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Yesterday, after the market closed, Lakeland Resources Inc. (OTCQX:LRESF) published with its new joint venture partner, Declan Resources Inc., the results of a RadonEx study that Lakeland completed on its Gibbons Creek Property in the northern part of the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan.
Jonathan Armes (President & CEO of Lakeland) noted the following yesterday:
"We are excited to report on these results today, as they confirm the potential for a significant uranium discovery at the Gibbons Creek Uranium Property. Of particular interest are the extremely high 'Radon' values reported by RadonEx, which to our knowledge, are the highest ever reported for the Athabasca Basin area."
Lakeland's land-based RadonEx values are with 9.9 pCi (picocurie) around 10 times higher as what Fission Uranium Corp. (OTCQX:FCUUF) measured with their prolific Patterson Lake discovery. In the Athabasca Basin, it was proved numerous times historically: the higher the RadonEx values at surface, the higher uranium enrichment below surface.
Additionally, yesterdays press release reported that a recently conducted sampling program now confirmed the presence of a whole field of radioactive boulders at surface on the Gibbons Creek Property. Assays of 8 boulders were reported with values between 1% and 4.3% U3O8. The source of these many and high-grade boulders is likely to be on the property - the same was the case with other large and high-grade uranium deposits in the Athabasca Basin, including Fission Uranium's latest Patterson Lake discovery.
On December 4, 2013, Lakeland allowed Declan to option 70% of Gibbons Creek by spending a total of $6.5 million for exploration over 4 years, paying $1.5 million in cash and issuing 11 million shares to Lakeland.
Despite their 70/30 joint venture, we assess Lakeland with a higher value than Declan. We interpret this valuation backwardness as a short-term phenomenon and anticipate a distinct appreciation of Lakeland relative to Declan in the foreseeable future.
Declan showed high volumes in Germany during the last days and weeks; some 3 million shares were traded alone today in Frankfurt, which reflects the high volume on the TSX market today. Trading volumes of Lakeland in Germany are somewhat smaller but more stable and constant, yet Lakeland has 100 million shares less in the market than Declan. This market tightness may result in a price escalation.
Lakeland (LK; 33 million shares out):
Declan (LAN; 133 million shares out):
Recently, we published 2 articles presenting why investors are focusing on the Athabasca Basin, why we are bullish for uranium prices, and why Lakeland is our favorite uranium play.
December, 5, 2013: "No Dead-Cat-Bounce - A Dead-Serious Warning From Uranium"
November 4, 2013: "Athabasca Basin - The Place To Be For The Upcoming Uranium Boom"
A few days ago, we did an interview with Ryan Fletcher of Lakeland (questions in bold):
• December 2013 was a good month for Lakeland shareholders, the stock more than doubled from 10.5 cents to 25.5 cents currently trading at 18 cents. Can you inform us what is behind this remarkable development?
"Yes, we are very encouraged that the market has started to get behind the company. In early 2013, we moved Lakeland into the uranium space and focused our efforts on the Athabasca Basin. We saw the low in the uranium price, the great fundamental opportunity to position ourselves in the space, and quality people, projects, financial support and money were available; the opportunity was there. We put our heads down and went to work, hard. We started to put in long hours and focus hard on meeting milestones and delivering for our shareholders. This has helped to get us where we are at now and seeing some success in the market. The market seems to be awakening to us as a driven, hard-working group, with a shareholder first mentality and meeting milestones.
We acquired nine properties to start, commenced exploration at our flagship Gibbon's Creek Property, and began to build out the board and team with individuals with successful track records in the space. We also recently announced a deal with Declan Resources Inc. where they can earn into our Gibbon's Creek Property by spending $6.5 million over four years, including a minimum $1.25 million in 2014; the bulk of which will be in drilling commencing in the first quarter. We will be carried on the program, so I believe the market is waking up to the fact that we will be exposed to one of the larger drill programs in the Basin at the start of the year."
• Please brief us about your latest team additions.
"In December there were a few new and important faces who joined the Lakeland team. As we have moved ahead our exploration and property package, we have also been very focused on building the company with the right group of people that can deliver for shareholders.
Early in the month, Canon Bryan was added as the forth member of our uranium advisory board. Canon is a uranium corporate development and M&A specialist and was involved in the founding of Uranium Energy Corp. (NYSEMKT:UEC). Like Lakeland, UEC went from a small start up to one of a handful of uranium producers in the United States and currently trades around US$1.80 with a market capitalization of $170 million. Canon has seen and keenly understands the elements required to build a successful company in the space and we are looking forward to his contributions.
We also added Sam Wong as CFO, he is a motivated and high-caliber individual, ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work. He was formerly Corporate Controller of Luna Gold (OTCPK:LGCUF) and oversaw the company's transition from development to commerical production and is currently CFO of Lowell Copper (OTC:LWLCF) in the copper space and Chesapeake Gold Corp. (OTCQX:CHPGF) in the precious metals space.
We also had Neil McCallum join our Board of Directors. Neil is a professional geologist and has about 10 years of experience in uranium exploration with a focus on the Athabasca Basin. Amongst other projects he was involved in the early stages of Fission Energy's Waterbury Lake Property (J-Zone) which was recently sold to Denison Mines (NYSEMKT:DNN) and the Patterson Lake Properties (now of Azincourt (OTCPK:AZURF) and Fission Uranium (OTCQX:FCUUF). He really understands how to evaluate and successfully explore and discover uranium in the Basin and will be a key technical director and contributor.
Finally, Ms. Frances Petryshen was added as corporate secretary. Frances came to Lakeland from Canalaska Uranium (OTCQB:CVVUF) so she is well versed in the Basin and uranium, she brings corporate compliance and governance strength, and also has a keen business sense and insights in M&A, corporate development, financing and strategic partnerships, as well as an excellent network of associates.
Ultimately, I think the market sees the caliber of people the company has brought together, we have a solid team, and the market is beginning to recognize and reward it."
• Looking at the team that Lakeland has put together over the last months and considering a market cap of 6 million CAD, where do you see Lakeland with its peers in the Athabasca Basin? Please compare with other explorers and developers.
"Even at $0.20, Lakeland has a market capitalization still of just around $6 million. I think over time the market, and this process has already started, will continue to revalue and rate us and we should be able to catch up to some of the current leading pure play Athabasca Basin explorers; for instance, NexGen Energy (OTCQX:NXGEF) with a market cap of $37 million or Declan Resources our partner at Gibbon's Creek with a capitalization of C$15 million. So there is still a valuation gap that should continue to close, we are focused on it."
• What kind of news flow can we expect from Lakeland in the foreseeable future? When does drilling start?
"Investors can expect results from the pre-drill work we completed at Gibbon's Creek including RadonEx and ground resistivity surveys and boulder sampling and prospecting. This will lead to the announcement of the commencement of drilling at Gibbon's in Q1 this year. As Declan is committed to spending $1.25 million at the property this year, it should be one of the largest drill programs at a new exploration target in the Basin this season. Both of these items of news should be catalysts for the stock as investors speculate on the results and program. We are also very active in identifying projects to expand our portfolio so investors can expect more activity there and the team will also continue to build. Our preference is for properties we can outright stake or acquire on very simple terms, with extensive historical information, and shallow depth to target, increasing the economics of exploration and discovery. We have a geological team that can really unlock all of the value of built up databases of historic information, as we have shown at Gibbon's Creek. At the same time as Declan is funding the Gibbon's Creek drilling program, in addition to new project generation, we can focus on advancing some of our other priority properties such as South Pine and Perch Lake."
• The M&A activities in the Athabasca Basin have been increasing over the last years, please let us know about the share structure of Lakeland. Are management and insiders capable of declining a hostile take-over bid?
"I would say our team is in the business of doing business. We currently have 33 million shares outstanding and approximately 40% of the company is held by management, insiders, and founders, including Zimtu Capital Corp. (OTC:ZTMUF) an investment issuer I am also a director of which owns almost 5 million shares. So our money is where are mouths are and we are very focused on driving shareholder value, no excuses, or ifs, ands or buts. We want return. We want to maintain the company share structure and avoid dilution whenever possible. We don't want the shares outstanding to quickly expand or dilute. So we are open to partnerships, JVs and agreements with strong groups whereever it makes sense to help our project portfolio advance and create value. We are also open to M&A and other ideas where and when it makes sense for us and our other shareholders, we will always be working in the best interest of our holders and supporters."
• Please inform us about your non-uranium properties and what kind of news flow we can expect in 2014.
"When we moved Lakeland into the uranium space there were some legacy gold assets in the company mainly in the Wawa Camp in southern Ontario. This is the same belt of rocks where Argonaut Gold Inc. recent took over Prodigy Gold in a $341 million deal. While our focus is dead set on uranium, we want to give our shareholders as much value as we can, so we joint ventured the Midas Property we had there to New Dimension Mining. They recently commenced a 1,800 metre diamond drilling program; the results of which are pending. We are carried on the program, so it upside for us."
The author holds shares of Lakeland Resources Inc. and may sell those any time without notice, whereas neither Rockstone Research Ltd. nor the author was remunerated by these companies to produce or publish this content. Please read the full disclaimer at rockstone-research.com as none of this content is to be construed as an "investment advice".
Disclosure: I am long LRESF, DNN, . I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.