Trench Metals (TSXV: TMC) expects its first assay results from the Gorilla Lake uranium project in the Cluff Lake area of Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin before the end of the fourth quarter.
The junior, which has the right to acquire a 100% stake in the project, kicked off its summer drill program in July, which includes geological mapping, surface sampling and short hole drilling utilizing back-pack drills capable of reaching depths of up to nine metres.
“Canada’s Athabasca Basin will be essential for providing a reliable source of uranium, not just for Canada, but for the world,” Trench Metals CEO Simon Cheng writes in an email, noting the uranium-rich district accounts for about 18% of the world’s uranium production and hosts Cameco’s (TSX: CCO; NYSE: CCJ) McArthur River and Cigar Lake mines. Cigar Lake is the world’s highest-grade uranium mine and its McArthur River/Key Lake asset is the world’s largest high-grade uranium operation.
Cheng also points out that demand for uranium is expected to grow significantly in the years ahead.
“China and India together account for nearly three billion people and they are making a big move to nuclear with 25 new power plants by 2027 and nearly 60 more already planned,” he says. “Add to this the work being done on small rapidly deployable nuclear reactors capable of powering smaller cities and the demand for uranium will only increase.”
The 7,000-hectare Gorilla Lake project is near the Shea Creek project, a joint-venture between UEX (TSX: UEX) (49.1%) and Orano (50.9%), and one of the largest undeveloped uranium resources in the basin. The project — about 23 km south of Gorilla Lake — has indicated resources of 1.87 million tonnes grading 1.54% U308 for 63.57 million lb. contained U308 and another 1.07 million inferred tonnes grading 1.04% U308 for 24.53 million lb. U308. The resource estimate used a cut-off grade of 0.30% U308.
Trench Metals has four drills turning at Gorilla Lake.
Uranium exploration in the area of Gorilla Lake has been ongoing since the late 1950s with two major periods of work. The first was associated with the discovery of the Cluff Lake deposits in the early to mid-1970s by Amok (Orano) and Numac Oil and Gas. The second phase started in 2004.
During this second phase, uranium mineralization was intersected in drill holes CLU-01 and CLU-07, and according to Trench Metals was associated with a virtually untested structure extending over 700 metres. This structure represents a prime target for further drilling.
In 2005, Fugro Airborne Surveys completed an airborne magnetic and MEGATEM survey over the Cluff Lake area that included the Gorilla Lake property (Fugro Airborne Surveys, 2005). In 2016, a gravity survey carried out in the northern portion of the Gorilla Lake property identified two significant gravity anomalies to the east and west of Gorilla Lake and confirmed a third geophysical anomaly approximately 1,500 metres south of Gorilla Lake.
Cheng believes Trench Metals is in the right place at the right time.
“We are excited about this opportunity to be a part of discoveries that will power our future,” he says. “With world wide demand for electricity set to skyrocket and with more than 50 reactors set to come online in the next six years, the uranium that will fuel those reactors will be in high demand.”