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Posts tagged ‘Makena Resources Inc (MKN)’

Athabasca Basin and beyond

April 17th, 2015

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to April 17, 2015

by Greg Klein

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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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Athabasca Basin and beyond

March 1st, 2015

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to March 1, 2015

by Greg Klein

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Saskatchewan’s number two for mining jurisdictions worldwide

The province has held a top 10 position for at least five years, but last week Saskatchewan reached second place in a global survey of miners and explorers. The Fraser Institute study released February 24 rated jurisdictions for a number of factors, with the most important attributes making up the Investment Attractiveness Index. There sits Saskatchewan, second only to Finland.

The index considers responses for two separate categories, giving a 60% weight to geology and 40% to public policy. As Macdonald-Laurier Institute managing director Brian Lee Crowley told, reserves aren’t much good without policies that allow responsible development. Some comments quoted by the Fraser Institute bear that out.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to February 27, 2015

A province founded on agriculture, Saskatchewan became one of
the world’s leading mining jurisdictions thanks to geology and policy.

“In Saskatchewan, ‘Duty to Consult’ is the responsibility of government, not the company. Something like the Ring of Fire fiasco in Ontario would not happen in Saskatchewan.”

“Good geoscientific support and permitting procedures which allow for timely planning and efficient support from provincial administration in addressing land access and Amerindian issues.”

“Saskatchewan is open to uranium exploration.”

Speaking to the Regina Leader-Post, survey director Kenneth Green said, “In addition to being blessed with an abundance of mineral potential, Saskatchewan gets credit for having a government with a transparent and productive approach to mining policy. The province offers a competitive taxation regime, good scientific support, efficient permitting procedures and clarity around land claims.”

More good words came from provincial Economy Minister Bill Boyd. “Clearly, there is a very good resource here in the province, whether it’s in potash, uranium or other minerals that we mine here in Saskatchewan,’’ the Leader-Post quoted him. “We’ve been able to create a business climate here in Saskatchewan that’s positive. There’s a good workforce in Saskatchewan, a trained workforce, as well.’’

Four other Canadian jurisdictions made the top 10 for investment attractiveness. Additionally the survey showed a significant improvement in Canada’s median score on the Policy Perception Index.

Read more about Canada’s performance in the global mining survey.

Download the survey.

NexGen adds third high-grade section to Rook 1’s Arrow zone

Having discovered another high-grade section of the Arrow zone with Rook 1’s best angled hole yet, NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE assigned new names to the project’s features. A1, A2 and A3 designate three mineralized shears trending northeast to southwest. The latest hole, AR-15-39, found composite mineralization totalling 89.15 metres within 436.5 metres that started at 433.5 metres in downhole depth. Scintillometer readings above 10,000 counts per second coincided with “dense accumulations of semi-massive to massive pitchblende,” the company stated February 24.

The results, from a handheld device that scans drill core for gamma radiation, are no substitute for the still-pending assays. Readings of 10,000 cps or more are called “offscale” due to the limitations of a previous model.

Drilled at a -70 dip between AR-15-37 and -38, the new hole went offscale for seven metres at A2, reinforcing “the continuity of semi-massive to massive pitchblende” in that shear. A3 revealed another 9.75 offscale metres, representing “a 200-metre down-dip extension from high-grade uranium assay intervals in drill holes AR-14-08 and -13,” NexGen added.

One week earlier the company released two holes extending mineralization 81 metres southwest along strike from Rook 1’s best hole so far—angled or vertical and “amongst the best drill results” in the Athabasca Basin.

Both holes revealed “significant dense accumulations of semi-massive to massive pitchblende,” with AR-15-37 giving composite radiation readings for 76 metres within a 264.5-metre section beginning at 405 metres in downhole depth. That included an offscale composite of 9.35 metres.

AR-15-38 showed composite mineralization of 82.35 metres within a 247.5-metre section starting at 474 metres, with a composite 4.5 metres above 10,000 cps.

NexGen also reported its third rig began drilling 400 metres northeast along Arrow’s strike. That’s where a radon-in-lake-water anomaly, 480 metres long by 20 to 150 metres wide, is “optimally situated along the southeast-dipping VTEM conductor [and] projected to reach the unconformity.”

As of February 24, drilling hit mineralization in 37 of 39 Arrow holes, with 5,519 metres of the 18,000-metre winter program complete. The zone covers about 515 metres by 215 metres, with mineralization as shallow as 100 metres and as deep as 817.5 metres in vertical depth.

Arrow remains open in all directions and at depth.

Ever modest, NexGen CEO Leigh Curyer said the zone “is quickly becoming a significant discovery on a world scale with relatively very few holes drilled.”

Fission hits high grade west of Triple R resource

Sunday’s not the usual day to release news of this nature. But March 1 begins PDAC 2015, so what better time to assert bragging rights? Whatever the reason, Fission Uranium TSX:FCU chose the day to announce a radioactive find 555 metres west of its Triple R deposit. The news reinforces interest in R600W, the most westerly of Patterson Lake South’s four zones, where five previous holes showed only low-grade mineralization.

Scintillometer readings for land-based hole PLS15-343 showed 65.5 metres of radiation starting at 105.5 metres in downhole depth, including a continuous 8.85 metres over 10,000 counts per second “with peaks up to 52,900 cps at shallow depth,” the company reported. A second radioactive interval of four metres began at 342.5 metres.

As explained in the NexGen item above, scintillometer readings are no substitute for assays, which are pending. Readings above 10,000 cps are often called “offscale” due to the limitations of earlier scintillometers.

Technical problems terminated the hole at 368 metres “in moderately altered semi-pelitic gneiss,” Fission stated.

R600W’s strike runs 30 metres with a north-south lateral width up to about 20 metres. The project’s four zones extend for a 2.24-kilometre potential strike along the PL-3B conductor. The two middle zones, R00E and R780E, comprise the Triple R resource that shook the market in January. In mid-February Fission announced nine holes that expand R780E, by far the project’s largest zone.

The $10-million, four-rig winter agenda calls for 35 holes on Triple R and R600W, along with 28 holes on regional targets, for a total of about 20,230 metres.

Read more about the Triple R resource estimate.

See an historical timeline of the PLS discovery.

Lakeland Resources bolsters its Basin portfolio

Now with 32 properties totalling over 300,000 hectares, Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK has enlarged what was already one of Saskatchewan’s largest exploration portfolios. New acquisitions announced February 20 include two land packages in the southeastern Basin’s Key Lake area, which gave up over 200 million pounds of uranium by 2002 and still hosts the Key Lake mill.

One of the area acquisitions, the KLR property, features “a significant number of historic conductors within basement rock types and at least two unexplained radiometric anomalies,” Lakeland stated. Sampling of surface rocks and lake and stream sediment brought results up to 691 ppm uranium. Historic drilling revealed 0.12% U3O8 across 0.1 metres. The new turf complements Lakeland’s existing Key Lake-region properties.

Six new claims sit adjacent to Lakeland holdings in the southwestern Basin’s Carter Lake area. The company also gained ground in the Mathews Lake area, north of Lake Athabasca and within basement rocks of the Beaverlodge Domain.

The Carson Lake property lies beyond the Basin’s northeastern margin but within the Wollaston Domain, which hosts most of the Basin’s currently operating mines.

South of the Basin, along the highly prospective Cable Bay shear zone, Lakeland picked up Black Birch East. Historic work on the 26,389-hectare property “showed a number of electromagnetic conductors and radiometric anomalies roughly coincident with the CBSZ.”

The acquisitions result from two transactions, subject to TSXV approval. One set of properties costs $40,880 and 1.12 million shares. A set of two other properties calls for $32,636 and 326,350 shares. Both transactions include a 2% NSR, half of which Lakeland may buy back for $2 million per property.

In late January the company began drilling its Star/Gibbon’s Creek project on the Basin’s north-central rim. Other drill-ready projects include Lazy Edward Bay on the Basin’s southern margin and Newnham Lake, east of Star/Gibbon’s.

In December Takara Resources TSXV:TKK took out a 50% option on Lakeland’s Fond du Lac property. Last year’s private placements brought Lakeland over $5.1 million.

Read more about Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek project.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

July 19th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 12 to 18, 2014

by Greg Klein

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High-grade U3O8 helps Fission delineate

Still enthusiastically proving that high grades can come from shallow depths, Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU released more assays from winter drilling on July 14. Six infill holes from the central portion of R780E, the middle and largest of five zones, complemented the previous week’s batch from the zone’s eastern area. An additional hole from R1155E proved less impressive but provided the strongest results so far from that zone.

Some highlights from R780E show:

Hole PLS14-172

  • 2.1% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 28 metres, starting at 86 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 5.88% over 8.5 metres)
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 12 to 18, 2014

With five barges afloat over Patterson Lake South, Fission Uranium
has another season to drill prior to releasing a December resource.

  • 0.23% over 11 metres, starting at 131.5 metres

  • 0.54% over 18 metres, starting at 168 metres
  • (including 1.62% over 4.5 metres)

  • 0.6% over 10 metres, starting at 224 metres

Hole PLS14-181

  • 0.46% over 27.5 metres, starting at 118 metres
  • (including 1% over 9 metres)

  • 6.01% over 17.5 metres, starting at 148 metres
  • (including 23.53% over 4 metres)

Hole PLS14-183

  • 0.14% over 18 metres, starting at 109 metres

  • 0.21% over 10.5 metres, starting at 147 metres

  • 0.66% over 13.5 metres, starting at 176.5 metres
  • (including 1.22% over 5.5 metres)

  • 1.63% over 3.5 metres, starting at 193.5 metres

  • 1.1% over 6.5 metres, starting at 213 metres

  • 0.48% over 6 metres, starting at 244 metres
  • (including 1.11% over 2 metres)

Hole PLS14-184

  • 2.02% over 14.5 metres, starting at 110.5 metres
  • (including 8.31% over 2 metres)

  • 7.66% over 2 metres, starting at 136 metres

  • 1.65% over 19 metres, starting at 158.5 metres
  • (including 4.45% over 3.5 metres)

Hole PLS14-189

  • 1.93% over 15 metres, starting at 262.5 metres

  • 0.44% over 13 metres, starting at 281 metres
  • (including 1.03% over 4.5 metres)

Hole PLS14-191

  • 0.22% over 6.5 metres, starting at 99 metres

  • 0.62% over 9 metres, starting at 122 metres
  • (including 1.7% over 2.5 metres)

  • 1% over 3.5 metres, starting at 152.5 metres

On the R1155E zone, the better results from PLS14-191 showed:

  • 0.2% over 8 metres, starting at 197.5 metres
  • (including 1.28% over 0.5 metres)

  • 0.33% over 3.5 metres, starting at 211 metres

  • 0.1% over 5.5 metres, starting at 359 metres

True widths weren’t provided. Fission Uranium stated PLS14-191 “opens up the potential to discover increased amounts and higher grades of mineralization from this area, including further to the south and within the 75-metre gap separating R780E and R1155E.” The 31,039-hectare project’s 2.24-kilometre potential strike remains open to the east and west.

Still to come are assays for 32 holes from last winter’s 92-hole program. Now underway is a 63-hole, 20,330-metre campaign worth $12 million to focus on R780E. That would bring the project’s total to about 263 holes totalling around 83,500 metres. December’s the deadline for the maiden resource.

Cigar Lake suspended as Cameco encounters freezing failure

Progress continues on the technological challenge of extracting Cigar Lake’s uranium deposit—but not “as quickly as expected,” Cameco Corp TSX:CCO conceded July 16. As a result production has been suspended to allow some areas of the mine to freeze more thoroughly. In an innovative method to prevent flooding “where the water-saturated Athabasca sandstone meets the underlying basement rocks,” the company injects and freezes a brine solution around the rock body. Water jet boring then extracts the ore. (Watch a video here.) Now Cameco has stopped operations to allow “additional freezing.”

Noting that the McClean Lake mill, 70 kilometres away, hasn’t started processing Cigar Lake feed, the suspension “will allow more continuous production at the mine once the mill is operational.” Cameco anticipates a couple of months’ delay that will affect 2014 production, which was originally estimated at 770 to 1,100 tonnes of uranium concentrate. The long-term annual target of 18 million pounds U3O8 by 2018 remains unaffected.

The company will provide another update during its July 31 Q2 discussion.

Flooding in 2006 and 2008 had already set back development at the eastside Athabasca Basin mine, which began construction in 2005. The first ore shipment finally left Cigar Lake in March. McClean Lake was scheduled to begin processing last quarter, following modifications to the leaching circuit.

The world’s second-largest high-grade uranium deposit, Cigar Lake holds grades 100 times the global average. The joint venture is held 50.025% by Cameco, 37.1% by AREVA Resources Canada, 7.875% by Idemitsu Canada Resources and 5% by TEPCO Resources.

Another JV, McClean Lake is held 70% by AREVA, 22.5% by Denison Mines TSX:DML and 7.5% by OURD Canada.

Read more about Cigar Lake.

Athabasca Nuclear/Strike Graphite merger would combine uranium and diamond projects

Exploration in two Saskatchewan plays would come together under one entity should a merger go through between Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC and Strike Graphite TSXV:SRK. The companies announced that intention on July 15, subject to conditions and approvals. Athabasca Nuclear holds a number of uranium properties including its Preston Lake flagship, which the company operates for the four-company Western Athabasca Syndicate. Strike has received conditional TSXV approval for its 80% acquisition of two properties in the Sask Craton that are contiguous to the Pikoo diamond discovery made last November by North Arrow Minerals TSXV:NAR.

The deal would exchange one Athabasca Nuclear share for each Strike share, with a similar swap of options and warrants. Strike would then become a wholly owned subsidiary of Athabasca Nuclear but presumably would not be called Nuclear Strike. Athabasca Nuclear would be held 73.9% by its current shareholders and 26.1% by Strike shareholders. Athabasca Nuclear’s officers and BOD would remain unchanged, except for the board addition of Blair Way, now a Strike director.

Among the deal’s conditions is two-thirds approval by Strike shareholders. The companies hope to consummate by September 20.

Read about diamond mining and exploration in Canada here and here.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

June 14th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for June 7 to 13, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Strateco turns to Saskatchewan while Quebec uranium inquiry comes under fire

For the $123 million spent on it so far, the project has a resource showing 7.78 million pounds U3O8 indicated and 19.22 million pounds inferred. It also has an underground exploration permit issued by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. But Quebec’s moratorium on uranium activity has finally caused Strateco Resources TSX:RSC to shut down its Matoush camp in the province’s Otish Basin. Now with a $1.4-million financing that the company hopes will save its TSX listing, Strateco’s focusing on a Saskatchewan project acquired from Denison Mines TSX:DML.

Strateco turns to Saskatchewan while Quebec uranium inquiry comes under fire

Now mothballed, Strateco’s Matoush project has a 2012 resource
showing 7.78 million pounds U3O8 indicated and
19.22 million pounds inferred.

In a June 12 announcement, Strateco attributed Matoush’s cost-cutting closure to Quebec’s refusal to issue an exploration permit. Some of the project’s facilities and equipment have been sold. The company has already launched legal action over the permit refusal.

Strateco also closed a private placement to try to prevent a TSX delisting. The company raised $1.4 million from Sentient Executive GP IV, an insider.

Meanwhile a Strateco subsidiary, SeqUr Exploration Inc, issued just under 15 million Strateco shares to take on the Jasper Lake package, a 60% option on four eastern Athabasca properties totalling 45,271 hectares that Strateco negotiated with Denison late last year. SeqUr also closed a $100,000 private placement with Sentient. The subsidiary plans exploration “in the coming months.”

Two days before the Strateco announcements a Quebec inquiry into uranium mining and exploration was challenged again, this time by a group of 70 “scientists and professionals from industry and academia.” In an open letter distributed June 10, the group questioned the inquiry chairperson’s neutrality as well as the utility of the proceedings.

Quebec’s environmental watchdog, le Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), began hearings last month in a process expected to last 12 to 18 months. Until a decision is made whether to allow uranium activity, the moratorium imposed in March 2013 remains in effect. But Labrador, Greenland and Queensland have “recently lifted moratoria that they now perceive as unjustified,” the group maintained.

Calling Louis-Gilles Francoeur’s appointment as chairperson “perplexing,” the open letter stated, “Throughout his career, Mr. Francoeur has tended to echo uranium industry critics. The BAPE is an institution founded on the principle of absolute neutrality. What would become of the BAPE’s credibility if a former mining executive were appointed chairman of the commission?”

Francoeur was selected during the province’s previous Parti Quebecois government.

“Exploration for and development of any mineral, including uranium, cannot go against the public interest,” the group pointed out. But, the signatories argued, “We are heading into a process that was borne of uranium fear-mongering fuelled by an archaic and biased view of the mining industry.” They questioned whether the hearings, with a price tag they peg at over $2 million, “should even be held.”

Quoting November 2013 poll numbers, the group said Saskatchewan’s uranium industry has the support of about 80% of the population, “including 76% of people in the communities and reserves of northern Saskatchewan, where the uranium mines are found.”

The group also noted some environmentalists support nuclear energy, as indicated by “the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization established by the United Nations Environment Programme and free from suspicion of complicity with industry.”

The 70 concluded that the industry already faces strict regulations. “It is impossible for any uranium deposit to be developed, and then mined, without the project meeting the most stringent standards and being subject to public hearings,” they stated. “The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), a globally recognized agency with no ties to industry, sets the standards and has permanent monitoring and, if needed, enforcement powers over all nuclear industry activities.”

The communique follows a similar challenge last month by the Quebec Mineral Exploration Association. The organization called for Francoeur to be replaced, describing his previous statements on the subject as “prejudicial and non-scientific.” A coalition of Quebec natives, doctors and environmentalists, however, have argued for an outright ban on the industry.

Last month Strateco, which has previously stated its intention to take part in the BAPE inquiry, threatened legal action should Quebec not replace Francoeur.

Denison closes acquisition of International Enexco

Its takeover by Denison complete, International Enexco delisted on June 10. Expansionist Denison now holds former Enexco assets in the eastern Athabasca Basin consisting of a 30% interest in Mann Lake and an additional 20% in Bachman Lake, giving Denison full control over the latter project. The company now shares the Mann Lake joint venture with Cameco Corp TSX:CCO (52.5%) and AREVA Resources Canada (17.5%).

A spinco gets Enexco’s U.S. non-uranium properties including the Contact copper project, which approaches pre-feasibility in Nevada.

The transaction went through without the public acrimony that initially ensued when Denison snatched Rockgate Capital from its proposed merger with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA late last year. At the time, Denison stated its intention to spin out its foreign assets and concentrate on the Athabasca Basin.

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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

January 19th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for January 11 to 17, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission Uranium’s Patterson Lake South gives up more high-grade assays

More results from Fission Uranium’s TSXV:FCU Patterson Lake South show last summer’s sowing continues to reap high-grade rewards. Released January 15, the latest batch comes from two holes on the Athabasca Basin project’s R390E zone and four on the R780E zone, the third and fifth of seven zones trending northeast.

All holes were vertical or near-vertical. The R390E zone currently has a strike length of 255 metres and a lateral width of about 40 metres. Some highlights show:

Hole PLS13-102

  • 0.32% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 12.5 metres, starting at 119.5 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.58% over 9.5 metres, starting at 138 metres
  • (including 1.44% over 1 metre)

  • 0.12% over 9 metres, starting at 154 metres

  • 0.73% over 4 metres, starting at 171.5 metres

Hole PLS13-104

  • 0.13% over 12 metres, starting at 61 metres

  • 4.97% over 13 metres, starting at 99 metres
  • (including 13.2% over 4.5 metres)
  • (which includes 35.9% over 0.5 metres)

  • 0.42% over 6.5 metres, starting at 131 metres
  • (including 2.1% over 1 metre)

  • 0.22% over 17 metres, starting at 146.5 metres

Zone 780E shows a 60-metre strike and approximately 50-metre lateral width. The best assays include:

Hole PLS13-082

  • 1.25% over 41 metres, starting at 141 metres
  • (including 4.94% over 9 metres)

Hole PLS13-089

  • 0.17% over 16 metres, starting at 150 metres

  • 0.18% over 8 metres, starting at 198.5 metres

Hole PLS13-097

  • 0.99% over 48 metres, starting at 119 metres
  • (including 1.94% over 5 metres)
  • (and including 2.05% over 2.5 metres)
  • (and including 6% over 3.5 metres)

  • 0.54% over 6 metres, starting at 228.5 metres
  • (including 1.1% over 1 metre)

Hole PLS13-101

  • 0.5% over 34.5 metres, starting at 103 metres
  • (including 1.89% over 4.5 metres)

  • 0.63% over 11.5 metres, starting at 163 metres
  • (including 2.27% over 1 metre)

  • 1.04% over 17 metres, starting at 179 metres
  • (including 2.44% over 3.5 metres)

True widths were unavailable. Both zones remain open in all directions.

And the project’s potential remains open to speculation, not to mention exploration. On January 13 the company announced a new radon survey to follow up on 10 basement electromagnetic conductors. So far the technique has been used systematically on only one of the property’s over 100 basement EM conductors, Fission Uranium stated. Expected to last five or six weeks, the survey will take some 2,300 samples from three areas within Patterson Lake and a fourth within Forrest Lake, immediately south.

$50-million Uranium Participation financing bolsters commodity price confidence

In what’s been hailed as a testament of faith in uranium prices, Uranium Participation Corp TSX:U announced a $50-million private placement on January 16. “By mid-day the bought deal was complete,” reported Toll Cross Securities analyst Tom Hope.

Uranium Participation describes itself as “an investment alternative for investors interested in holding uranium.” Proceeds of the financing will be used to stockpile further purchases of U3O8 and uranium hexafluoride (UF6). Hope estimates the company will buy up to 1.28 million pounds to hold a total of about 14.7 million pounds “or approximately 9% of our estimated 2014 global mine output.”

A Denison Mines TSX:DML subsidiary manages Uranium Participation.

Declan grabs more ground north of Gibbon’s Creek

North of the company’s Gibbon’s Creek joint venture with Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK, Declan Resources TSXV:LAN has acquired the 11,100-hectare North Star property, the company announced January 17. The property “is believed to contain the northerly extensions of a number of important regional structures associated with uranium projects in the area,” Declan stated. “An interpretation of the magnetic background at Gibbon’s Creek shows a northerly trending structure which continues to the north through Lakeland Resources Ltd’s Star property, and onto the North Star property.”

The deal costs Declan $15,000 and 1.5 million shares, with a 2% gross sales royalty in effect. The previous week Declan and Lakeland reported Gibbon’s Creek boulder samples grading up to 4.28% U3O8, as well as some of the Basin’s highest-ever radon readings.

Read more about Lakeland Resources here and here.

Azincourt closes Peru property acquisitions

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for January 11 to 17, 2014

Along with the more advanced Macusani project, Azincourt’s newly acquired Muñani property positions the company in Peru’s emerging uranium district.

Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ announced January 16 completion of its $2-million cash-and-share deal with Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and Vena Resources TSX:VEM. Coming with the advanced-stage Macusani project and the earlier-stage Muñani property, the buyout of Cameco and Vena’s Minergia S.A.C. places the purchaser prominently in Peru.

Back in Saskatchewan, Azincourt is earning into a 50/50 JV with Fission Uranium on their Patterson Lake North project. In December Azincourt closed two private placements totalling $2.5 million.

As for Vena, the deal “reactivates our investment in the uranium business,” chairman/CEO Juan Vegarra stated. The agreement allows Vena to double its Azincourt holdings within months.

Read more about Azincourt’s Peru acquisitions.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

December 7th, 2013

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

by Greg Klein

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Introducing the Alpha Minerals spinco—Alpha Exploration Inc

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

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

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

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

Read more about the takeover.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Lakeland/Declan Resources JV accelerates work, strengthens their positions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about Lakeland Resources here and here.

Macusani claims low-cost uranium potential in Peruvian PEA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NexGen announces initial geophysical results for Rook 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

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 “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

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

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, 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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