Vancouver — The deep uranium deposits at Shea Creek keep growing for Areva (ARVCF-O) subsidiary Areva Resources Canada and earn-in partner UEX (UEX-T, UEXCF-O), both of which enjoyed a share price boost on the latest drill results from the Athabasca basin uranium project.
Shea Creek hosts three U3O8 deposits called Kianna, Anne and Colette. Mineralization at Kianna is found in multiple zones at depths from 662 to 922 metres from above the unconformity through to the basement rocks, and has been traced over a 200-metre strike length and a 150-metre width. Kianna has been the focus of drilling for the past two years. At Anne, mineralization has been traced over a strike length of 250 metres and a width of 100 metres.
A fall drilling program began in September, and to date, the results of six holes have been released. One drill focused on the Anne deposit, which is currently open in all directions. The other two drills explored the area between the Kianna and Anne deposits, where historical drilling intersected mineralization in 9 out of 13 holes drilled. The two deposits are some 600 metres apart.
The first hole drilled into the Anne deposit since 2004 returned 4.73% U3O8 over 33.7 metres from 714 metres depth, including 3.6 metres grading 23.21% U3O8. A second zone of basement mineralization started at 773 metres depth and returned 11.4 metres of 1.24% U3O8. The results make hole 122-1 one of the five best holes ever drilled at Shea Creek. The second hole at Anne also intersected mineralization — 1.16% U3O8 over 6.8 metres from 736 metres depth.
Collared between the Kianna and Anne deposits, hole 123-2 hit the unconformity at 800 metres depth and cut 4.9 metres grading 2.8% U3O8. A second intersection starting 826 metres down-hole returned 0.5% U3O8 over 2.7 metres. Similarly, hole 121-2 returned 1.13% U3O8 over 3.8 metres from 723 metres depth, followed by 0.88% U3O8 over 2 metres from 748 metres depth.
The two remaining holes for which results have been released were also collared in the prospective zone between Kianna and Anne. Hole 121-1 intersected perched-style mineralization in the sandstone above the unconformity for 5.5 metres grading 0.17% U3O8. And hole 123-1, also between Kianna and Anne, intersected breccias just above the unconformity that graded 0.37% U3O8 over 2.1 metres.
Exploration for uranium mineralization in the western Athabasca basin to find another deposit like Cluff Lake, which produced 63 million lbs. uranium, took off the in 1990s. Airborne and ground geophysics identified a conductor at Shea Creek and in 1992, the second hole drilled on the property intersected uranium.
Of the 159 historical holes drilled at Shea Creek, 113 intersected uranium mineralization, with 56 intersections grading over 1% U3O8. Areva has been working on the project since 2004. No National Instrument 43-101-compliant resources have been calculated because exploration continues to identify new zones.
There are three types of uranium mineralization at Shea Creek:
* Basement-hosted mineralization found in zones up to 200 metres below the unconformity, at Kianna and Anne;
* Perched sandstone-hosted pervasive and fracture-controlled pitchblende-bearing mineralization found in discrete zones tens of metres above the unconformity, at Kianna; and
* Unconformity-type disseminated, nodular, and massive mineralization close to the unconformity, the primary mineralization found at all three deposits.
The Shea Creek deposits lie along a 2.8-km strike length of the north-northwest-trending Saskatoon Lake graphitic conductor, which is displaced by a southwest-dipping reverse fault. Areas of clay alteration and chlorite-dravite brecciation associated with uranium mineralization occur near fault strands. The overlying Athabasca sandstone ranges in depth from 700 to 800 metres. Due to the sandstone depth, wedges are drilled from a master pilot hole to achieve closely spaced holes.
Areva is planning to submit applications for an underground exploration shaft and related test mining facilities. The shaft will be located between the Kianna and Anne deposits to provide underground access to both, as well as to the prospective corridor between them. Both UEX and Areva believe the full potential of Shea Creek will only be apparent when the exploration shaft is complete.
UEX has earned a 40% interest in 10 western Athabasca basin projects from Areva, the operator for all projects, by spending more than $27.5 million on exploration and development. By spending $30 million, UEX will raise its interest to 49%, a target it expects to meet in the first quarter of 2008.
The latest results from Shea Creek boosted UEX’s share price by 57 to close at $8.46 on 3 million shares traded. The company has a 52-week trading range of $3.70-9.30 with 182 million shares issued. Areva also enjoyed a jump on the news, rising 1.09% to close at 739.43 euros.