JUNIOR RESOURCE STOCKS ARE IN FREE FALL - BUT WE HAVE JOY IN SASKATCHEWAN WITH URANIUM AT PATTERSON LAKE
The annual Prospectors and Developers annual meeting in Toronto, in early March is over and done with and as over 30,000 attendees walked the halls to observe the multitude of juniors through seniors' resource company's boths looking for the next uber discovery they were overwhelmed with the diversity of products being promoted but heard nothing but negativity about the mineral industry. It became apparent the survivor of the fittest would be around next year but with hundreds of junior companies currently trading under five cents and many more under ten cents next year could see a dramatic change in the number of participants with booths. With metal prices sagging and world economics floundering the destiny of the junior exploration arena is in the sewer.
As a former director of many junior resource companies I have seen that some have come and some have gone and more will be goners and according to those who track the industry many more are going to disappear this year and few are going to surface with new projects to attract new money. How many times as an investor do you get burned before you feel the pain and after you have bought a stock in a new venture. The market will return to normality but yes when, and that question is not answerable at this time.
As I walked the rows of booths looking for a new idea that would materialize into something profitable I came across an interesting potash project in Newfoundland that caught my attention. For starters one needs to follow the fertilizer industry and companies like Agrium Inc, (AGU-TSX & NYSE), The Mosaic Company (MOS-NYSE), Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (POT-TSK and NYSE) and Intrepid Potash Inc (IPI-NYSE). These four corporate giants are heavily into the whole gamut of fertilizer components - potash, phosphate and nitrogen and other industrial elements. We all need to eat and our soils that host grains, vegetables and fruits need to be replenished with nutrients with those three basic elements of soil enhancement.
Red Moon Potash Inc. (RMK-TSX-V) is exploring part of the Moncton basin in Newfoundland that has the same geological setting as the producing potash mine of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan in New Brunswick. In Canada we have three major evaporate basins that host saline deposits - the most important is in southern Saskatchewan, and second is in maritime Canada lying between New Brunswick and Newfoundland and bound by Prince Edward Island to the north and Nova Scotia to the south and both produce potash KCl. The third evaporate basin in southern Ontario is the Michigan Basin but a producer of only salt - NaCl and no potash. From all three Basins the potash/salt is mined from underground operations. So why Red Moon?
To date one hole has been drilled in Newfoundland, in the southwest corner, south of Corner Brook and it intersected the same stratigraphy as the potash mine in New Brunswick with the same interval of saline minerals - potash and salt - not in economic amounts but due to the similarity of depositional sediments it becomes an interesting target for future drilling. Other factors worth considering are the presence of a near-by deep sea port and no environmental or aboriginal issues plus a mining friendly jurisdiction in Newfoundland. Once final drill permits are issued from the provincial expected by this summer drilling will be undertaken to better define the potash mineralization. Red Moon stock has been trading in the four-five cent range but in March it improved to slightly higher levels and had limited trades in the five to eight cent range.
Switching from potash to uranium I hope my readers have been paying attention to my previous words on two Saskatchewan uranium explorers Alpha Minerals Inc. (AMW-TSX-V) and Fission Energy Corp. (FIS-TSX-V) and their Patterson Lake South project in the highly prospective Athabasca Basin. Recent drilling results have been just short of spectacular revealing lengthy intersections in holes of off-scale radioactivity amounting to 13.5 m, 22.0 m, 18.9 m and 53.0 m in four of the six holes completed recently. Off-scale readings represent greater than 9999 counts per second and representative of anomalous uranium mineralization have been recorded. This is not an assay but a response to a scintillometer device lowered in the drill hole that measures radioactivity.
What the final assay will be, will be determined by a proper chemical assay and reported later but it can be assumed to be anomalous of a magnitude of significant proportions. This drilling led to the discovery of a new third zone 780 meters east of the original discovery zone. On Friday March 15 both stocks responded and rose, AMW was up 39 cents to $4.19 and FIS was up 19 cents to $1.09 and the following week AMW hit $4.50 and FIS remained at $1.10 but both dropped a few pennies in late March. In mid February AMW was around $2.00 and FIS was around 90 cents. Fission is about to be taken over by Denison Mines (DSL-TSX-V) with a .355 share exchange for every share of Denison for a share of Fission. The takeover does not include the Patterson Lake South project which will be rolled into a Newco (a new company) while the other assets of Fission will go to Denison.
In all likelyhood the Fission Newco will trade about the same level as it is now so it is very much a win-win situation for Fission shareholders. Readers of this column will note I have continually described the Patterson Lake South project and I can report that this project could evolve into one of the best uranium deposits in the entire Athabasca Basin. The Paterson Lake South Project is a 50/50 % JV between FIS and AMW and accessible by road from all-weather highway 955 which runs to the former Cluff Lake mine that produced greater than 60 million lbs of U308 and passes through the nearby UEX-Areva Shea Creek uranium discoveries located 50 km to the north and currently under active exploration and development. So if you are a uranium believer and have these stocks you should hang on as 2013 shows a lot of promise for Patterson Lake South.
STOCK ALERT Prior to going to press on March 27 the JV announced assay results from hole PLS 13-038 drilled on the R390 zone. The upper zone 87.0 meters to 121.0 meters or 34.0 meters in length assayed 4.92 % U3O8, including a 12.5 meter zone at 12.38% U3O8 and a lower zone of 17.5 meters (126.5 to 144.0 meters) that assayed 0.96% U3O8. Both stocks surged to new highs - AMW went to $5.00 and FIS moved to $1.20-1.25 on huge volumes then back off to slightly lower levels in later trading. It looks like the high grade uranium ore bodies on the eastern side of the Athabasca Basin currently being mined by Cameco at Rabbit and Cigar Lakes will be equaled or exceeded in grade and tonnage at Patterson Lake.