Will Lightning Strike A Third Time For Dr. Boen Tan?
A Renowned Exploration Geologist Is Pursuing Another Major Uranium Deposit in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin In late January, Cameco Corp’s director of advanced exploration tantalized the audience at Vancouver’s Minerals Exploration Roundup, discussing the geology, and especially the size, of his company’s Millennium uranium deposit. Drill indicated resources are estimated at 449,000 tonnes with a grade of 4.63 percent uranium oxide. Additional tonnage is inferred at the lesser grade of 1.81 percent, but still a respectable grade by anyone’s calculations (one percent of uranium oxide is reportedly comparable to about 50 grams of gold). Because of soaring spot uranium prices, this deposit’s gross value might someday conceivably exceed $2.
4 billion. “The geological setting of the Key Lake Road shear zone is quite similar to the Millennium deposit,” Dr. Boen Tan told StockInterview. “The Key Lake Road shear zone is located within the same north-northeastern structural trend as the Millennium deposit.” Cameco’s (NYSE: CCJ) director of advanced exploration, Charles Roy, called the Millennium uranium deposit, “the most significant new basement discovery in more than 30 years.
” News reports suggest the Millennium discovery could host a resource of 57 million pounds of uranium oxide. The Millennium deposit is located north of the former world-class Key Lake uranium mine and south of two of the world’s highest grade uranium deposits, McArthur River and Cigar Lake. So why is Dr. Tan evaluating a relatively early stage exploration project against one of the world’s most recent and highly lucrative uranium discoveries? Most junior companies exploring in Canada’s Athabasca Basin, or for that matter any junior natural resource company, are unduly sanguine about measuring their property’s exploration prospects in relation to a major, often recently discovered, world-class deposit. All too frequently such “closeology” (“we’re close to the big deposit so we can find an elephant, too) comparisons are deceptive and misleading. In many investment circles, it has become a cliché. However, when the comparison comes from a highly regarded exploration geologist, such as Boen Tan, one should pay attention. Especially when Dr. Tan talks about his geological insights regarding the greater Key Lake area. Dr.
Tan was the Uranerz project geologist for uranium exploration at Key Lake in the early 1970s. His exploration work led to the discovery of the Gaertner deposit (1975) and the Deilmann deposit (1976) in the Key Lake area. According to a recent Northern Miner article, “It was not until the discovery of the Deilmann and Gaertner deposits at Key Lake that the true unconformity type uranium deposit model was first recognized.” Dr. Tan also supervised the definition drillings of these two deposits until 1978. According to the Uranium Information Centre, Key Lake once produced about 15 percent of the world’s uranium mined. Over Dr. Tan’s long career, he was also fortunate to have evaluated some of the world’s largest uranium deposits in the Athabasca Basin, which had been previously co-owned by Uranerz. These include the Key Lake deposits, the Rabbit Lake deposits (including Eagle Point, A-, B- and C-Zone, and the McArthur River deposits). Comparisons between the Key Lake Road Project and Cameco Corp’s Millennium Uranium Deposit Asked about his opinion of Forum Development’s Key Lake Road project, for which Dr.
Tan is the chief geologist, “We have the right lithology, the right structure and, on top of that, we have uranium mineralization.” Dr. Tan was impressed with the amount of uranium mineralization scattered with the graphitic metapelites. “It is very seldom you find such a lot of uranium mineralization there,” he explained. Again, he compared that with exploration around the Key Lake deposit where he remarked, “The graphitic metapelites at the hanging wall of the Key Lake deposit had as much as 4,000 parts per million of uranium.” It’s an optimistic sign in preparation for a summer drilling program. Let’s look at Dr. Tan’s geological comparisons between Cameco’s mammoth Millennium uranium deposit and the exploration he is overseeing for Forum Development’s Key Lake Road project. Athabasca’s eastern basin is comprised of Archean granitoid gneisses and Paleoproterozoic metasedimentary rocks.
Dr Tan wrote, “Both the Lower Proterozoic rocks and the Archean granitoid rocks occur within the KLR shear zone in similar geological setting (along the north-south structural trend,) as the Millennium deposit.” 2. The Millennium’s main uranium zone occurs in a pelitic to semi-pelitic stratigraphic assemblage of gneisses and schists. Asked about the drill targets on the Key Lake Road project, Dr. Tan responded, “The targets are in the pelitic stratigraphic assemblage at depth which includes the same graphitic pelitic gneiss and the calc-silicate which host the uranium mineralization in the Millennium Deposit.” 3. Cameco’s geophysical surveys indicated the presence of a significant resistivity low centered over the uranium mineralization. Dr. Tan explained, “Forum did airborne VTEM (electromagnetic survey) and multiple parallel EM conductors of over 40 kilometers long were outlined.
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