Fission Uranium’s 100 per cent-owned Patterson Lake South (PLS) uranium project is located on the southwest edge of the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan – home to the world’s richest uranium deposits. The grades are amongst the highest found in the Basin, the intercepts are unusually wide and mineralization, which is in basement rock, starts at just 50 metres.
Since its discovery hole in November 2012, Fission has experienced a strong and steady flow of high-grade, shallow depth drill results. In four successive exploration programs, the company has defined uranium mineralization along a strike length stretching 2.24 kilometres and has mineralized zone widths of up to 164 metres, which is unusual as deposits in the Basin are generally very narrow. A total of 222 holes have been drilled into the main mineralized trend with 216 hitting mineralization for a success ratio of 97 per cent. The most recent program, one of the most aggressive barge-based drill programs in the history of the Basin, has hit on every one of its 61 delineation holes. By the end of 2014, just two years after the discovery hole, the company expects to have a 43-101-compliant Maiden Resource in place.
While assays from the most recent drill program are pending, results from early programs have been amongst the best ever drilled in the Basin. A few examples include
Hole PLS14-129: 38.0m @ 13.66% U3O8, including: 10. @ 38.49% U3O8; 31.5m @ 11.19% U3O8, including: 12.0m @ 27.57% U3O8;11.5m @ 6.82% U3O8, including: 2.5m (146.0m to 148.5m) @ 20.28% U3O8
Hole PLS 14-187: 102.5m @ 5.98% U3O8, including: 3.0m @ 27.20% U3O8, and 10.5m @ 12.93% U3O8, and 6.0m @ 14.12% U3O8, and 2.5m @ 16.92% U3O8, and 4.5m @ 16.14% U3O8; 15. @ 1.63% U3O8, including 9.0m @ 2.59% U3O8.
The company is confident that PLS has much more to give. The discovery is wide open in every direction and all indications point to a mineralized system of a considerable size and richness. The company has recently drilled anomalous radioactivity on three new electromagnetic (EM) conductors on the property, including one as far as 17 kilometres from the main discovery, just 330 metres from the Fission 3.0 Corp./Brades JV project of Clearwater West. EM conductors are commonly associated with uranium and are a key focus for explorers. Indeed, Fission’s main discovery is on one such conductor and the property is host to over 100 more.
Fission’s management team is run by veteran CEO Dev Randhawa, and President, COO, and Chief Geologist, Ross McElroy. The company has received a number of industry awards for the PLS discovery, including PDAC’s Bill Dennis award, The Northern Miner’s “Mining Persons of the Year,” and EY’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” (finalists).
The continued success at PLS has been a boon to a uranium sector that has otherwise seen difficult times due to very low spot prices. However, this may be set to change. From languishing at $28/lb during the summer months of 2014, the uranium spot price has climbed more than $8/lb as supply-sides vulnerabilities in the uranium sector become more apparent.
“The big issue has become security of supply,” comments Fission CEO Dev Randhawa. “Khazaksthan, Uzbekistan, Niger, Russia… you’re looking at more than 54 per cent of global supply from these countries yet between sanctions, contract renegotiations, and even legal action, they are all subject to instabilities of one form or another and if there’s one thing that utility fuel managers won’t accept it’s the danger of their supply going offline. There’s an international nuclear construction boom underway so uranium production will have to increase in the near future and that means opportunity for Canada’s uranium sector and that includes explorers like Fission.”
When it comes to mining, the low hanging fruit always gets picked first and again Fission is confident that being high-grade, extremely shallow, and close to another new high-grade discovery places PLS firmly in the upper end of economic discoveries. In fact, every other shallow, high-grade discovery of size in the Basin has been mined out.
PLS is in fact Fission’s second major uranium discovery in the Athabasca Basin in three years. Chief Geologist Ross McElroy, who has a long and successful history of exploration in the Basin, stresses the importance of team and innovation.
“Uranium deposits in the Basin may have the highest grades but they are also notoriously difficult to find. Our approach was to build a multi-discipline team, consisting of geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, glaciologists, and technicians. We also encourage everyone in the team and those we work with to innovate – whether it’s airborne surveys, radon gas surveys, interpretation and drilling – breaking the mold is the best way to succeed in the exploration sector,” he states.
Combine this with CEO Randhawa’s, track record in raising money for strong exploration projects, and it’s clear that Fission is well-positioned and well-funded to keep growing PLS until such time as the project is sold to a mid-tier or major. As to when that might be, Randhawa had this to say:
“The Athabasca Basin is a place you can rely on for supply and, in addition, we are blessed with a high-grade discovery that is shallow and in basement rock. You can’t control if or when someone will make an offer to buy you so you have to be prepared and able to keep taking your project forward. We will have our maiden 43-101 by the end of this year and Ross McElroy and his team are already making plans for our winter drill campaign to follow the summer success. Yes, we’ve had a number of North American and Chinese companies show interest and a variety of groups have visited the site, some now for the second time, however, we’re going to keep moving forward on our own until the time is right.”