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Patterson Lake discovery triggers junior uranium frenzy

VANCOUVER — Nothing draws Canadian explorers quite like an emerging mineral discovery that looks to have district scale potential, and that is proving to be the case with Fission Energy (FIS-V) and Alpha Minerals (AMW-V) Patterson Lake...



VANCOUVER — Nothing draws Canadian explorers quite like an emerging mineral discovery that looks to have district scale potential, and that is proving to be the case with Fission Energy (FIS-V) and Alpha Minerals (AMW-V) Patterson Lake South (PLS) uranium joint venture, which lies outside the southern boundary of the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan.

Fission and Alpha have been hard at work at PLS for nearly two years, but the market really began to take notice in late 2012 when the partners started releasing a series of impressive drill results. Since late October Alpha has skyrocketed $4.63 per share to close at $4.88 at the time of writing, while Fission has gained 83¢ per share en route to a $1.18 press time close.

When combined with a renewed interest in the uranium space following a recovery from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, the Patterson Lake discovery is proving a serious draw for junior explorers.

Things started to roll in mid-January, when Forum Uranium (FDC-V) moved into the Patterson Lake neighbourhood, staking 99-km2 over three claims immediately to the southwest of the PLS discovery. Forum is exploring its wholly owned Key Lake Road project near Cameco‘s (CCO-T, CCJ-N) Key Lake processing facility, and has a series of regional joint venture agreements with majors Rio Tinto (RIO-N, RIO-L) and Areva.

Forum dubbed its acquisition the Clearwater project, and by early February the company had compiled data from a historic lake sediment sampling program at its Patterson Lake site. Forum also reported that regional airborne magnetics were indicative of an Archean granite-gneiss complex on the west side of its claims — contact between Archean rocks and younger Proterozoic rocks that host graphitic conductors has proven to be a favourable zone for uranium mineralization in the region.

Next up was Yellowjacket Resources (YJK-V), which completed a strategic review to start the year after falling to 52-week lows at 4¢ per share in mid-February. The company’s previous focus had been its Yellowjacket gold project located roughly 9 km east of Atlin, BC.

That quickly changed when Yellowjacket acquired around 1,300-km2 in the Athabasca basin on Feb. 28., however, with 95% of its property package sitting in the Patterson Lake district. The company followed up on March 18 when it acquired an additional 248-km2 over eight claim groups near PLS.

The acquisitions resulted in a spike in Yellowjacket’s equity price, with shares having jumped roughly 6¢ since Feb. 27 en route to a 9.5¢ press-time close.

Another company looking to use uranium as a catalyst to bounce off of 52-week lows was Lakeland Resources (LK-V), which had fallen to 3¢ per share in late February. Lakeland had previously been focusing on a number of precious metal properties, with the most extensive work at its Midas gold project in Ontario.

Lakeland entered in an agreement to acquire roughly 1,900-km2 in the Athabasca Basin on March 1, with the deal being subject to a technical report on the property package. And the two projects Lakeland has earmarked as the “most promising” lie in the PLS district.

The Kelic Lake project occupies 170-km2 of real estate around 60 km east of PLS, while the 250-km2 Davidson River concession lies just 18 km to the west of the Fission-Alpha discovery. Lakeland was trading at 7.5¢ at time of writing.

Acquisitions in the region continue to roll into late March, with Ashburton Ventures (ABR-V) picking up 14-km2 on the northern boundary of PLS, and another 11-km2 to the southwest. Canadian International Minerals (CIN-V) grabbed roughly 250-sq.km in the district on March 19, adding to a diverse property portfolio that includes everything from gold to iron ore.

And Skyharbour Resources (SYH-V), which had previously been focused on gold exploration in Ontario’s Red Lake district, rolled out two large acquisitions in the Patterson Lake area on March 27. Skyharbour announced it had purchased a 100% interest in roughly 1,570-km2 regional to PLS, including the South Patterson project located 15 km south of the Fission-Alpha property and the West Patterson property roughly 18 km southwest of PLS.

Uranium mineralization around PLS has been noted as carrying similar traits to high grade uranium deposits in the prolific eastern portion of the Athabasca Basin, similar to Cameco’s Cigar Lake and McArthur River mines. Mineralization tends to occur in structurally disrupted and clay altered, commonly graphitic pelites and metapelites with narrow felsic segregations. Sulphides are usually tied to mineralization along with anomalous levels of cobalt, nickel, molybdenum and boron.

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