Hunting for new sources of uranium appears to be one of the most popular pastimes among Canadian explorationists. One reason is that the price of yellowcake has risen above the US$20/lb mark for the first time in two decades. In December 2000 it was trading at only US$7.10/lb, so the current price is almost three times what it was only four years ago. Canada’s premier uranium producer, CAMECO, with mines in Saskatchewan, Wyoming and Nebraska, has seen its share price rise from around $15 in April 2000 to $104.65 at noon on Oct. 6 on the TSX. The company’s revenues in only the three months ending June 30, 2004, were $242 million.
With the double-barrelled incentives of rising commodity prices and producer profitability, there are many other companies vying for the title of next Canadian uranium producer. Here is a rundown of news reaching this desk over the last week.
Calgary-based URAVAN MINERALS is revisiting its 100%-owned Boomerang property in the southwest Thelon Basin, NWT. Earlier exploration work on the property provided the first documented example of unconformity-related polymetallic uranium mineralization in the Thelon sandstone formation occurring at the contact with graphitic basement rocks. This style of uranium mineralization is identical to the style of mineralization found in the Athabasca Basin, which suggests the Boomerang property has a high potential for hosting unconformity-related uranium deposits similar to the very high-grade uranium deposits currently being exploited in the Athabasca Basin, says Uravan. Drilling is planned through next year. (www.UravanMinerals.com)
STRATHMORE MINERALS of Kelowna, B.C., has acquired over 800,000 acres in three areas of the Athabasca Basin. The Waterbury Lake property lies adjacent to the high-grade Midwest deposit operated by COGEMA. The Patterson Lake property contains a number of possible interesting structures, and it is adjacent the Beatty River project of UEX and JAPAN-CANADA URANIUM. Strathmore’s third property, Maybelle River only 25 km west of the former Cluff Lake mine, has returned one drill intersection of 21% U3O8 across 5.0 metres. If this company were playing horseshoes, close would count. We must wait and see if this strategy is successful. (www.StrathmoreMinerals.com)
Ottawa-based MAJESCOR RESOURCES is reviewing uranium opportunities in northern Quebec. Last year drilling at the Mistassini project (jointly held with SUPERIOR DIAMONDS) encountered a mineralized pegmatite grading 0.20% U3O8 over 4.5 metres. Drilling on another property in the Otish sedimentary basin returned 0.15% U3O8 over 4.5 metres when it was tested by COGEMA in the 1970s and ’80s. The Otish Mountains have provided many tantalizing clues as to the presence of minable diamond deposits, but this is the first time in recent history that its uranium potential is making news. (www.majescor.com)
Drilling will soon be underway at the Contact Lake uranium project of Kirkland Lake, Ont.,-based GLR RESOURCES. The company is encouraged by surface sampling, which returned values of up to 1.77% U3O8 with 2.3 g/t Au. The Contact Lake project is located in northern Saskatchewan. (www.kasnergroupco.com)
RAMPART VENTURES of Vancouver and NEW SHOSHONI VENTURES have created a joint venture to test the Wolfpup Lake and Black Sturgeon West claim groups covering uranium prospects in the Nipigon (Sibley) Basin northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont. Rampart has also entered into two other agreements to acquire six more properties in the Sibley Basin. The company hopes to prove that the similarities between its properties in northern Ontario and the Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan will sustain new mines. (Marshall Bertram, 604-736-5505 ext. 223)
Vancouver’s WESTERN PROSPECTOR GROUP has acquired five exploration licences in the Saddle Hills uranium basin in Mongolia. The licences include an 8-km-long formation known as the Gurvanbulag deposits that were the subject of extensive underground development by the Russians, including four shafts. A 1987 feasibility study indicates that these deposits contain 41.7 million lb of U3O8. (www.WesternProspector.com)
The potential to mine uranium in Mongolia has also attracted UGL ENTERPRISES of Vancouver. This company is reviewing several acquisition opportunities to go with its gold exploration licences in that country. (www.UGLenterprises.com)