U3O8 Corp. (TSX VENTURE:UWE) a Canadian-based company focused on exploration and resource expansion of uranium and associated commodities in South America, reports grades of uranium, phosphate, vanadium, yttrium, rhenium, silver and molybdenum intersected in its first drilling of the Berlin Project in Caldas Province, Colombia.
The Berlin Project is a sediment-hosted, multi-commodity prospect with a historic resource of 12.9 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.13% U3O8 (38 million pounds U3O8) estimated on the southern 4.4 kilometres ("km") of a 10.5km long mineralized trend. No estimate of other elements was reported from historic work. Trenching is underway to confirm historic data that indicates similar uranium grades occur in the northern 6km of the property.
"U3O8 Corp's drilling has intersected similar uranium grades to historic data, but over greater widths and with an additional suite of valuable potential co-products. Given these results and the potential to define a high-value, multi-commodity resource in the near-term, a 10,000m drill program commenced immediately following the initial 1,500m drill program at Berlin," said Dr. Richard Spencer, U3O8 Corp's President and CEO. "Samples from recent drilling are undergoing metallurgical test work to determine the extent to which various co-products can be recovered from the mineralized rock. Preliminary metallurgical results are expected in Q1 2011 as we progress towards positioning the Berlin Project for potential National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") resource estimation in 2011."
Dr. Spencer continued, "Demand for most of the potential co-products is projected to increase: for uranium in response to accelerating nuclear power programs, vanadium in the development of smart electricity grids, phosphate for agricultural fertilizer and yttrium as the shortage of heavy rare earths becomes widely recognized. Rhenium is used in super-alloys designed for very high temperatures, principally used in jet engines and catalytic converters. And the silver adds a precious metal component to the commodity mix."
Potential quantity and grade are conceptual in nature. There has been insufficient exploration to define a mineral resource at the Berlin Project to date and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the target being delineated as a mineral resource.
The mineralized unit encountered in the drilling to date on the Berlin Project is a fine-grained sandstone layer that lies at the contact between a sandstone sequence and the overlying organic-rich, black shale. The mineralized sandstone unit is soft and poorly consolidated, which has led to core loss in some bore holes such as hole DDB6. Bitumen has impregnated parts of the mineralized sandstone and also occurs in the overlying shale. The black shale contains graphite and has a variable pyrite content from 0.5% up to 30%.
Microscopic study of core samples shows that the phosphate occurs as fine, crystalline fluorapatite (Ca5(PO4)F) masses in the sandstone. Uranium is associated with the fluorapatite, while yttrium and some of the vanadium and molybdenum occur as phosphate minerals.
U3O8 Corp's initial 1,500m drill program on the Berlin Project commenced near the southern tip of the 10.5km long, canoe-shaped fold, and was primarily aimed at obtaining fresh samples for metallurgical testing. The drill results reported here confirm that the mineralization encountered at surface in the trenches extends to depth where it follows the "U"-like cross-sectional shape of the fold.
U3O8 Corp's trenching has demonstrated consistent mineralization in the southern 3km of the fold and a 10,000m drill program is already underway with the aim of confirming the continuity of mineralization at depth in the rest of that area. A second, man-portable rig is scheduled to arrive on site in January so that the exploration drilling can be completed in that area by mid 2011. U3O8 Corp. plans to commence infill drilling in the latter half of 2011 towards the definition of a potential NI 43-101 resource estimate. In addition, trenching continues in the northern part of the property to confirm historic records which show that the uranium-bearing layer extends along the full length of the fold.
Metallurgical Test Work
Mineralized core samples have been submitted for metallurgical test work at SGS Lakefield's laboratory in Toronto under the guidance of external metallurgical consultant, Mr. John Goode. Results are expected in the first quarter of 2011.
Commodities Associated with Uranium at Berlin
In the Berlin Project, significant grades of uranium associated with phosphate, vanadium, yttrium, rhenium, molybdenum and silver contribute to a potential high in situ value for this multi-commodity prospect.
- The current uranium spot price is $61.00 per pound
- Fluorapatite is the principal phosphate mineral found at Berlin. Phosphate, with nitrogen and potash, constitute the three principal components of agricultural fertilizers. The Berlin Project lies adjacent to the agricultural heartland of central Colombia – a favourable location for the potential production of fertilizer.
- Current price of phosphate (DAP) is approximately US$530 per tonne or $0.53 per kilogram ("kg") (Bloomberg).
- Used as an alloy to strengthen steel.
- Significant potential for large-scale energy storage units in emerging technology such as the vanadium redox-flow battery ("VRB"). VRB's can absorb and discharge large amounts of electricity simultaneously and instantaneously, recharge thousands of times and they contain no toxic materials. VRB's are proving to be a crucial component of green and conventional power grids since they can be charged with excess electricity during low-demand periods and feed power back into the grid as demand increases.
- Combined with lithium to create a safer, longer lasting rechargeable battery for electric vehicles.
- Vanadium prices are approximately $6.50 per pound ("lb") or approximately $14 per kg
- A heavy rare earth element ("HREE") used to make red phosphors for television screens and LEDs.
- Used in the production of electrodes, electrolytes, electronic filters, lasers and superconductors.
- Yttrium prices are currently between $70 and $75 per kg
- A rare metal used in temperature resistant alloys such as for jet engines and catalytic converters.
- Rhenium prices are approximately $3,500 to $4,000 per kg
- Used principally as an alloy to strengthen steel. Molybdenum prices are currently approximately $15 per lb
- Silver prices are approximately $29 per troy ounce
Quality Assurance and Quality Control ("QAQC")
Drilling is being done by Kluane Drilling Ltd. of Whitehorse, Canada, with man-portable rigs. Each bore hole is started with NTW (nominal core diameter is 5.71cm) and the hole size is reduced at depth to BTW (normal core diameter is 4.2cm). On completion of each hole, the radioactivity of the walls of the bore hole is measured in detail with a Mount Sopris gamma ray probe and these data provide an estimate of uranium grade that is independent of the assay values obtained from sampling of the core.
The core is transported to a central facility where its radioactivity is measured with a hand-held spectrometer. It is logged and sample intervals are determined and marked. The core is split with a spatula or diamond saw and half-core is bagged, numbered and submitted to ALS Chemex Laboratory's preparation facility in Bogota, Colombia.
Quality control samples, that include certified standards, field blanks, ten mesh duplicates and pulp duplicates, constitute approximately 13% of the material assayed by the laboratory. The prepared sample pulps are then shipped by ALS Chemex to its analytical facility in Lima, Peru. Several types of analyses are performed on the samples including:
- Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy ("ICP-MS") after the sample has been dissolved by a mixture of four acids (ALS Chemex Method Code ME-MS61). This type of analysis provides assay data on 48 elements.
- ICP-MS after the sample has been dissolved by a mixture of four acids provides analyses for rare earth elements (ALS Chemex Method Code ME-MS81).
- Samples that have a phosphorous content in excess of 10,000ppm were analyzed by X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) using ALS Chemex Method Code XRF12.
Dr. Richard Spencer, President & CEO of U3O8 Corp., a Qualified Person within the definition of that term in NI 43-101 of the Canadian Securities Administrators, has supervised the preparation of, and verified the technical information in this release.
Source: U3O8 Corp.