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Athabasca Basin and beyond

December 14th, 2013

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

by Greg Klein

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Spincos Fission 3.0 and Alpha Exploration debut on TSXV, Fission Uranium plans most aggressive campaign ever

Never mind Fission 3.0’s FUU ticker. When Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU was created out of Fission Energy earlier this year, only a last-minute change prevented that spinco from becoming FUC. And now that Alpha Minerals has delisted to create its spinco, Alpha Exploration TSXV:AEX, two new companies join the Venture while Patterson Lake South comes under the sole ownership of Fission Uranium, a particularly tempting takeover target.

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

Now with sole control over Patterson Lake South, Fission Uranium seems
likely to use winter drilling as a theatrical build-up to a maiden resource.

Fission 3.0 debuted December 10 at $0.12 and quickly shot up to $0.30 before plunging to a $0.135 close. The stock finished December 13 at $0.16. With 152.96 million shares outstanding, Mach III had a $24.47-million market cap.

Alpha Exploration began trading December 12 at $0.45 and reached a daily high of $0.63. But it fell all the way to a $0.30 close. The following day’s finish dropped a penny lower. AEX’s 13.96 million shares represented a market cap of $4.05 million.

Each spinco got $3 million in start-up money from Fission Uranium. Alpha Minerals nominees Warren Stanyer and Kurt Bordian joined Fission Uranium’s board, replacing Frank Estergaard and Jeremy Ross who moved to Fission 3.0 along with Dev Randhawa and Ross McElroy, who lead both Fissions. Alpha Exploration’s management and board remains “substantially the same” as that of Alpha Minerals.

Meanwhile the PLS role played by father/son team Ben and Garrett Ainsworth (ex-Alpha Minerals now Alpha Ex) have won them the 2013 Colin Spence Award for excellence in global mineral exploration, the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia announced on December 12.

Fission 3.0 keeps its predecessor’s uranium focus with six Athabasca Basin-area projects and another in the Macusani region of Peru. Alpha Exploration lists its initial key assets as two gold projects, Mikwam in Ontario and Donna in B.C., as well as Saskatchewan uranium properties.

The spin-outs have hardly diminished Fission Uranium’s attraction, a $12.87-million financing suggests. Announced December 11, the company’s 8.58 million $1.50 subscription receipts have been exchanged for one flow-through share each, a transaction that closed after the Alpha Minerals acquisition.

Evidently emboldened by all that dough, McElroy announced Fission Uranium’s “most aggressive drill program to date at PLS—approximately 30,000 metres in up to 100 drill holes,” the news release quoted him. “Our core focus will be growth, including the specific goal of eliminating the distance between the six identified zones. We will also be testing new targets, using radon sampling on other EM conductors and employing resistivity ground geophysics to help identify additional prospective corridors.”

With assays still pending for over 50 holes, Fission Uranium might be accused of teasing investors prior to a first resource.

Late December 13 the company announced it granted a consultant one million options at $1.10 for two years.

Lakeland Resources bolsters team with Canon Bryan and Sam Wong

Two more appointments add to a busy period of announcements from Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK. On December 9 mining financial professional Canon Bryan joined Lakeland’s advisory board. Two days later another mining specialist, Sam Wong, took the position of chief financial officer.

With Bryan’s appointment Lakeland not only gains additional expertise but renews a relationship that’s already proved successful. Bryan’s resume lists management positions for several public and private companies including Uranium Energy Corp NYSE MKT:UEC, which Bryan co-founded. He also founded Terrestrial Energy Inc, which is developing a commercial molten salt reactor, and operates a merger-and-acquisition consulting service for the uranium sector.

Now he’s working again with people who’ve benefited from his past accomplishments. Lakeland director Ryan Fletcher recalls the genesis for what’s now NioCorp Developments TSXV:NB. “Canon came to us [Zimtu Capital Corp TSXV:ZC] with the idea to go to Nebraska and acquire a niobium project,” Fletcher says. “It was a great project, although difficult because we had to acquire it from 40 farmers. It took quite a while and a bit of money but we were successful.”

I co-founded [Uranium Energy Corp] with three other folks and took it through the hoops. It’s now listed on the New York Stock Exchange and producing uranium in Texas.—Lakeland Resources
adviser Canon Bryan

Known as Elk Creek, NioCorp calls it “the only primary niobium deposit in the U.S., and… the highest-grade, large-tonnage undeveloped deposit in North America.”

Bryan says, “I found the project and Zimtu was able to facilitate funding, so it was a good collaboration and profitable for everyone.”

With Uranium Energy Corp, “I co-founded the company with three other folks and took it through the hoops,” Bryan adds. “It’s now listed on the New York Stock Exchange and producing uranium in Texas. Producing uranium in the U.S. is quite a rare thing. It’s something I’m personally quite proud of.”

He says working with Lakeland renews “a collaboration that’s never really gone away. We’re colleagues in the industry. We agreed it would be a good fit for everybody, very much an organic fit.”

He joins three other well-respected names on Lakeland’s advisory board, all with complementary fields of expertise—John Gingerich, Richard Kusmirski and Thomas Drolet.

“Uranium M&A is my area of expertise,” Bryan says. “So naturally that’s something I would like to bring to the table.”

Wong, Lakeland’s new CFO, holds the same position at Lowell Copper TSXV:JDL and Chesapeake Gold TSXV:CKG. He’s also served as corporate controller at Luna Gold TSX:LGC, where he oversaw the finance division during Luna’s transition from development to commercial production. Wong articled as a chartered accountant at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he specialized in assurance and advisory for mining companies.

In a statement accompanying the December 11 announcement, Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes said Wong brings “strength in financial reporting, strategic planning, corporate governance, equity financings, due diligence for acquisitions and corporate development to our growing team. His attention to detail and in running a tight ship will be another strong asset for Lakeland as we advance as an up-and-coming leader in the Athabasca Basin.”

The appointments follow a flurry of recent news from the uranium explorer, which includes a joint venture with Declan Resources TSXV:LAN that expands Lakeland’s upcoming Gibbon’s Creek drill program, another JV with Star Minerals Group TSXV:SUV that increases Lakeland’s portfolio and the publication of a research report by Zimtu research and communications officer Derek Hamill.

Meanwhile results are pending from last season’s exploration on the Riou Lake/Gibbon’s Creek property in the north-central Basin.

Read more about Lakeland Resources here and here.

Forum completes ground gravity survey, plans ground EM at Clearwater

A December 11 announcement moves Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC closer to drilling its Clearwater project. With a ground gravity survey finished, around 11 drill targets have been chosen. The survey followed up on previously identified electromagnetic conductors and radon anomalies to find four gravity lows, three of which held several conductors. An early January ground EM survey will further refine targets for drilling that’s expected to start later that month.

In late November Forum released lake sediment samples from the southern area of the 9,910-hectare property. Clearwater lies adjacently southwest of, and on trend with, PLS.

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Lakeland Resources adds Canon Bryan’s M&A expertise to advisory board

December 9th, 2013

by Greg Klein | December 9, 2013

With Canon Bryan’s December 9 appointment to the advisory board of Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK, the company not only gets additional expertise but renews a relationship that’s proved successful. The financial professional’s resume lists management positions for several public and private companies including Uranium Energy Corp NYSE MKT:UEC, which Bryan co-founded. He also founded Terrestrial Energy Inc, which is developing a commercial molten salt reactor, and operates a merger-and-acquisition consulting service for the uranium sector.

Now he’s working again with people who’ve benefited from his past accomplishments. Lakeland director Ryan Fletcher recalls the genesis for what’s now NioCorp Developments TSXV:NB. “Canon came to us [Zimtu Capital Corp TSXV:ZC] with the idea to go to Nebraska and acquire a niobium project,” Fletcher says. “It was a great project, although difficult because we had to acquire it from 40 farmers. It took quite a while and a bit of money but we were successful.”

I co-founded [Uranium Energy Corp] with three other folks and took it through the hoops. It’s now listed on the New York Stock Exchange and producing uranium in Texas.—Lakeland Resources
adviser Canon Bryan

Known as Elk Creek, NioCorp calls it “the only primary niobium deposit in the U.S., and… the highest-grade, large-tonnage undeveloped deposit in North America.”

Bryan says, “I found the project and Zimtu was able to facilitate funding, so it was a good collaboration and profitable for everyone.”

With Uranium Energy Corp, “I co-founded the company with three other folks and took it through the hoops,” Bryan adds. “It’s now listed on the New York Stock Exchange and producing uranium in Texas. Producing uranium in the U.S. is quite a rare thing. It’s something I’m personally quite proud of.”

He says working with Lakeland renews “a collaboration that’s never really gone away. We’re colleagues in the industry. We agreed it would be a good fit for everybody, very much an organic fit.”

He joins three other well-respected names on Lakeland’s advisory board, all with complementary fields of expertise—John Gingerich, Richard Kusmirski and Thomas Drolet.

Bryan’s December 9 appointment follows a joint venture announced the previous week with Lakeland and Declan Resources TSXV:LAN, which injects new money into the upcoming Gibbon’s Creek drill program in the Athabasca Basin and brings additional attention to both companies’ other projects. The appointment also comes near the end of a busy year for Lakeland, marked especially by exploration, team-building and uranium acquisitions. Bryan’s appointment might presage even more to come.

“Uranium M&A is my area of expertise, so naturally that’s something I would like to bring to the table,” he says.

Read more about Lakeland Resources here and here.

See a roundup of last week’s uranium news here.

Disclaimer: Lakeland Resources Inc and Zimtu Capital Corp are clients of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of ResourceClips.com. The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in those companies.

Home Continent Advantage

April 4th, 2012

Quantum’s Nebraska Niobium Resource Project Will Reduce Foreign Dependence

By Ted Niles

That the US imports 100% of its niobium—indeed, that 85% of the world’s niobium is produced by just one Brazilian company—doesn’t inspire panic in the average person. While familiarity with the metal and its uses is not widespread, the US National Academy of Sciences has deemed it a “critical” metal, and the absence of a domestic producer troubles Washington. Particularly as worldwide demand is predicted to outstrip supply by 2018. Enter Quantum Rare Earth Developments TSXV:QRE, whose Elk Creek Project in Nebraska boasts America’s only NI 43-101-compliant niobium resource.

The 3,802-hectare property was acquired in 2010 by Quantum, which was quick to take advantage of the work carried out by Molycorp in the 1970s and 1980s. “They did over 150,000 feet of drilling,” reports Quantum President/CEO Peter Dickie. “Molycorp walked away from a lot of their exploration projects as they put their Mountain Pass Mine into production, and this was one of them.”

Quantum's Nebraska Niobium Resource Project Will Reduce Foreign Dependence

Niobium is both a strategic and a critical metal

Based on a reanalysis of Molycorp‘s historical work, Quantum released an initial inferred resource for the property in March 2011. The company undertook a drill program the same year—the first the site had seen in 25 years—which was used towards an updated estimate announced April 2, 2012. It reported indicated resources of 19.32 million tonnes grading 0.67% niobium and inferred resources of 83.29 million tonnes grading 0.63%, both at a 0.4% cutoff.

While the new resource reflects increases in tonnage and grade, Dickie notes, “We’re realizing that the more drilling we do, the [greater] likelihood we’re going to see improvement in not only overall tonnage but grade and category as well. If you look at our drill results, we had substantial intercepts of well over 1% material. Obviously, the more drilling we do in that vicinity, the more we’ll be able to elevate our resource and our grade.”

Niobium is used in small quantities to both strengthen and reduce the weight of steel. In the form of ferro-niobium it is used in the automotive, pipeline and construction industries. It is also used in superalloys by the aerospace and defense industries. It has been estimated that demand for the metal has grown at a 10% compound annual growth rate over the last 10 years and that future demand is likely to increase at the same rate.

As mentioned above, about 85% of world supply is produced by Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração. Anglo American’s Catalão Mine, also in Brazil, produces approximately 6%, while IAMGOLD’s TSX:IMG Quebec Niobec Mine produces most of the rest. Dickie points out that there is only one other North American niobium producer in the wings—Taseko’s TSX:TKO Aley project in BC. Aley has inferred resources of 159 million tonnes grading 0.43%, at a 0.2% cutoff. “Obviously our grade and tonnage is quite significant from a North American standpoint,” Dickie says. “Elk Creek is likely the largest deposit with that kind of grade. And it’s the only one we know of in the US, where niobium is considered a strategic metal and subject to potential stockpiling.”

Quantum will next undertake a preliminary economic assessment. A metallurgical test program is ongoing, and Dickie hopes to see “some concrete numbers within the next few months. [The PEA] is about a four- to six-month process following receipt of the metallurgy.”

Our indicated resource contains just under 129 million kilograms of niobium. Our inferred resource has another 523 million kilograms. The current price for niobium in the form of ferro-niobium is about $43 a kilogram. So the numbers are very big on this —Peter Dickie

Quantum intends taking Elk Creek to production, but between the resource and the infrastructural advantages offered by the American heartland, Dickie admits that the project now entices larger companies. “We have had some discussions ourselves and been made aware of others who have had their eyes on this project. I would suspect that one or more may act on it prior to us getting into production.” He adds, “Potentially we’ll have a partner involved by the time we start drilling on this project again.”

While it has been a difficult year for mining equities generally, Dickie believes Quantum is undervalued more as a consequence of niobium’s obscurity. He explains, “Close to 90% of the market comes from a private mine in Brazil. A lot of the transactions are dealt with between a private company and the end user, so they’re never reported. It’s not as widely known a market as other commodities.”

He concludes, “It’s not normally done on smaller-market materials such as niobium, but certainly if you want to look at the in situ value at [Elk Creek], it’s very valuable. Our indicated resource contains just under 129 million kilograms of niobium. Our inferred resource has another 523 million kilograms. The current price for niobium in the form of ferro-niobium is about $43 a kilogram. So the numbers are very big on this.”

At press time, Quantum had 86 million shares trading at $0.205 for a market cap of $17.6 million. Its other projects include the Archie Lake REE property in Saskatchewan and the Jungle Well and Laverton rare earth projects in Western Australia.

Quantum updates Nebraska Elk Creek Niobium Resource Estimate

April 2nd, 2012

Resource Clips - essential news on junior gold mining and junior silver miningQuantum Rare Earth Developments Corp TSXV:QRE announced an updated NI 43-101 resource estimate for its Elk Creek niobium-REE project in southeastern Nebraska. At a 0.4% cut-off, the project now has indicated resources of 19.32 million tonnes grading 0.67% niobium and inferred resources of 83.29 million tonnes grading 0.63%.

President Peter Dickie stated, “The addition of a substantially higher-grade indicated mineral resource gives us confidence in our continued development efforts of this very large and high-grade niobium deposit.”

View Company Profile

Contact:
Peter Dickie
President/CEO
604.568.7365

by Ted Niles