Denison announces that its 2015 uranium exploration programs in the Athabasca basin have begun. During the year, Denison and its joint venture partners are planning to drill approximately 70,000 metres on the company's properties. "Denison's 2015 exploration plan for the Athabasca basin is fully funded and focuses on expanding the Gryphon zone discovery on the company's flagship Wheeler River property and exploring other high-priority properties with the potential for additional new discoveries," said Ron Hochstein, CEO of Denison.
Athabasca basin exploration
Denison will manage or participate in a total of 19 exploration programs (including 14 drilling programs), of which Wheeler River will continue to be the primary focus. The total budget for these programs is $23.1-million, of which Denison's share is $15.8-million.
At Denison's 60-per-cent-owned Wheeler River project, a 37,000-metre winter and summer drill program is planned along with geophysical surveys at a total cost of $10.0-million (Denison's share: $6.0-million). Drilling at Wheeler River will be focused on the Gryphon zone and will also include targets at Phoenix North and other areas of interest on the property. The Gryphon zone was discovered during the 2014 winter exploration program and drilling to date has resulted in several high-grade intersections. Mineralization at Gryphon is hosted in basement gneisses, ranging from 100 to 250 metres below the sub-Athabasca unconformity. The zone currently measures 350 metres long (along the plunge) by 60 metres wide (across the plunge) and consists of multiple stacked lenses with variable thicknesses that plunge to the northeast, and remain open both upplunge and downplunge. The Wheeler River property lies between the McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill complex in the Athabasca basin in Northern Saskatchewan. Denison's partners at Wheeler River are Cameco Corp. (30 per cent) and JCU (Canada) Exploration Company Ltd. (10 per cent).
In addition to the Wheeler River project, other significant winter drill programs are also planned for Mann Lake (30 per cent Denison, 8,000 metres), Crawford Lake (100 per cent Denison, 4,600 metres), Moore Lake (100 per cent Denison, 4,000 metres), Wolly (22.5 per cent Denison, 4,000 metres), Waterbury Lake (60 per cent Denison, 3,300 metres), Bell Lake (100 per cent Denison, 2,600 metres), Hatchet Lake (50 per cent Denison, 2,000 metres) and Murphy Lake (50 per cent Denison, 1,400 metres). The Mann Lake project is operated by Cameco and the Wolly project is operated by AREVA Resources Canada Inc. All other projects are operated by Denison.
Skyharbour Resources and Aben Resources:
Mann Lake Project:
The Mann Lake Uranium Project consists of one mineral claim covering 3,473 hectares located in the eastern Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan. The property is under a joint venture agreement with Aben Resources (TSX-V: ABN) owning 40% and Skyharbour owning the other 60% interest in the property. It occurs within a structural/conductor corridor that contains the richest uranium deposits in the world including Cameco’s McArthur River Mine.
Skyharbour’s Mann Lake Uranium Project has seen over $3 million of previous exploration expenditures including geophysics and two diamond drill programs totaling 5,400 metres carried out by Triex Minerals in 2006 and 2008. The geophysical surveys identified basement conductors and structural corridors containing reactivated basement faults. These features trend onto the adjacent ground held by Cameco. The 2006 drill program intersected a 4.5 metre wide zone of anomalous boron (up to 1,758 ppm) in the sandstone immediately above the unconformity in hole MN06-005. Boron enrichment is common at the McArthur River uranium mine, and along with illite and chlorite alteration, is a key pathfinder element for uranium deposits in the Basin. In the same drill hole, an altered basement gneissic rock with abundant clay, chlorite, hematite and calc-silicate minerals was intersected about 7.6 metres below the unconformity, and contained anomalous uranium up to 73.6 ppm over a 1.5 metre interval. Background uranium values are commonly between 1 and 5 ppm.
Skyharbour’s Mann Lake Uranium Project contains highly prospective geology and geochemistry, and a robust discovery potential as identified by the historic work. Additional field work and exploration has been recommended on a number of untested targets on the property.