Standard Uranium Ltd.(TSXV: STND) (OTCQB: STTDF) (Frankfurt: FWB:9SU) has acquired the Harrison uranium exploration project in the southwest Athabasca Basin through staking.
The company made the announcement on Friday, revealing that it had also doubled the size of the Ascent project by expanding it by 3,728 hectares. The company now owns eleven exploration properties, with over 209,867 acres across the basin.
The Harrison project comprises two mineral claims totalling 1,750 hectares. They’re situated 22 km SSE of the Shea Creek uranium deposits and about 30 km SE of the past-producing Cluff Lake uranium mine.
Electromagnetic (EM) surveys conducted in 2006-2007 outlined multiple EM zones across the project. Harrison covers approximately 6.8 km of NW-SE conductor trends coinciding with a prominent magnetic low.
The trend intersects several interpreted fault zones, including 4.9 km of the major Harrison fault. The project has never undergone drill testing and offers the company additional exploration exposure in the southwest Athabasca uranium district.
Standard Uranium sees potential in the newly acquired Harrison project for discovering high-grade unconformity-related uranium mineralization. The company plans to continue acquiring land through staking efforts as part of its strategy to expand its landholdings in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin.
“As we continue our low-cost staking efforts across the Basin, we aim to grow and diversify our portfolio of projects enabling Standard Uranium to drive forward with dedicated exploration and collaboration with other companies,” Sean Hillacre, President & VP Exploration for the company, said. “Picking up another piece of promising land in the southwest uranium district adds good value to our land package, in addition to doubling the size of Ascent.”
The airborne electromagnetic survey found anomalies
Standard Uranium holds complete interest in the Ascent project, which straddles the eastern boundary of the Athabasca Basin. The recently expanded project comprises four mineral dispositions totalling 7,464 hectares.
In 2022, the company conducted a helicopter-borne Xcite time domain electromagnetic (TDEM), magnetic, and radiometric survey over the project. The survey detected several conductive anomalies and radiometric variances on the Ascent Property, correlating with previous electromagnetic surveys and lake sediment geochemical anomalies.
This enhanced the resolution of the conductive trends on the project. Additionally, the magnetic survey contributed to the definition of potential fault systems and structural trends not previously identified.
Historical regional prospecting by operators also identified uranium enrichment in basement rocks located east of the Athabasca Basin edge, supporting the exploration model for shallow sandstone and basement-hosted uranium on the property.
The project expansion covers a suite of additional historical uranium anomalies, along with several more kilometers of the Athabasca Basin edge and prospective regional structural trends.
The current exploration model for the Ascent project is analogous to that of the J-Zone and Roughrider deposits, which are located proximal to a similar airborne EM target with dimensions of roughly 2-kilometers long by 1-kilometer wide.
The company interprets the Ascent EM target as representing a shallow-dipping conductive system. It will focus future exploration programs on it, drawing on the analogy of the J-Zone and Roughrider uranium deposits.
Nuclear power going through resurgence
The Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, is a highly sought-after destination for uranium investors due to its rich high-grade uranium deposits, favourable geological conditions, well-established mining infrastructure, stable political climate and strong commitment to nuclear energy.
Nuclear power has experienced a resurgence due to its role in combating climate change, advancements in safety and efficiency, energy security benefits, and its ability to provide stable baseload electricity alongside renewable energy sources. The basin will play a big part in this as demand increases.
Mining companies operating in the region will need to increase exploration efforts to discover new deposits or expand existing ones. This could lead to more drilling activities, development of new mines, and expansion of production at existing mines.
Accompanying the increased demand is a probable supply buildup owing to geopolitical issues.
The Cameco Corporation (TSX: CCO) (NYSE: CCJ) is the largest Canadian uranium company presently operating in the country. It’s drawn the majority of the demand during nuclear power’s re-emergence. Now that Kazakh uranium giant Kazatomprom (KAP) has announced a 20 per cent production shortfall due to a sulfuric acid shortage, Cameco is preparing to capitalize.
Cameco intends to increase production at its Port Hope facility. It’s aiming to produce between 13.5 million and 14.5 million kilograms of uranium (kgU), including 12 kgU of UF6. The company forecasts improved financial performance in 2024, expecting to generate strong cash flow.
If Cameco cannot meet the increased demand, other high-grade uranium companies in the Athabasca Basin could fill the gap. Some of these companies include NexGen Energy Ltd. (TSX: NXE) (NYSE: NXE), Fission Uranium Corp. (TSX: FCU), and ATHA Energy Corp. (CSE: SASK) (OTCQB: SASKF) (FRA: X5U).
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