With the question of whether the deal between Alpha Minerals (AMW:TSXV) and Fission Uranium (FCU:TSXV) now out of the way, the stage is set for consolidation wave in the Patterson Lake region of Saskatchewan. Some questions were raised recently about whether this deal would be finalized following a lawsuit involving Fission which muddied the waters. However, now that AMW shareholders have voted in favor (over 80%), the Patterson Lake South discovery is in the hands of one owner making it a more simple takeover candidate. Fission is acquiring Alpha with a bid of 5.725:1 and $0.0001 per share in cash. Alpha shareholders will get all of the shares of a new exploration company which will hold $3 million cash and all of Alpha Minerals’ non-cash assets outside of the PLS joint venture. Fission shareholders will recieve a similar deal with all of Fission’s non-cash assets and $3 million in cash. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval, although that is more of a formality.
Over the past year there has been an enormous staking rush into the Patterson Lake area due to the highly succesful exploration program and discovery made by Alpha and Fission. The Patterson Lake South project represents a new discovery and one that is outside of the well-known Athabasca Basin which has been studied, explored, developed and mined for many years. The PLS discovery presents the potential for less capital intesnive projects due to the fact mineralization occurs near surface. When you move inside the Athabasca Basin mines typically have mineralization occuring below 500m deep.
Cameco’s McArthur River mine, the world’s largest high-grade uranium mine, is mining an orebody that is below 680m underground. They are mining an average grade of over 16% U308. On the other hand, Patterson Lake South has made discoveries of high-grade uranium at surface. One of their better holes was hole PLS13-075 which hit over 54m of 9.08% U308 and started at just 60m from surface. Although it is too early to be planning a mine and the need remains for more exploration work to be done, the potential to mine grades that are similar to what they are mining inside the Basin, but doing it at or near surface is there. This creates the opportuntiy for a very profitable uranium mine and one that, likely, wouldn’t cost billions of dollars in capex to build.
Due the significance of their discovery not only in the context of Alpha or Fission, but also the entire Patterson Lake region, it is safe to assume that Cameco, Areva and Dension have been watching closely. With the two companies consolidating the discovery under one company, they have further de-risked the asset which makes it even more enticing as a package. Others in the area such as NexGen (NXE:TSXV), Aldrin (ALN:TSXV) and Skyharbour (SYH:TSXV) have claim to large land packages surrounding the PLS discovery and that land will get more valuable if a major, like Cameco, decides to buy the PLS deposit.