Blue Sky Uranium Corp., "Blue Sky" or the "Company") is pleased to report that it has expanded the aggressive planned exploration program at its 100% owned Amarillo Grande Uranium Project ("the Project") in Rio Negro Province, Argentina. The program is the next phase in the Company's mission to advance the Project into a low-cost surficial uranium mining operation in order to be the first domestic supplier of uranium to the growing Argentine nuclear industry.
The Amarillo Grande Project currently includes over 187,000 hectares of mineral rights along a 140-kilometre long trend of mineralization in a new uranium district. The Ivana, Anit and Santa Barbara properties, each a part of the Amarillo Grande Project, all host secondary near-surface uranium mineralization, open to expansion, and the potential for discovery of primary sandstone-hosted uranium mineralization at depth. This phase of work will include up to 10,000 metres of reverse circulation (RC) drilling, designed to identify and delineate mineral resources.
"We believe that a domestic source of uranium with a low-cost production model has the opportunity to supply Argentina's growing nuclear industry at highly competitive pricing compared to imported material. Our Amarillo Grande project with its near-surface mineralization, access to infrastructure, and supportive federal and provincial policies, is an excellent candidate to fulfill that model, and we have expanded our exploration program in order to take advantage of the current opportunity window," stated Blue Sky President and CEO Nikolaos Cacos.
The Opportunity Window
In 2016, Argentina committed to "The Paris Accord" a Global Commitment to Clean Energy and set a goal of a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. This goal may be increased to 30%, depending on the availability of foreign investment. A shift from carbon-based fuels to nuclear power for energy requirements is a keystone of the plan moving forward. Argentina has a significant nuclear industry, with three power plants in operation, six research reactors, and a variety of supporting facilities and centres. However, in 2015, nuclear energy accounted for only about 4% of Argentina's energy matrix. Under the 15% CO2 reduction goal, the planned proportion of nuclear would more than double to 10% of the energy matrix in 2025. Currently there is one new power plant under construction, two additional ones in the planning stage and two more under proposal. However, there is no domestic source of uranium to supply the current or future nuclear power plants.
The Exploration Plan
The first major stage in the exploration plan is to delineate mineralization across the district in greater detail and to identify extensions and new targets, both near surface and at depth. Since announcing the program in July, the Company has completed standardization of the project database, applied for updated work permits on all three properties, and had its expert technical consultants re-assess and refine the project's geologic model. Exploration permits have been received for the Anit property and a surface geophysical program is now underway which will help to refine targets for a 10,000 metre RC drilling program, scheduled to commence at the beginning of 2017. The drilling program will be designed to identify and delineate mineral resources and to provide material for a comprehensive metallurgical test work program. The Company's medium-term goal is to define sufficient mineral resources to support an economic assessment to evaluate exploitation of surficial uranium deposits in the Project area.
About the Amarillo Grande Project
This new uranium district was first identified, staked and underwent preliminary exploration by Blue Sky from 2007 to 2012 as part of the Grosso Group's strategy of adding alternative energy focus to its successful portfolio of metals exploration companies. The Ivana, Anit, Santa Barbara properties, which comprise the Amarillo Grande Project, are within 50 kilometres of each other along the trend, therefore if resources are delineated at each property a central processing facility is envisioned. The area is flat-lying, semi-arid and accessible year round, with nearby rail, power and port access.
Mineralization identified to date represents a Surficial Uranium style of deposit, where carnotite mineralization coats loosely consolidated pebbles of sandstone and conglomerates. Carnotite is amenable to leaching, and early metallurgical work indicates that it will also be upgradeable using a very simple wet screening method. The near-surface mineralization, ability to locally upgrade, amenability to leaching and central processing possibility suggest a potentially low-cost development scenario for a future deposit.
Rio Negro is host to several facilities related to the nuclear industry. Furthermore, the Provincial government is amenable to mining as a means of socio-economical development. In addition, the Federal government has expressed support for building domestic resources of uranium. In particular, the Argentina Atomic Energy National Commission (CNEA) published its Strategic Plan 2015-2025, which includes a strategic objective "To ensure the supply of domestic uranium for nuclear power plants in operation, under construction and planned."
For additional details on the project and properties, please see the Company's website.
The contents of this news release have been reviewed and approved by David Terry, Ph.D., P.Geo. Dr. Terry is a Director of the Company and a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101.