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  • ResourceClips Feature: Happy Creek Minerals Drills High-Grade, Near-Surface Tungsten In British Columbia

    "It's not often that a junior delivers the best drill result in the Western world, at least in recent memory." That bold statement comes from David Blann, president/CEO of Happy Creek Minerals (OTC:HPYCF). He's referring to just one of the assays that show near-surface, high-grade tungsten at his company's Fox project in central British Columbia. But for all tungsten's importance as a critical mineral, "no one I know of in Australia, South America, North America or Europe has found anything new," Blann tells "This is a brand new, from-scratch discovery."

    As pointed out by Core Consultants managing director Lara Smith, both the European Union and the U.S. Department of Defense rate tungsten in their top three list of critical minerals. Speaking at Vancouver's World Resource Investment Conference in May, House Mountain Partners founder and Morning Notes co-editor Chris Berry called tungsten one of four critical metals on which he's now focusing.

    Among its refractory metal qualities, tungsten combines special strength, hardness and density, along with the highest melting point of any metal (3,422 degrees C). That gives tungsten a range of vital uses from light filaments, ballpoint pens, electronics, blades, drills, saws and munitions to fishing lures and strings for musical instruments.

    As for its critical mineral status, the tungsten story is a familiar one. Mining Weekly quoted Smith saying that China accounted for most of the world's supply as well as demand. "This has placed an unprecedented threat on the tungsten sector outside of China, which presents enormous opportunities for the development of tungsten ores, concentrates and intermediary products outside of China," she said.

    Naturally that draws attention to tungsten in reliable jurisdictions and, Blann maintains, further emphasizes Fox's significance. Consisting of four zones along a three-kilometre north-south axis, as well as a fifth zone about four kilometres south, the 16,491-hectare Fox has been showing strong results since late 2011. The "best drill result in the Western world" that Blann speaks of was released in November 2012 from the BN zone, where hole F12-27 showed:

    - 4.04% tungsten trioxide (WO3), 0.91% zinc, 4.51 grams per tonne indium and 4.1 g/t silver over 14.8 metres, starting at 83.2 metres in downhole depth.

    (True width wasn't available.)

    The same hole also showed:

    - 1.78% WO3, 0.36% zinc and 1.56 g/t indium over 4.1 metres, starting at 1.9 metres
    - 0.79% WO3 over 24 metres, starting at 136 metres
    - (including 2.01% WO3, 0.84% zinc, 3.9 g/t indium and 9 g/t silver over 5.8 metres).

    Tungsten highlights from the RC zone showed:

    - 0.74% WO3 over 12.4 metres, starting at 8.3 metres
    - 0.82% over 19.4 metres, starting at 14 metres
    - 0.8% over 11 metres, starting at 15 metres
    - 0.68% over 14 metres, starting at 27 metres.

    Blann maintains Fox's grades stand up to those of North American Tungsten's (TSXV:NTC) Cantung mine, a diesel-operated, fly-in/fly-out underground producer in the Northwest Territories that's "probably considered the highest-grade tungsten mine in the Western world." Fox's location, however, makes infrastructure more accessible.

    A power line to the former Boss Mountain molybdenum mine (under option to NMC Resource (TSXV:NRC) passes within 17 kilometres of Fox. A logging road links Nightcrawler, Fox's most southerly zone, to the community of Forest Grove, about 45 minutes away. From there it's another 20 minutes to highway and rail at the town of 100 Mile House. Helicopter-supported drilling now takes place about four kilometres north of Nightcrawler, at about 1,800 metres in altitude. That could eventually require Happy Creek to extend the road. "A logging company already has a plan and permit to build a road halfway there anyway," Blann says.

    The area has already been heavily logged. "Right at the Nightcrawler zone there's probably a 2.5 kilometre by 1.5 kilometre cut block just put in there last year."

    Community relations are good, he adds. "We have quite a number of shareholders in 100 Mile House and the first nations are onside. We've got a few working for us right now."

    Currently that work consists of an approximately 1,200-metre, 12- to 15-hole step-out campaign scheduled to end in August. Again, they're looking for near-surface finds. "A lot of the drill holes are pretty short, so we can get a lot done for a few bucks," Blann points out. "We're drilling quite shallow."

    Of course costs are crucial in times like these. With himself, one full-time geologist and a part-time CFO, Blann insists his company's frugal. "Our overhead is about as low as it gets for a junior." But he emphasizes the company gets valuable direction from its directors and advisory board.

    Furthermore "we own all our projects 100%. So there's no gun to our heads for minimum commitments and obligations. We can sit tight if we have to and keep these assets until the right deal comes along."

    Those assets, all in B.C., include the Rateria and West Valley properties totalling about 18,000 hectares adjacent to Canada's largest copper producer, Teck Resources' (NYSE:TCK) Highland Valley mine. "I had a number of majors looking at the project, including neighbours," says Blann. "Currently it's a bit small for a major to come in and build a mine. But what they are starting to recognize is we've only tested a small portion of the property and we've got the right geology."

    Among last year's assays was 0.35% copper over 152.5 metres, starting at 172.5 metres. That was found "six and a half kilometres by easy road access from one of Teck's pits. In fact what we've been drilling is better grade than one of their pits."

    Blann says Happy Creek got the past-producing Silver Dollar property through a legal settlement "at virtually zero cost." Last year's grab and chip samples on the road-accessible project showed high silver-gold grades over "an amazing eight or nine-kilometre-long trend. It just hasn't had the drilling done."

    Other properties include Silverboss, a copper-molybdenum-gold-silver prospect adjacent to Boss Mountain; Hen, a copper-lead prospect about 16 kilometres south; Art-DL, a gold prospect adjacent to Hen; and Hawk, a copper-gold prospect 24 klicks south of Boss.

    "We've done our homework on all of them," Blann points out. "We've done our soil sampling, stream sampling, geology, mapping, trenching, geophysics. We're now at the stage where we've got a number of really good drill targets." But with Happy Creek focused on Fox, he's hoping other juniors will take notice of the company's additional projects.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Jul 26 3:23 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Uranium News From Saskatchewan And Elsewhere (July 13-19, 2013)

    Step-out hole extends PLS zone by 15 metres

    The first hole of Patterson Lake South's summer program found 85.5 metres of "the most abundant off-scale mineralization of any hole drilled on the property," stated Fission Uranium (FSSIF.PK) president/COO Ross McElroy. In dual announcements made July 18, Fission and 50/50 joint venture partner Alpha Minerals (ESOFD.PK) said scintillometer readings show the step-out extends the R390E zone 15 metres grid west. R390E is the middle of three zones along an 850-metre northeast-southwest trend.

    Although its readings aren't substitutes for assays, the scintillometer determines radioactivity by measuring gamma ray particles in counts per second, up to an off-scale reading of more than 9,999 cps. Results for PLS13-072 show:

    • <300 to >9,999 cps over 85.5 metres, starting at 62 metres in downhole depth
    • (including 1,100 to >9,999 cps over 16.5 metres)
    • (and including 5,000 to >9,999 cps over 6.9 metres)
    • (and including <300 to 8,600 cps over 5 metres)
    • (and including <300 to 720 cps over 2.5 metres).

    Assays are pending. True widths weren't available. Drilling on the hole was suspended due to mechanical failure. All PLS holes will get a radiometric probe to assess radioactivity more accurately.

    Interestingly, the drill found no Devonian sandstone between the overburden and the basement bedrock, which started at 55.7 metres' depth. "This may be a result of the RC rig casing past the overburden and bedrock contact, and so the presence or absence of Devonian sandstone is inconclusive," stated Alpha's news release. "Alternatively, the lack of Devonian sandstone and presence of shallower mineralization may indicate that the bedrock source of the high-grade uranium boulders is possibly approaching further to the west of PLS13-072. Other step-out drill holes may resolve this."

    The program uses two diamond rigs in addition to the reverse circulation drill. With a $6.95-million budget, the 44-hole, 11,000-metre drill campaign and ground geophysics surveys continue on the 31,000-hectare property two kilometres from Highway 955.

    Fission applies for boulder-finding patent

    Along with collaborator Special Projects Inc, Fission wants to patent the system used to discover the PLS high-grade uranium boulder field. Calling it "an invention entitled System and Method for Aerial Surveying or Mapping of Radioactive Deposits," Fission announced the application on July 16.

    The company explained that radiometric surveys can be affected by a number of variables including weather, topography and cosmic activity, as well as more controllable factors such as sensor height and aircraft speed. The invention "is particularly sensitive to addressing these variables," Fission stated.

    The news release didn't specify the invention of new technology.

    Forum extends Key Lake-area holdings

    Towards the Athabasca Basin's southeast corner, Forum Uranium (OTC:FDCFF) picked up the Highrock South property, adding another 1,381 hectares to its Key Lake area holdings. The company's July 17 announcement states the property "is a continuation of the prospective Key Lake/Black Forest conductive trend" that hosted Cameco Corp's (NYSE:CCJ) former deposits and the geology "compares favourably" with PLS. Highrock South lies about 15 kilometres south of the world's largest high-grade uranium mill.

    Forum pays $2,500, issues 25,000 shares and grants a 2% NSR. The company holds six other projects totalling over 90,000 hectares in the area, as well as other projects in Saskatchewan and Nunavut's Thelon Basin.

    Brades moves into Athabasca Basin

    Brades Resource (V.BRA) marked its Saskatchewan entry with the Lorne Lake acquisition announced July 16. The approximately 39,450-hectare property shows "extensive regional faulting and lineaments and covers one of only three identified cross-cutting major fault structures located in the western Athabasca Basin," as well as "favourable magnetic geophysical data," the company stated.

    In return, Brades will issue a total of 3.5 million shares to two vendors including Ryan Kalt, who will also get a 2% NSR. On closing the deal, Kalt becomes a company insider.

    On July 19 Brades announced the appointment of Evany Hung as CFO, replacing Christopher Cherry. The company also holds the 14,133-hectare BRC porphyry copper-gold property in northwestern British Columbia.

    Noka retains Dahrouge Geological Consulting

    On July 18 Noka Resources (V.NX) announced it retained Dahrouge Geological Consulting to manage and explore Noka's Athabasca Basin properties. Dahrouge and its predecessor, Halferdahl & Associates, have over 40 years' experience with mineral projects, including over 30 years in uranium, Noka stated. The announcement credited Jody Dahrouge and his team with "the conceptualization and acquisition of several uranium properties within the Athabasca Basin, most notably these include such projects as Waterbury Lake (J zone), Patterson Lake and in part Patterson Lake South."

    Noka's properties include Clearwater and Athabasca North, as well as a 25% earn-in on the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project, a four-company strategic alliance with Skyharbour Resources (OTC:SYHBF), Athabasca Nuclear and Lucky Strike Resources (OTCPK:LKYSF) that's exploring the PLS-area's largest land package.

    Paladin reports quarterly revenue of $107.4 million, record production

    Paladin Energy's (OTCPK:PALAF) quarterly report, released July 16, showed sales revenue for three months ending June 30 of US$107.4 million. The company sold 2.32 million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8) at an average price of $46.22 a pound.

    Both of the company's mines achieved quarterly production records. Langer Heinrich in Namibia produced 1.35 million pounds U3O8 while Kayelekera in Malawi gave up 789,430 pounds for a combined 2.14 million pounds, up 8% from the previous quarter. Fiscal 2013 production met guidance with 8.25 million pounds. The fiscal 2014 forecast ranges from 8.3 million to 8.7 million pounds.

    The company also stated it had cut production costs by 9% at Langer Heinrich and 24% at Kayelekera, compared with June 2012. Paladin has been negotiating the sale of a minority interest in Langer Heinrich.

    As for the company's other projects, its Michelin property in Labrador has more exploration planned for summer and a resource update scheduled for next quarter. At Western Australia's Manyingee project, work continues on an updated resource and hydrogeological modelling. Exploration on its Agadez property in Niger, however, has been suspended following the May 23 terrorist attacks that hit a military barracks and a uranium mine operated by AREVA.

    In April Paladin became sole owner of the Angela project in Northern Territory, with an inferred resource of 30.8 million pounds, after buying Cameco's 50% interest. Paladin also holds other Australian properties.

    Cameco wants Canada to allow foreign ownership, Paladin concurs

    Cameco "has broken ranks with the Canadian government by taking the position that Australian companies should be able to wholly own uranium mines in the country," reported Australia's Financial Review on July 15. Not surprisingly the journal added that John Borshoff, managing director/CEO of Australia's Paladin, "says Canada must heed the words of one of its biggest companies and prioritize lifting restrictions on foreign ownership."

    Mawson offers $4.2-million private placement

    Mawson Resources (OTCPK:MWSNF) announced a non-brokered private placement of up to 9.33 million units at $0.45 for proceeds of up to $4.2 million. Each unit will consist of one share and one-half warrant, with each whole warrant exercisable for one share at $0.65 for two years. The proposed financing would allow an insider to gain over 10% of Mawson's stock. Shareholders may vote on the insider placement at an August 30 meeting.

    Proceeds will go to exploration on the company's Rompas gold-uranium project in northwestern Finland and general working capital. This summer Rompas is slated for airborne geophysics, prospecting, mapping and sampling, to be followed by an autumn drill campaign.

    Ashburton announces appointment, begins Phase I exploration

    Ashburton Ventures announced the appointment of Robert Meister to its advisory board on July 17. Also head of corporate development and communications for Alpha, Meister has nearly 20 years' experience in marketing and corporate communications at institutional and retail levels, community relations, and assisting in raising capital for private and public companies.

    Ashburton also announced the beginning of Phase I exploration at its Sienna North and Sienna West properties in the PLS area. Plans call for geological reconnaissance, grid-based scintillometer surveys, soil and water radon sampling and float prospecting for uraninite.

    Aldrin closes $957,880 private placement and Triple M acquisition

    Aldrin Resource announced July 19 the closing of a $957,880 private placement. The money will go to exploration on the company's Triple M project, option payments on the property and general working capital. Closing of the 70% Triple M acquisition coincided with the fundraising.

    As part of the option, the company will issue 12.5 million shares and 588,680 warrants exercisable for one year at $0.18, as well as 1.05 million shares as a finder's fee.

    Aldrin previously stated that an airborne survey over the 12,000-hectare property bordering PLS has found "parallel basement conductive trends analogous to conductors associated with" the Alpha/Fission discovery.

    Athabasca Uranium releases geophysical interpretations, AGM results

    Athabasca Uranium reported preliminary results of airborne geophysics over parts of three projects on the Athabasca Basin's southeastern edge. The 736-line-kilometre VTEM survey found subtle conductive anomalies confirming two drill targets in the Keefe Lake property's D zone. The data will be further analysed to identify other targets for the flagship's Phase III program scheduled for autumn.

    At Fisher River the survey found a single conductive zone about 4,500 metres by 1,500 metres, starting about 200 metres in depth. The company considers it prospective for uranium as it's located within a magnetic low at the edge of a magnetic feature. Another conductor starting about 200 metres' depth was found at McGregor Lake. Fisher River and McGregor Lake will be considered for this year's drill campaign.

    The company also reported AGM and special meeting results which re-elected directors, re-appointed the auditor, re-approved a 10% rolling stock option and allowed for an advance notice bylaw to be adopted.

    B.C. court allows Strathmore vote on acquisition by Energy Fuels

    Strathmore Minerals (OTC:STHJF) announced July 19 it received a court order allowing the company to hold a special meeting for shareholders to vote on its proposed acquisition by Energy Fuels (EFRFF.PK). If approved at the August 20 meeting, each Strathmore share will fetch 1.47 Energy Fuels shares, giving Strathmore shareholders about 21% of Energy Fuels' stock.

    With two mines in operation, Energy Fuels supplies about 25% of the uranium produced in the United States. Additionally the company operates the country's only conventional uranium mill, among several other projects. Strathmore also holds properties in the western U.S.

    Mesa closes $110,000 private placement

    Mesa Exploration (OTC:MSAJF) closed a $110,000 private placement, the company reported July 16. In addition to potash, silver, gold and lithium properties, the company holds two uranium projects, Lisbon Valley in Utah and Moonshine Springs in Arizona.

    Under MCTO, Majescor to file financials by July 26

    In a default status report released July 18, Majescor Resources (OTC:MJXFF) stated it expects to file the company's 2013 annual financial statements by July 26. At the company's request, a management cease trade order had been issued by the Quebec regulator, l'Autorité des Marchés Financiers, after Majescor encountered delays compiling the statements.

    The company's projects include a 40%/60% JV with Strateco Resources (OTCPK:SRSIF)) on the Mistassini uranium project in Quebec, as well as a gold, base metals and graphite JV in Madagascar, and gold and porphyry copper-gold projects in Haiti.

    Lions Gate announces new directors

    On July 18 Lions Gate Metals announced the election of William Filtness and Murray Oliver to its board. Filtness is a chartered accountant who spent 14 years with Aurizon Mines and served as CFO for a number of Toronto-listed companies. Oliver has spent over 19 years as a consultant providing corporate finance, restructuring and communication services.

    In March Lions Gate announced an option to acquire the 67-hectare Whitford Lake property on the Athabasca Basin's east side.

    Cancelled Chinese project attributed to lack of communication, education

    Following protests that caused the cancellation of a uranium processing plant in Guangdong province, two Chinese companies are struggling to find an alternative site, Reuters stated on July 16. After Fukushima, China slashed its 2020 nuclear energy capacity goal to 58 gigawatts, down from a previous target of 80 to 90 GW. But the 2030 target of 200 GW remains. "Analysts expect annual primary uranium demand to rise tenfold over the period to around 40,000 tonnes," the news agency reported. "To meet that demand, CNNC and CGNPC [two state-owned reactor manufacturers] have been exploring domestic uranium deposits, but a surge in imports is inevitable and is expected to put pressure on global supplies."

    A July 18 Reuters dispatch said industry insiders attribute the Guangdong protests to "poor communication and a lack of public education. They say if things do not improve, more protests could spring up elsewhere, threatening those plans to build new reactors." An industry executive told the press agency, "The public consultation [lasts] only 10 days, which is way too short. The materials it provided about the project are also woefully inadequate."

    The World Nuclear News said the cancelled $7.32-billion facility would have been a "one-stop complex for nuclear fuel, featuring facilities for conversion and uranium enrichment as well as manufacturing of fuel pellets, rods and finished assemblies."

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Jul 22 3:13 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Zenyatta Ventures Get Company Next To Its Ontario Graphite Project

    It might be ironic that a company named after a racehorse took so long to inspire nearby acquisitions. Zenyatta Ventures' (OTCQX:ZENYF) Albany property in north-central Ontario has been one of the more prominent graphite projects since the discovery was announced in January 2012. Very wide intercepts and a distinctive type of high-purity graphite have made the company a market darling. Now, finally, other companies are moving in for a piece of the action.

    On July 9 Brookemont Capital announced the acquisition of the 416-hectare Albany East property, contiguous to Zenyatta's project. The next day Cavan Ventures said it nabbed another 768 hectares also contiguous to the east of Albany. TAD Mineral Exploration got in the act with the July 15 announcement of its 257-hectare Constance Lake acquisition. Two days later Bluenose Gold announced its acquisition named, without excessive subtlety, the Zenyatta West graphite project.

    Terms differ. Brookemont pays $10,000 and issues four million shares. Cavan pays $15,000, issues three million shares and must raise $400,000 in a private placement. Bluenose pays $20,000, issues 1.5 million shares and grants a 1% royalty. TAD got its property through staking.

    Although Albany's graphite has been known for over 18 months, the recent acquisitions might have been partly motivated by a flurry of Zenyatta news last spring. In April, the Northwest Ontario Prospectors Association named Albany its Discovery of the Year. The same month the TSXV named Zenyatta last year's top-performing mining sector company. Zenyatta also announced that graphite beneficiation tests achieved over 99.97% carbon through a relatively inexpensive caustic baking leach process.

    But maybe most noteworthy, the company began describing its find differently. No longer likening it to Sri Lankan vein or lump-type graphite, Zenyatta now ponders the potential of something much wider-a hydrothermal breccia pipe originating deep in the earth's mantle, unlike the organic genesis of flake graphite.

    TAD's July 15 statement quotes company director Gregory Thomson describing the area's geological setting as one in which "similar formations seem to occur in pod-like clusters."

    Obviously the newcomers want to find something. But why all the acquisitions just now? Cavan president Peter Swistak simply says, "Something came available and I got it…. I like Zenyatta's project very much and I wish I was out there earlier. But better now than never." With his company "aggressively focused" on its flagship Lake Pythonga rare earths project and additional graphite projects in Quebec, "we definitely plan to be aggressive in this one also," he tells

    Already positioned in two area plays, last May TAD expanded its Iskut copper-gold prospect to more than 1,800 hectares in the vicinity of Colorado Resources' North ROK project, which stunned the market last April when its very first assay showed 0.51% copper and 0.67 grams per tonne gold over 333 metres, starting at 2 metres in downhole depth. Predictably, other companies swarmed in. In April TAD joined the Patterson Lake South staking stampede sparked by the Alpha Minerals (ESOFD.PK) / Fission Uranium high-grade, near-surface discovery.

    Brookemont has a Yukon gold prospect and an aluminous clay and rare earths prospect in Quebec's Gaspe region, as well as nearly 3,400 hectares of REE prospects in the vicinity of Commerce Resources' (OTCPK:CMRZF) Ashram REE deposit, which is advancing towards pre-feasibility.

    TAD and Brookemont share the same president, CFO and two of three directors.

    As the vendor who turned Zenyatta West over to Bluenose, Tony Beruschi answers the "why now" question by saying, "I guess a better question might be, 'Why wasn't it done earlier?' In the old days, people would have been all over that thing," he tells "It seems a sign of the times that such a great opportunity as Zenyatta hasn't been covered over with staking. There should have been a staking rush there."

    He says he began looking at the area last June, when he was offered a number of deals in different regions. "I really liked what Zenyatta was doing and investigated whether there was any open ground in the area. I was kind of shocked when I saw that there was." Staking was stymied, however, by "brutal" terrain.

    With Bluenose currently holding dot-H status on the TSXV's NEX board, Beruschi says its new acquisition can help "reactivate" the company. To what extent any of the companies share in Zenyatta's success remains to be seen. But Beruschi says Zenyatta "created a model for working there." With a geologist who's experienced in graphite, he says Bluenose "will do its exploration based in part on what Zenyatta's saying."

    Albany's maiden resource will follow Zenyatta's current drill campaign, scheduled to end in late August.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Jul 18 6:25 PM | Link | Comment!
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