VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Vancouver-based uranium explorer NexGen Energy has reported the scintillometer results for 54 winter drill holes comprising 30 208 m from its flagship Rook I project, in Northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca basin, reporting positive results on targets tested and outlining two new discoveries.
Currently called the ‘A0 Shear’ and ‘160 m NW of A0 Shear’, NexGen this week said the last drill hole of the winter exploration campaign intersected off-scale mineralisation at the 160 m NW of A0 Shear target, opening a possible new trend to test for high-grade uranium mineralisation.
The Arrow deposit remains open in most directions and there is great potential for other high-grade discoveries close to the deposit.
“While new discoveries are interesting, Arrow is already massive at over 300-million pounds of uranium, and we believe many investors have eyes on project development,” Eight Capital analyst David Talbot said in a note to clients.
An updated resource estimate and prefeasibility study are due in the second half of the year and will include ongoing geotechnical, hydrogeological and metallurgical work. A preliminary economic assessment and the nature of the A2 Shear high-grade zone suggest that Arrow may eventually host the largest uranium mine in the world at 27-million pounds of uranium oxide a year, the analyst pointed out.
“But this is a long-term project, and development will likely have to go underground, meaning permits are required for that too. That said, similar Athabasca deposits have turned out even better than initially expected once tested underground. As NexGen Energy continues to become a brand name in the uranium sector, the stock has rallied 17% over the past month as most of the sector remains flat while waiting for uranium prices to turn,” Talbot stated.
NexGen reported that while the A0 shear was known, this was the first significant mineralisation to be found on it, 33 m of total composite mineralisation within intensive alternation within a 67.5 m section in hole -187c3. The thickness appears excellent but might need further testing to find higher grades as only 0.3 m reported off-scale or >10 000 counts per second (cps) radioactivity.
The new discovery at 160 m NW of A0 Shear returned 10.5 m of total composite mineralisation, that included 0.2 m of off-scale radioactivity over a 182.5 m section (562 m to 744.5 m) in hole -208c1. This area has yet to be defined but mineralisation appears open in all directions. While grades and zone thicknesses are a bit light, alteration is intense and the “smoke” along this shear suggests potential to the NW of the A0 to A5 shears currently being targeted.
Meanwhile, NexGen reported positive results on previously known shears. At the A1 and A2 shears, the company succeeded in expanding mineralisation. Hole -189c4 returned up to 40 m of mineralisation, including 3.9 m off-scale cps within a 54 m wide section that helped expand mineralisation on both shears to the northeast, beyond the limits of existing resources.
The company also intersected 28.5 m of total composite mineralisation at the A2 shear zone, including 5.3 m off-scale (-186c1) expanded zone thickness and extended beyond current resource limits. Another intercept of 36 m of total composite mineralisation, including 5.1 m off-scale (-200c2) increased zone thickness down dip of the A2 high-grade zone, contained within the lower-grade envelope.
Further, drilling on the A3 shear zone returned successful infill drilling results, helping to upgrade the confidence in the resource model.
Meanwhile, NexGen also reported that 175 m to the south of Arrow, another 9.5 m of total composite mineralisation, including 0.1 m off-scale (-199c1), highlighted the need for further work to develop this 240-m-long and 300-m-high zone.
"The targeted winter drill campaign focused on converting Inferred to Indicated resources, expanding the overall footprint in previously untested areas and understanding future growth potential of Arrow. All of these were successfully achieved and with the discovery of the A0, intense mineralisation 160 m to the northwest of the A0, and to the northeast of the A1 and A2 shears, suggests substantial drilling is required to determine the ultimate extent of Arrow,” CEO Leigh Curyer said in a statement.
The company advised that the geology team are already planning for a summer 2018 exploration and development programme.
The company’s TSX-listed equity gained about 10% on Wednesday to an intraday high of C$2.79 a share.