Wednesday 26th October 2016

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘namibia’

Pushing the boundaries

October 12th, 2016

Technology opens new mining frontiers, sometimes challenging human endurance

by Greg Klein

This is the second of a two-part feature. See Part 1.

“Deep underground, deep sky and deep sea” comprise the lofty goals of Three Deep, a five-year program announced last month by China’s Ministry of Land and Resources. Part 1 of this feature looked at the country’s ambitions to take mineral exploration deeper than ever on land, at sea and into the heavens, and also outlined other countries’ space programs related to mineral exploration. Part 2 delves into undersea mining as well as some of the world’s deepest mines.

Looking to the ocean depths, undersea mining has had tangible success. De Beers has been scooping up alluvial diamonds off southwestern Africa for decades, although at shallow depths. Through NamDeb, a 50/50 JV with Namibia, a fleet of six boats mines the world’s largest-known placer diamond deposit, about 20 kilometres offshore and 150 metres deep.

Technology opens new mining frontiers, sometimes pushing human endurance

Workers at AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng operation
must withstand the heat of deep underground mining.

Diamond Fields International TSXV:DFI hopes to return to its offshore Namibian claims, where the company extracted alluvial stones between 2005 and 2008. The company also holds a 50.1% interest in Atlantis II, a zinc-copper-silver deposit contained in Red Sea sediments. That project’s now on hold pending a dispute with the Saudi Arabian JV partner.

With deeper, more technologically advanced ambitions, Nautilus Minerals TSX:NUS holds a mining licence for its 85%-held Solwara 1 project in Papua New Guinea waters. A seafloor massive sulphide deposit at an average depth of 1,550 metres, its grades explain the company’s motivation. The project has a 2012 resource using a 2.6% copper-equivalent cutoff, with the Solwara 1 and 1 North areas showing:

  • indicated: 1.03 million tonnes averaging 7.2% copper, 5 g/t gold, 23 g/t silver and 0.4% zinc

  • inferred: 1.54 million tonnes averaging 8.1% copper, 6.4 g/t gold, 34 g/t silver and 0.9% zinc

Using the same cutoff, the Solwara 12 zone shows:

  • inferred: 2.3 million tonnes averaging 7.3% copper, 3.6 g/t gold, 56 g/t silver and 3.6% zinc
Technology opens new mining frontiers, sometimes pushing human endurance

This Nautilus diagram illustrates
the proposed Solwara operation.

A company video shows how Nautilus had hoped to operate “the world’s first commercial high-grade seafloor copper-gold mine” beginning in 2018 using existing technology from land-based mining and offshore oil and gas. Now, should financial restructuring succeed, Nautilus says it could begin deployment and testing by the end of Q1 2019.

Last May Nautilus released a resource update for the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone in the central Pacific waters of Tonga.

Another deep-sea hopeful, Ocean Minerals last month received approval from the Cook Islands to explore a 12,000-square-kilometre seabed expanse for rare earths in sediments.

A pioneer in undersea exploration, Japan’s getting ready for the next step, according to Bloomberg. A consortium including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal will begin pilot mining in Chinese-contested waters off Okinawa next April, the news agency stated. “Japan has confirmed the deposit has about 7.4 million tons of ore,” Bloomberg added, without specifying what kind of ore.

Scientists are analyzing data from the central Indian Ocean where nodules show signs of copper, nickel and manganese, the Times of India reported in January. The country has a remotely operated vehicle capable of an unusually deep 6,000 metres and is working on undersea mining technology.

In August the World Nuclear News stated Russia is considering a nuclear-powered submarine to explore northern seas for mineral deposits. A government report said the sub’s R&D could put the project on par with the country’s space industry, the WNN added.

If one project alone could justify China’s undersea ambitions, it might be a 470.47-ton gold deposit announced last November. Lying at 2,000 metres’ depth off northern China, the bounty was delineated by 1,000 workers and 120 kilometres of drilling from 67 sea platforms over three years, the People’s Daily reported. Laizhou Rehi Mining hopes to extract the stuff, according to China Daily.

China’s deep underground ambitions might bring innovation to exploration but have been long preceded by actual mining in South Africa—although not without problems, as the country’s deplorable safety record shows. Greater depths bring greater threats from rockfalls and mini-earthquakes.

At 3.9 kilometres’ depth AngloGold Ashanti’s (NYSE:AU) Mponeng holds status as the world’s deepest mine. Five other mines within 50 kilometres of Johannesburg work from at least three kilometres’ depth, where “rock temperatures can reach 60 degrees Celsius, enough to fry an egg,” according to a Bloomberg article posted by

In his 2013 book Gold: The Race for the World’s Most Seductive Metal, Matthew Hart recounts a visit to Mponeng, where he’s told a “seismic event” shakes the mine 600 times a month.

Sometimes the quakes cause rockbursts, when rock explodes into a mining cavity and mows men down with a deadly spray of jagged rock. Sometimes a tremor causes a “fall of ground”—the term for a collapse. Some of the rockbursts had been so powerful that other countries, detecting the seismic signature, had suspected South Africa of testing a nuclear bomb.

AngloGold subjects job-seekers to a heat-endurance test, Hart explains.

In a special chamber, applicants perform step exercises while technicians monitor them. The test chamber is kept at a “wet” temperature of eighty-two degrees. The high humidity makes it feel like ninety-six. “We are trying to force the body’s thermoregulatory system to kick in,” said Zahan Eloff, an occupational health physician. “If your body cools itself efficiently, you are safe to go underground for a fourteen-day trial, and if that goes well, cleared to work.”

Clearly there’s more than technological challenges to mining the deeps.

By the way, credit for the world’s deepest drilling goes to Russia, which spent 24 years sinking the Kola Superdeep Bore Hole to 12,261 metres, halfway to the mantle. Work was halted by temperatures of 180 degrees Celsius.

This is the second of a two-part feature. See Part 1.

Now, of all times, John Borshoff steps down from Paladin

August 10th, 2015

by Greg Klein | August 10, 2015

Even with Japan’s first nuclear restart expected imminently, one of uranium’s staunchest evangelists might not be in the business long enough to see his predicted price hike. On August 10 Paladin Energy TSX:PDN announced that its board and managing director/CEO John Borshoff “agreed that Mr. Borshoff will step down from his role with the company.” He stays on for a six-month transitional period while Alexander Molyneux takes over as interim CEO.

Now, of all times, John Borshoff steps down from Paladin

John Borshoff

Having founded Paladin over 21 years ago, Borshoff continued to guide it through the post-Fukushima period, suspending operations at the Kayelekera mine in Malawi and selling off 25% of its Langer Heinrich operation in Namibia to China National Nuclear Corp. All the time he both reassured investors and warned consumers that severe price hikes were coming. At times, however, he had to push back his forecast dates as the recalcitrant commodity resisted his predictions.

While Paladin struggled with African operations, its much bigger rival Cameco Corp TSX:CCO went to enormous effort to expand production with its Cigar Lake mine in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, home to the world’s highest grades.

A geologist with over 30 years’ experience in Australia and Africa, Borshoff previously worked for International Nickel, Canadian Superior Mining and Uranerz. As a result of his achievements, “Paladin has built a unique position in the uranium mining industry and he is recognized as a world authority in this realm,” the company stated.

Non-executive chairperson Rick Crabb credited him for “the vision, tenacity and spirit to create and lead Paladin.”

Faith in uranium’s hotspot

June 12th, 2015

Low prices take another Australian casualty but Athabasca Basin optimism persists

by Greg Klein

The agonizing wait for uranium’s price breakout has taken its toll on two more Down Under-headquartered miners. ASX-listed Energy Resources of Australia plummeted 48% after abandoning a planned expansion of Northern Territory’s Ranger 3 mine. That leaves Rio Tinto NYE:RIO, which holds 68.4% of ERA, considering a post-tax impairment of about US$300 million.

Low prices take another Australian casualty but Athabasca Basin optimism persists

With uranium grades 100 times the world’s average,
Cigar Lake thrives while competitors shut down.

Explaining the decision to dump Deeps’ feasibility study, ERA’s June 11 announcement noted uranium’s lack of price improvement as well as its uncertainty for the immediate future. Additionally, economics would require operations beyond Ranger’s current permitting span, which ends in 2021.

“After careful consideration,” Rio concurred. The giant “does not support any further study or the future development of Ranger 3 Deeps due to the project’s economic challenges.”

Rio had already cut production at its majority-held Rossing mine in Namibia. A South Australia mine, Honeymoon, was taken offline by Uranium One.

The commodity has eluded positive predictions from many quarters, including ASX- and TSX-listed Paladin Energy PDN, which placed its Kayelekera mine in Malawi on care and maintenance and sold a 25% stake in its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia to China National Nuclear Corp. Those setbacks haven’t stopped Paladin managing director/CEO John Borshoff from predicting sharp price hikes in near- and medium-term contracts.

The long-anticipated market-moving event would be Japan’s first reactor restarts, which would reduce the country’s apparent stockpile and, maybe more significantly, provide a psychological boost to a demoralized industry. Once scheduled for operation this month, the first two restarts currently face a court injunction.

But demoralization isn’t universal. Although Borshoff’s predictions are generally echoed by Tim Gitzel, the Cameco Corp TSX:CCO president/CEO speaks without Borshoff’s tone of desperation. In contrast, Cameco has been expanding production through its majority-held Cigar Lake, which achieved commercial production on May 1. The engineering marvel expects to add six to eight million pounds U3O8 to world supply this year, before hitting 18 million pounds annually by 2018.

The world will need at least four more Cigar Lakes—this in an industry not known for being quick to bring on new production. A mine can take up to 10 years when things go well.—Rachelle Girard,
IR director for Cameco Corp

Speaking at the Cantor Fitzgerald Annual Global Uranium Conference earlier this month, Cameco IR director Rachelle Girard predicted demand would rise 4% annually to about 230 million pounds U3O8 a year within the next decade, compared with today’s output of about 165 million pounds. Girard counted 63 new reactors now being built, an estimated $740-billion investment. She expects a total of 80 reactors over the next 10 years.

Girard predicts even more to come, noting that two billion people currently have very little or no access to electricity. Another two billion are expected to join them by 2050.

Her employer, she confidently maintained, could supply about 30% of global demand by 2024, up from about 16% now. “We have the pounds in the ground to support a lot of growth when the market calls for it.” But Girard insisted, “The world will need at least four more Cigar Lakes—this in an industry not known for being quick to bring on new production. A mine can take up to 10 years when things go well.”

Cigar Lake was discovered in 1981, began construction in 2005 and started production last year.

Industry executives and analysts say uranium needs to rise to a level of $65 to $80 a pound to justify new development. The most recent (June 8) price indicator publicly released by Ux Consulting floundered at a dismal $35.75.

Girard emphasized Cameco’s “especially pleased that several of our Tier 1 assets are located in the prolific Athabasca Basin.” Home to the world’s highest uranium grades, another exploration season has juniors busy, often on the Basin’s margin where they hope to find not so much the next Cigar Lake but another Patterson Lake South.

Meanwhile David Talbot sees a silver lining in ERA’s woes. Bloomberg quoted the Dundee Capital Markets senior uranium analyst stating that the decision to scuttle Deeps’ feasibility “will have a major impact to world production supply.” Talbot explained that while the expansion would have made Ranger the world’s third-largest uranium mine, its cancellation portends a “very positive” sign for uranium prices.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

March 21st, 2015

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to March 20, 2015

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Step-outs renew Fission’s interest west of PLS resource

The zone’s five previous holes found disappointingly low grades but Fission Uranium’s (TSX:FCU) most recent drilling brings new attention to R600W, 555 metres west of the Triple R deposit that surprised even some of the more optimistic Patterson Lake South-watchers. The most westerly of four PLS zones got five more holes this season, four showing mineralization in basement rock and three suggesting high grades over significant widths, the company announced March 18.

These results, no substitute for the still-pending assays, come from a scintillometer that measures drill core radiation in counts per second.

Hole PLS15-364, 570 metres west of Triple R, hit a composite total of 45.5 metres of mineralization over a 61-metre section starting at 107 metres in downhole depth. A composite 6.44 metres surpassed 10,000 cps, a level sometimes termed “offscale” due to the limitations of earlier scintillometers.

PLS15-352 revealed a continuous 56.5-metre intercept starting at 102.5 metres that included continuous “offscale” readings for 11.77 metres. PLS15-360 showed 25 continuous metres starting at 111 metres, while PLS15-364 gave up 40.5 continuous metres starting at 107 metres.

True widths weren’t available.

The angled holes have expanded the zone’s strike to 45 metres, a 50% increase that extends PLS’s potential strike from 2.24 to 2.25 kilometres. R600W’s lateral width extends up to about 30 metres. Results have “substantially increased our understanding of the geometry and tenure of the mineralization,” said Fission COO/chief geologist Ross McElroy.

While delineation continues at Triple R, R600W has more drilling to come.

Read more about the Triple R resource estimate.

See an historical timeline of the PLS discovery.

NexGen continues to find high grades at Rook 1’s Arrow zone

Its first two batches of winter assays once again have NexGen Energy’s (TSXV:NXE) Rook 1 project vying for attention with Fission’s Patterson Lake South. On March 17 NexGen announced the project’s widest high-grade interval yet, hitting 70 metres of 2.2% U3O8. Two days later the company confirmed an 88-metre strike extension from AR-14-30, an outstanding hole released last October. The results come from Rook 1’s Arrow zone, defined last month as three mineralized shears named A1, A2 and A3.

The star hole from the first batch, AR-15-34b, was a 30-metre step-out from October’s AR-14-30, centrepiece of the A2 shear. Although the new hole’s other intercepts fell far short in grade and thickness, these intervals brought redemption, the first from A2, the second from A1:

  • 2.2% U3O8 over 70 metres, starting at 522 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 8.95% over 11 metres)

  • 0.12% over 32 metres, starting at 697 metres

As for some other highlights:


  • 0.26% over 12.5 metres, starting at 548.5 metres


  • 0.33% over 18.5 metres, starting at 394.5 metres

  • 0.49% over 12 metres, starting at 553.5 metres


  • 0.32% over 51 metres, starting at 167 metres

  • 0.1% over 61.5 metres, starting at 248 metres

True widths weren’t available. AR-14-36 was a vertical hole. The others were sunk at a dip of -70 or -75 degrees.

Assays for two angled holes released two days later inspired additional confidence in A2. Highlights show:


  • 2.46% over 16.5 metres, starting at 580.5 metres
  • (including 12.85% over 3 metres)

  • 0.34% over 13.5 metres, starting at 602 metres

  • 2.88% over 40 metres, starting at 621.5 metres
  • (including 4.92% over 22 metres)


  • 0.75% over 6 metres, starting at 664 metres

  • 0.9% over 32 metres, starting at 583.5 metres

Again, true widths weren’t provided. The latter hole confirms an 88-metre strike expansion southwest of AR-14-30, NexGen stated.

The Arrow zone covers about 515 metres by 215 metres with mineralization starting at about 100 metres in depth and now extending to 820 metres. The zone remains open in all directions and at depth.

NexGen has further drilling planned for the A2 shear as well as the newly discovered high-grade area within A3. At last count the season’s program had completed 38 holes, according to the March 19 press release, or 39, according to a February 24 statement. Roughly a third of the 18,000-metre winter agenda has been drilled.

Phase I drilling finds anomalous radioactivity at Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to March 20, 2015

The first round of drilling went radioactive at
Lakeland Resources’ Star/Gibbon’s Creek project.

Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK wrapped up a successful 14-hole, 2,550-metre winter program by reporting anomalous radioactivity at its Star/Gibbon’s Creek project on the Athabasca Basin’s northern rim. While assays are pending, initial results also reveal “alteration suggestive of a proximal basement-hosted or unconformity-hosted uranium occurrence,” said company president Jonathan Armes on March 12.

Six holes along a corridor about 1.5 to two kilometres long struck the unconformity at depths of less than 125 metres, finding either anomalous radioactivity, alteration or both. The results confirm the trend as a high-priority target.

Three other holes along a one-kilometre corridor near the head of the Gibbon’s Creek boulder field found the unconformity at depths of less than 110 metres, again intersecting either anomalous radioactivity, alteration or both and confirming another high-priority target.

The readings come from a downhole scintillometer and are no substitute for assays, which will follow. Lakeland attributes background radioactivity to readings of 10 to 100 cps. Results show these anomalous levels of at least 800 cps over 0.3 metres:

Hole GC15-01

  • An average 1,104 cps over 0.4 metres starting at 81.2 metres in downhole depth. The maximum level hit 1,379 cps.


  • An average 1,204 cps over 0.3 metres starting at 99 metres, with a maximum of 1,589 cps

  • An average 1,072 cps over 0.7 metres starting at 99.6 metres, with a maximum of 1,312 cps


  • An average 2,828 cps over 1 metre starting at 107.1 metres, with a maximum of 7,926 cps


  • An average 1,415 cps over 0.6 metres starting at 102.9 metres, with a maximum of 1,740 cps

True widths weren’t available. Along with the other anomalous results, hole GC15-03 is considered highly anomalous.

To further solidify targets, the project also underwent a 270-station ground gravity survey.

“During the coming weeks we will be in receipt of geochemical results for uranium and pathfinder elements such as boron, nickel, cobalt and arsenic,” Armes stated. “As with other historic uranium discoveries within the Athabasca Basin, each successful drill program helps guide the next towards the discovery of a new uranium occurrence.”

The road-accessible project sits a few kilometres from the town of Stony Rapids, with nearby infrastructure.

Lakeland also holds drill-ready projects at Newnham Lake, east of Star/Gibbon’s, and Lazy Edward Bay on the Basin’s southern rim. Late last month the company expanded its holdings to 32 properties totalling over 300,000 hectares, one of the largest portfolios in the Basin region.

As of March 12 Lakeland’s treasury held close to $3 million.

Read more about the Star/Gibbon’s Creek project.

Next Page 1 | 2

De Beers says diamond demand hit record high but warns of possible Snap Lake closure

March 20th, 2015

by Greg Klein | March 20, 2015

Last year’s global diamond jewelry demand reached an all-time high of $81 billion, according to De Beers data released March 20. Sales overtook 2013 numbers in each of the world’s top five diamond markets, which account for 75% of global demand. Although the pace of growth slowed in China, India and Japan, American consumers helped push spending to record levels.

Overall, demand rose 3% globally. The U.S., the world’s fastest-growing market, climbed 7% to $37 billion. Even with China’s slower rate of increase, the Asian giant’s demand rose 6%. India, Japan and the Gulf states each saw increases of about 2%.

De Beers says diamond demand hit record high but warns of possible Snap Lake closure

Snap Lake, De Beers’ first mine outside Africa,
could close without an amended water licence.

“Retailers are also positive about the prospects for 2015,” said De Beers Group chief executive Philippe Mellier. Looking farther ahead, he added, “As the number of middle class households in the major consumer markets is set to grow by hundreds of millions in the years ahead, the medium to long-term prospects for the diamond industry are also exceptionally strong if the right investments continue to be made across the value chain.”

With mines in Canada, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, De Beers is the world’s largest diamond producer by value. The company, held 15% by the government of Botswana and 85% by Anglo American, has made diamonds the second-most profitable commodity for Anglo. De Beers controls about 35% of rough diamond sales globally, part of a vertically integrated operation spanning the industry from exploration to retail.

In Canada, De Beers runs the Northwest Territories’ Snap Lake mine and Ontario’s Victor Mine, and also holds a 51% stake in the NWT’s Gahcho Kué, a joint venture with Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPV. Considered the world’s largest diamond development project, Gahcho Kué has production scheduled for 2016.

But De Beers has warned that Snap Lake could face a shutdown. On March 11 the mine’s COO Glen Koropchuk told a Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board panel that the mine “cannot continue to operate” without an amended water licence.

Canada’s only fully underground diamond mine, Snap Lake has experienced a greater inflow of groundwater high in “naturally occurring total dissolved solids,” some of which is currently being stored underground. Saying the situation isn’t sustainable, the company wants permission to release greater quantities of water from the mine. Otherwise the seven-year-old operation could cease, throwing nearly 800 people out of work, Koropchuk indicated.

The mine produced 1.2 million carats last year. Analyst Paul Zimnisky has estimated an equal level of production this year at an average price of $105 per carat.

A De Beers spokesperson didn’t respond to inquiries from

Read more about diamond supply and demand.

Read about diamond mining in Canada.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

December 5th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to December 5, 2014

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Fission strikes 3.72% U3O8 over 64.5 metres, delays maiden resource

All assays are in but Fission Uranium’s (TSX:FCU) highly anticipated resource for Patterson Lake South seems to have been put off. The milestone was originally scheduled for this month but in a December 1 statement president/COO Ross McElroy said, “We expect to be able to release preliminary results by early 2015.” Meanwhile the company announced last summer’s final 18 delineation holes, again flaunting the PLS trademark of high grades at shallow depths.

This batch comes entirely from R780E, by far the biggest of four zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike. R780E itself now extends about 164 metres at its widest point and 905 metres in strike, remaining open in all directions. The upcoming resource will focus on zones R780E and R00E.

Some of the best December 1 assays follow.

Hole PLS14-275

  • 0.2% U3O8 over 26 metres, starting at 137.5 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 1.26% over 2 metres)
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to December 5, 2014

A summer of round-the-clock drilling brought the
final assays prior to Patterson Lake South’s first resource.

  • 0.31% over 9 metres, starting at 171 metres
  • (including 1.96% over 1 metre)


  • 13.84% over 10 metres, starting at 71.5 metres
  • (including 29.29% over 4.5 metres)


  • 0.48% over 13 metres, starting at 117.5 metres
  • (including 1.17% over 4.5 metres)


  • 0.83% over 30 metres, starting at 131 metres
  • (including 2.09% over 10.5 metres)

  • 1.24% over 6.5 metres, starting at 163.5 metres
  • (including 2.5% over 2.5 metres)


  • 0.4% over 14.5 metres, starting at 251.5 metres
  • (including 1.02% over 4 metres)


  • 0.54% over 9 metres, starting at 177 metres
  • (including 3.84% over 1 metre)

  • 2.61% over 9 metres, starting at 257.5 metres
  • (including 8.61% over 2.5 metres)


  • 0.96% over 7.5 metres, starting at 287.5 metres
  • (including 2.56% over 2 metres)

  • 0.36% over 15 metres, starting at 299 metres


  • 7.91% over 21.9 metres, starting at 61.1 metres
  • (including 17.3% over 9.5 metres)

  • 0.42% over 30.5 metres, starting at 86.5 metres

  • 1.49% over 4.5 metres, starting at 96 metres


  • 3.72% over 64.5 metres, starting at 133.5 metres
  • (including 32.53% over 6.5 metres)


  • 2.34% over 11 metres, starting at 198.5 metres
  • (including 11.74% over 2 metres)


  • 0.8% over 10.5 metres, starting at 61 metres
  • (including 1.77% over 4 metres)

  • 0.27% over 21 metres, starting at 111 metres


  • 0.7% over 33 metres, starting at 174 metres
  • (including 2.21% over 3 metres)
  • (and including 2.2% over 4 metres)


  • 0.52% over 22.5 metres, starting at 184 metres
  • (including 1.39% over 3 metres)

  • 2.21% over 5.5 metres, starting at 210 metres
  • (including 6.76% over 1.5 metres)


  • 1.51% over 13.5 metres, starting at 246.5 metres
  • (including 2.38% over 5 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

Fission noted that scissor drilling brought “vastly improved strength of mineralization on section 735E.” Oriented opposite to the south-to-north holes, they “provide geometry control and confirmation on the mineralization.” One scissor hole hit the star assay for this batch, 3.72% U3O8 over 64.5 metres, in an area that had previously seen only moderate results, the company stated.

With assays for 22 exploration holes still pending and a winter program in the planning stages, speculation remains on whether the company will spend more time testing the property’s lesser-known areas.

Denison drills 22.2% U3O8 over 2.5 metres at Wheeler River

The final batch of assays from Gryphon’s summer season at Denison Mines’ (TSX:DML) Wheeler River property revealed the zone’s highest grade so far, 22.2% U3O8 over 2.5 metres. Announced December 2, that hole was also the deepest, making down-plunge extensions a priority for the next round of drilling, scheduled to start next month.

As usual, the chemical assays generally show better grades than the previously reported U3O8-equivalents that came from a downhole gamma probe.

Some highlights include:

Hole WR-571

  • 8.8% U3O8 over 2.5 metres, starting at 757.5 metres in downhole depth

  • 1.9% over 1 metre, starting at 761.5 metres


  • 2.5% over 1 metre, starting at 651.1 metres

  • 9.5% over 1 metre, starting at 675.5 metres

  • 1.8% over 1 metre, starting at 714.5 metres

  • 2.1% over 1 metre, starting at 717.5 metres


  • 22.2% over 2.5 metres, starting at 768 metres

  • 1.5% over 1 metre, starting at 779 metres


  • 5% over 2 metres, starting at 665 metres

  • 1.5% over 1 metre, starting at 675.5 metres

  • 14.6% over 2 metres, starting at 696.5 metres


  • 2.7% over 2 metres, starting at 626.5 metres

The company estimates true widths at about 75%.

Wheeler River’s summer program comprised 20 holes totalling 14,937 metres, all of it at or near the newly discovered Gryphon zone.

Meanwhile, as a result of metallurgical testwork from the project’s Phoenix deposit, “a high-purity yellowcake product was produced that met all ASTM C967-13 specifications,” Denison stated. The sample grade was 19.7% U3O8, close to the average for Phoenix, which hosts 70.2 million pounds indicated.

The company closed a $14.99-million private placement in August.

With a 60% interest in Wheeler River, Denison acts as project operator. Cameco Corp TSX:CCO holds 30% of the 11,720-hectare southeastern Athabasca Basin property, leaving JCU (Canada) Exploration with the other 10%.

Lakeland Resources boosts portfolio, offers $1.88-million private placement

All acquired by staking, four new properties and five property expansions announced by Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK on November 19 increase the company’s portfolio by 40,218 hectares in and around the Basin.

The five expansions cover targets identified by historic data. Among the highlights is the 4,753-hectare addition to Lazy Edward Bay, which underwent extensive field work last summer. Now totalling 31,128 hectares, the project features eight exploration trends, many of them drill-ready. Other additions came to Lakeland’s Riou Lake, Hawkrock Rapids, Small Lake and Fedun Lake properties.

Of the new land, the 1,508-hectare Carter Lake property covers part of the Carter Lake Structural Corridor, parallel to the Patterson Structural Corridor hosting the discoveries of Fission and NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE.

If you look back to 2006 and 2007, there were probably 60 to 70 juniors active in the Basin. Right now you’ve got about 20. So if we do see this [price] resurgence continue, we’ll have that opportunity to link up with JV and strategic partners and get as many drills turning as we possibly can.—Jonathan Armes, president/CEO of Lakeland Resources

Cable Bay, a 1,077-hectare property on the Basin’s southern rim, benefits from extensive geophysics showing a trend of graphitic meta-sedimentary rocks in the basement, below 10 metres or less of Athabasca sandstone.

The 6,479-hectare Highrock property on the Basin’s southeastern margin features a moderately strong conductor that has yet to see follow-up work.

Extending beyond the Basin’s eastern rim, the 8,889-hectare Wright River project underwent an airborne survey showing a radiometric anomaly in the property’s centre. Regional lake sediment samples have graded up to 61 ppm.

Early new year plans include a 1,500-metre program on Star/Gibbon’s Creek, two adjacent properties forming one project on the Basin’s north-central rim. Also drill-ready are Lazy Edward Bay and, east of Star/Gibbon’s, Newnham Lake. More funding is expected from a $1.88-million private placement announced December 4.

“There’s not that much ground left to be had in the Basin,” Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes tells “Most of what we see as quality ground is not available. If you look back to 2006 and 2007, there were probably 60 to 70 juniors active in the Basin. Right now you’ve got about 20. So if we do see this [price] resurgence continue, we’ll have that opportunity to link up with JV and strategic partners and get as many drills turning as we possibly can.”

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

NexGen plans 18,000 metres for Rook 1, updates other properties

Funded by an $11.5-million private placement that closed last month, NexGen plans a three-rig, 18,000-metre program to start in January. Work will focus on Rook 1’s Arrow zone and along strike to the northeast and southwest, but will also test some of the project’s regional targets, the company stated on December 3. An infill ground gravity survey will precede the drilling.

Now complete are airborne VTEM and magnetometer surveys over Rook 1 as well as additional nearby land that has had little or no previous mention from NexGen, the “SW2 property portfolio which includes Bishop 1 and 2, Meanwell and R-7 claims.” Winter plans include a radon-in-water survey.

NexGen also updated what it calls its “SW3 project portfolio (Rook 2, Sandhill and Dufferin).” Rook 2 and Sandhill underwent airborne gravity surveys. Dufferin got airborne VTEM and magnetometer surveys, as did the eastern Basin Madison and 2Z Lake properties.

Rook 1 covers all the southwestern Basin’s major uranium-bearing conductor corridors, according to the company. Still pending are assays from 16 summer holes on Arrow. In October the company claimed one of the Basin’s best-ever drill results.

UEC reports 77% increase in Burke Hollow’s inferred resources

Seven trends at Uranium Energy Corp’s (NYSE MKT:UEC) Burke Hollow project in Texas now have total inferred resources of 2.9 million tons averaging 0.09% for 5.12 million pounds U3O8. About 14,152 metres of drilling in 526 holes were used to calculate the 77% increase. UEC has three additional areas of the property under consideration for drilling.

Burke Hollow, potentially an in-situ recovery operation, has an application for a radioactive material licence and mine permit currently under review.

The 7,824-hectare project lies about 80 kilometres from the company’s Hobson processing plant, the centrepiece of UEC’s “hub and spoke” properties. The portfolio includes the Palangana ISR mine, the Goliad ISR development project and nearly two dozen exploration projects, two in Paraguay and the rest in the western U.S. The company released a preliminary economic assessment for its Anderson uranium project in Arizona last September, as well as a PEA for its Slick Rock uranium-vanadium deposit in Colorado last April.

On December 2 UEC stated it secured US$5.6 million of surety bonds to replace the same amount in reclamation deposits for future decommissioning. The bonds “require cash collateral of $1.7 million, allowing for the release of $3.9 million of previously restricted cash to the company.”

Last March the company received a two-year extension on a $20-million loan.

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Putting Fukushima behind

November 13th, 2014

As commodity and share prices surge, where does uranium go from here?

by Greg Klein

A sharp climb in the commodity price accompanied by a dramatic rally in stock prices—is this the renaissance uranium-watchers have been waiting for? The metal’s spot price indicator started picking up last summer, but with no real effect on share prices. Then suddenly last week uranium climbed steeply, coinciding with sharp gains for both miners and explorers. Significantly, the commodity’s elevation preceded the November 7 news about Japanese nuclear reactor restarts.

The events provided opportune timing for the November 14 (Down Under time) Paladin Energy TSX:PDN quarterly conference call, with its usual forecasts from managing director/CEO John Borshoff.

As commodity and share prices surge, where does uranium go from here?

Hardly a voice crying in the wilderness, Borshoff has been one of many predicting a steep price hike for uranium. Back in August 2013, for example, he argued that to meet demand prices need to rise two or three years ahead of an anticipated 2016 uranium shortfall. “Price hikes will be severe,” he stressed. “Why this is not worrying the hell out of the utilities completely astounds me.”

Now, he says, “The door to the pre-Fukushima period is at long last starting to open. And those supply shortages that I have for so long been talking about will now start becoming the real issue and the fundamental catalyst driving price increases.”

Uranium began recuperating from its $28 low in early August. In late October, Cameco Corp TSX:CCO president/CEO Tim Gitzel noted the spot price indicator’s increase of about 25%. “We believe the move was largely due to trading activity and market speculation around unforeseen events like the potential impact of Russian sanctions, possible disruption in the U.S. Department of Energy inventory disposition and the labour disruption at our own McArthur River and Key Lake operations,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see if the increase is sustainable but it has remained relatively stable thus far.”

Borshoff agrees about the trading activity. But he points out that the Cameco strike settled quickly and the potential UN sanctions against Russia never happened. Even so, prices continued to rise. In fact uranium’s trajectory entered a second, steeper phase, quickly rising from about $37 to $42 a pound. That indicates ever-increased trading that’s exposing weak supply, he says.

Nor does he agree with observers who “say that because the term market price has not similarly responded, there is a shallowness in this price recovery.” Borshoff concedes that spot volumes have already tripled those of 2013 with little effect on longer-term contracts. But he predicts additional term contracting over the next six to 12 months will start “testing those shortages we see from our own studies occurring in the post-2016 period.”

The irony is even these price rises will be totally insufficient to incentivize new uranium start-ups to accommodate the extraordinary growth that is needed in supply…. With each year that the building of new mines is delayed, the greater will be the price reaction. This is inevitable.—John Borshoff, managing director/CEO of Paladin Energy

As a result, Borshoff expects term prices to react later this year or during 2015. “The irony is even these price rises will be totally insufficient to incentivize new uranium start-ups to accommodate the extraordinary growth that is needed in supply….” he maintains. “With each year that the building of new mines is delayed, the greater will be the price reaction. This is inevitable.”

Reduced output has already started to take its toll on spot and term prices, Borshoff adds. Paladin’s Kayelekera mine in Malawi and Uranium One’s Honeymoon mine in South Australia have gone on care and maintenance. Production cuts hit Rio Tinto’s (NYE:RIO) majority-held Rossing mine in Namibia as well as American in-situ recovery operations. Kazakhstan’s growth in output, meanwhile, will fall below 2% this year. Paladin sees 2014 global production dropping from 154 million pounds in 2013 to 148 million pounds or less this year.

Additionally, another four million pounds has moved from the spot to term market, Borshoff says. As for this year’s spot market volume of 45 to 50 million pounds, “in our estimate, much of this volume is churn and it is probably only about 25 to 30 million pounds of primary production feeding this important market.” That would indicate a reduction of 40% to 50% in the uranium available to the spot market, Borshoff says.

David Talbot was among others who emphasized that uranium’s sharp increase preceded the latest announcement from Japan. “It is the utilities that are starting to enter the market, suggesting that this rally could have some sustainability,” the Dundee Capital Markets analyst stated in a November 7 note to investors.

Like Borshoff, he added, “We have always said, just like in 2006-2007, when contracting begins and the price moves, it will move fast.”

Talbot went further, however, predicting a “likely rally” in equities. Events so far have proven him right. The same day, several uranium miners and explorers saw their shares take off by at least 20%, some even surpassing 50%, before settling back a bit on November 12 or 13.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

October 31st, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to October 31, 2014

by Greg Klein

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Fission hits 8.53% over 24 metres at Patterson Lake South

The 600th company to graduate from the Venture to the big board since 2000,
Fission Uranium opens the TSX on October 30. (Photo: TMX Group)


Fission hits 8.53% U3O8 over 24 metres at Patterson Lake South

A second batch of assays hit the streets October 27 from Fission Uranium’s (TSX:FCU) Patterson Lake South summer program, the final drill season before a maiden resource due in December. Thirteen holes from the R780E zone showed mineralization at shallow depths, some with very impressive results. Several holes broaden the zone’s lateral width at different locations up to about 93 metres north and 38 metres south, and also extend the depth. Still the focal point of PLS, R780E remains by far the largest of four zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike that’s open at both ends.

Some of the best results follow:

Hole PLS14-253

  • 1.33% U3O8 over 16.5 metres, starting at 117.5 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 3.57% over 5.5 metres)

  • 1.65% over 5 metres, starting at 155 metres
  • (including 5.37% over 1.5 metres)


  • 0.62% over 13 metres, starting at 169 metres
  • (including 2.42% over 2.5 metres)


  • 1.76% over 39.5 metres, starting at 61.5 metres
  • (including 3.16% over 8 metres)
  • (and including 6.22% over 3.5 metres)

  • 1.17% over 11.5 metres, starting at 104 metres
  • (including 3.99% over 2.5 metres)


  • 5.02% over 5 metres, starting at 256.5 metres


  • 4.21% over 38.5 metres, starting at 132 metres
  • (including 23.53% over 6 metres)

  • 2.77% over 13.5 metres, starting at 205 metres
  • (including 6.95% over 4 metres)


  • 1.43% over 42.5 metres, starting at 58 metres
  • (including 5.91% over 9.5 metres)

  • 0.74% over 26 metres, starting at 104 metres
  • (including 2.42% over 6 metres)


  • 1.85% over 8 metres, starting at 234 metres
  • (including 6.63% over 2 metres)


  • 0.27% over 22.5 metres, starting at 191.5 metres

  • 0.37% over 19.5 metres, starting at 216.5 metres


  • 0.56% over 16 metres, starting at 164.5 metres
  • (including 1.44% over 4.5 metres)


  • 8.53% over 24 metres, starting at 78 metres
  • (including 24.87% over 7.5 metres)

  • 0.55% over 28.5 metres, starting at 105.5 metres
  • (including 2.02% over 3.5 metres)

True widths weren’t provided.

These results bring the total to 42 holes reported. Assays for another 18 delineation holes and 22 exploration holes are pending. The previous batch of summer assays, released earlier this month, included the project’s strongest intercept so far.

Lakeland Resources ready to drill Star/Gibbon’s project, confirms drill-ready targets at Lazy Edward Bay

A busy summer has moved two Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK projects to the drill-ready stage, one of which will see a rig working as soon as winter conditions allow. Announced October 28, a 1,500-metre program on the adjacent Gibbon’s Creek and Star properties follows positive results from surface sampling and a DC-resistivity survey, some of the Athabasca Basin’s highest RadonEx readings and confirmation of a radioactive boulder field grading up to 4.28% U3O8.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere to October 31, 2014

A structural lineament connects this radioactive boulder field with
two other mineralized systems on the Star/Gibbon’s Creek properties.

The two properties on the Basin’s north-central rim host a regional, multi-staged, structural lineament immediately west of the Star Uplift, a basement outcrop about 350 metres by 700 metres, that extends south to the Gibbon’s Creek boulder field about three kilometres away. In addition an east-west resistivity low, interpreted as an alteration corridor, has been found near an historic intercept of 1,500 parts per million uranium.

Surface sampling at the uplift found a gold trend that also revealed platinum group elements, rare earths and anomalous low-grade uranium. Follow-up drilling will test the trend and examine basement geology as it relates to the Gibbon’s Creek targets, Lakeland stated.

With depth to the unconformity ranging from 50 to 250 metres, the company anticipates an economical program of shallow drilling. Roads and power lines cross the property, which lies a few kilometres from the town of Stony Rapids.

The company wholly owns Gibbon’s Creek and holds a 100% option on Star.

Meanwhile exploration at Lazy Edward Bay has confirmed the project’s drill-ready targets, as well as its prominence in Lakeland’s portfolio. Field work on two areas of the 26,375-hectare property on the Basin’s southeastern edge revealed anomalous rock samples, soil samples and RadonEx readings, the company announced October 30.

The Liberty Trend consists of an approximately five-kilometre-long conductive zone intruded by diabase dykes. Near a radioactive spring reported earlier in October, two boulders graded 537 ppm and 896 ppm U3O8, also showing anomalous levels of the pathfinder elements arsenic, cobalt, chromium, nickel and lead.

Two nearby soil samples returned uranium values of 13.7 ppm and 14.8 ppm, along with 2,920 ppm arsenic, 119 ppm cobalt and 112 ppm nickel. An outcrop sample farther south showed low-grade uranium and was also enriched in copper, cobalt and zinc, the company added.

The significance of the Liberty Trend “appears to be a rare combination of favourable geochemistry, geophysics and surface rock samples anomalous in radioactivity coupled with a series of radioactive springs within a complex structural setting,” said Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes. “This confluence of geologic features attests to the potential of this area to host a large mineralizing system.”

The project’s Bay Trend underwent 150 soil samples over a 789-sample radon-in-soil grid. The samples showed several anomalous geochemical results coinciding with previously identified basement conductors. This year’s work further refines the conductors.

Results from both the Liberty and Bay trends confirm high-priority drill-ready targets and Lazy Edward’s place among “the most promising early-stage exploration projects that Lakeland has assembled, which include the Gibbon’s Creek, Star and Newnham Lake properties,” Armes said.

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

Fission 3.0 stakes new ground, joins Brades on Clearwater West fall campaign

Seven new acquisitions, along with expansions to four other properties, bring the Fission 3.0 TSXV:FUU portfolio up to 17 projects totalling 232,088 hectares, all in the Basin area except one in Peru. The expansion came through staking, the company announced October 29.

Karpinka Lake, a 3,072-hectare property 40 klicks south of the Basin, features at least 14 historic uranium occurrences. The most significant “consists of a series of five discontinuous low-grade zones of stratabound uranium mineralization,” Fission 3.0 stated.

Midas, a 1,476-hectare property near Uranium City, has five known uranium occurrences including an historic intercept of 0.19% U3O8 over 9.6 metres.

On the Basin’s north-central rim, the 1,678-hectare Hearty Bay property sits up-ice from a boulder train that graded up to 3% uranium.

Eighty kilometres south of the Basin’s southeastern margin, the 5,745-hectare Hobo Lake property has had historic lake sediment samples showing anomalous uranium. South of the Basin but north of Hobo Lake, the 1,213-hectare Costigan Lake property benefits from a 2005 airborne radiometric survey that found anomalous radioactivity associated with conductors.

Just beyond the Basin’s southern edge, the 1,866-hectare River Lake “has potential to host outliers of sandstone cover, which is the favourable host rock for unconformity and perched styles of uranium mineralization.”

East of the Basin’s northeastern margin, the 2,412-hectare Flowerdew Lake underwent airborne geophysics in 2005, finding “moderate to strong formational electromagnetic conductors trending northeast.”

A 1,024-hectare addition to Beaver River covers an extension of the property’s EM conductors and includes two historic uranium showings. Cree Bay got another 5,252 hectares of contiguous turf along the prospective Black Lake shear zone. Grey Island grew by 1,271 hectares over a strong EM conductor. Thompson Lake added 577 hectares, also covering the extension of a conductor.

On October 15 Fission 3.0 and Brades Resource TSXV:BRA announced fall plans for their Clearwater West joint venture. The program calls for mapping, prospecting and a DC resistivity survey to follow up on radiometric anomalies identified last May. Brades holds a 50% option on the 11,835-hectare project, where Fission 3.0 acts as operator. Read a review of the companies’ announcement by Geology for Investors.

Winter drilling planned for Azincourt/Fission 3.0’s Patterson Lake North

Patterson Lake North’s agenda calls for a $1.5-million, 3,200-metre winter program, JV partner Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ announced October 21. Work will follow up on last summer’s drilling, targeting the property’s A1-A4 conductor area and two untested areas, the N conductor trend and the Broach Lake conductor system.

The 27,408-hectare property lies adjacent to and north of Patterson Lake South. Fission 3.0 acts as operator. Azincourt, which currently holds a 10% stake, said its $1.5-million winter expenditure will complete the $3-million year-two requirement, raising its total to 20%. The option allows Azincourt up to a 50% interest.

The company also stated it distributed the Macusani Yellowcake TSXV:YEL stock resulting from that company’s acquisition of Azincourt’s Peruvian properties (read more here and here). Shareholders got “the equivalent of $0.09 per Azincourt share, based on the recent Macusani share price.”

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

October 4th, 2014

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

by Greg Klein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jody Dahrouge, president of Dahrouge Geological Consulting, told of geophysical data showing “a major regional structural lineament that’s about 30 or 40 kilometres in length, and it’s been reactivated many times over 100 million years or more. This is a key ingredient to every uranium deposit in the Athabasca Basin…. Having it reactivated time and time again allows multiple generations of fluid to flow along that structure and deposition of perhaps multiple ore bodies.”

He identified three mineralizing systems within five to 10 kilometres of the structure. The Star uplift, a basement outcrop about 700 metres by 350 metres, was the location of many of the samples showing gold and platinum group elements, along with some rare earths and low-grade uranium.

A massive alteration zone about a kilometre south had historic drill results up to 1,500 parts per million uranium. A few kilometres farther sits the boulder field that graded up to 4.28% U3O8. “Clearly something’s going on and clearly it’s related to the structure,” Dahrouge said.

With drill permits in place, road access from a nearby community, shallow depths, high ground that can be worked year-round and a healthy treasury, Lakeland now plans the next stage of an extensive exploration program for its flagship.

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

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

September 26th, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 20 to 26, 2014

by Greg Klein

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As Fission’s $14.4-million placement closes, regional drilling expands PLS horizons

Seventeen exploration holes didn’t do so well but Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU thinks four others show potential well away from the four zones that have been Patterson Lake South’s focus. In a September 25 statement the company identified the Far East area, 17 kilometres east of the discovery, and the PL Corridor, 750 metres east of the discovery, as targets “for aggressive follow-up.”

The drill results come from a hand-held scintillometer that measures core for radioactivity. They’re no substitute for assays, which will follow.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 20 to 26, 2014

A $14-million infusion helps fund Patterson Lake South,
where Fission Uranium prepares for a December resource.

Of six new holes in the Far East area, three showed anomalous radioactivity on two conductors in the vicinity of PLS14-255, an exploration hole released last month.

One of nine holes on the PL Corridor went radioactive. With another hole still to report, the regional work totalled 5,895 metres in 22 holes over five areas testing 11 electromagnetic targets. The company noted that this program brings activity closer to a Fission Energy spinout, the Clearwater West joint venture of Fission 3.0 TSXV:FUU and Brades Resource TSXV:BRA.

Fission Uranium has also slated its Forrest Lake area for future exploration drilling. Overall, PLS features more than 105 separate conductors.

On September 23 the company announced the closing of a private placement which, with the exercise of an over-allotment option, hit $14.4 million. Radiometric measurements released two weeks earlier indicated a widening of the project’s main zone.

Gryphon gives up good grades for Denison

Denison Mines TSX:DML marked summer’s end with a September 24 batch of drill results from its Wheeler River flagship. Of 20 holes totalling 14,937 metres, eight showed weak or no significant mineralization. But, more optimistically, the company provided radiometric results for the program’s newest holes as well as assays for those holes with previously released radiometric readings.

The campaign targeted the project’s Gryphon zone, where mineralization ranges from 100 to 250 metres below the unconformity within a 350-metre strike and 60-metre lateral width.

Assays are still pending for the latest holes. These results were measured in uranium oxide-equivalent from a downhole probe. Highlights include:


  • 1.5% eU3O8 over 2.9 metres, starting at 649.4 metres in downhole depth

  • 4.2% over 1.4 metres, starting at 675.8 metres

  • 1.3% over 1 metre, starting at 714.7 metres


  • 15.8% over 2.3 metres, starting at 767.2 metres

  • 1.8% over 1 metre, starting at 778.3 metres


  • 7% over 2 metres, starting at 664.8 metres

  • 1.5% over 1 metre, starting at 674.8 metres

  • 9.8% over 2.5 metres, starting at 695.8 metres

  • 1.2% over 1 metre, starting at 709.4 metres


  • 0.2% over 4.1 metres, starting at 630.7 metres


  • 0.4% over 4.6 metres, starting at 772.3 metres


  • 1.8% over 2 metres, starting at 625.6 metres

True widths were estimated at about 75%.

For the other holes, Denison provided assays which exceed the previously reported radiometric results. Some highlights include:

Hole WR-564

  • 6.6% U3O8 over 2 metres, starting at 744 metres in downhole depth

  • 3.4% over 1 metre, starting at 752 metres

  • 2.1% over 1 metre, starting at 757 metres


  • 1.6% over 3 metres, starting at 728 metres


  • 2.4% over 1 metre, starting at 653.5 metres

  • 3.8% over 3 metres, starting at 662.9 metres

  • 13.2% over 3.5 metres, starting at 680 metres

  • 12.4% over 1 metre, starting at 693 metres

  • 4.9% over 9 metres, starting at 702.5 metres

  • 3.6% over 2 metres, starting at 724.6 metres


  • 0.3% over 10.5 metres, starting at 742.5 metres

  • 0.3% over 3 metres, starting at 777 metres

Again, true widths were estimated at 75%.

With a 60% interest in Wheeler River, Denison acts as operator. Cameco Corp TSX:CCO holds 30% and JCU (Canada) Exploration the rest.

Denison updated two wholly owned projects, also near the Athabasca Basin’s southeastern corner. Two holes totalling 1,194 metres at Bachman Lake failed to find significant mineralization. Ditto for five holes totalling 2,995 metres at Crawford Lake. But the latter program extended “a large zone of sandstone and basement alteration on the CR-2 and CR-5 conductors, roughly along trend to the south of the Millennium deposit,” the company stated. Denison expects Crawford to hold high priority in 2015.

That year’s budget was taken care of by a $14.99-million private placement that closed last month.

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