Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for June 8 to 14, 2013
by Greg Klein
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Cameco’s Cigar Lake granted mining licence
With production slated for Q4, Cameco Corp TSX:CCO got the final go-ahead to mine Cigar Lake uranium on June 13. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission issued the mining licence following a 1990s environmental assessment, a stalled construction phase and a one-day public hearing. “The licensed facilities include underground mine workings accessed by two mine shafts, a surface load-out facility, waste management systems, a mine water management system and associated site facilities,” the CNSC stated. Cameco expects jet-boring to begin this summer.
The world’s second-largest known high-grade uranium deposit, Cigar Lake’s bounty holds:
- proven reserves of 233,600 tonnes averaging 22.31% uranium oxide (U3O8) for 114.9 million pounds U3O8
- probable reserves of 303,500 tonnes averaging 15.22% for 101.8 million pounds.
Those reserves give Cigar Lake a 15-year lifespan. With full production expected in 2018, it’s expected to give up 18 million pounds annually.
The peak of construction could employ up to 500 workers, while production would require about 250 people. Jet-boring will extract the highly radioactive material using water pressure to carve underground caverns and push an ore slurry to underground grinding and thickening circuits, then to surface. The ground first must be frozen to prevent water seepage and radiation leakage. Processing will take place at the McClean Lake mill, 69 kilometres away.
Construction actually began in 2005. But the project hit delays due to flooding in 2006 and 2008. Cameco finally dewatered the workings in 2010 and restored the underground infrastructure the following year.
Located near Waterbury Lake on the Athabasca Basin’s eastern margin, Cigar Lake is a four-way joint venture in which project operator Cameco holds 50.025%, AREVA Resources Canada 37.1%, Idemitsu Canada Resources 7.875% and TEPCO Resources 5%. Another JV, the McClean Lake mill is held 70% by operator AREVA, 22.5% by Denison Mines TSX:DML and 7.5% by OURD Canada.
Pele Mountain increases Eco Ridge inferred U3O8 136%, REO 130%
Replacing a previous uranium-rare earths resource in the project’s July 2012 preliminary economic assessment, Pele Mountain Resources TSXV:GEM released a June 10 update for its Eco Ridge project in Elliot Lake, Ontario. The resource now shows:
- an indicated category of 22.74 million tonnes averaging 0.045% U3O8 and 1,606 parts per million total rare earth oxides for 22.55 million pounds U3O8 and 80.51 million pounds REO, or 49.83 million pounds U3O8-equivalent
- an inferred category of 36.56 million tonnes averaging 0.047% U3O8 and 1,554 ppm REO for 37.62 million pounds U3O8 and 125.25 million pounds REO, or 81.84 million pounds U3O8-equivalent.
The inferred numbers represent a 130% increase in total REO and a 136% jump in U3O8. The indicated category rose 10% in both REO and U3O8. The update shows “substantial increases in critical REO resources including neodymium, dysprosium, yttrium, terbium and europium oxides, as well as in scandium oxide resources,” the company stated.
Pele Mountain added that two higher-grade zones start at surface, which could allow higher-grade production during the first years of mining.
Working in Elliot Lake between 1956 and 1996 Rio Algom, later incorporated into BHP Billiton, and Denison produced over 300 million pounds of U3O8 and significant quantities of yttrium and heavy REO from deposits similar to that of Eco Ridge, Pele Mountain stated. The mining camp is about 160 kilometres west of Sudbury.
Aldrin increases resolution of PLS-area airborne geophysics
Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN will add infill lines to an airborne geophysics survey already underway over the Patterson Lake South area. Announced June 12, the decision will increase resolution from 200-metre to 100-metre spacing over conductive anomalies found on the company’s 12,001-hectare Triple M property. Aldrin interprets the anomalies as linear basement conductors over three kilometres long, parallel to a magnetically defined fault.
The company holds a 70% option on Triple M, which sits nine kilometres south and 11 kilometres west of the PLS discovery. High-grade, near-surface results from the Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW/Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU 50/50 JV excited interest in the area in and around the Basin’s southwestern rim. The helicopter-borne VTEM magnetic and electromagnetic survey already underway is a joint project that’s flying contiguous properties held by Aldrin, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC (formerly Yellowjacket Resources TSXV:YJK), Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC and Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH. Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY and Noka Resources TSXV:NX each hold a 25% earn-in option on Skyharbour’s properties.
Aldrin stated the infill lines will help locate drill targets for early winter 2014.
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