UEX Corporation has announced that drilling has begun on the company’s 100% owned West Bear Property with the objective of expanding the high-grade West Bear Co-Ni Deposit.
West Bear Dome Area Figure (Image credit: UEX Corporation)
The 2019 winter exploration program will comprise of approximately 17,000 m of drilling in approximately 110-160 holes utilizing two drill rigs. Primarily, the program will concentrate on extending high-grade cobalt mineralization along strike to the west.
Results from UEX’s 2004-2006 sonic drill programs, situated 100-500 m west of the deposit, highlight the outstanding potential to expand the cobalt-nickel mineralization along strike to the west. These sonic holes were able to penetrate just 5-10 m below the uranium mineralization defining the West Bear Uranium Deposit ending at vertical depths ranging between 25-35 m. Nearly all the sonic holes ended in cobalt-nickel mineralization. The main fault structure hosting cobalt-nickel mineralization in the deposit area occurs downdip of these mineralized sonic holes and remains untested by drilling.
Important drill results from the 2018 program included hole WBC-012 that assayed 4.90% Co and 2.08% Ni over 8.0 m from 77.0 to 85.0 m and hole WBC-001 which intersected 2.00% cobalt and 1.26% nickel over a 10.5 m between 46.0 m and 56.5 m.
The drill program will also explore for extensions of high-grade cobalt-nickel mineralization down-plunge and along strike to the southeast.
The goal of the winter program is to drill the deposit to such a degree that the company will be able to begin studies to establish the economic viability of the deposit in the second half of 2019.
The winter drill program will also commence the process of exploring the area around the deposit for further cobalt-nickel deposits. Historical drilling along the margins of the West Bear Dome was concentrated on targeting uranium mineralization at the unconformity and frequently failed to test these fault structures downdip into the basement for nickel and cobalt. Often, samples taken from these holes were not sampled for nickel and cobalt. Five high-priority target areas have been pinpointed from the company’s review of the historical data of earlier explorers on the north and west flanks of the West Bear Dome.
UEX believes the West Bear Cobalt-Nickel Deposit has the potential to develop into an important cobalt deposit with several potential benefits:
Cobalt grades from several of UEX’s drill holes compare positively to the grades of numerous global and North American deposits
Open in all directions for expansion
Historical focus on unconformity uranium targets avoided Co-Ni opportunities
Historical drill holes did not analyze the clay-altered host fault structure down-dip from the unconformity, the host environment for the West Bear Cobalt-Nickel Deposit.
Mining friendly location
Situated in Saskatchewan, the world’s second most striking mining investment jurisdiction according to the Fraser Institute’s 2017 Survey of Mining Companies.
Potential Secure and Ethical North American Cobalt Source
Could help ease concerns regarding supply security and ethical sourcing of cobalt seen in other jurisdictions.
About the West Bear Cobalt-Nickel Deposit
The West Bear Property is an advanced exploration project situated in the eastern Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan, Canada that contains both the West Bear Uranium Deposit and the West Bear Cobalt-Nickel Deposit. The property is approximately 740 km north of Saskatoon, west of Wollaston Lake and measures approximately 7,657.3 hectares comprising of 23 contiguous areas to which UEX has 100% ownership. The deposit is situated within an area of the Athabasca Basin that has superior infrastructure and is located within 10 km of an existing all-weather road and power lines that service Cameco Corporation’s nearby Cigar Lake Mine and Rabbit Lake Operation, as well as Orano’s McClean Lake Operation.
The West Bear Cobalt-Nickel Deposit has a strike length of more than 250 m and a dip length of more than 100 m and stays open for expansion in all directions. On July 10, 2018, the company publicized a maiden inferred resource estimate for the deposit of 390,000 tons grading 0.37% cobalt and 0.22% nickel, which equates to 3,172,000 pounds of cobalt and 1,928,000 pounds of nickel. The West Bear Cobalt-Nickel Deposit mineral resources were established using a cut-off grade of 0.023% cobalt equivalent (“CoEq”), using the equation CoEq = Co + (Ni x 0.2). Only mineralization situated within a conceptual open pit was included in the final resource estimate.
A sensitivity analysis performed by SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. within the Technical Report for the West Bear Cobalt-Nickel Project, Saskatchewan, Canada dated August 7, 2018 (filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com) shows the high-grade nature of the deposit. Compared to the base case resource estimate, more than 96% of the contained cobalt still lies inside the conceptual pit shell when cut-off grades are increased to 0.09% CoEq (278,837 t at 0.50% Co and 0.29% Ni equaling 3.07 million pounds Co and 1.78 million pounds Ni).
Qualified Persons and Data Acquisition
Technical information in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Roger Lemaitre, P.Eng., P.Geo., UEX’s President and CEO and Trevor Perkins, P.Geo., UEX’s Exploration Manager, who are each considered to be a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101.