operating in South Africa.

[The plan to staff Canadian mines with Chinese workers is] simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal mining in China … a culture which leads them to accept the possibility of death as a cost of having a job.—Mark Olsen, President of the Bargaining Council of B.C. Building Trade Unions

E-Caddy shows EV commitment

The bankruptcy of an e-car battery manufacturer reported on Tuesday might have reflected negatively on prospects for graphite and lithium, not to mention the environment. But the same day General Motors got a jolt of publicity for its 2013 electric Cadillac.

Battery builder A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy protection after a US$249.1-million government grant failed to save the company. In a Tuesday press release A123 stated that Johnson Controls plans to acquire A123’s automotive business assets in a $125-million transaction.

GM’s new model shows an EV commitment despite disappointing sales for its better-known Chevy Volt. Sales never lived up to the company’s initial expectations, although steep discounts have more recently given it the middling distinction of “outselling about half of all cars marketed in the U.S.

American projections are just part of a much bigger market. According to a TechSci research report published in August, the “global electric vehicle industry clocked a turnover close to US$54 billion in 2011, while electric two-wheelers became the dominating vehicle category for the whole segment.” The study predicts “phenomenal” EV demand worldwide due to “overall consumer spending, growth in population, increasing demand for environment-friendly vehicles and growing government support.”

They seek safe haven

“Forget gold: Here’s where die-hard skeptics are stashing their wealth,” declared Tuesday’s Financial Post. High yellow metal prices have pushed some discerning pessimists into a range of commodities, collectibles and other presumably secure assets.

Scandinavian and Canadian bonds are proving popular, as are rare coins, stamps and watches. Farmland offers obvious practical value. The finer things in life, from art to liquor, might also bring security. The same might be said, with far more chilling connotations, for guns and ammo. But the FP conceded that its list isn’t exhaustive. That might explain why it didn’t include canned food.