Engineering & Mining Journal

APR 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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72 E&MJ • APRIL 2018 MINING IN SASKATCHEWAN & MANITOBA Saskatchewan's resource potential in con- junction with its stability from an economic and political standpoint should go a long way in stoking investor confidence in explo- ration activity. However, according to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Economy, explo- ration spending has declined year-on-year since 2014, estimated at C$177 million in 2017 against C$199 million in 2016. Attracting investment in current market conditions hinges in great part on the knowl- edge that, while commodity prices may cur- rently be low, exploration activity must be fueled in order to take advantage of an up- turn when it comes around. In line with this, although uranium attractiveness is currently declining for mature operators, it seems to be picking up again for the juniors. While producers such as Cameco must adapt and scale down in line with the commod- ity's demand profile, juniors are aware that they must be more active now to be ready to service uranium demand when it picks up, probably in the next five to ten years. Companies with promising uranium projects include Fission Energy, Denison Mines, Nex- Gen, ISO Energy and ALX Uranium Corp. Fission Uranium's Triple R uranium de- posit at Patterson Lake South is believed by the company to be the most significant high grade, near-surface project in the Athabasca basin. In February 2018 Fission upped its indicated resource estimate to 87.76 million lb of uranium oxide (U 3 0 8 ), based on 2.19 million mt grading on average 1.82% U 3 0 8 , and doubled its inferred resource estimate to 52.85 million lb of U 3 0 8 , based on 1.33 million mt grading on average 1.8% U 3 0 8 . Fission expects to further update its resource estimates as a result of its 2018 drilling pro- gram. "Overall, it is one of the best metal discoveries of its time; it ticks all the boxes… Infrastructure wise, there is a road that goes almost right in the middle of our property which runs 365 days a year. We will need to build a mill but with NexGen's Energy's Arrow project close by there will be a lot of uranium that needs processing given their deposit includes about 200 million lb," said Dev Randhawa, CEO and chairman, Fission Uranium. Reflecting strong investor interest, including $82 million for 20% of the com- pany secured from Chinese investors CGN Mining Co., the company has no immediate financing needs. In summer 2017, Denison put 64 drill holes in at its Wheeler River and Griffin de- posit, 44 of which were targeted outside of the existing resource estimate. 91% of the total were mineralized, many outside the existing resource. However, despite this and the team's excellent track record following the discovery of the Phoenix and Gryphon de- posits over the last few years, the company failed to gain traction due to market apathy regarding uranium stock. "With Wheeler Riv- er producing, we would be the fifth-largest uranium mine in the world based on our PEA mine planning and two to three times the size of the entire U.S. uranium mining busi- ness," commented David Cates, president and CEO at Denison Mines. "We are trying to become an intermediate uranium producer, which is a sparse space for investors. Cur- rently there is Cameco, a C$6 billion plus company, which would have been followed by Paladin Energy before it went into admin- istration, or very small-scale U.S. operators. So, there is literally a C$6 billion gap wait- ing to be filled. With the C$6 million to C$7 Advancing Exploration Preparing for an Upturn Mineral exploration expenditures in Saskatchewan 2012-2017e (C$M) Source: Ministry of Economy's Saskatchewan Geological Survey Environmental remediation employee at the Lorado mine and mill site. Photo courtesy of Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC). 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 C$M Uranium Diamonds Gold Base Metals / PGM Industrial Minerals 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017e

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