A look at the largest Canadian uranium resources that are majority owned by junior miners. Most are found in Saskatchewan’s prolific Athabasca Basin.
Uranium market watchers have been waiting for a catalyst to move prices for years, and some experts believe that catalyst came a couple of weeks ago.
On November 9, major miner Cameco (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ) announced plans to suspend production at its McArthur River mine and Key Lake milling operations. McArthur River is located in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, and if it remains offline for 10 months as Cameco has outlined, global uranium production will be reduced by 15 million pounds.
“This is the type of supply side shock that is positive for the market, but negative for Cameco in the short term,” Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Rob Chang commented at the time. He also noted, “[t]hese are necessary moves that reduce losses and actively help fix the global supply situation.”
With investors now searching for companies that may benefit from a potential uranium price rise, we’ve put together a list of the top Canadian uranium resources held by juniors. All companies included are the majority owner of a Canadian uranium project with a NI 43-101 resource estimate, and are listed on the TSX or TSXV. If we’ve missed a company that fits those criteria, please let us know in the comments.
1. NexGen Energy (TSX:NXE,NYSEAMERICAN:NXE)
Exploration and development company NexGen Energy is focused on the Athabasca Basin, where it holds over 259,000 hectares of land. Its main asset is its 100-percent-owned Rook I uranium property, which hosts the Arrow, Harpoon, Bow and Cannon discoveries.
According to an updated resource estimate published in March 2016, Arrow has an indicated resource of 179.5 million pounds of U3O8 contained within 1.1 million tonnes grading 6.88 percent U3O8, including a high-grade core of 164.9 million pounds of U3O8 contained within 0.4 million tonnes grading 18.84 percent U3O8. The deposit’s inferred resource stands at 122.1 million pounds of U3O8 contained within 4.25 million tonnes grading 1.3 percent U3O8.
2. Fission Uranium (TSX:FCU)
Fission Uranium owns 100 percent of the Athabasca Basin-based Paterson Lake South (PLS) uranium project, which hosts the Triple R deposit. PLS was discovered in 2012, and major new high-grade zones have been identified each year since that time.
The current resource estimate for Triple R, as detailed in a preliminary economic assessment filed in September 2015, shows an indicated resource of 2,011,000 tonnes at 1.83 percent U3O8 containing 81,111,000 pounds of U3O8; that includes the R780E high-grade zone, which holds an estimated 45,079,000 pounds of U3O8 at 18.22 percent U3O81.
Triple R’s inferred resource stands at 785,000 tonnes grading 1.57 percent U3O8 containing 27,157,000 pounds of U3O8; that also includes the R780E high-grade zone, which is estimated to contain 13,898,000 pounds of U3O8 at 25.06 percent U3O81.
3. Denison Mines (TSX:DML,NYSEAMERICA:DNN)
Denison Mines is another exploration and development company focused on the Athabasca Basin. Its main asset is its 60-percent-owned Wheeler River project, which hosts the high-grade Phoenix and Gryphon deposits. Denison is the operator of Wheeler River, and Cameco and JCU (Canada) Exploration Company own stakes of 30 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
For the Phoenix and Gryphon deposits combined, the indicated resource is 166,400 tonnes at an average grade of 19.14 percent U3O8 containing 70.2 million pounds of U3O8. The inferred resource for both deposits is 842,600 tonnes at an average grade of 2.37 percent U3O8 containing 44.1 million pounds of U3O8.
4. UEX (TSX:UEX)
UEX also operates in the Athabasca Basin, and has a number of key uranium assets in the area. Its main projects include Christie Lake, in which it has a 30-percent stake, Hidden Bay and Shea Creek, in which it has a 49.1-percent stake.
In addition to those properties, UEX holds the 100-percent-owned Horseshoe-Raven project, which has an indicated resource of 35,044,000 pounds of U3O8 contained within 10,293,600 tonnes grading 0.154 percent U3O8. Horseshoe-Raven’s inferred resource stands at 2,715,000 pounds of U3O8 contained within 1,109,200 tonnes grading 0.111 percent U3O8.
5. Kivalliq Energy (TSXV:KIV)
Kivalliq Energy’s flagship project is the 275,469-acre Angilak property in Nunavut, which it says is the highest-grade uranium deposit outside the Athabasca Basin. Angilak hosts the Lac 50 Trend deposit, which has an inferred resource of 2,831,000 tonnes grading 0.69 percent U3O8 for a total of 43.3 million pounds of U3O8. The company continues to highlight Angilak’s district-scale potential.
In addition to Angilak, which it wholly owns, Kivalliq holds the Baker Basin uranium project in Nunavut, along with the Hatchet Lake and Genesis uranium properties in the Athabasca Basin. It also owns 100 percent of the Baffin gold project in Nunavut.
Other companies with Canadian uranium resources
- IsoEnergy (TSXV:ISO) — IsoEnergy’s Nunavut-based Mountain Lake deposit has a historic inferred resource of 8.2 million pounds U3O8 with an average grade of 0.23 percent U3O8 contained in 1.6 million tonnes.
- Skyharbor Resources (TSXV:SYH) — Skyharbour Resources’ Falcon Point project has an inferred resource of 7 million pounds at an average grade of 0.03 percent U3O8 and 5.3 million pounds at an average grade of 0.023 percent thorium. The resource is located at the JNR Fraser Lakes Zone B area of the south end of the property.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Kivalliq Energy is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.
This is a previous version of the article above. Please scroll to the top for the updated version of the article.
Top Canadian Uranium Resources Held by Junior Miners
By Kristen Moran, November 2015
Those interested in the uranium space know that Canada has some major uranium hot spots, including the Athabasca Basin, which contains the highest-grade uranium deposits in the world.
It’s thus unsurprising that many junior explorers are developing world-class uranium projects in the Great White North. With that in mind, the Investing News Network has put together an overview of the top Canadian uranium resources held by junior mining companies. The list is based on the largest deposits at a single property and only those that the junior company has a majority interest in. The numbers are based on the NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate at each property/deposit and takes the pounds of U3O8 and the grade into consideration.
Denison Mines: Phoenix and Gryphon
Denison (TSX:DML,NYSEMKT:DNN) just significantly increased what was already an impressive estimated mineral resource at its Wheeler River property in Northern Saskatchewan with the addition of the Gryphon deposit. The Gryphon deposit’s inferred mineral resource of 43 million pounds U3O8 adds to the indicated resource of 70.2 million pounds U3O8 at the Phoenix deposit.
All in all, Wheeler River now contains an indicated mineral resource of 70.2 million pounds U3O8 grading 19.1 percent U3O8 and an inferred mineral resource of 44.1 million pounds U3O8 at a combined grade of 2.4 percent U3O8.
This new mineral resource means Wheeler River has become the largest undeveloped project in Athabasca Basin. It also means that the property is now the third-largest resource in Canada behind McArthur River and Cigar Lake.
Fission Uranium: Triple R
Fission (TSX:FCU) released its resource estimate for the Triple R deposit, located at its Patterson Lake South project, in January, significantly surpassing the expectations of most analysts. The project boasts an indicated mineral resource of 79.6 million pounds; that includes 44.3 million pounds U3O8 at 18.21 percent U3O8. Meanwhile, its inferred resource stands at 25.9 million pounds U3O8 including 13.9 million pounds U3O8 at 26.35 percent U3O8.
A preliminary economic assessment for Triple R, released in September, shows that it could be one of the lowest-cost uranium operations in the world.
Kivalliq Energy: Lac 50
Kivalliq (TSXV:KIV) increased the resource estimate for its Lac 50 deposit by 60 percent in January; the area accounts for just a portion of its 100-percent owned 340,268-acre Angilak property in Nunavut. Lac 50’s inferred mineral resource comes to an estimated 43.4 million pounds U3O8 at an average grade of 0.69 percent U3O8. More recently, the company has shifted its focus to the Dipole discovery at the Angilak property and it’s evident from recent drilling that this deposit is similar to Lac 50, meaning the potential for a much larger resource is there.
UEX: Horseshoe and Raven
UEX (TSX:UEX) has interests in various uranium deposits in the Athabasca Basin, but the ones boasting the largest mineral resource estimates are located at its 100-percent-owned Hidden Bay project. The total indicated mineral resource for the Horseshoe and Raven deposits, both of which are at Hidden Bay, is 35,044,000 pounds U3O8 at 0.155 percent U3O8 and the total inferred resource is 2.7 million pounds at a cut-off of 0.05 percent U3O8.
Other promising Canadian uranium projects
NexGen Energy: Arrow
While NexGen (TSXV:NXE) has yet to complete its maiden resource for the Rook 1 property in the Athabasca Basin, drilling at the Arrow zone has continued to intersect high-grade uranium and expand the area. The company said it will focus the rest of 2015 on compiling data to be included in a maiden NI 43-101 resource estimate, which is due in the first half of 2016. Cantor Fitzgerald senior analyst Rob Chang said the firm estimates that Arrow contains 127.3 million pounds U3O8 at an average grade of 0.75 percent.
However, the upcoming assays from the 33,010-meter summer drill program may change that. “We expect positive results from the upcoming 26 assays that will likely increase our 127.3 million pounds U3O8 estimate,” Chang said in October.
Securities Disclosure: I, Kristen Moran, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.