Monday 19th November 2018

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Posts tagged ‘south australia’

Electrifying the future

June 5th, 2018

Solid state’s a contender, but lithium-ion has years of growth: Simon Moores

by Greg Klein

Lithium bulls faced a bearish backlash last February, when Morgan Stanley circulated a note predicting “2018 to be the last year of the global lithium market deficit, followed by significant surpluses emerging from 2019 onwards.” More pessimism rained on lithium from a report by Wood Mackenzie. Meanwhile some prognosticators talk up the solid state battery’s inevitability. Does all that indicate an end to the Li-ion battery’s quarter-century run?

Solid state batteries will come, but Li-ion still has years of growth: Simon Moores

Not according to Simon Moores. After a dozen years of following energy minerals, the managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence maintains that enhancements in Li-ion prices, availability, capacity and use will sustain the battery and its raw materials for years to come.

He presented the case at his annual world tour appearance in Vancouver, this year held in conjunction with the Cambridge House International Mining Investment Conference.

Although lithium-ion batteries typically sold for about $280 per kilowatt hour back in 2014, he pointed out, Benchmark foresees prices dropping below $130 this year. “Selling prices are still coming down, even though raw material prices have been high.”

Li-ion’s availability keeps increasing as more megafactories begin operation. Back in 2015 three such facilities were in operation or in the planning stage. Currently Moores counts 41 scheduled for operation by 2023 and expects more to be announced. “Not all of those are going to happen,” he cautioned. But “even if you take that down by half—and that won’t be enough to supply all these EV plans—you’ve got a major raw materials problem. The raw materials industries are not fit and not suitable to supply this amount of batteries.”

As of last year, the capacity of existing plants totalled about 112 gigawatt hours. “By 2023, you’re looking at around 450 gigawatt hours of capacity.” More than half will be in China, where some non-Chinese companies are building their plants, likely to be joined by Tesla and Panasonic. The Gigafactory duo will become the world’s largest Li-ion battery producers, with a capacity of just over 250 GWh in 10 years, Moores said.

Solid state batteries will come, but Li-ion still has years of growth: Simon Moores

Simon Moores: Total Li-ion capacity could reach
“anywhere from 800 gigawatt hours to a terawatt,
but it’s huge…. We believe the battery capacity will
be there, but the raw materials will be the problem.”

By that time, total capacity could experience a “massive, 10-fold” increase: “It could be anywhere from 800 gigawatt hours to a terawatt, but it’s huge…. We believe the battery capacity will be there, but the raw materials will be the problem.”

Meanwhile Li-ion continues to beat expectations as the batteries become increasingly energy-dense. Measured in watt-hours per litre, the energy density of an 18-650 cell in 1992 stood at 200. “Then scientists said commercially we could get to about 350 watt-hours per litre—not theoretically, but in the real world. In 2002, that reached 420. Then the scientists said we could probably get to 550 watt-hours per litre in the real world. Then in 2012 we got to 600. Right now we’re at 770. But there is a limit… the limit’s 800. So the question is, where does lithium-ion go from here?”

The answer is battery packs, he noted. Using the example of Romeo Power Technology, Moores said, “It depends on the applications and types of batteries, but they can improve lithium-ion batteries by anything from 25% to 200% with pack engineering.”

Meanwhile Li-ion uses expand, especially with stationary storage: “underestimated, not talked about, it’s got to be on your radar.” Large-scale storage arrived last year at Aliso Canyon, California, after a leak shut down a natural gas-generated electricity plant. With Tesla, Samsung and others involved, “essentially they did 329 megawatt-hours in eight months.”

In December current began flowing from the 129-MWh plant that Tesla installed in South Australia, winning Elon Musk’s bet that he could complete the project in less than 100 days. Since then Musk has talked about building a one-GWh facility—“and he might do that just for the headlines,” Moores suggested.

Utility batteries are getting bigger and being installed quicker…. This is about to impact the market and no one’s even talked about it.

Those projects demonstrate that “utility batteries are getting bigger and being installed quicker…. This is about to impact the market and no one’s even talked about it.”

As for solid state batteries, they’re “about five years away from seeing something real and in place,” Moores said. “The other question is whether they’ll actually be real, truly solid state batteries. But they’re coming.”

A key difference between the two technologies involves replacing Li-ion’s graphite anode with a lithium metal anode, which of course calls for even more lithium. “That gives a 70% better energy density on paper than lithium-ion. But there is a cost to that.”

The lithium metal comes from lithium chloride, produced through electrolysis, which is “really bloody expensive.” Another important difference involves replacing Li-ion’s liquid electrolyte with a solid electrolyte. Scarce so far is publicly available info on the materials used to make it.

Discussions of solid state tend to neglect “the niche supply chain that’s needed to feed it,” Moores said. “That’s probably the most critical factor to commercialization.”

Still, he emphasized, solid state has attracted “a lot of disciplines, a lot of money, a lot of brainpower going into this industry. It’s one to watch.”

Read Simon Moores discussing Bolivia’s lithium potential.

Visual Capitalist: Elon Musk’s vision for the future of Tesla

April 26th, 2018

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | April 26, 2018

Tesla is currently stuck in “production hell” with Model 3 delays, as Elon Musk describes it.

But Winston Churchill had a great quote about facing what seems like insurmountable adversity: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” This is certainly a maxim that Musk and Tesla will need to live by in order to realize the company’s longstanding mission, which is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

This giant infographic comes to us from Global Energy Metals TSXV:GEMC and it is the final part of our three-part Rise of Tesla series, which is a definitive source for everything you ever wanted to know about the company.

Part 3 shows Musk’s future vision and what it holds for the company once it can get past current production issues.

See Part 1. See Part 2.

 

Visual Capitalist: Elon Musk’s vision for the future of Tesla=

 

To understand Tesla’s ambitions for the future, you need to know two things:

1. Tesla’s mission statement: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

Tesla can accomplish this by making electric vehicles, batteries and energy solutions—and by finding ways to seamlessly integrate them.

2. Tesla’s strategy: “The competitive strength of Tesla long-term is not going to be the car, it’s going to be the factory.”

Tesla aims to productize the factory so that vehicle assembly can be automated at a revolutionary pace. In other words, Tesla wants to perfect the making of the “machine that builds the machine.” It wants to use these factories to pump out EVs at a pace never before seen. It aims to change the world.

The future of Tesla

If Musk has his way and everything goes according to plan, this is how the future of Tesla will unfold. Note: Keep in mind that Tesla sometimes overpromises and that the following is an extrapolation of Tesla’s vision and announced plans as of spring 2018.

A sustainable energy powerhouse

Tesla’s goal is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy—but simply making a few electric cars is not going to be enough to put a dent into this. That’s why the future of Tesla will be defined by bigger and bolder moves:

The Tesla Semi: Tesla has unveiled the Tesla Semi, which can go 0 to 60 mph with 80,000 pounds (36 tonnes) in just 20 seconds. Fully electric and with a 200-kWh battery pack, Musk says, it would be “economic suicide” for trucking companies to continue driving diesel trucks.

Mass transit: Musk said in his Master Plan, Part Deux blog post that he wants to design “high passenger-density urban transport.” It’s anticipated that this will come in the form of an autonomous minibus, built off the Model X concept.

A new energy paradigm: Tesla is not just building cars—it’s democratizing green energy by creating a self-dependent ecosystem of products. This way, homeowners can ensure their appliances and cars are running off of green energy, and even sell it back to the grid if they like.

As Tesla works on this sustainable future, the company isn’t afraid to show off its battery tech in the interim. The company even built the world’s largest lithium-ion battery farm (100 MW) in South Australia, to win a bet, in fewer than 100 days.

Other new models

Musk says that Tesla plans to “address all major segments” of the auto market.

Model Y: This will be a crossover vehicle built on the Model 3 platform, expected to go into production in 2019. It will round out the “S3XY” product line of Tesla’s first four post-Roadster vehicles.

Pickup truck: This will be Tesla’s priority after the Model Y and Musk says he is “dying to build it.” Musk says it’ll be the same size as a Ford F-150 or bigger to account for a “game-changing” feature he wants to add, but has not yet revealed.

Ultra low-cost model: Tesla has also announced that it will need a model cheaper than the Model 3 in the near future. This would allow Tesla to compete against a much wider segment of the auto market, and the future of Tesla hinges on its success.

Multiple Gigafactories

Tesla already has two: Gigafactory I in Reno, Nevada (batteries) and Gigafactory II in Buffalo, New York (solar panels).

The Gigafactory I started battery cell production in 2017. It will eventually produce enough batteries to power 500,000 cars per year. Meanwhile, the second factory is operated by Tesla’s SolarCity subsidiary, producing photovoltaic modules for solar panels and solar shingles for Tesla’s solar roof product.

Tesla said in 2017 that there will be “probably four” more battery Gigafactories in locations that would “address a global market,” including one in Europe. This makes sense, since the need for lithium-ion batteries to power these EVs is exploding. An important component of Tesla’s future will also be sourcing the raw materials needed for these Gigafactories, such as cobalt, lithium, graphite and nickel.

The Chinese market

The good news: Tesla already owns about 81% of the market for imported plug-in EVs in China.

The bad news: That’s only about 2.5% of the total Chinese EV market, when accounting for domestically made EVs.

China is the largest auto market in the world—and make no mistake about it, Tesla wants to own a large chunk of it. In 2017, China accounted for 24.7 million passenger vehicle sales, amounting to 31% of the global auto market.

Automation and the sharing economy

Finally, Tesla wants its vehicles to be fully autonomous and to have shared fleets that drive around to transport people.

Autonomous: Tesla aims to develop a self-driving capability that is 10 times safer than manual via massive fleet learning.

Shared: Most cars are used only by their owners and only for 5% of each day. With self-driving cars, a car can reach its true potential utility by being shared between multiple users.

Conclusion

The future of Tesla is ambitious and the company’s strategy is even considered naïve by some. But if Musk and Tesla are able to perfect building the “machine that builds the machine,” all bets will be off.

That concludes our three-part Rise of Tesla series. Don’t forget to see Part 1 (Origin story) and Part 2 (Rapid Growth). Special thanks to Global Energy Metals for making this series possible.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Faith in uranium’s hotspot

June 12th, 2015

Low prices take another Australian casualty but Athabasca Basin optimism persists

by Greg Klein

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

Low prices take another Australian casualty but Athabasca Basin optimism persists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Putting Fukushima behind

November 13th, 2014

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

by Greg Klein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paradox and promise

August 28th, 2014

Paladin’s John Borshoff still predicts an approaching end to uranium’s persistent predicament

by Greg Klein

Paladin’s John Borshoff still predicts an early end to uranium’s persistent slump

Paladin has increased its forecasted supply-demand shortfall by 13% over the estimate made a year ago.
(Graph: Paladin Energy)

 

“Another bleak year,” as Paladin Energy TSX:PDN managing director/CEO John Borshoff put it. But far from dampening his usual predictions of sharp price increases, the slump reinforced his views—price hikes will come soon, he maintains. The forecast “broadly aligns with Cameco’s findings, and where we differ is in the timing of recovery. We say six to 12 months. They say 12 to 18 months. Not much difference, really.”

His prognosis, sometimes expressed as a wake-up call to utilities, came as Borshoff outlined his company’s fiscal 2014 in a conference call from Western Australia broadcast during the Western Hemisphere’s August 28. Paladin had indeed undergone a bleak year.

With all dollar amounts in U.S. currency, revenue sunk to $328.8 million, a 19% decline. Not including impairments, gross loss from operations came to $3.4 million. After-tax impairments hit $296.3 million.

Production reached 7.94 million pounds U3O8, near the year’s maximum guidance but one that was lowered from an original goal of 8.3 million to 8.7 million pounds. Next year’s guidance drops to the range of 5.4 million to 5.8 million pounds, to come entirely from Paladin’s Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia. The company suspended operations at its Kayelekera mine in Malawi last May, throwing over 700 employees and contractors out of work.

Paladin’s John Borshoff still predicts an early end to uranium’s persistent slump

Paladin refinanced its Langer Heinrich mine
by selling a 25% stake to a Chinese utility.

Paladin’s stake in Langer Heinrich has been reduced to 75% following its joint venture with China National Nuclear Corp.

But Borshoff suggested uranium might have already experienced signs of recovery. This month’s price bump, from a 52-week low of $28 up to $32.50 on August 28, “has been explained away due to political issues and the possible strike.”

Strike notice did prompt Cameco Corp TSX:CCO to shut down McArthur River, the world’s largest uranium producer, on August 27. That seemed to explain why uranium’s already-rising price grew 3.2% the following day, the biggest gain since November 2011 according to Bloomberg data reported by the Globe and Mail.

“Though this may be the case, I believe there are other underlying influences at play suggesting some supply fragility even at this stage,” said Borshoff.

Longer-term fundamentals remain strong, he insisted. “China recently gave us a glimpse of its nuclear electrification targets, going from 60 gigawatts by 2020, to 150 to 200 by 2030, and then rising significantly. These are staggering numbers by any score coming from just one country and an enormous amount of uranium is going to be required to feed that expansion alone, never mind for the Middle East, India and other growing nuclear economies.”

Japan has given preliminary approval for two reactors, which could start operation by winter and begin “what is expected to be a measured reactor restart program.” As many as two-thirds of the country’s fleet could resume commercial operation over the next few years, he suggested. “Elsewhere, 72 reactors are under construction today.”

But “on the flip side of this demand optimism, producers’ response to severely depressed prices has been predictable.” Kayelekera’s on care and maintenance, as is Uranium One’s Honeymoon mine in South Australia. Rio Tinto NYE:RIO has slashed production at its majority-held Rossing mine in Namibia.

U.S. operations “are on partial production only to deliver to the few term contracts they hold,” Borshoff said. “With only half the current production able to operate at some profit under the current spot price, it’s clear no one will invest in replacing existing capacity as it runs down, never mind investing in growth of supply.”

Paladin estimates that last year almost 11 million pounds “have either been cut from annual production or deflected into term markets. We expect the impact of this to be felt strongly by the spot market in the next 12 months.”

Meanwhile, longer-term contracting of uranium sales remains behind schedule, especially in the U.S. Paladin’s figures indicate the historic contracted average reached over 150 million pounds a year. But 2013 contracts for future delivery plunged to 20 million pounds. This year has seen improvement, with mid-2014 term volume up to 60 million pounds.

“The U.S. utilities now need to act fast to fill their term contract needs for their 2016-to-2021 period. This is normally done 18 to 24 months beforehand, meaning the price reacts well before a period of actual shortage and in this current situation we would expect a positive price reaction in the next six to 12 months.”

As it is, few utilities have contracts beyond 2018, Borshoff added. “Few producers are participating in the term market because they’re reluctant to participate below price of replacement and create severe legacy contracts going forward.”

Since its last annual study, Paladin has increased its forecasted supply-demand shortfall by 13%. The company predicts the supply gap widening in 2016, leading to a significant supply shortfall for 2020 and beyond.

“The true supply-demand situation is obscured by the current short-term market oversupply. The paradox is, the low uranium price that this current situation has created is resulting in a total lack of incentive to initiate supply growth for the 2017-to-2025 period. This is a highly volatile state of affairs.”

“There is simply no opportunity to increase supply beyond what is currently being constructed,” which he limited to Cameco’s delay-prone Cigar Lake and the Chinese-owned Husab mine in Namibia, which might also suffer setbacks. “So the price not only has to move to support current supply, but also to support the mid-term lack of sufficient supply, a true paradox.”

By 2020, Paladin’s research points to a shortfall of about 35 million pounds per year, creating a cumulative shortfall of about 190 million pounds. “And on this basis we expect the start of positive price reaction occurring in late 2014, early 2015, just to incentivize the much-needed supply growth,” Borshoff said. “Every miner wants $65 to $75 “to start to think about the large amount of capital needed to build new greenfield uranium mines.”

“Am I missing something here, or does someone think serious mining companies or developers are going to invest just to lock in long-term financial losses? I think not.”

Paladin’s executive general manager of production Mark Chalmers told the conference the company’s Manyingee project in Western Australia might begin in-situ recovery operations in 2018. A more significant potential producer, the Michelin deposit in Labrador could come online in 2020 or 2021. Both projects depend on uranium prices, he emphasized.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

August 2nd, 2014

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 26 to August 1, 2014

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Fission off to a scintillating summer at Patterson Lake South

Fourteen widely mineralized holes released July 28 mark Fission Uranium’s (TSXV:FCU) first summer results from Patterson Lake South. All tested R780E, the middle and largest of five zones along a 2.24-kilometre potential strike. Two holes extended the eastern part of the zone about 50 metres north. Among other PLS news is a new technique that allows barge-based angle drilling to better determine the mineralization’s size and shape. And new technology—a scintillometer can now measure radioactive drill core up to 65,535 counts per second, replacing a model that maxed out at 9,999 cps.

Scintillometer readings, as the usual disclaimer relates, are no substitute for assays, which are pending. But the brand new gizmo shows measurements that would have been well off scale for the older device. Some examples from Fission’s multi-page chart include:

Hole PLS 14-219

  • <300 to 33,000 counts per second over 17 metres, starting at 160 metres in downhole depth
Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 26 to August 1, 2014

PLS 14-220

  • <300 to 15,000 cps over 32 metres, starting at 59.5 metres

  • <300 to 30,000 cps over 14.5 metres, starting at 97 metres

  • <300 to 41,000 cps over 11 metres, starting at 163 metres

PLS 14-223

  • <300 to 41,000 cps over 13.5 metres, starting at 176.5 metres

PLS 14-224

  • <300 to 42,000 cps over 19.5 metres, starting at 128.5 metres

PLS 14-225

  • <300 to 30,000 cps over 39 metres, starting at 145.5 metres

PLS 14-229

  • <300 to 31,300 cps over 27.5 metres, starting at 96.5 metres

One interval in hole PLS 14-230 came close to maxing out the new scintillometer:

  • <300 to 65,500 cps over 24 metres, starting at 229 metres

True widths weren’t provided.

Forty-three holes of the 63-hole, 20,330-metre summer program will attack the project’s main mineralized trend in hopes of extending it north, south and along strike to the east, as well as delineating the December resource. In the meantime, the market awaits assays for the last 24 holes from 92 sunk last winter.

Denison steps out at Wheeler’s Gryphon zone

On the southeastern Athabasca Basin, step-out drill results from Denison Mines’ (TSX:DML) Wheeler River showed some strong numbers, although possibly not as strong as the company had hoped. Out of 10 holes reported July 29 from the project’s Gryphon zone, seven were 50-metre step-outs from two previously announced holes: Gryphon discovery hole WR-556, which assayed 15.3% U3O8 over 4 metres, and WR-560, which showed 21.2% over 4.5 metres.

The latest batch was provided as radiometric-equivalent uranium from a downhole probe. Lab assays are pending. Some highlights showed:

Hole WR-564

  • 0.8% uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) over 20.5 metres, starting at 736.3 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 3% over 2.3 metres)
  • (also including 4.5% over 1 metre)

WR-567

  • 1.1% over 2.7 metres, starting at 727.2 metres

WR-569A

  • 3.1% over 3 metres, starting at 662.6 metres

  • 9.4% over 3.7 metres, starting at 679.3 metres

  • 8.1% over 1.1 metres, starting at 692.3 metres

  • 5.3% over 5.9 metres, starting at 702.1 metres

  • 3% over 2 metres, starting at 724 metres

WR-571

  • 2.3% over 6.5 metres, starting at 755.8 metres
  • (including 10.9% over 1 metre)
  • (also including 1.9% over 1.1 metres)

True widths were estimated at approximately 75%. Three other step-outs failed to find significant mineralization, as did two extensions of historic holes.

Denison described the area as a zone of mineralization above 1% eU3O8 enveloped by lower-grade stuff. “The higher-grade mineralization plunges to the northeast and has now been drilled over 150 metres in the along-plunge direction and over 50 metres across the plunge,” the company added. “Mineralization is open down plunge to the northeast, up plunge to the southwest and across the plunge at depth.”

Last March’s Gryphon discovery diverted attention from Wheeler River’s Phoenix deposit three kilometres southeast. Nevertheless, in June Denison announced a 34% increase in Phoenix indicated resources.

Wheeler’s agenda calls for another 10 holes at Gryphon this summer. Denison acts as operator and holds 60% of the 12,333-hectare property, along with Cameco Corp TSX:CCO (30%) and JCU Canada Exploration (10%).

The previous week Denison announced a $13.04-million bought deal that’s expected to close around August 12. In June the company closed its acquisition of International Enexco. Denison plans to spend $15 million on Canadian exploration this year.

Next Page 1 | 2

Australia’s promise to assist BHP with its Olympic Dam expansion a “cruel hoax”

December 17th, 2013

by Cecilia Jamasmie | December 16, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

The Australian government has vowed to help BHP Billiton NYE:BHP, the world’s largest mining company, go ahead with an estimated $33-billion expansion of its Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine, shelved last year as metal prices sank and costs rose.

“I want to ensure that as far as is humanly possible everything that government does is directed towards making it easier, not harder, for this iconic project to go ahead,” Bloomberg quotes Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Australia’s promise to assist BHP with its Olympic Dam expansion a cruel hoax

The mine expansion was cancelled in 2012
with sinking metal prices and rising costs.
(Photo: BHP Billiton)

But South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is calling Abbott’s comments “a cruel hoax” as Weatherill claims to have spoken with BHP management last week and there was no indication of any plans to resume expansion of the mine.

His state is facing massive job losses as General Motors’ NYE:GM Holden unit will stop production in 2017 after 69 years, laying off about 2,900 workers in the state and in neighbouring Victoria.

“The impracticality and the illusion of that is a bit of an unfair thing to hold in front of those workers right at this moment,” Weatherill told the Herald Sun Monday.

“We need to work with those businesses which do have the capacity to expand their operations to ensure that they do that more quickly,” he added.

In September, chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said BHP would provide an update on the shelved $30-billion project in 2014, but any expanded mine site at Roxby Downs in South Australia’s far north was unlikely without a technological breakthrough.

Doubts about the lauded project first emerged in early 2012 when BHP told markets of its intention to cut back an $80-billion capex programme. A JP Morgan research note a few weeks later also suggested the Olympic Dam would not go ahead “for at least three or four years, if at all.”

The ambitious project in South Australia’s outback is expected to become the world’s largest uranium mine. It included the construction of 270 kilometres of powerlines, a 400-kilometre pipeline, a new desalination plant and a 105-kilometre railway.

The Olympic Dam, Australia’s largest underground mine, currently employs over 3,500 people.

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

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