VANCOUVER — Though junior Azincourt Uranium (TSXV: AAZ) is a relatively new arrival in the exploration game — the company completed its listing prospectus in April 2012 — it made waves early by locking down a piece of the highly-prospective Patterson Lake camp in Saskatchewan's Athabasca Basin via an option agreement with accomplished explorers Fission Uranium (TSXV: FCU).
When The Northern Miner spoke with Azincourt president and CEO Ted O'Connor in mid-August, he made it very clear that the company was placing a high priority on acquisition opportunities. O'Connor specifically mentioned searching for projects with in-situ uranium resources, and it looks like Azincourt has found a fit in a pair of assets in South America.
On Nov. 22 the company announced it had entered into a definitive share purchase agreement with joint-venture partners Cameco (TSX: CCO, NYSE: CCJ) and Vena Resources (TSE: VEM) to acquire 100% ownership of the resource-stage Macusani and earlier-stage Muñani exploration projects in the Puno department of south-eastern Peru.
Under terms of the agreement Cameco and Vena will each receive roughly $1 million, which will be composed of 2.5 million common shares valued at $750,000 plus a cash payment of $250,000. Share valuations were based on Azincourt's volume weighted average trading price over the 10 trading days prior to signing. Vena’s chairman and CEO Juan Vegarra will also join Azincourt’s board as an independent director.
Macusani has seen around $12 million in exploration, and is comprised of nine non-contiguous mineral concessions covering 49-sq.km. The project lies around 650 km due southeast of Lima and about 230 km by road north of the city of Juliaca. Uranium mineralization at Macusani is hosted in ignimbritic volcanic rhyolites, and is found in both fractures and as disseminated crystals within distinct zones.
The project has a partially-defined resources based on roughly 38,000 metres of drilling. Measured resources total around 9.3 million tonnes grading 0.025% U308 for 5.7 million contained lbs. U308, while indicated resources tack on 31 million tonnes averaging 0.018% U308 for 12.5 million contained lbs. Inferred resources add another 34 million tonnes grading 0.02% U308 for 17.4 million contained lbs.
“Based on the work in the region, we believe [Macusani] has tremendous exploration up-side. In particular, the uranium resources already identified have the future potential to be developed as open pit, acid heap leach operations with low capital and operating costs," commented O'Connor in a statement. "This forms part of Azincourt’s plan to acquire strong projects and in-ground uranium resources now in order to capitalize on the future uranium market turnaround.”
Munani occupies roughly 96-sq.km due east of the town of Crucero, and has yet to be drill tested. Previous field work has included regional scintillometer prospecting and radon surveys, as well as detailed geological mapping, sampling and limited trenching. Uranium mineralization has been found in both sandstone and intermediate volcanic rock outcrops, with
targets already established and prioritized for future drilling.
Meanwhile, Azincourt and Fission continue to advance towards an inaugural 3,000-metre drill program at the Patterson Lake North (PLN) joint venture in the Athabasca Basin. The companies reported on Nov. 18 that roughly 10 targets have been identified, with the program aimed at testing a northwest trending central conductive meta-sedimentary belt, as well as geophysical anomalies under Hodge Lake. Fission continues to act as operator at the project, with Azincourt funding roughly US$1.5 million in exploration this year under terms of its earn-in agreement.
Azincourt reported working capital of $1.6 million at the end of June, and has traded within a 52-week window of 8¢ and 35¢ on average trade volumes of 652,230 shares per day. The company closed at 28.5¢ at the time of writing, and maintains 28 million shares outstanding for an $8 million market capitalization.
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