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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 30th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 23 to 29, 2013

by Greg Klein

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December 6 expected for Fission to finish Alpha acquisition; Fission spinco gets court approval

Now that both companies have put it to a vote, Fission Uranium’s TSXV:FCU acquisition of Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW goes to the TSXV and Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench for final approval. The 50/50 Patterson Lake South joint venture partners announced overwhelming support at their respective meetings on November 28. The companies expect final approval on December 6.

The Fission tally was 99.55% from shareholders and 99.6% from security holders. Alpha’s enthusiasm was slightly more restrained, with 83.18% shareholder and 85.72% security-holder support.

Assuming final approvals come through, the arrangement will put the celebrated PLS uranium project under a single takeover target… er, company. Alpha and Fission will each create a spinco for their non-PLS assets.

Court approval for Fission’s spinco was announced November 29. Itself a spin-out resulting from last April’s Fission Energy acquisition by Denison Mines TSX:DML, Fission Uranium calls the new entity Fission 3.0. Each Fission Uranium shareholder gets one new share of post-arrangement PLS-holding Fission Uranium as well as a share of Fission Mach III, expected to start trading December 10.

Read more about the takeover.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

PLS regional drilling disappoints but Fission/Alpha end campaign triumphantly

Two of the final 11 autumn holes at PLS confirmed continuity along a 30-metre strike at the project’s recently discovered sixth zone. But nine others failed to find significant radioactivity, according to scintillometer results released by Fission and Alpha on November 27. The non-mineralized nonet, sunk further west of the project’s western-most R600W zone, might please only an anti-nuke activist. Nevertheless “varying degrees of secondary hydrothermal alteration were present in all holes, thus providing encouragement for the prospectivity of the western strike extension” of the PL-3B EM conductor corridor. R600W remains open in all directions, the partners maintain.

Their hand-held scintillometer measures gamma ray particles in drill core up to a maximum of 9,999 counts per second. These results are no substitute for assays, which are still to come. But don’t hold your breath—so are assays for 40 holes drilled last summer.

Of the two mineralized holes, PLS13-123 reached a total depth of 260 metres, encountering sandstone at 90.7 metres and the basement unconformity at 100 metres. Some highlights show:

  • <300 to 1,200 cps over 20 metres, starting at 95 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 5,100 cps over 7.5 metres, starting at 132.5 metres

  • 320 to 2,300 cps over 2.5 metres, starting at 142.5 metres

Hole PLS13-124 found sandstone at 97.5 metres and the basement unconformity at 99 metres before stopping at 257 metres. Highlights include:

  • 450 to 5,500 cps over 6.5 metres, starting at 97.5 metres

  • <300 to 1,300 cps over 7.5 metres, starting at 114 metres

  • <300 to 2,500 cps over 11.5 metres, starting at 197 metres

True widths weren’t available. With dips of -87 and -89 degrees respectively, the two holes’ downhole depths are close to vertical.

The 11 land-based holes bring an end to this drill program, most of which took place from barges over the lake. Fifty-three holes totalling 16,485 metres found six near-surface zones along a 1.76-kilometre trend. Ending the season on a triumphant note, Alpha president Ben Ainsworth said the 12-month campaign nearly equalled “what was completed in four years of work on Hathor’s Roughrider discovery.”

Research report examines Lakeland Resources as company acquires additional Basin property

Just one day after a research report was released on Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK, the company reported expansionary plans in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. Announced November 27, a JV teams the company with Star Minerals Group TSXV:SUV on two claims totalling 1,092 hectares. The new turf sits adjacently north of the Gibbon’s Creek target, focal point of Lakeland’s Riou Lake property.

The acquisition takes place while results are pending from autumn field work at Gibbon’s Creek. “Based on preliminary findings we decided it was important that we acquire that ground,” Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes tells ResourceClips.com. “Star Minerals is focused on a rare earth project north of the Basin so the agreement works well for both companies.”

Gibbon’s autumn campaign, including boulder sampling, line-cutting, a RadonEx survey and a ground DC resistivity survey, has just wrapped up, he adds. “We’re putting all the data together and we’ll get that out imminently.”

A distinct topographical feature of the new property is an uplifted block of basement rock that “highlights the evidence for structural offsets, a key feature of known unconformity-type uranium deposits,” Lakeland stated. Historic work by Cameco Corp TSX:CCO-predecessor Eldorado Nuclear found several anomalous soil samples around the uplifted block measuring up to 0.01% uranium. Trenching by Eldorado showed concentrations of rare earths that might also indicate unconformity-type uranium mineralization. The property has also undergone 14 historic drill holes.

Lakeland plans to follow up on the previous work while reviewing Gibbon’s Creek data to identify drill targets. “We still have two other priority projects, South Pine bordering Riou Lake on the west, and Perch Lake farther east,” Armes says. “There’s lots more field work we can do, even during winter. Both radon and resistivity can be carried out during the winter, so we’re not limited to fair weather programs.”

Gibbon’s Creek and the new claims also benefit from close proximity to the town of Stony Rapids, a few kilometres away. Apart from the new acquisition, Lakeland has a portfolio of nine properties totalling over 100,000 hectares in the northern and eastern Basin.

Under the JV agreement, Lakeland may earn a 100% interest in the two additional claims by paying Star $60,000 and issuing 600,000 shares over 12 months. Star retains a 25% buy-back option for four times the exploration expenditures up to 90 days following a resource estimate.

One day before the announcement, prospect generator Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC released a report on Lakeland. Written by Zimtu research and communications officer Derek Hamill, it places Lakeland in the context of Athabasca Basin exploration, the nuclear energy industry and the outlook for uranium prices. Presented as both research and opinion, Hamill’s work shows a shareholder’s perspective—Lakeland is a core holding of Zimtu.

So a degree of self-interest can be acknowledged. But the breadth of research goes far beyond Lakeland, its people and projects, providing a level of detailed scrutiny not often applied to early-stage companies.

Download the Lakeland Resources research report.

Read more about Derek Hamill’s research.

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

UEX announces final Shea Creek results, initial 2014 uranium exploration plans

North from PLS along Highway 955, and 13 kilometres south of the Cluff Lake past-producer, a year’s drilling has wrapped up at Shea Creek. UEX Corp TSX:UEX reported final results for two concurrent programs reported November 27.

UEX picked up the entire $2-million tab for drilling around the Kianna deposit while funding $1.27 million of $2.6 million sunk into property-scale exploration as part of the company’s 49%/51% JV with AREVA Resources Canada.

Results were given in uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) using readings from a downhole radiometric probe which were calibrated with an algorithm calculated by comparing previous probe results with assays.

The most promising results came from the Kianna deposit. Kianna East hole SHE-142-3 reached a total depth of 1,065 metres, finding the unconformity at 736.9 metres and expanding the zone to the south. Highlights show:

  • 0.99% eU3O8 over 5.3 metres, starting at 961.2 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 3.21% over 1.5 metres)

In addition, UEX credited hole SHE-135-16 with a northwest expansion to Kianna East. Ending at 1,038 metres’ depth, the hole found the unconformity at 750.5 metres. Some of the better results show:

  • 0.16% over 5.2 metres, starting at 956 metres
  • (including 0.41% over 0.9 metres)
  • (and including 0.49% over 0.7 metres)

  • 0.48% over 3 metres, starting at 979.9 metres

Kianna North hole SHE-135-17 hit the unconformity at 732.2 metres before stopping at 1,059 metres, expanding the zone’s eastern extension of basement-hosted mineralization. Highlights include:

  • 0.33% over 9.4 metres, starting at 724.6 metres
  • (including 0.5% over 1.3 metres)
  • (and including 0.53% over 4.4 metres)

  • 0.8% over 31.5 metres, starting at 848.8 metres
  • (including 3.29% over 1.3 metres)
  • (and including 3.22% over 1.3 metres)
  • (and including 4.05% over 4.1 metres)

Of 10 exploration holes that tested two conductors, eight failed to find significant results. Two holes at Anne South showed these results:

  • 0.14% over 0.9 metres, starting at 765.4 metres

  • 0.21% over 0.9 metres, starting at 748.4 metres

(True widths were unavailable for all holes.)

Four of the 10 holes confirmed the Saskatoon Lake East conductor’s location, providing a new target area parallel to the roughly three-kilometre trend hosting Shea’s four deposits. Combined, they comprise the Basin’s third-largest resource after Cameco’s McArthur River and Cigar Lake, showing:

  • indicated: 2.07 million tonnes averaging 1.48% for 67.66 million pounds U3O8

  • inferred: 1.27 million tonnes averaging 1.01% for 28.19 million pounds

Still undecided are next year’s plans for Shea Creek, where AREVA acts as project operator. UEX states work will depend on Q1 capital market conditions.

But another November 27 announcement reported a $2-million budget for three western Basin projects. Plans include about 4,000 metres of drilling to test EM conductors at the Laurie and Mirror River projects, and a 50.4-line-kilometre ground tensor magnetotelluric survey at the Erica project. Work is expected to start in January. By that time ownership will be divided approximately 49.1% by UEX and 50.9% by AREVA, again acting as operator.

Among other UEX projects, its 100%-held Hidden Bay on the Basin’s east side has three deposits totalling:

  • indicated: 10.37 million tonnes averaging 0.16% for 36.62 million pounds U3O8

  • inferred: 1.11 million tonnes averaging 0.11% for 2.71 million pounds

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 17th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 9 to 15, 2013

by Greg Klein

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New Argentinian discovery might hold district-wide potential, says U3O8 Corp

Roughly 40 kilometres northeast of its Laguna Salada deposit in Argentina, U3O8 Corp TSX:UWE said it’s discovered a new area with the district’s “highest uranium-vanadium grades found to date.” La Rosada shows district-scale potential for Laguna Salada-style mineralization in near-surface, soft gravels, the company stated on November 12. But in addition, chip samples from adjacent basement rock show grades ranging from 0.01% to over 0.79% uranium oxide (U3O8). That might indicate a source of the gravel’s mineralization.

The extremely shallow, fine-sand mineralization potentially offers low-cost extraction through continuous surface mining, the company maintained. Screening tests at Laguna Salada, moreover, concentrated over 90% of the uranium in about 10% of the gravel’s original mass.

Vertical channel samples starting less than a metre from surface show a weighted average of 0.15% U3O8 and 0.08% vanadium pentoxide (V2O5). Some highlights show:

  • 0.12% U3O8 and 0.06% V2O5 over 0.7 metres

  • 0.13% U3O8 and 0.05% V2O5 over 0.5 metres

  • 0.25% U3O8 and 0.09% V2O5 over 0.9 metres

  • 1.18% U3O8 and 0.52% V2O5 over 0.4 metres

  • 0.24% U3O8 and 0.08% V2O5 over 1.5 metres

Highlights from horizontal channel sampling of the basement rock show:

  • 0.09% U3O8 and 0.04% V2O5 over 0.6 metres

  • 0.09% U3O8 and 0.04% V2O5 over 0.9 metres

  • 0.16% U3O8 and 0.07% V2O5 over 0.2 metres

  • 0.79% U3O8 and 0.26% V2O5 over 0.1 metre

  • 0.17% U3O8 and 0.06% V2O5 over 0.4 metres

The company didn’t provide the depth to basement.

Further near-surface exploration is planned south of the discovery while the basement calls for systematic trenching to determine its “potential as a target in its own right,” U3O8 stated. Planned for year-end completion is Laguna Salada’s preliminary economic assessment and a hoped-for joint venture with a state-owned company holding adjacent claims.

Laguna Salada has a 2011 resource estimate showing:

  • an indicated category of 47.3 million tonnes averaging 0.006% U3O8 and 0.055% V2O5 for 6.3 million pounds U3O8 and 57.1 million pounds V2O5

  • an inferred category of 20.8 million tonnes averaging 0.0085% U3O8 and 0.059% V2O5 for 3.8 million pounds U3O8 and 26.9 million pounds V2O5

Elsewhere U3O8 has completed a PEA for its Berlin uranium-polymetallic project in Colombia and holds two earlier-stage projects in Argentina and Guyana.

Fission/Alpha release results from two PLS zones, lengthen strike by 15 metres

Releasing both scintillometer readings and assays the same week, Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW and Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU provided a prompt update from their current Patterson Lake South drilling as well as results from last summer’s campaign. On November 12 the 50/50 joint venture partners said they’ve confirmed the sixth zone announced last week, extending it 15 metres east and 10 metres north. Two days later they reported five more holes bearing high grades from R390E, the third most-easterly zone along what’s now a 1.8-kilometre trend.

Starting with the newly discovered R600W zone, the partners reported readings from a handheld device that measures gamma ray particles from core in counts per second, maxing out at an off-scale reading above 9,999 cps. Scintillometer results are no substitute for assays, which are pending.

Both holes were sunk at -89 degrees, making downhole depths close to vertical. Hole PLS13-121 reached a total depth of 248 metres, encountering just a bit of sandstone at 98.7 metres before hitting the basement unconformity at 99 metres. Some of the better results show:

  • <300 cps to >9,999 cps over 11.3 metres, starting at 98.7 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 cps to 600 cps over 3.5 metres, starting at 141 metres

Hole PLS13-122 totalled 332 metres in depth, reaching the basement unconformity at 100 metres without finding sandstone. Some highlights show:

  • <300 cps to 800 cps over 2 metres, starting at 101.5 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 cps to 510 cps over 4 metres, starting at 106 metres

  • 430 cps to 1,900 cps over 1 metre, starting at 158.5 metres

True widths weren’t provided.

Turning to zone R390E and real lab assays, some highlights show:

Hole PLS13-078

  • 0.66% U3O8 over 30 metres, starting at 85 metres in downhole depth

  • (including 7.62% over 1.5 metres)

  • 0.12% over 7.5 metres, starting at 128 metres

Hole PLS13-081

  • 0.19% over 18.5 metres, starting at 106 metres

  • Hole PLS13-085

  • 0.93% over 22 metres, starting at 82.5 metres

  • (including 4.07% over 4 metres)

Hole PLS13-086

  • 1.93% over 43 metres, starting at 81.5 metres

  • (including 9.91% over 5 metres)

Hole PLS13-087A

  • 0.28% over 4 metres, starting at 45.5 metres

  • 0.4% over 8.5 metres, starting at 63.5 metres

  • 0.12% over 16.5 metres, starting at 92.5 metres

True widths weren’t available. Dips strayed no more than six degrees from vertical.

With $2.25 million funding an 11-hole, 3,700-metre extension to the summer/fall campaign, land-based work now focuses on the R600W area while waiting for the lake to freeze. Meanwhile more assays are expected from the previous barge-based drilling to the east.

Alpha acquisition vote looms; Fission and Dahrouge square off in legal battle

November 28’s the day when Fission and Alpha shareholders vote on the latter’s acquisition by the former. Mentioned in the companies’ joint November 15 update was a barely publicized legal dispute between Fission and Dahrouge Geological Consulting, its principals and a related company.

Seeking unspecified damages, Fission filed a notice of civil claim on July 29 alleging “breach of fiduciary duties and knowing assistance in breach of the same.” On November 8 the defendants filed a counter-claim with “allegations of breaches of British Columbia securities laws, slander, wrongful interference, improper assignment and improper variation of obligations. The relief being sought in the counter-claim includes unspecified losses and damages, declarations of ownership in relation to certain mineral permits and claims, declarations concerning the enforceability of certain assignments, injunctions preventing the defendants by way of counter-claim from disparaging certain mineral permits and claims, interest and costs.”

The account of the defendants’ counter-claim comes from a draft version reported in Fission and Alpha circulars dated October 30. Neither claim has been tested in court.

International Enexco/Cameco/AREVA plan winter drilling at Mann Lake

A three-way JV intends to start the new year with a $2.9-million drill program for the eastside Athabasca Basin Mann Lake project. Up to 18 holes will evaluate three types of targets—the area footwall to the western axis of the C trend, remaining targets along the main C trend and conductive features near the western margin of the Wollaston sedimentary corridor, International Enexco TSXV:IEC stated on November 13. The company holds a 30% interest in the 3,407-hectare property, along with AREVA Resources Canada (17.5%) and Cameco Corp TSX:CCO (52.5%).

This year’s drilling totalled 21 holes for 15,721 metres, focusing on the C conductor, which Enexco describes as a six-kilometre-long section of a regional trend extending from Cameco’s McArthur River mine to Denison Mines’ TSX:DML Wheeler River deposit.

The previous week Enexco reported three holes from the southeastern Basin’s Bachman Lake, a 20/80 JV with Denison, which holds a 7.4% interest in Enexco. The latter also keeps busy with pre-feasibility work at its 100%-held Contact copper project in Nevada.

Aldrin reports radon results from Triple M

With its Triple M property’s surface radon survey complete, Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN announced some results from 527 sample sites on November 14. The findings show elevated values over more than one kilometre of a VTEM bedrock conductor, which the company interprets as a steeply south-dipping fault zone. “The most intense portion of this radon anomaly reaches a high value of 1.68 pCi/m²/s [picocuries per square metre per second] and extends for more than 200 metres, comprising a priority drill target,” Aldrin stated.

The company added that the fault zone parallels the conductor hosting the PLS discovery on the Alpha/Fission project adjacent to and northeast of Triple M. North of the fault zone, and parallel to it, sits a second VTEM basement conductor with radon values up to 1.18 pCi/m²/s.

The previous week Aldrin reported closing a $972,500 first tranche of a private placement that had been increased to $1.5 million. The company has also previously announced an agreement to buy the 49,275-hectare Virgin property around the Basin’s south-central edge.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 10th, 2013

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

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

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

Next Page 1 | 2

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

PLS13-076

  • 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

PLS13-077

  • 0.39% over 11.5 metres, starting at 59 metres

  • 0.13% over 15.5 metres, starting at 73 metres

PLS13-079

  • 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 ResourceClips.com. “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

September 29th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 21 to 27, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Alpha/Fission extend one PLS zone, disagree about certainty of a “fifth zone”

The news from Patterson Lake South continues to impress—even when the joint venture partners don’t interpret it quite the same way. Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU says a 150-metre step-out found a “fifth high-grade zone.” Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW prefers to call it a “potential” fifth high-grade zone. Either way, the September 23 news was one of three announcements last week that included an extension to an existing zone’s strike length.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 21 to 27, 2013

Patterson Lake South now has a fifth zone—or a
potential fifth zone, depending on whom you listen to.

The new or potential new zone sits about halfway between the R390E and R780E zones, which are either the second and third of four zones, or the second and fourth of five zones, along a 1.02-kilometre southwest-northeast trend. With luck future drill results will bring Alpha into agreement with Fission, thereby simplifying sentence structure.

Hole PLS13-085 was collared 150 metres grid east of R390E, reached a depth of 317 metres and struck the basement unconformity at 62.4 metres without encountering sandstone. Preliminary results come from a hand-held scintillometer, which measures radiation up to an off-scale level of more than 9,999 counts per second. Scintillometer readings are no substitute for assays, which are pending. Some highlights showed:

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 33.5 metres, starting at 67 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 2,200 cps over 9.5 metres, starting at 111 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 16.5 metres, starting at 123 metres

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 9.5 metres, starting at 160.5 metres

True widths weren’t available. With a -89 degree dip, downhole depths were close to vertical depths.

Two days later, and with greater unanimity, the 50/50 partners released assays for holes that had previously reported scintillometer readings. Ranking as one of the best PLS holes so far, PLS13-072 reached a total depth of 209 metres. It found no sandstone and struck the basement unconformity at 55.7 metres. Some highlights include:

  • 8.15% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 34.5 metres, starting at 61 metres in downhole depth

  • (including 19.28% over 7.5 metres)

  • (and including 21.53% over 4 metres)

  • 0.58% over 11 metres, starting at 98.5 metres

  • 0.57% over 8.5 metres, starting at 125 metres

  • (including 1.61% over 2.5 metres)

  • 2.22% over 6.5 metres, starting at 137 metres

  • (including 10.65% over 1 metre)

With an -89 degree dip, the depths were close to vertical.

PLS13-073 struck sandstone at 50 metres and the basement unconformity at 53 metres, before stopping at 248 metres. Some highlights include:

  • 0.25% over 19.5 metres, starting at 102 metres in vertical depth

  • (including 0.92% over 3 metres)

  • 0.59% over 10 metres, starting at 132.5 metres

  • (including 4.81% over 1 metre)

True thicknesses are still to come.

When their scintillometer readings were reported earlier (here and here), the two holes extended R390E’s strike 15 metres grid west and 15 metres grid east respectively. But on September 27 the JV announced a further extension, bringing the zone’s strike to about 255 metres and suggesting the possibility “of extending the zone south along the entire length of the corridor as it becomes further delineated.” Here are some highlights from the eight holes reported:

Hole PLS13-087A reached a total depth of 227 metres, encountering sandstone at 50 metres and the basement unconformity at 50.9 metres.

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 14.5 metres, starting at 68.5 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 2,100 cps over 17 metres, starting at 98 metres

Hole PLS13-088 reached a total depth of 296 metres, encountering sandstone at 53 metres and the basement unconformity at 54.3 metres.

  • <300 to 9,800 cps over 23.5 metres, starting at 80 metres in downhole depth

  • 400 to 8,100 cps over 8 metres, starting at 135 metres

Hole PLS13-094 reached a total depth of 272.3 metres, encountering sandstone at 50.7 metres and the basement unconformity at 53.4 metres.

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 12 metres, starting at 130 metres in downhole depth

Hole PLS13-095 reached a total depth of 275 metres, encountering sandstone at 47.6 metres and the basement unconformity at 51.7 metres.

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 11.5 metres, starting at 68 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 7 metres, starting at 93.5 metres

  • <300 to 5,800 cps over 33 metres, starting at 116 metres

Hole PLS13-100 reached a total depth of 263 metres, encountering sandstone at 53 metres and the basement unconformity at 53.3 metres.

  • 790 to >9,999 cps over 6 metres, starting at 53 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 8,000 cps over 20 metres, starting at 99.5 metres

  • <300 to>9,999 cps over 8.5 metres, starting at 134 metres

Hole PLS13-102 reached a total depth of 275 metres, encountering sandstone at 58.3 metres and the basement unconformity at 58.8 metres.

  • <300 to 6,000 cps over 29 metres, starting at 103 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 10.5 metres, starting at 137.5 metres

Again, true thicknesses were unavailable. With dips ranging from -84 to -89 degrees, downhole depths were close to vertical. Assays are pending for these holes but this summer’s drilling has extended R390E more than four-fold from last winter’s 60-metre strike.

Fission acts as project operator on the current $6.95-million program. On September 18 the partners signed a definitive agreement for Fission’s acquisition of Alpha and sole control over PLS, with the companies’ other assets to be spun out into two separate companies.

Rockgate rejects Mega merger, mulls Denison deal and other possibilities

Just one day before their shareholders were to vote on a merger with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA, Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT directors scuttled the proposal. Although a “superior” offer from Denison Mines TSX:DML led to their September 24 announcement, Rockgate directors expressed reservations, said they needed more time for due diligence and expressed interest in receiving other offers.

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

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

Rockgate delineates Falea project’s 880 zone in Mali

Meanwhile work continues on the object of those affections, Rockgate’s Falea flagship in southwestern Mali. On September 26 the company released assays from four holes on the 880 zone, which was discovered last fall. The results show:

  • 0.59% U3O8, 45.7 grams per tonne silver and 0.17% copper over 2.7 metres, starting at 301.4 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.06% U3O8, 118.3 g/t silver and 0.78% copper over 2 metres, starting at 303 metres

  • 0.12% U3O8, 86.3 g/t silver and 0.52% copper over 3 metres, starting at 320 metres

  • 0.17% U3O8, 17.1 g/t silver and 0.16% copper over 4 metres, starting at 304.5 metres

  • (including 1.13% U3O8, 96 g/t silver and 1.14% copper over 0.5 metres)

Intercepts are estimated at 96% to 100% of true widths. Mineralization remains open in several directions, the company stated.

This year’s 19-hole, 5,910-metre program included 14 holes totalling 4,563 metres on the 880 zone’s 500-metre strike length. Another five holes totalling 1,347 metres tested the project’s Central zone. The 880 zone has yet to be included in Falea’s resource estimate. Released last December, it shows:

  • a measured category of 1.39 million tonnes averaging 0.14% U3O8 for 4.29 million pounds U3O8, with 3.52 million ounces silver and 6.05 million pounds copper

  • an indicated category of 14.28 million tonnes averaging 0.08% U3O8 for 25.29 million pounds U3O8, with 24.43 million ounces silver and 68.17 million pounds copper

  • an inferred category of 15.35 million tonnes averaging 0.05% U3O8 for 15.69 million pounds U3O8, with 8.91 million ounces silver and 81.19 million pounds copper

Rockgate plans to incorporate the 880 zone into an updated resource, likely to coincide with a pre-feasibility study scheduled for completion early next year. The company says it’s been “entirely unaffected” by last year’s military coup and this year’s fighting between French troops and al-Qaida-linked rebels.

NexGen completes two-thirds of Rook 1 drilling, awaits Radio assays

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for September 21 to 27, 2013

Brecciated core from NexGen Energy’s Rook 1 drill program.

NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE updated its PLS-adjacent Rook 1 drill campaign September 25. With 3,000 metres planned, the company has sunk eight holes totalling 1,957 metres on an area about 700 metres along interpreted extensions of the PLS 3B conductor and a parallel conductor approximately 800 metres east.

“All holes intersected varying types of structural zones in basement lithologies, ranging from small fractures through to wide, heavily brecciated material,” the company stated. Scintillometer readings found intercepts of elevated levels in several holes, while all eight holes reached shallow basement rock at downhole depths ranging from 48.7 metres to 82.6 metres. Weather permitting, drilling will continue to October. Winter drilling is planned for the same area.

Assays are still pending from NexGen’s nine-hole, 3,473-metre campaign at Radio, where the company holds a 70% option two kilometres east of Rio Tinto’s NYE:RIO Roughrider deposits on the northeastern Basin. In late August NexGen closed $5 million in private placements.

Canadian International Minerals options two claim groups to Rio Grande;
Rio Grande offers $900,000 private placement, grants options

Canadian International Minerals TSXV:CIN announced on September 24 it optioned Rio Grande Mining TSXV:RGV a 75% interest in the Britts Lake East and Firebag East/Descharme claims about 35 kilometres southwest of PLS. Under the agreement Rio Grande would pay a total of $100,000 and issue Canadian International 500,000 shares. Rio Grande would also spend $250,000 by year one, $500,000 by year two and $1.5 million by year three. The companies didn’t specify whether those are aggregate or separate yearly figures.

Canadian International retains a 2% NSR, of which Rio Grande may buy half for $1 million. Canadian International will act as project operator on a planned winter campaign to include radon and helium surveys, as well as lake sediment sampling on the 18,041-hectare package.

Canadian International also holds a 50% interest in each of two other Saskatchewan uranium prospects, the 4,639-hectare Coflin Lake property and the 34,762-hectare Clearwater property.

On September 25 Rio Grande announced a private placement of up to $900,000, consisting of six million units at $0.10 and another 2.5 million units at $0.12. The company also granted 900,000 options to insiders at $0.12 for five years.

Western Athabasca Syndicate reports radon and radiometric anomalies at Preston Lake

A four-company strategic alliance focused on the PLS area’s Western Athabasca Syndicate project reported anomalous radon and scintillometer findings on September 26. Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY stated an initial radon-in-water survey found nine of 291 samples measuring over 23 picocuries per litre, with the highest reaching 98 pCi/L. The anomalies appear as both clusters and discrete point anomalies, the companies added. Fission and Alpha based their initial PLS drill targets on these measurements of radon gas.

Additionally, WASP’s 217-kilometre scintillometer survey found 25 areas radiating over 1,000 cps, more than twice the typical background level. More Phase II results are pending while Phase III field work continues with the intention of identifying drill targets.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 18th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 10 to 16, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Alpha/Fission add fourth zone, extend PLS strike to 1.02 kilometres

Barely into their current $6.95-million campaign, Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW once again grabbed the market’s attention by reporting a fourth zone at Patterson Lake South on August 15. With off-scale scintillometer readings for one hole 165 metres grid east of zone R780E, the new zone gets the informative but unsentimental name R945E. The quartet of zones now extends along a 1.02-kilometre trend.

The hand-held scintillometer measures drill core gamma radioactivity in counts per second, up to an off-scale reading of 9,999 cps. The results are not assays, which are pending. A downhole probe will also be used to measure radioactivity. Some highlights for hole PLS13-084 include:

  • <300 to 800 cps over 4 metres, starting at 104.5 metres in vertical depth
  • <300 to 1,500 cps over 7 metres, starting at 132.5 metres
  • <300 to 3,700 cps over 35.5 metres, starting at 159.5 metres
  • <300 to 5,100 cps over 7 metres, starting at 198 metres
  • <300 to 4,500 cps over 12.5 metres, starting at 209.5 metres
  • <300 to 9,999 cps over 18 metres, starting at 234 metres.

True widths were unavailable. The hole reached a total depth of 302 metres, striking the basement unconformity at 59 metres. Drilling continues on this hole.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere

On the left are barges supporting two of three drills, part of Patterson
Lake South’s $6.95-million, 44-hole, 11,000-metre campaign.

The target was chosen after radon water sampling found an anomaly parallel to a conductor and along strike of the project’s other zones. The 50/50 joint venture partners emphasized that the mineralization’s full potential “will not be fully realized until a complete fence of holes is completed across this anomaly.”

Three days earlier the JV reported its first summer hole from R780E, showing the zone’s “widest continuous and strongest results.” Drilled 10 metres grid south of a previous hole, it extends the zone’s width to about 45 metres at that point. Highlights from PLS13-080 include:

  • <300 to 9,999 cps over 48.5 metres, starting at 122.5 metres in downhole depth
  • <300 to 2,000 cps over 3.5 metres, starting at 173.5 metres
  • <300 to 9,999 cps over 11.5 metres, starting at 236 metres
  • <300 to 5,400 cps over 3 metres, starting at 298 metres.

True thicknesses weren’t available. The hole reached a total of 347 metres, hitting the basement unconformity at 54 metres. With an 89-degree dip, downhole depths approximate vertical depths. Still to come are lab assays and results from a downhole radiometric probe.

Like PLS13-084, the target was chosen to test an anomaly found by radon sampling, this one “within a resistivity low corridor proximal to an inferred north-south cross-cutting structure.”

On August 16 Fission announced the appointment of Ted Clark to its executive advisory board. Clark is chief of the Clearwater River Dene Nation and owner of Big Bear Contracting Ltd.

NexGen drills PLS-adjacent Rook 1, increases private placement again

Adjacently northeast of PLS, a two-drill, 3,000-metre campaign has begun on NexGen Energy’s TSXV:NXE Rook 1 project. Targets were identified and refined following airborne and ground geophysics that found overlapping anomalies, according to the August 16 announcement. NexGen expects to find basement rock at 65 to 100 metres in depth. Weather permitting, drilling will continue to late September.

What began as a $1.78-million private placement offered on July 29 has, after three increases, now reached nearly $5 million. The company doubled the offer to $3.53 million on August 1, increased it to $4.12 million on August 14 and, the following day, raised that to $5 million. This “third and final increase” now boosts the offer to 14.28 million units at $0.35 for gross proceeds up to almost $5 million.

Each unit consists of one share and one-half warrant, with each whole warrant exercisable for a share at $0.55 for 18 months. Raising the $5 million would leave NexGen with about $9 million cash on hand.

On the Basin’s east side, the company is earning a 70% interest in the Radio project, two kilometres east of Rio Tinto’s Roughrider deposits. Assays are pending from Radio’s 3,473-metre summer program.

Skyharbour closes $425,000 private placement, now fully funded for two years

Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH closed a private placement of 5.31 million flow-through units at $0.08 for $425,000 on August 14. Each flow-through unit consists of one flow-through share and one non-transferable non-flow-through warrant exercisable at $0.10 for two years. No finder’s fees were paid.

As part of the four-company Western Athabasca Syndicate exploring the PLS-area’s largest land package, Skyharbour is now fully financed for its portion of a $6-million, two-year program, president/CEO Jordan Trimble tells ResourceClips.com.

“The first phase of work, the airborne surveys, is complete,” he points out. “Fieldwork started ahead of schedule to test a target we’re excited about. We’ll be doing some radon surveying, geochemical sampling and prospecting, among other field techniques. We hope to have all the results in by the end of October.”

Referring to the Alpha/Fission discovery of a fourth PLS zone, Trimble says, “Clearly they’re dealing with a very powerful geological event that created this deposition of uranium. That has implications for the surrounding properties. Another point is the success they’re having with these indicators—the radon anomalies, the boulder train discovery. They’re having huge success with their methodology and the specific targets they’re drilling. That’s important for companies at an earlier stage, and I think Alpha and Fission have shown the market the significance of pre-drilling exploration and reconnaissance work. There’s a lot of value you can put into a project even before you get the drill rigs there.”

The syndicate, which includes Skyharbour, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Noka Resources TSXV:NX and Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY, has “about 150 years of uranium exploration experience focused on the Athabasca Basin,” Trimble adds. Skyharbour’s Rick Kusmirski, for example, “has over 40 years in the field and his area of expertise is the Athabasca Basin. He was exploration manager for Cameco [TSX:CCO], he took over the helm at JNR Resources, made a discovery and got bought out by Denison [TSX:DML]. Bob Marvin, our other geologist, also has decades of experience with extensive work in the uranium space. Then there’s the other three companies, each with at least one geologist and the focus has been on uranium expertise.”

Read more about the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.

Lakeland offers $1.25-million private placement, plans Riou Lake exploration

Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK offered private placements up to $1.25 million on August 16. The pure play uranium exploration company announced up to 10 million units at $0.10 for gross proceeds of $1 million, with each unit consisting of one share and one warrant exercisable at $0.15 for one year. Another two million flow-through units at $0.125 consist of one flow-through share and one warrant exercisable at $0.15 for a year. Proceeds will go to Athabasca Basin exploration and general working capital.

With nine uranium properties, Lakeland’s initial focus will be the Gibbon’s Creek area of its Riou Lake project on the northern Basin’s edge, says corporate communications manager Roger Leschuk. “It’s already had work done on it so we have a lot of historic data to go through. Because it’s on higher ground we can drill year-round. We’ve got existing data, so we can work from that and possibly be drilling as early as October.”

Two of Lakeland’s properties are in the eastern Basin, with the other seven in the north-central and northeastern Basin. “The Basin’s trends run from southwest to northeast. The early discoveries were on the eastern side of the Basin, on the Wollaston trend. That goes into Manitoba and finishes in Nunavut. The next trend is at Patterson Lake South, where the Alpha/Fission story is happening. Our properties on the northeast side of the Basin are part of that trend. So it’s not inconceivable that we could find something similar. The previous Riou Lake operator did find a boulder grading 11% uranium, the drilling found some very similar things, so we’re very excited about that.”

Gibbon’s Creek offers other attractions, Leschuk adds. “It’s not only on high ground but it’s very shallow to the basement rock. We’re talking maybe 50 metres down, so our drilling is going to be very shallow and very cheap to drill. Only a few kilometres away there’s a community called Stony Rapids, so we don’t have to set up a camp. We can hire people from the community who can drive to and from work, so our costs will be even lower. Our money will go a long, long way. We’re looking at 1,500 to 2,000 metres initially but we’ll get a big bang for our buck. We’re looking forward to that.”

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 11th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 3 to 9, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Fission/Alpha report 4 PLS holes, R00E zone still open

So far this summer, three previous step-outs have extended the middle of Patterson Lake South’s trio of zones. On August 8 Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW and Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU released scintillometer results from four new holes in the southern-most zone, which remains open along strike and width. Along with the results came some interesting speculation about the mineralization.

The hand-held gamma-ray scintillometer readings, which are no substitute for assays, measure radiation from drill core in counts per second. Anything over 9,999 cps is off scale.

A 15-metre step-out testing the western extent of the zone, hole PLS13-074 was drilled to 203 metres in approximate vertical depth, encountering sandstone at 60.9 metres and a basement unconformity at 66 metres:

  • 550 to 1,050 cps over 1 metre, starting at 65 metres in approximate vertical depth
  • 370 cps over 1 metre, starting at 105 metres.
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for August 3 to 9, 2013

The other three holes tested the zone’s centre. Hole PLS13-076 was drilled to 267 metres in approximate vertical depth, encountering sandstone at 54 metres and the basement unconformity at 61.4 metres:

  • <300 to 2,700 cps over 14 metres, starting at 177.5 metres in approximate vertical depth.

Hole PLS13-077 was drilled to 259.5 metres in downhole depth, encountering sandstone at 56 metres and the basement unconformity at 61.4 metres:

  • 340 to 7,500 cps over 11.5 metres, starting at 59 metres in downhole depth
  • <300 to 4,000 cps over 15 metres, starting at 73.5 metres.

Hole PLS13-079 was drilled to 218 metres in downhole depth, encountering no sandstone but hitting the unconformity at 59 metres:

  • 340 to >9,999 cps over 18.5 metres, starting at 82.5 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 5,700 to >9,999 cps over 6.5 metres)
  • 300 to 490 cps over 2 metres, starting at 119 metres.

The 50/50 joint venture partners stated the mineralization “may have been derived from a high-energy erosion of mineralization exposed at the top of a body of basement mineralization on the floor of the Devonian sea. It does not have the characteristics of hydrothermal mineralization such as is seen in the basement mineralization elsewhere.”

Alpha’s news release added, “The Devonian cover appears to be patchy and the uranium boulders in the boulder field down ice did not show any evidence of association with Devonian sandstone lithologies. This is significant as it opens the possibility that the source of the uranium boulders may be located in a nearby window in the Devonian veneer where basement mineralization was scoured by the overriding till sheet as it was pushed towards the west-southwest by the ice. The uranium mineralization encountered to date in the three zones of high-grade mineralization was not the source of the large uranium boulder field down ice.”

The boulder train discovery, announced in summer 2011, brought assays up to 39.6% uranium oxide (U3O8). Since then drilling has attempted to find the motherlode that spawned the glacial migration.

With $6.95 million to spend, the partners continue their 44-hole, 11,000-metre drilling and ground geophysics campaign. Fission acts as project operator until April 2014, when it swaps with Alpha.

UEX releases Shea Creek drill results, updates Douglas River and Hidden Bay

UEX Corp TSX:UEX announced the first five holes from Shea Creek’s summer program on August 6 and also provided updates about its Douglas River and Hidden Bay projects.

Results came from downhole probes measuring gamma radiation, with two holes in the Kianna East zone finding basement mineralization. Hole SHE-142 was drilled to a total downhole depth of 1,056 metres, reaching the unconformity at 726.5 metres:

  • 0.2% uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) over 3.4 metres, starting at 885.3 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.35% over 1.2 metres)
  • 0.34% over 2.9 metres, starting at 907.9 metres
  • 0.85% over 22.3 metres, starting at 915.2 metres
  • (including 1.14% over 8.8 metres)
  • (which includes 5.93% over 1.4 metres).

Hole SHE-142-1 reached 1,083 metres in downhole depth, striking the unconformity at 727.4 metres:

  • 0.23% over 1.6 metres, starting at 939.4 metres.

True widths were unavailable. Hole SHE-142 expands the zone approximately 15 metres east of the previously reported SHE-118-24 that found 1.55% eU3O8 over 19.9 metres starting at 943.7 metres, the company stated. Mineralization remains open east and southeast of SHE-142. Hole SHE-142-1 stepped out approximately 35 metres north of SHE-118-24.

Three holes sunk in the Anne South zone to test a prospective conductor found no significant results. UEX holds a 49% interest in the Shea Creek JV, in which AREVA Resources Canada acts as project operator. The companies have now incorporated their 49%/51% Douglas River JV into the Shea Creek project, saying mineralization extends from Shea Creek’s northern boundary into the contiguous Douglas River property. Shea Creek sits about nine kilometres south of the former Cluff Lake mine, a 22-year operation that produced over 64 million pounds of U3O8.

The Athabasca Basin’s third-largest resource after Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO McArthur River and Cigar Lake, Shea Creek’s April update showed:

  • an indicated category of 2.07 million tonnes averaging 1.48% for 67.66 million pounds U3O8
  • an inferred category of 1.27 million tonnes averaging 1.01% for 28.19 million pounds.

UEX also announced it has shelved its 100%-held Hidden Bay project until spot and long-term uranium prices pick up. In February 2011 the company issued a preliminary economic assessment for the eastside Basin property’s Horseshoe and Raven deposits.

Western Athabasca Syndicate begins PLS-area fieldwork ahead of schedule

Backed by a four-company strategic alliance, fieldwork has begun on the PLS-area’s largest land package. On August 8 Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY and Noka Resources TSXV:NX announced completion of VTEM plus and radiometric surveys over their Western Athabasca Syndicate Project. After an initial review the companies decided on immediate follow-up work.

The package totals 287,130 hectares, with 275,361 hectares in the vicinity of the Fission/Alpha near-surface, high-grade discovery. On reviewing early survey data, the alliance expanded the survey for a total of 4,840 line-kilometres of VTEM plus and 4,400 line-kilometres of radiometrics to search for conductive anomalies, boulder trains and in-situ mineralization. The surveys focused on the syndicate’s Preston Lake property just south, southeast and west of PLS.

“Originally we were planning on having a field crew up there later in August,” Skyharbour president/CEO Jordan Trimble tells ResourceClips.com. “Now we’ve decided to send them up this weekend because we’re very, very encouraged with what we’ve seen initially.”

One area of Preston Lake especially caught their attention. “There were quite a few targets but this one really lit up,” Trimble says. “So we made the decision to expedite the program and begin the fieldwork immediately. We’ll be employing the same techniques that worked for Alpha and Fission.”

While geophysicist Phil Robertshaw works out a more detailed interpretation of the airborne surveys, ground work will consist of water and soil radon sampling, biogeochemistry, lake sediment and soil sampling, prospecting and scintillometer surveying.

“By the end of September or early October we’ll have spent $1.5 million, with each company contributing towards its 25% earn-in. The four companies with their respective geological teams are working harmoniously on this,” he adds.

“We’re now focused on the northern part of Preston Lake, but we have a large land package. As a four-company syndicate we have more ability to finance and explore. There’s certainly a lot of blue sky potential elsewhere on our properties.”

The current phase should last until early October, he explains. “Then we’ll decide what to do in the fall. There’s still a lot of work that can be done that time of year. Obviously we don’t want to drill just anywhere but if we can get definitive drill targets by then, winter would be the ideal time to drill. The earlier we can get these targets, the better. And that’s the goal.”

Combined, the four companies have agreed to fund $6 million of exploration over two years. Athabasca Nuclear acts as project operator.

Read more about the Western Athabasca Syndicate.

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Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 4th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 27 to August 2, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Alpha/Fission extend Patterson Lake South R390E zone by 30 metres

Just two weeks ago they were crowing about “the most abundant off-scale mineralization of any hole” at Patterson Lake South. Now Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and 50/50 joint venture partner Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW say they’ve surpassed that. Scintillometer readings for one of two shallow step-outs reported July 29 represent “the largest accumulation of discrete off-scale mineralized intervals in any drill hole at PLS to date.” The two holes add 30 metres of strike to R390E, the middle of three zones along an 850-metre northeast-southwest trend. Including the 15-metre extension resulting from the hole announced July 18, the campaign’s first three holes have extended the zone’s strike by 75% to 105 metres.

The scintillometer measures gamma radiation from drill core in counts per second, up to an off-scale reading over 9,999 cps. Scintillometer readings are not assays, which are still pending. A radiometric probe will also be used to measure downhole radiation.

Hole PLS13-073, 15 metres grid east of the zone’s nearest hole, showed:

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 19.5 metres, starting at 102 metres in vertical depth
  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 11 metres, starting at 142.5 metres.

True widths weren’t available. Drilled to a depth of 248 metres, the hole encountered Devonian sandstone at 50 metres’ depth and a basement unconformity at 53 metres.

Hole PLS13-075, 15 metres grid west of the nearest hole, showed:

  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 70 metres, starting at 57.5 metres in vertical depth
  • (including 580 to >9,999 cps over 23 metres)
  • <300 to 6,800 cps over 12 metres, starting at 130 metres
  • <300 to >9,999 cps over 2.5 metres, starting at 146.5 metres
  • 400 to 1,800 cps over 2 metres, starting at 151 metres
  • 1,000 cps over 0.5 metres, starting at 157 metres
  • <300 to 3,600 cps over 2.5 metres, starting at 160 metres.
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere

Again, true widths were unknown. The 188-metre hole struck sandstone at 47 metres and the basement unconformity at 49.3 metres. The first PLS13-075 result above included 21.65 metres of mineralization over 9,999 cps in several intervals, which the JV partners call the project’s “largest accumulation of discrete off-scale mineralized intervals” so far. They include 16.7 metres of continuous off-scale readings starting at 73.5 metres’ depth. Although Alpha and Fission anticipate that its main zone of mineralization has been found, drilling on this hole continues.

As does the $6.95-million program, comprising ground geophysics and about 44 holes totalling 11,000 metres.

Paladin cancels sale; reports $180-million impairment, $81-million placement, fatality

Paladin Energy TSX:PDN has dropped negotiations to sell a minority interest in its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia. In one of three August 2 announcements, the company said uranium’s currently low price would drive down offers on an asset with expansion potential and a mine life of over 20 years.

Paladin also reported it expects a further non-cash impairment estimated at US$180 million before taxes, which the company attributed to its Kayelekera mine in Malawi, Niger exploration projects “and other smaller items.” Paladin suspended work in Niger following May 23 terrorist attacks.

Within minutes of reporting the suspended sale Paladin announced it was offering a private placement “to provide adequate funding for the company into the September quarter” despite low uranium prices. Later the same day Paladin announced it closed the placement at $C81 million. The money came from 125.6 million shares, representing 15% of the company’s existing issued capital, at a 30% discount to the stock’s previous ASX close.

Paladin managing director/CEO John Borshoff said the money would help “reduce debt in the mid-term.”

On July 31 the company reported a fatal accident in Kayelekera’s engineering workshop.

Read about Paladin’s last quarterly report.

Powertech forms strategic alliance with Asian uranium investor

A Vancouver-headquartered company with uranium projects in three American states announced a strategic alliance with Asia’s “only significant uranium investment and development vehicle.” On August 1 Powertech Uranium TSX:PWE reported Azarga Resources Ltd, a privately held Hong Kong-based company, agreed to a number of deals.

As of July 22 Azarga bought 24.65 million shares at $0.07 for a total of $1.72 million, giving the purchaser an initial 17.5% of Powertech. Azarga also provided Powertech with $514,350 in return for a debenture with the amount payable at 115% within 12 months or 130% within two years. Powertech may instead convert the principal into shares granted to Azarga at $0.07. Full conversion would leave Azarga with an approximate 22% interest in Powertech.

Azarga also agreed to buy a 60% chunk of Powertech’s Centennial project in Colorado for $1.5 million over two years. Should shareholders oppose the purchase, $1 million of the purchase price would be converted to a debenture on the same terms as the other. On completing the 60% purchase, the two companies would form a JV with Azarga acting as project operator.

The deal would include a put option, in which Powertech could sell its remaining 40% after January 1, 2017, for $250,000, and a call option, allowing Azarga to buy the 40% after that date for $7 million or, within 10 days of a change of control at Powertech, for $1 million.

The companies further agreed to share data and expertise, with Azarga using “its best efforts to support any equity financings” undertaken by Powertech. In a statement accompanying the announcement, Powertech president/CEO Richard Clement said Azarga’s “positioning in Asia will provide enhanced access and exposure to those markets.”

The transactions are subject to shareholder and TSX approval.

Powertech released a preliminary economic assessment for an in-situ recovery (ISR) mine at Centennial in August 2010. Following local opposition, Colorado imposed new restrictions on uranium mining the following month. Powertech lost its court challenge against the new regulations in July 2012. By that time the company had already shifted focus to its Dewey-Burdock project in South Dakota, for which it released a revised PEA in April 2012. The project is now undergoing permitting and licensing with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Powertech has two other uranium projects in Wyoming.

Azarga stated it currently has no plans to develop Centennial but will instead review the project’s exploration and development potential. Azarga also holds an 80% operating interest in “the largest-known Soviet-era resource in the Kyrgyz Republic,” as well as interests in other uranium projects in the U.S. and Turkey.

Forum begins airborne radiometrics over PLS-adjacent Clearwater project

On July 30 Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC announced airborne radiometrics had begun over its Clearwater project, adjacently southwest of Alpha/Fission’s PLS property. The survey consists of 1,463 line-kilometres at 100-metre spacing over the 99-square-kilometre property to measure surface radioactivity in outcrops or boulder trains using a proprietary system of Goldak Airborne Surveys. Forum says preliminary interpretation of its magnetic and electromagnetic survey suggests one of Clearwater’s conductors hosts the PLS discovery.

On further scrutinizing the airborne surveys, the company will begin prospecting, radon surveys and lake sediment geochemical sampling this month. Ground geophysics might also be used to identify drill targets.

In a collaborative effort, the surveys have also been covering PLS-area properties held by Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN and the Western Athabasca Syndicate. The latter is a four-company strategic alliance consisting of Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY and Noka Resources TSXV:NX, which are jointly exploring a 275,361-hectare land package in the vicinity of the Fission/Alpha discovery. On July 23 the syndicate announced an extension of its portion of the surveys.

Earlier in July, Forum announced it extended the company’s Key Lake-area holdings in the Athabasca Basin’s southeast corner.

Ur-Energy begins Lost Creek production in Wyoming

Ur-Energy TSX:URE began mining its Lost Creek operation on August 2. The ISR project in Wyoming’s Great Divide Basin took eight years and US$95 million to develop and should, according to an April 2012 PEA, produce about 7.38 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8) over 14 years. The 2012 numbers assumed uranium prices ranging from $55 to $80 a pound, substantially higher than the current seven-year low of $34.50. But with those numbers the PEA used an 8% discount rate to calculate a pre-tax net present value of $181 million and an 87% internal rate of return.

Ur-Energy says it holds long-term contracts with several U.S.-based utilities and will begin deliveries in Q4.

On July 30 the company reported filing its Q2 report on sedar.com.

Cameco reports Q2 results, makes company and commodity forecasts

Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO Q2 report came out August 1, with the company reporting $421 million in revenue, 49% above the same period last year and a $99-million gross profit, up 98%. Net earnings attributable to equity holders came to $34 million or $0.09 a share. Adjusted net earnings were $61 million or $0.15 a share.

Cameco president/CEO Tim Gitzel addressed a conference call, speaking optimistically about Cigar Lake’s imminent start-up, a planned 50% production increase and future uranium prices.

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