The Patterson Lake region, located in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, is an emerging area for uranium exploration, development and production. Following the release of excellent drill results from joint venture partners Fission Uranium (TSXV:FCU) and Alpha Minerals (TSXV:AMW), many companies hoping to find a deposit of their own rushed to stake claims in the area.
The district has two significant structures: the Patterson Lake Conductor Corridor and the Dirksen Corridor. As Ben Ainsworth, president and CEO of Alpha, told Uranium Investing News earlier this year, the former runs northeast from the Patterson Lake South (PLS) property — a 50/50 joint venture between Alpha and Fission — up to the west side of Alpha’s claims and through Hook Lake. The Dirksen Corridor is a fertile series of conductors that head from the Forest Lake area on PLS ground through to what’s known as the Dirksen showing.
Many companies have properties or stakes in properties in the region, including Cameco (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ), Forum Uranium (TSXV:FDC) and NWT Uranium (TSXV:NWT). Their involvement ranges from exploration to production and other tasks in the extraction and distribution of uranium.
Here is a look at some of the juniors making strides in the region:
As mentioned, Fission Uranium is one of the companies involved in the PLS discovery. PLS is a high-grade, shallow-depth uranium discovery with four mineralized zones, and exploration is well underway. Fission is the operator of the project.
Fission Uranium was incorporated in February 2013 as a subsidiary of Fission Energy, but as a result of an April 2013 transaction that saw Denison Mines (TSX:DML,NYSEMKT:DNN) acquire Fission Energy, that relationship came to an end. The company holds additional properties on the western edge of the Athabasca Basin as well as properties in Macusani, Peru, also an emerging uranium district
Alpha Minerals holds uranium and gold properties throughout North America, though its main focus is the PLS project detailed above. Alpha will take over operating duties from Fission at the beginning of 2014.
Most recently, the companies reported assay results from four holes drilled in the R00E zone at PLS. One highlight was hole PLS13-079 — it returned 17.5 meters of 5.98-percent U3O8, including 5.5 meters of 19.51-percent U3O8.
Alpha also holds claims near the PLS property that are under exploration and development.
Zadar Ventures (TSXV:ZAD) is a uranium exploration company working in the Athabasca Basin and Whiskey Gap. Its PNE project is northeast of PLS and southeast of the Shea Creek project, another prolific uranium mining venture. The company hopes that because the PNE project lies along the same structural corridor as the PLS project, it will encounter uranium mineralization.
Zadar recently arranged $2 million in financing for its exploration activities.
Azincourt Uranium (TSXV:AAZ) is exploring solely in the Athabasca Basin. It recently partnered with Fission Uranium to explore the Patterson Lake North property, which is adjacent to PLS and near the Shea Creek project. The property has been explored in many ways, from airborne to ground surveys and a limited amount of drilling. Portions of the project are ready to be drilled, while other sites will soon be subjected to additional ground geophysical surveys and interpretation.
Azincourt and Fission recently announced that they have defined a north-south conductor system at Patterson Lake North and will begin drilling this winter.
Like the other companies mentioned, Aldrin Resource (TSXV:ALN) is focused on uranium exploration and development in the Patterson Lake region. The company recently entered an option agreement to acquire a 70-percent interest in the Triple M uranium property, which is south and west of Patterson Lake. Triple M encompasses six mineral exploration licenses in two blocks. The property, located just outside the margin of the Athabasca Basin, is expected to yield deposits of uranium when it is investigated.
NexGen Energy’s (TSXV:NXE) flagship property is the Radio uranium project, located in Athabasca Basin. It holds an exclusive option to acquire an initial 70-percent interest in the project and has the option to increase that to 100-percent ownership subject to a net smelter royalty of 2 percent.
The company’s aim is to create a portfolio of high-quality uranium assets that can be quickly developed. Most recently, NexGen announced the completion of the first phase of drilling at its Rook 1 property, which is located about 2.1 kilometers northeast of PLS.