The Athabasca Basin
The Athabasca Basin is renowned as a world-class uranium mining district that hosts the world’s richest uranium deposits. The uranium exploration and mining sector has a long history in this area of Canada dating back over 40 years. Both the provincial and federal government are pro-mining and the area has enjoyed sustained investment in infrastructure. Located to the south of Lake Athabasca, the Basin covers approximately 100,000 square kilometers in Saskatchewan and a small portion of Alberta.
Uranium was first discovered in the area in the 1940s, but it wasn’t until 1978 until the first mine was opened. Today, the Athabasca Basin is home to the McArthur River Uranium Mine, the world’s largest high-grade uranium deposit operated by Cameco Corp. You can learn more about the Athabasca Basin and uranium by visiting our Uranium 101 section.
East Preston Project
The significant potential of the western Athabasca basin has been highlighted by recent discoveries in the area by NexGen Energy (Arrow), Fission Uranium (Triple R) and a joint venture consisting of Cameco Corp., Areva Resources Canada Inc. and Purepoint Uranium Group Inc. (Spitfire). Through its involvement in the western Athabasca syndicate and the Preston uranium project, Skyharbour has been involved in a large regional exploration program in the relatively underexplored southwestern side of the Athabasca basin since 2013. In excess of $4.7-million in expenditures on the Preston uranium project have been incurred to date, including ground gravity, airborne and ground electromagnetics, radon, soil, silt, biogeochem, lake sediment, and geological mapping surveys, as well as two exploratory drill programs. Fifteen high-priority drill target areas associated with six prospective exploration corridors have been successfully delineated through this methodical, multi phased exploration initiative, which has culminated in an extensive, proprietary geological database for the project area.
Swoosh Target (East Preston)
In March 2014, Skyharbour and the Syndicate commenced an inaugural diamond-drilling program on the Preston Uranium Property in the southwest Athabasca Basin. Three initial target areas, out of a growing target base currently standing at fifteen, were selected by the Syndicate’s Technical Committee for immediate drilling based on encouraging fieldwork results and coincident anomalies from ground gravity, airborne and ground EM and magnetics (graphitic conductors and structures), radon, soil, biogeochem, lake sediment, and geological mapping surveys. This drill campaign represented the first modern-day drill exploration program on the Preston Uranium Property and consisted of approximately 2,000 metres of drilling in nine holes.
Six holes were completed to depths of between 200 and 360 metres downhole at the Swoosh target located on East Preston, while one hole was abandoned due to poor drilling conditions. Overburden depth varies from 4 to 38 metres and immediately overlies basement rock. All seven of the holes intersected a broad, hydrothermally altered and reactivated, structural zone. Five of the holes returned elevated radioactivity and intersected multiple graphitic units within sheared and altered basement lithologies. The alteration commonly consists of pervasive chlorite, hematite and clay development; features which are common to uranium mineralization in the Athabasca Basin. The Syndicate’s Technical Team considers these findings in the early stages of the first drill program to be a significant breakthrough towards locating shallow uranium mineralization.
Highlights of the Entire Preston Project
- Large land position and property package (approx. 121,249 hectares) strategically located to the south of and adjacent to NexGen Energy’s (TSX-V: NXE) Rook 1 project host to the high grade Arrow deposit, as well as proximal to Fission Uranium’s (TSX: FCU) Patterson Lake South (“PLS”) project host to the high grade Triple R deposit
- Binding Term Sheet signed with new partner company whereby they have option to earn a 70% interest in 52, hectares (of the total 121,249 hectare property) by spending $7.3 million exploration and $700,000 in cash over 6 years
- Western Athabasca Syndicate consisting of Skyharbour Resources and Clean Commodities as a partner with both companies owning a 50% interest; the goal of the strategic partnership is to explore and develop its large uranium property package in the western Athabasca Basin
- Over $4.7 million in exploration expenditures on the Preston Project over the past three years
- VTEM plus survey completed in August 2013 mapped over 300 kilometres of graphitic-type conductor segments, some approaching 10 kilometres in length, in the eastern blocks of the Preston Uranium Property
- Initial interpretation of the radiometric data has identified areas with elevated uranium counts that can be correlated along and between multiple lines which may indicate the presence of radioactive boulder trains or in situ uranium mineralization
- Radon surveys successfully identified a number of radon in water anomalies occurring both as clusters and as discrete point anomalies in places that appear to follow basement conductor trends identified by the 2013 VTEM survey
- Fifteen high-priority drill target areas associated with eight prospective exploration corridors have been successfully delineated through this extensive geophysics and ground evaluation
- The extensive field work data was used for final targeting of the first two exploratory drill program
- Initial drill programs consisted of approximately 3,300 metres in 14 holes
- Majority of the holes intersected broad, hydrothermally altered and reactivated, structural zones with several of the holes returning elevated radioactivity and intersecting multiple graphitic units within sheared and altered basement lithologies
- The alteration seen in several of these drill holes commonly consists of pervasive chlorite, hematite and clay development; features which are common to uranium mineralization in the Athabasca Basin
- Skyharbour’s Technical Team considers these findings in the early stages of drill testing to be a significant breakthrough towards locating shallow uranium mineralization
Patterson Lake North (PLN)
The Patterson Lake North property (PLN) lies adjacent and to the north of the Patterson Lake South property, owned by Fission Uranium Corp. (TSX-V:FCU) where uranium mineralization has been traced by core drilling at PLS over 2.24km (east-west strike length) in four separate mineralized “zones” (See Fission Uranium news release August 26, 2014)
PLN is prospective for hosting structurally controlled high-grade uranium mineralization that is often associated with basement graphitic shear zones within clay altered metasedimentary basement lithologies. These features have unique characteristics that can be identified by geophysical surveys.
PLN lies within a large basin scale NE trending gravity low structural corridor that also incorporates the adjacent PLS property. The former Cluff Lake mine (>60M lbs U3O8 produced) and the UEX-Areva Shea Creek deposits (42 km and 27 km to the north respectively) lie along the western margin of this structural feature. The recently discovered high-grade uranium mineralization found at PLS located 5.7 km to the south, also lies within this structural corridor. Coincidentally, PLN also lies within a complex magnetic corridor showing magnetic highs and lows and breaks in regional major features. Several EM anomalies are evident within PLN, including what may be interpreted to be the southern extension of the Saskatoon Lake EM conductor, which itself is associated with the Shea Creek deposit to the north.
To date Azincourt has spent $3M earning into PLN, primarily on targeting geophysics and diamond drilling. Prior to Azincourt’s involvement, Fission has spent ~$4.7M on exploration on PLN ranging from airborne to ground geophysics to a first-pass drilling of a few select targets. There are three separate target areas that are drill-ready. The first uranium mineralization was intersected on the central conductor system during summer 2014 drilling and follow up is necessary. The N and Broach Lake conductor systems in the north and south project area, respectively, are highly prospective targets that have yet to see drill testing.