VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Junior explorer Fission Uranium has reported an increase of about 30% in the total compliant indicated and inferred resources at its flagship Triple R deposit, in North-Western Saskatcewan.
The Kelowna, British Columbia-based company on Tuesday said the resource estimate for the Triple R deposit now spans the R1515W, R840W, R00E, R780E and R1620E zones, and essentially doubled the inferred resource by some 95%, while the amount of pounds of uranium in the indicated resource rose 8%.
TSX-listed Fission noted that the increase in the indicated resource is mainly owing to infill drilling on the R780E zone, while the increase in the inferred resource is attributable to the discovery and delineation of the R1620E, R840W, and R1515W zones.
Importantly, Fission highlighted that the significant increase in the overall resource has been achieved with discreet spending during the last three years of low uranium prices.
The Triple R deposit is now estimated to contain 87.76-million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8) in the indicated resource category, based on 2.19-million tonnes grading on average 1.82% U3O8, and includes the R780E high-grade zone that holds 48.25-million pounds U3O8 within 119 000 t, at a grade of 18.39% U3O8.
The inferred mineral resource category now holds about 52.85-million pounds of U3O8, based on 1.33-million tonnes grading on average 1.8% U3O8, including the R780E high-grade zone that contains 14.71-million pounds U3O8, held in 32 000 t at an average grade of 20.85% U3O8.
Fission said it is already targeting further growth of the R1515W zone in the current winter 2018 programme and expects to continue exploration and resource growth in subsequent exploration campaigns. The 2018 winter drill programme is also focussing on geotechnical data gathering, and infill drilling in the R780E zones, as part of preparing a prefeasibility study (PFS) for Triple R.
Fission believes the latest Triple R resource estimate has elevated Triple R as the most significant large near-surface, high-grade, undeveloped uranium deposit in the Athabasca Basin region. "This resource estimate reaffirms Fission's Triple R deposit as an elite deposit in a group of high-grade uranium deposits of the Athabasca Basin region," the company stressed.
Fission also announced an increase in the size of Triple R's gold resource. Gold mineralisation occurs within all of the zones of the Triple R deposit, and the current resource estimate shows an increase in both the indicated and inferred categories.
Triple R now hosts 39 200 oz of gold in the indicated resource category, held in 2.19-million tonnes grading 0.56 g/t gold, and 24 000 oz of gold in the inferred category, based on 1.33-million tonnes of mineralisation grading 0.56 g/t gold.
The company believes the increased gold mineralisation has the potential to enhance the economics of the deposit.
Through successful exploration programmes completed to date, Triple R has evolved into a large, near-surface, basement hosted, structurally controlled high-grade uranium deposit. Fission expects to further update the resource model following the 2018 drilling programme. The deposit remains open in multiple directions and the current drill programme will focus extensively on the R1515W zone, the company advised.
Fission's TSX-listed equity gained about 4.22% on Tuesday to change hands at about C$0.74 apiece in the afternoon session.
DENISON NEARLY DOUBLES GRYPHON ORES
Meanwhile, Toronto-based explorer Denison Mines recently announced that the compliant indicated mineral resource at its Wheeler River project, located on the south-eastern side of the Athabasca Basin, has grown 88%, taking into account the latest updated data for the Gryphon deposit.
The Gryphon deposit is estimated to contain 61.9-million pounds of U3O8, held in 1.6-million tonnes grading 1.71% U3O8 in the indicated resource category, as well as 1.9-million pounds held in 73 000 t, at an average grading of 1.18% U3O8 in the inferred resource classification.
Wheeler River is also host to the Phoenix deposit, which Denison estimates to contain 70.2-million pounds of U3O8, held in 166 000 t grading 19.1% U3O8 in the indicated category, with 1.1-million pounds of U3O8 held in 9 000 t grading 1.7% U3O8 in the inferred category.
Denison last year sanctioned moving the Wheeler River project to the PFS stage. An April 2016 preliminary economic assessment that used a uranium price of $44/lb, calculated a pre-tax net present value of C$513-million for Wheeler River, and an internal rate of return of 20.4%. Cash operating costs for ore mined from the Gryphon deposit is pegged at C$14.28/lb and from Phoenix at $22.15/lb.
Denison owns a 66.3% stake and is the operator of Wheeler River, in joint venture with Canada's uranium major Cameco and private investment vehicle JCU Exploration.