VANCOUVER — It’s been a busy year for explorer Forum Uranium (TSXV: FDC; US-OTC: FDCFF), with a pair of drill programs on opposing margins of Saskatchewan’s prolific Athasbasca basin.
The company’s sizable regional uranium portfolio is geographically diverse, but its two most active assets include a stake in the Northwest Athabasca joint venture — alongside partners Areva, Cameco (TSX: CCO; NYSE: CCJ) and junior NexGen Energy (TSXV: NXE) — and the wholly owned Clearwater project, which sits next to Fission Uranium’s (TSXV: FCU, US-OTC: FCUUF) Patterson Lake South (PLS) discovery.
The latter is the result of staking ahead of a regional rush around Patterson Lake after Fission’s inaugural drill holes, with Forum scoring a 99 sq. km property position adjoining PLS to the southwest. Since the area is unexplored Clearwater is at the greenfield stage, and the company’s 2,300-metre drill initiative in early 2014 was a scout program.
“It was sort of a broad-brush testing program. Five targets ended up hitting some pretty nice zones, with good structures and strong graphitic conductors,” president and CEO Richard Mazur said during a phone interview. “The alteration was minor, though there are signs of fluids passing through the structural trends with that elevated radioactivity. The trick for us will be focusing and prioritizing on the targets that look to have the right sign posts. We’ll wait on the results to analyze those geochemical pathfinder elements.”
Forum focused on nine widely spaced targets, including a number of gravity lows, radon anomalies and electromagnetic (EM) conductors both on strike and running parallel to the PLS trend. Drilling identified five major structural trends with reactivated graphitic-shear zones, alteration and localized radioactivity.
The company reported all its EM conductor targets intersected brecciated graphite–pyrite in reactivated faults, with two holes — 7 and 8 — returning “a mix of strong chloritization, variable bleaching and localized secondary hematite, indicating oxidized fluids.”
Meanwhile, Forum saw some promising signs at its Mongo target, which it interprets as the southwestern extension of the Patterson Lake structure, with hole 5 returning what the company describes as “elevated radioactivity” from minor graphite, brittle–ductile breccia zones. The company also tested targets along what it calls the “eastern arm” of the PLS structure, with hole 9 intersecting strongly altered and corroded, weakly graphitic pelitic gneiss with locally elevated radioactivity.
“Mongo is one of the interpreted structures. We only have one hole in it so far, but that was a definite positive for us,” Mazur continued. “It’s a wide corridor on the Fission property that extends onto ours. We need to follow the Mongo trend, which is kind of bending around and going into a north–northeast direction. We like drilling in those areas where you get a flexure in the fault structure and a bit of dilation. It’s definitely an interesting start, and we have kilometres of structure to follow.”
Forum’s other exploration initiative to start the year involved a 2,900-metre drill program at the Maurice Bay deposit on the Northwest Athabasca project. Forum shares a 64% stake in the property with NexGen, and the companies were looking to confirm historic high-grade mineralization identified by previous operators. Cameco holds a 23.5% stake, while Areva accounts for the remaining 12.5% interest.
On May 1 Forum reported that three of the five exploration targets — including Otis West, Zone A and Maurice Bay East — returned positive results. Maurice Bay has a historic resource of 600,000 tonnes grading 0.6% uranium oxide (U3O8).
Three holes punched at Otis West extended the mineralized strength length at the target by 40% to 70 metres. The company reports that mineralization, which is hosted in the basement rocks, remains open to the east. Otis West extends for 400 metres as a strong gravity low along the Otis fault, which runs parallel to the Maurice Bay fault.
“Cameco hasn’t participated since we formed the joint venture, because they are taking a step back to focus more on brownfield opportunities. We ran this year’s program alongside Areva, so there will be some slight dilution on the Cameco and NexGen interests,” Mazur added. “These targets are near-surface and in the basement. Otis is huge alteration zone that could be compared to Rio Tinto’s (NYSE: RIO, LSE: RIO) Roughrider deposit. We only popped a couple holes up there, but we did extend Otis to the east. It definitely warrants a follow up.”
At Zone A three holes were drilled to target an interpreted north–south strike extension of a previous intercept that graded 1.34% U3O8 over 3 metres from 90 metres downhole. Hole 77, located 15 metres north, intersected elevated radiometrics in three sections in the overlying sandstone, including above the unconformity at a 71-metre depth.
Forum closed a $3-million private placement in late March, wherein in issued 4.5 million flow-through units at 55¢ per unit and 1.14 common units at 50¢ each. The company has traded within a 52-week window of 25¢ to 68¢, and closed up 10% after its confirmation results at Maurice Bay, en route to a 28¢ close at press time. Forum has 30.2 million shares outstanding for an $8.5-million market capitalization.
“Our activity going forward will really be a function of the market and potential financings,” Mazur said, noting the impact of a recent dip in uranium prices.
Forum has $1 million in flow-through and $2.5 million in hard dollars, which Mazur said “could keep the company afloat for a couple of years.”
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