For Skyharbour Resources, the Answers May Lie in the Basement
The company is moving ahead with uranium exploration in the high-grade Athabasca Basin amid a changing supply and demand paradigm.
Uranium development company Skyharbour Resources Ltd. (SYH:TSX.V; SYHBF:OTCQB) holds six projects in the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan, home of the highest grade depository of uranium in the world.
The company has been actively exploring and drilling the flagship Moore Lake project over the last several years and is planning an upcoming program that holds the potential to be a key catalyst in the near term. It acquired the project from the company's largest shareholder and strategic partner, Denison Mines. Denison CEO David Cates sits on Skyharbour's board.
For its other five projects, Skyharbour employs prospect generation, bringing in partner companies to advance and fund exploration. Currently Skyharbour has deals on two projects. Orano, France's largest uranium mining and nuclear company, is spending up to $8 million to earn up to a 70% interest on the Preston project. That project is located next to Fission Uranium and Nexgen's high-grade properties. Plans for a 2020 exploration program are expected to be announced shortly. "Orano has been pretty aggressive with the exploration carrying out several drill and work programs over the past few years. They are a large company with a long history in the Athabasca Basin making them a great strategic partner to have," Skyharbour CEO Jordan Trimble told Streetwise Reports.
Skyharbour's other partner is Azincourt Energy, which is smaller, and in a 2017 deal, the company can earn in 70% of the East Preston project by spending $3.5 million. Azincourt recently announced a 2,500-meter drill program slated to start later this year or early next year. "Azincourt has conducted a lot of reconnaissance work over the last few years to get these targets. So it's an important program for both them and us," Trimble stated.
At Skyharbour's flagship, high-grade Moore Lake project, the company plans on initiating a 2,500-meter drill program early in the new year. "This could very well be our most important drill program on the project and the reason for that is we are now primarily testing basement-hosted targets that have been refined by new geophysical techniques," Trimble said. "When you look at most of the major discoveries that have been made recently in the Athabasca Basin—Denison, NexGen, Fission—these are all high-grade uranium deposits that are hosted in the underlying basement rocks."
Historically, a lot of the drilling and exploration was focused in the overlying Athabasca sandstone or at the unconformity, the unconformity being the border between the sandstone and the basement rock. But now the basement rocks are showing some of the highest uranium grades.
"What's exciting about Moore Lake and the upcoming drill program is there was very little historical drilling and work done testing the basement targets, which host the feeder zones. This is the source of the high-grade mineralization, up to 21% U3O8, that we have at our Maverick zone, which is hosted in the sandstone and at the unconformity," Trimble said.
One of the new techniques Skyharbour has employed is geophysics using drones, which gives the company more pinpoint accuracy of its specific targets. Not only is it less expensive than flying fixed wing airplanes or helicopters, it gives better images because drones can fly closer to the tree line and provides tighter line spacing. "We are looking for cross-cutting structures that have broken up the main corridor and have allowed the fluids to come up," Trimble stated.
"Thanks to the geophysics, and further geological analysis, we now have a much more accurate idea of the zones we want to drill into," Trimble noted. The company has three targets, with the main one being the basement rock to the east of the Maverick zone, to follow up on one of the last holes the company drilled in the previous program, which intercepted high-grade mineralization.
"We think this drill hole just nicked the top of a much larger, higher-grade zone, so we are going to drill down plunge," Trimble explained.