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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 22nd, 2013

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

by Greg Klein

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News flash: Fission Uranium releases assays—actual lab assays—from Patterson Lake South

Frenetic as activity has been at Patterson Lake South, assays have been trickling in at a most leisurely pace. Results released by Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU on December 18 come from three holes that were drilled last summer and had scintillometer results reported in August and September. The backlog of assays, from about 50 holes, can only increase speculation about when the project’s maiden resource might appear and what it might show.

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

Even so, these results continue to impress with high-grade, near-surface intervals. Taken from R945E, the most easterly of six zones along a 1.78-kilometre trend, some of the better assays show 7.91% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 14 metres, 1.59% over 40 metres and 3.69% over 13.5 metres. One Russian doll interval-within-an-interval-within-an-interval graded 43.7% over 0.5 metres.

Highlights show:

Hole PLS13-084

  • 0.11% U3O8 over 8 metres, starting at 129.5 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.27% over 25.5 metres, starting at 156.5 metres

  • 0.3% over 7 metres, starting at 195 metres

  • 0.13% over 12.5 metres, starting at 206.5 metres

  • 3.69% over 13.5 metres, starting at 232.5 metres
  • (including 9.12% over 1 metre)
  • (and including 7.27% over 4.5 metres)

Hole PLS13-092

  • 0.84% over 16 metres, starting at 163 metres
  • (including 1.62% over 4 metres)
  • (and including 6.22% over 0.5 metres)

  • 0.15% over 7.5 metres, starting at 196 metres

Hole PLS13-096

  • 0.3% over 7.5 metres, starting at 98 metres

  • 1.59% over 40 metres, starting at 138 metres
  • (including 14.22% over 3 metres)

  • 2.4% over 11 metres, starting at 186 metres
  • (including 6.91% over 2 metres)

  • 7.91% over 14 metres, starting at 249.5 metres
  • (including 18.2% over 5.5 metres)
  • (which includes 43.7% over 0.5 metres)

True widths were unavailable. Drilling was vertical or near-vertical, with dips of 90, -88 and -89 degrees respectively.

The previous week, PLS’s now sole owner closed a $12.87-million financing for the project’s “most aggressive drill program to date” with about 100 holes totalling 30,000 metres, along with further geophysics. Winter is not a quiet time in the Athabasca Basin.

Lakeland recruits more expertise while planning Gibbon’s Creek winter program

Two more Lakeland Resources’ TSXV:LK appointments bring additional experience to the company’s management and board. December 16 and 19 announcements reported Neil McCallum joining as director and Frances Petryshen as corporate secretary.

McCallum, a project manager with Dahrouge Geological Consulting, has served a number of companies with target generation, hiring, logistics, land management, data compilation, project reviews and management.

“Among the first Basin projects I worked on was staking the Waterbury Lake project that started with Strathmore Minerals and turned into Fission Energy,” McCallum says. Fission Energy’s 60% interest in Waterbury was the main impetus for Denison Mines’ TSX:DML acquisition of the company earlier this year. The project’s J zone now shows an indicated resource of 291,000 tonnes averaging 2% for 12.81 million pounds U3O8.

“Also with Dahrouge, I worked on the Patterson Lake project, which morphed into Patterson Lake South,” McCallum adds. “Part of that work back in 2004 was digging through historic data, looking for projects that had been passed over by some of the major companies. So I’ve been familiar with the Basin since that time.”

His involvement in a variety of projects with prospect generator Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC led him to Lakeland, a Zimtu core holding, about a year ago. “Having worked with Zimtu and Ryan Fletcher, I found I like the way he operates. He’s similar to me in that he’s a young guy who thinks outside the box. When you work with different projects and different teams you can look at the Basin from a different angle. I think that’s what people like Ryan and myself bring to the table—a bit of a different perspective.”

We’ll continue building our team and our projects so that when uranium’s price environment changes, which it will, we’ll be very well established.—Lakeland Resources
director Ryan Fletcher

As a Lakeland director, McCallum will play a wider role in the company than before. “A big part of Lakeland’s goal is to find projects either by staking or linking up with other companies,” he explains. “So a lot of what I’ll do is review those projects on a technical basis to make informed decisions.”

Fletcher reinforces those comments. “Our group has worked with Neil for several years now and I’ve seen the impact he’s had on other projects. But he’s also focused a lot on uranium and the Athabasca Basin. He has a talent for looking at historic data, filing through the assessment reports and putting it all into context. He’s already been helping with project management on our Gibbon’s Creek/Riou Lake project, but now he’s joining the board to represent shareholders and drive shareholder value.”

As corporate secretary Frances Petryshen brings 25 years of experience specializing in corporate compliance and governance for public, private and not-for-profit organizations. She’s been a director and officer with several public and private companies including CanAlaska Uranium TSX:CVV, where she worked from 2007 to 2012.

Petryshen is an accredited director and a fellow with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, where she currently serves as director and chairperson of the British Columbia branch.

“Her appointment is another important step towards adding the right people to deliver as we grow the company and expand our exploration and activity in the Athabasca,” said Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Frances will be an important contributor and a trusted adviser and associate to our team.”

The news follows several recent Lakeland announcements including the appointments of mining specialists Sam Wong as CFO and Canon Bryan as adviser, JVs with Declan Resources TSXV:LAN and Star Minerals Group TSXV:SUV, and a research report by Zimtu research and communications officer Derek Hamill.

With summer/autumn field work complete, planning now takes place for the 12,771-hectare Gibbon’s Creek winter campaign. “We’ll be very active throughout the new year as well,” Fletcher says. “We’ll continue building our team and our projects so that when uranium’s price environment changes, which it will, we’ll be very well established.”

Mega Uranium to get Energy Fuels’ interest in Bayswater; EFR signs KEPCO agreement

Under a share swap announced December 19, Energy Fuels TSX:EFR signed an agreement to exchange all its Bayswater Uranium TSXV:BYU stock with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA for 1.7 million newly issued Mega shares. Energy Fuels got the 11.5% interest in Bayswater on taking over Strathmore Minerals in September. Subject to all approvals, the co-signers expect to close the transaction by January 17.

The companies are hardly unacquainted. Energy Fuels is already a Mega shareholder. Mega, meanwhile, owns about 17% of NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE. Although Mega lost its bid for Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT in October, the following month it picked up 28% of the ASX-listed Toro Energy in return for Mega’s Lake Maitland pre-development project in Western Australia. Energy Fuels holds a 5% gross production royalty on the Reno Creek uranium project, which last March reached pre-feasibility under a Bayswater affiliate.

Energy Fuels supplies about 25% of American uranium production. In November the company suspended development of its Canyon mine in Arizona due to low commodity prices and legal action challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the mine.

On December 17 the company announced a strategic relationship agreement with the Korea Electric Power Corp. But details were lost in Energy Fuels’ vaguely written news release.

Ur-Energy offered 50% discount on Pathfinder Mines, AREVA to get 5% royalty

A revised agreement offers Ur-Energy TSX:URE a half-price deal on Pathfinder Mines and its two former Wyoming mines with historic resources. The acquisition was originally priced at US$13.25 million in July 2012. Now, “in recognition of current market conditions,” AREVA affiliate COGEMA Resources will let go of Pathfinder for approximately $6.625 million in return for a 5% gross royalty on Pathfinder’s Shirley Basin property. The royalty remains subject to caps depending on uranium’s price. Ur-Energy has already put $1.325 million into escrow. Some other details have yet to be negotiated, the company stated.

Three days after that December 16 announcement, the company reported a private placement expected to close on December 20 for approximately $5.18 million. The money was earmarked for the Pathfinder acquisition.

Earlier in December Ur-Energy reported a first shipment of 35,000 pounds U3O8 left its Lost Creek mine in Wyoming. Lost Creek’s resource update was released in November.

In late October the company closed a $34-million Wyoming state loan after having previously borrowed $35 million from RMB Australia Holdings Ltd.

Uranium exploration finds frac sand potential on Declan Resources’ Firebag River

Initial field work by Dahrouge Geological Consulting shows potential for high-quality frac sand on Declan Resources’ Firebag River property in northeastern Alberta, the company announced December 18. Samples from depths of less than two metres revealed “high silica content, quality sphericity and roundness values, and a high percentage of sand falling within the preferred 20/40 and 40/70 mesh sizes,” Declan stated.

Using figures from consulting firm PacWest, a December 2 Wall Street Journal report says oil and gas companies have boosted sand demand 25% since 2011, with another 20% increase expected over the next two years.

Declan intends to follow up on the finding “along with its principal objective of uranium exploration” at the 50,000-hectare property just southwest of the Basin. One day earlier the company released silver-copper results from its Nimini Hills property in Sierra Leone. In early December Declan signed a JV on Lakeland Resources’ Gibbon’s Creek project, a four-year option which would inject an extra $1.25 million into the property’s 2014 drill program.

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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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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 23rd, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 16 to 22, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Azincourt to acquire Peruvian company from Cameco and Vena for $2 million

So far best known for its 50% interest in the Patterson Lake North joint venture with Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU, Azincourt Uranium TSXV:AAZ plans to acquire an advanced-stage uranium project in Peru. Under definitive share purchase agreements announced November 22, the $8.1-million market cap Athabasca Basin junior proposes to buy Minergia S.A.C. from 50/50 co-owners Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and Vena Resources TSX:VEM. As well as the 4,900-hectare Macusani project, Minergia comes with its younger sister, 9,600-hectare Muñani, both in southeastern Peru.

Subject to approvals, the deal would have Azincourt give Cameco and Vena $750,000 worth of shares and $250,000 each. Vena chairman/CEO Juan Vegarra would join Azincourt as an independent director. Azincourt would spend between $1.5 million and $2 million on the projects annually.

The deal would also allow Vena to buy Cameco’s portion of Azincourt shares for the purchase price plus 50% of any increase in the market price.

In a statement accompanying Vena’s announcement, Vegarra noted that Azincourt president/CEO Ted O’Connor is “the former director of Cameco’s corporate development group who was responsible for overseeing Cameco’s significant investment in Minergia.”

With over $12 million of work between 2007 and 2011, Macusani comes with an historic resource that was released in September 2011. Using a 0.009% cutoff, five of the property’s nine areas show:

  • measured: 10.39 million short tons averaging 0.025% for 5.69 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8)

  • indicated: 34.16 million tons averaging 0.018% for 12.52 million pounds

  • inferred: 37.79 million tons averaging 0.02% for 17.42 million pounds

The project could offer low-cost open pit, acid heap leach potential, according to Azincourt.

As for Muñani, it shows uranium mineralization in sandstone and outcrops, has undergone airborne geophysics and ground prospecting, and has drill targets ready, Azincourt stated.

Although two years of depressed prices have pushed the projects into dormancy, Azincourt plans to complete community agreements and permitting prior to another drill program.

Vena also announced that Silvia Dedios has been named general manager following David Bent’s resignation. Walter Cuba becomes project manager to work with Azincourt on Minergia’s uranium assets.

Last June Vena dropped out of negotiations with a private Peruvian company to create a JV for three other Vena projects. In August the company settled $150,350 of debt for 1.64 million shares.

Azincourt and Fission update winter plans for Patterson Lake North

Back in the Basin, Azincourt and Fission updated their previously announced winter plans for Patterson Lake North on November 18. The program now includes a radon survey at Hodge Lake as well as further electromagnetic work and eight to 10 holes totalling 2,500 to 3,000 metres.

Initial results from a five-kilometre ground magnetotelluric survey over the northern part of an eight-kilometre VTEM conductive trend suggest it comprises a series of parallel west-dipping basement EM conductors, the JV stated. Further EM work will increase resolution and orient a resistivity survey scheduled for next summer. “Many structurally controlled high-grade uranium occurrences in the Athabasca Basin are related to hydrothermal alteration systems associated with basement EM conductors,” the companies emphasized. Drill targets will be refined by identifying an EM basement conductor with a resistivity low signature, especially when associated with a cross-cutting interpreted structural feature, the partners explained.

Diamond drilling is slated to begin in January, after the holes have been pre-collared with RC rigs.

Azincourt is earning a 50% interest in the 27,408-hectare project adjacent to Fission’s better-known project, the Patterson Lake South JV with Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW. Fission acts as operator on both projects.

Denison considers compulsory acquisition as Rockgate takeover now 86% complete

Delighted with “such overwhelming enthusiasm,” Denison Mines TSX:DML president/CEO Ron Hochstein announced on November 18 his company has so far nabbed 100.54 million shares for 86% control of Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT. In another extension to the offer—the final one, this time—Denison now says Rockgate laggards have until November 29 to throw in their lot with the victor.

If the company can get just 4% more of Rockgate’s total shares, Denison intends to acquire the rest through a compulsory acquisition. Otherwise the aggressive uranium miner/explorer will try an “amalgamation or other corporate reorganization” to part the hold-outs from their holdings. On October 30 Denison stated it was lowering the minimum tender condition from 90% to two-thirds of outstanding shares.

At that time directors of the two companies softened their positions considerably. Rockgate president/CEO Karl Kottmeier initially denounced the Denison offer as an “unsolicited opportunistic hostile takeover bid” which scuttled Rockgate’s proposed merger with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA. Rockgate’s board did, however, reluctantly recommend shareholder acceptance.

Read more here and here.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Read about Denison’s Q3 report.

Denison moves its people into Rockgate management/board positions

Rockgate’s changing of the guard, meanwhile, presages its takeover. The company announced five departures from its seven-person board on November 22. Gone are Doug Ford, Edward Ford, Allen Ambrose, Gord Neal and Phil Williams. Replacing them are Denison directors Ron Hochstein, Robert Dengler and Catherine Stefan, with William Rand becoming chairperson.

Rockgate’s Karl Kottmeier, Doug Ford and Kirk Gamely step down from management, although Kottmeier and Bryan Hyde will remain on Rockgate’s board to smooth the transition of its flagship Falea project in southwestern Mali, which was scheduled for pre-feasibility in early 2014. Denison’s Hochstein now becomes Rockgate president/CEO, David Cates CFO and Sheila Colman corporate secretary.

Denison has said that on acquiring Rockgate it will spin out its African assets to concentrate on the Athabasca Basin.

Mega Uranium closes Australian sale, gains 28% of Toro Energy

Undeterred by its Rockgate failure, Mega has now picked up 28% of an ASX-listed company with “one of the larger pre-development uranium projects worldwide.” That results from the completed sale of Mega’s Lake Maitland property in Western Australia to Toro Energy. In a deal valued at about AU$37 million last August, Mega gets about 28% of Toro shares and fills Toro board positions with Mega executive VP of corporate affairs Richard Patricio and executive VP for Australia Richard Homsany, the Toronto-listed company announced November 19.

Blue Sky drills Ivana project in Argentina, offers $500,000 private placement

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 16 to 22, 2013

Located in Argentina’s Rio Negro province, Blue Sky’s
Ivana project currently undergoes a 2,000-metre drill program.

Now underway at Blue Sky Uranium’s TSXV:BSK Ivana project in Argentina, a nine-hole, 2,000-metre drill campaign targets shallow, roll-front uranium mineralization to 400 metres in depth. Announced November 18, Phase I work also includes ground geophysics. The 71,300-hectare property has previously undergone airborne radiometrics, sampling, prospecting, mapping and trenching.

AREVA funds the work under an option to spend $2 million by December 31 on Blue Sky’s Argentinian properties. On completion, AREVA may fund an additional $3 million on one project, or $4 million combined on two projects, to earn a 51% interest by the end of 2017. In addition to the project in Rio Negro province, Blue Sky currently focuses on its Sierra Colonia property in central Chubut province.

The company also announced a private placement of 10 million units at $0.05 for $500,000. Each unit consists of one share and one transferable warrant exercisable at $0.10 for two years.

Ground gravity survey underway on Aldrin Resource’s Triple M

Announced by Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN on November 20, a ground gravity survey on the PLS-vicinity Triple M property intends to find extensively altered basement rocks associated with two bedrock conductive anomalies shown in last summer’s VTEM survey. Identified by anomalous gravity lows, extensively altered rocks are associated with strong uranium mineralization elsewhere in the region, the company stated. Triple M’s schedule calls for completion of the gravity survey by year-end.

The previous week Aldrin released initial radon results from 527 sample sites. The company also plans to buy the 49,275-hectare Virgin property around the Basin’s south-central edge.

Zadar Ventures acquires two more properties from Canterra Minerals

With two new acquisitions just south of the Basin’s southeastern rim, Zadar Ventures TSXV:ZAD has signed another definitive purchase agreement. The deal, announced November 20, has Zadar issuing 160,000 shares to Canterra Minerals TSXV:CTM and 170,000 to African Oil Corp in return for the 5,831-hectare Highrock and the 5,583-hectare Riverlake projects. Canterra retains a 2% NSR on both properties, of which Zadar may buy half for $1 million.

Both properties have seen historic EM surveys, soil sampling and drilling. Radioactive pitchblende pebbles found immediately west of Highrock might have originated on the property, Zadar stated. Highrock sits eight kilometres from Cameco’s former Key Lake mine.

Riverlake features a 1,200-metre by 600-metre soil anomaly with uranium values up to 0.0374% over three EM conductors with a combined strike of five kilometres, Zadar added. A hole drilled in 2008 found 63 metres of radioactivity five to 10 times the background level.

In September the company announced its acquisition of the 37,445-hectare Pasfield Lake property, also from Canterra. Earlier that month Zadar reported finding radioactive boulders on its PLS-vicinity PNE project.

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Denison Mines considers compulsory acquisition as Rockgate Capital takeover now 86% complete

November 18th, 2013

by Greg Klein | November 18, 2013

Delighted with “such overwhelming enthusiasm,” Denison Mines TSX:DML president/CEO Ron Hochstein announced on November 18 his company has so far nabbed 100.54 million shares for 86% control of Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT. In another extension to the offer—the final one, this time—Denison now says Rockgate laggards have until November 29 to throw in their lot with the victor.

If the company can get just 4% more of Rockgate’s total shares, Denison intends to acquire the rest through a compulsory acquisition. Otherwise the aggressive uranium miner/explorer will try an “amalgamation or other corporate reorganization” to part the hold-outs from their holdings. On October 30 Denison stated it was lowering the minimum tender condition from 90% to two-thirds of outstanding shares.

At that time directors of the two companies softened their positions considerably. Rockgate president/CEO Karl Kottmeier initially denounced the Denison offer as an “unsolicited opportunistic hostile takeover bid” which scuttled Rockgate’s proposed merger with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA. Rockgate’s board did, however, reluctantly recommend shareholder acceptance.

Read more here and here.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Read about Denison’s Q3 report.

See last week’s uranium news roundup.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 10th, 2013

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

by Greg Klein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 380 cps over 0.5 metres, starting at 254.5 metres

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

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

Non-compliant quote of the week

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

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

International Enexco, Denison report three holes from Bachman Lake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ashburton also announced the resignation of director Phil Taneda.

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

Western Athabasca Syndicate announces winter plans for Preston Lake

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

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

Energy Fuels suspends Arizona mine development, updates corporate news

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

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

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

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

Energy Fuels supplies about 25% of American uranium production.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 3rd, 2013

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

by Greg Klein

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

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

Hole PLS13-074

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


  • 0.09% over 2 metres, starting at 178.5 metres

  • 0.08% over 1.5 metres, starting at 183 metres

  • 0.16% over 4.5 metres, starting at 186.5 metres


  • 0.39% over 11.5 metres, starting at 59 metres

  • 0.13% over 15.5 metres, starting at 73 metres


  • 5.98% over 17.5 metres, starting at 83 metres

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

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

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

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

Rio Tinto plans winter drilling at Purepoint’s Red Willow

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

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

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

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

Strong Q3 financials surprise Cameco shareholders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Cameco operations get 10-year licence renewals

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

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

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

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

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

Declan options northeastern Alberta property

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

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

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

Rockgate takeover offer: Denison softens conditions, extends deadline

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Lakeland Resources’ JV partner New Dimension to drill for gold

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

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

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

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

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

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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Rockgate directors “reluctantly” recommend Denison offer to shareholders

October 21st, 2013

by Greg Klein | October 21, 2013

With no white knight in sight, Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT directors reluctantly recommended shareholders accept Denison Mines’ TSX:DML “unsolicited opportunistic hostile takeover bid.” The October 21 announcement came after negotiations between financial adviser Dundee Securities and potential third party bidders failed to produce a superior offer.

Denison’s bid came through suddenly on September 17, just eight days before Rockgate shareholders were to vote on a proposed merger with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA. Rockgate directors called off the vote, noted several criticisms with Denison’s offer and recommended shareholders take no action pending further study and negotiations. Denison valued its offer, 0.192 of a Denison share for each Rockgate share, at about $26.7 million, a 38% premium over the Mega offer, based on September 16 prices.

For Rockgate to be subject to an unsolicited opportunistic hostile takeover bid at this crucial stage is disappointing to say the least.—Karl Kottmeier, president/CEO
of Rockgate Capital

In a statement accompanying Rockgate’s October 21 announcement, an obviously discouraged president/CEO Karl Kottmeier recounted how the company overcame seven years of tribulation only to succumb to Denison:

Over the past seven years Rockgate has developed the Falea uranium-silver-copper deposit into a potentially world class asset. We have raised over $90 million to fund that effort, weathered poor market conditions, the Fukushima disaster, a coup d’état in Mali, and an Al Qaeda invasion and occupation of almost half of the country, yet despite these significant challenges remained focused on building the Falea asset and responsibly managing the company. For Rockgate to be subject to an unsolicited opportunistic hostile takeover bid at this crucial stage is disappointing to say the least. We had hoped that shareholders of Rockgate would receive greater value from the strong fundamentals of the Falea project and not just based on the size of Rockgate’s cash reserves.

Updated last December, Falea’s resource estimate shows:

  • a measured category of 1.39 million tonnes averaging 0.14% for 4.29 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8)

  • an indicated category of 14.28 million tonnes averaging 0.08% for 25.29 million pounds

  • an inferred category of 15.35 million tonnes averaging 0.05% for 15.69 million pounds

Rockgate had a pre-feasibility study scheduled for January release.

Should its Rockgate proposal succeed, Denison has stated it will spin out its African assets to focus on Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. In September, following a review by the Ontario Securities Commission, the company filed a new NI 43-101 to replace two previous reports for its Mutanga project in Zambia.

Rockgate also stated it would not oppose Denison’s request that the British Columbia Securities Commission impose a cease trade order on options granted to directors and senior staff. Denison had termed the options “improper defensive tactics.”

Denison’s offer remains open until October 25.

Rockgate shares opened October 21 at $0.19, half a cent above their previous close, dropped back to $0.185, rose to $0.205, then closed on $0.20. With 116.9 million shares outstanding, the market cap came to $23.38 million.

Denison opened the day at $1.03, a penny below the previous close and reached a high of $1.08 before closing on $1.07. The company had 449.93 million shares outstanding for a $481.42-million market cap.

Read more about Denison’s and Mega’s competing proposals for Rockgate.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.