Athabasca Basin and Beyond: Uranium News from Saskatchewan and Elsewhere for May 18 to 24
Alpha/Fission plan $6.95-million campaign for Patterson Lake South
With three rigs, three barges and $6.95 million, Fission Uranium [V.FCU] and Alpha Minerals [V.AMW] have a busy summer planned for Patterson Lake South. The 44-hole, 11,000-metre campaign announced May 21 will focus on delineating and expanding three zones of high-grade, near-surface uranium mineralization. Additional targets southwest and northeast of the 850-metre trend come courtesy of a radon survey. Ground geophysics will follow up on two “highly prospective” areas spotted by an airborne survey over the property’s southwest and southeast areas. The agenda also includes environmental baseline studies and sampling for metallurgical tests.
The 50/50 joint venture partners patted each other on the back for finding mineralization in 82% of their targets during a winter campaign that attracted widespread attention in and around the Athabasca Basin’s southwestern rim. Their discoveries sit 3.8 kilometres to 4.6 kilometres from one of the Basin’s largest known high-grade boulder fields.
Companies collaborate on PLS-region flyover
Six companies are pooling their money to fund a joint airborne geophysical survey in the PLS area. A May 24 announcement from Yellowjacket Resources [V.YJK] said Lakeland Resources [V.LK], Skyharbour Resources [V.SYH], Aldrin Resources [V.ALN], Forum Uranium [V.FDC] and Canadian International Minerals [V.CIN] will join Yellowjacket on the study that begins May 26.
Yellowjacket will focus a 2,000-line-kilometre VTEM-Plus time domain system and 2,000-line-kilometre radiometric survey on parts of its 83,600-hectare Preston Lake project 26 kilometres southeast of the PLS discovery area. VTEM-Plus will search for basement conductors similar to the structures hosting the PLS discoveries while radiometrics will hunt down uranium boulder trains and in-situ mineralization. Although reports will come in daily, full results along with interpretation are scheduled for late July.
Historic Preston Lake work found anomalous uranium in lake sediment, as well as graphitic faults associated with sulphides and anomalous radioactivity. Rock samples of up to 5.4 parts per million uranium might indicate “either the down-ice glacial transport of uranium boulders from source or an in-situ source of uranium,” Yellowjacket stated.
The company’s Preston Lake and Patterson East properties total over 158,200 hectares, making Yellowjacket the PLS area’s largest claim holder. YJK also holds six other Basin properties. On the agenda for its May 29 AGM is a proposed name change to Athabasca Nuclear Corp.
Survey participant Skyharbour benefits from the money and expertise of two additional companies, SYH manager of corporate development and communications Jordan Trimble points out. The earn-ins announced last week allow Lucky Strike Resources [V.LKY] and Noka Resources [V.NX] each a 25% interest in Skyharbour’s portfolio of seven Basin properties, six in the PLS region. In return Lucky Strike and Noka each pay Skyharbour $100,000 and fund $500,000 of exploration a year for two years.
“In this market especially, the financial capital they’re providing is hugely beneficial,” Trimble says. “We have a plan in place to attack this as a team. With the three companies combined we have a number of highly qualified geologists who have collectively been up in this part of Canada for a long time, so we have many, many years of exploration expertise behind us. This is just the start of the program. There’ll be lots more news to come.”
UEX offers $3.175-million private placement
Already holding about $10.6 million in cash, UEX Corp [T.UEX] announced on May 24 a private placement of 6.35 million flow-through shares at 50 cents for proceeds of $3.175 million. An additional 1.85 million flow-through shares may be issued under the same terms should Cameco Corp [T.CCO] exercise its right to maintain an approximately 22.58% interest in UEX. The company hopes to close the placement by June.
UEX holds 17 Basin projects totalling 264,363 hectares including its 49.9% interest in Shea Creek, the Basin’s third-largest uranium resource. The UEX portfolio includes nine other JVs with AREVA and one with both AREVA and Japan-Canada Uranium (JCU). UEX holds a 100% interest in the other six.
NexGen hires ex-Hathor/Rio geos, plans Radio drill campaign
NexGen Energy [V.NXE] snagged more expertise with two new hires announced May 22. Senior geologist James Sykes moved from Denison Mines [T.DML] to Hathor Exploration and from Hathor to Rio Tinto when the latter bought Hathor and its Roughrider deposit in 2011 for $654 million. Sykes is credited with building the 3D geological model of the Roughrider system that led to the discovery of the Roughrider East and Far East deposits.
Exploration geologist Matthew Schwab has a similar background. A member of the Hathor team that explored Roughrider and defined its mineralized zones, he also comes to NexGen via Rio.
NexGen’s flagship Radio property sits adjacent to Roughrider, which hosts 17.2 million pounds U3O8 indicated and 40.7 million pounds inferred. With a drilling permit now approved, NexGen plans a 4,400-metre program beginning in late June on an interpreted structural extension of Roughrider.
NexGen may earn an initial 70% interest in Radio, then the additional 30% subject to a 2% NSR. The company’s portfolio also includes a 100% interest in Rook 1, adjacent to the northeast of PLS.
Canadian International Minerals holds annual meeting
In AGM results announced May 23, Canadian International Minerals [V.CIN] shareholders elected directors Michael Schuss, Tor Bruland, Garth Evans, J. Casey Forward and Christopher Verrico. Voters also appointed Mackay LLP as auditor, approved a 2013 option plan and repriced existing options held by insiders.
Among other properties, Canadian International Minerals holds a 100% interest in a 25,225-hectare package and a 50% interest in another 34,762 hectares, all in the PLS district.
New bylaw for Nuinsco
Nuinsco Resources [T.NWI] adopted an advance notice bylaw, the company reported on May 23. Effective immediately, the bylaw sets a deadline for nominations to the board and defines the information that must accompany nominations.
Nuinsco’s portfolio includes the Diabase Peninsula project on the Basin’s southern rim.
Beyond the Basin
Energy Fuels to acquire Strathmore Minerals
In M&A activity beyond the Basin, Energy Fuels [T.EFR] and Strathmore Minerals [T.STM] announced a letter of intent on May 24 to create one of the largest uranium companies operating in the U.S. Energy Fuels forecasts 1.175 million pounds uranium this year from two mines, about 25% of total American production. The company also has five mines on standby, 18 development projects and White Mesa, the only conventional uranium mill operating in the U.S.
Strathmore’s holdings, also in the western U.S., include two core projects: Gas Hills, in which Korea Electric Power Company has a 40% earn-in, and Roca Honda, a JV in which Sumitomo Corp holds 40%. Both Strathmore and Energy Fuels see a number of synergies.
Although Roca Honda’s 2012 PEA factored in the cost of building a mill, the companies say output could be shipped to White Mesa instead. Strathmore has claims adjacent to Energy Fuels’ Sheep Mountain project, which achieved pre-feasibility in April 2012. Strathmore’s Gas Hills is 45 kilometres north, while the company’s Juniper Ridge project is 147 kilometres south of Sheep Mountain.
The companies share a KEPCO link as well. The utility holds 9.1% of Energy Fuels and 11.7% of Strathmore. A KEPCO affiliate is projected to be Energy Fuels’ biggest customer this year. KEPCO backs the proposed transaction.
The deal would swap 1.47 Energy Fuels shares for each Strathmore share, giving the latter shareholders 21% of Energy Fuels stock. The offer represents a 31% premium over the 20-day volume-weighted averages as of May 22. Energy Fuels will also buy Strathmore’s 5% gross production royalty on the Reno Creek uranium project for $1.5 million and another $1.5 million in cash or shares. An affiliate of Bayswater Uranium [V.BYU] released a pre-feas for the project in March.
Strathmore and Energy Fuels hope to gain shareholder approval by August.
Strathmore was founded in 1996 by Dev Randhawa. In 2007 he spun out Fission Energy, which was picked up by Denison in April. Out of Fission Energy, Randhawa spun out Fission Uranium which retained the 50% share in Fission/Alpha’s Patterson Lake South.
U3O8 completes Calypso acquisition
The Energy Fuels/Strathmore LOI follows the acquisition of Calypso Uranium [V.CLP] by U3O8 Corp [T.UWE], which was completed on May 14. “With the Calypso properties, U3O8 Corp consolidates its strategic holdings adjoining Argentina’s two largest known uranium deposits and sets up a strong pipeline of projects for exploration after Laguna Salada,” according to a joint statement. The latter project is slated for a PEA later this year. Last December U3O8 released a PEA for its flagship Berlin deposit in Colombia. The company also has a uranium property in Guyana.
Terror attacks in Niger
Terrorists in Niger killed at least 24 soldiers and one civilian in May 23 attacks on a military barracks and a uranium mine. AREVA confirmed that one of its employees has died and 14 have been injured. The terrorists are believed to be an Islamist group that was pushed out of Mali by a French-led offensive earlier this year.
AREVA’s two Niger operations produce 7.5% of global uranium supply, according to the World Nuclear Association, making Niger the world’s fourth-largest uranium producer.
Visit these uranium explorers at the World Resource Investment Conference 2013 in Vancouver, May 26 and 27:
- Blue Sky Uranium [V.BSK] booth 710/712
- Fission Uranium [V.FCU] booth 516
- Lakeland Resources [V.LK] booth 1008
- Skyharbour Resources [V.SYH] booth 708
- UEX Corp [T.UEX] booth 729
Disclaimer: Skyharbour Resources is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of ResourceClips. Neither OnPage Media nor its owner hold a stock position or options in Skyharbour Resources.