Investors in early-stage mineral exploration firms are often advised to seek out companies led by serially successful management teams with a track record of discoveries and experience in all aspects of mine development.
If that approach is applied to uranium exploration, it would lead investors to Fission 3.0 Corp. [FUU-TSXV], a company that is focused on finding the next high-grade deposit in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, the world’s richest uranium region. In 2020, the Athabasca Basin accounted for approximately 8.1% of the global primary uranium production.
As the shares were trading at 11 cents on August 31, 2022, in a 52-week range of 30 cents and $0.07, Fission 3.0 offers investors a low-risk entry point to uranium exploration upside in Saskatchewan.
Headed by CEO Dev Randhawa, the award-winning Fission 3.0 technical team already has a number of high-profile Athabasca uranium discoveries under its belt. It is the same team that found Fission Uranium Corp’s [FCU-TSX; FCUUF-OTCQX; 2FU-FSE] high grade Triple R deposit at its Patterson Lake South property and the J-Zone deposit, which is now a key part of Denison Mines Corp.’s [DML-TSX] Waterbury project. Currently advancing towards feasibility, Triple R is the Athabasca region’s highest-grade deposit at shallow depth and is expected to become one of the world’s lowest cost uranium mines.
Fission 3.0 was spun out by Fission Uranium Corp., a company that was founded by Randhawa and now led by CEO Ross McElroy, (winner of the 2014 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) award for exploration success). McElroy is also a director of Fission 3.0.
With 16 properties in its portfolio, the company searching for more deposits amid signs that a new uranium bull market is under way, a scenario that is expected to boost demand for the radioactive metal. Analysts say higher uranium prices and the continually increasing focus on green energy is shining the spotlight on exploration companies like Fission 3.0, which has deployed innovative staking strategies to identify and acquire strategic land positions in the Athabasca Basin.
Each of the properties in Fission 3.0’s portfolio is handpicked by the technical team. They were staked on the basis of innovative airborne technology that was used to discover the uranium boulder field which led to the discovery of the Triple R deposit, with a current resource of 130 million pounds.
“We are well funded, and we know how to make discoveries on both sides of the Athabasca Basin,’’ said Randhawa, who believes his company’s management strength gives it a big leg up on its competitors. A highly experienced financier, he has been in the exploration game since launching his own company, Strathmore Minerals Corp. in 1996.
Fission Energy, a predecessor of Fission 3.0, was spun out by Strathmore to focus on uranium exploration in Saskatchewan. Fission Energy sold its Waterbury Lake discovery and a basket of other assets to Denison Mines in 2013. That was before Fission Uranium was created to hold the remaining uranium assets, including Patterson Lake South and the Triple R discovery.
Fission 3.0 is focused on finding unconformity-related deposits, the most common of the 14 major categories of uranium deposit types. Notable examples include Key Lake, Cluff Lake, Rabbit Lake, McClean Lake, McArthur River and Cigar Lake deposits – with some of the ore around 20% uranium.
An unconformity is a buried erosional or non-depositional surface, separating two rock masses or strata of different ages, indicating that sediment deposition was not continuous. Basement-hosted deposits are spatially associated with and closely related to, unconformity uranium-occurrences.
It is worth noting that Fission 3.0’s exploration team has led the discovery of both basement-hosted (Triple R), unconformity-related (Waterbury) uranium deposits. The team is equipped with the necessary skills to identify drill targets and then execute on drilling programs.
This year, the company expects to spend $12.8 million in Saskatchewan and will still have $5 million in the treasury when that work is done.
Of that amount, roughly $5 million is earmarked for Patterson Lake North (PLN), one of the most advanced and highest ranked projects in Fission 3.0’s portfolio by virtue of its location and the fact that it has multiple untested and prospective targets for high grade uranium.
Previous drilling by Fission 3.0 at the more than 3.0-kilometre-long A1 conductor intersected basement hosted uranium mineralization supported by the presence of alteration, pathfinder elements and structural disturbance reinforcing the large-scale potential of the project, the company has said.
Exploration at PLN this year will include 3,000 metres of drilling (seven holes) at the A1 Conductor.
Meanwhile, the company is seeing positive signs that it is on the right track at other projects in the portfolio.
In March 2022, the company said drilling in the previously untested Broach Lake area of the PLN property encountered encouraging anomalous radioactivity associated with a brecciated fault zone in basement rock in hole PLN22-031
The company is also encouraged by exploration results at the Lazy Edward Bay project in the southeast Athabasca Basin.
Lazy Edward Bay is one of two Athabasca projects that were recently optioned out to Traction Uranium Corp. [TRAC-CSE]. The other is the Hearty Bay project. Traction can earn a 70% stake in the two projects.
Back on August 10, 2022, after the company said drill crews have hit the first significant anomalous radioactive mineralization at the Murphy Lake property in northern Saskatchewan.
The announcement came after the company elected to expand a five-hole (2,505) drilling program that was designed to test a new 1.5-kilometre-long north south resistivity low zone in the lower sandstone and basement in the east part of the property that was interpreted from a recently completed DC Resistivity ground geophysics survey.
In a press release on August 10, 2022, the company said drill hole ML22-006 has intersected a 2.0-metre interval of anomalous and variable radioactivity, including a 0.5 metre interval with a maximum of 2300 cps, 20.9 metres below the Athabasca Unconformity occurring on the margin of a 34.5-metre-wide shear zone in basement rocks with graphite laminations and graphitic faults.
Hole ML22-006 is located 300 metres to the north of the five holes that were drilled in the first Murphy Lake drill program carried out in July 2022.
“We are greatly encouraged that the first significantly anomalous radioactivity has been encountered a Murphy Lake,” said Randhawa. “Additional drilling will follow up on this new mineralization and plans to further expand the drill program are underway,’’ he said.
The property is located 30 kilometres from Orano Canada Inc.’s McLean Lake uranium mine, 5.0 kilometres south of ISO Energy’s high grade Hurricane Uranium Deposit and 4.5 kilometres east of Cameco Corp.’s [CCO-TSX, CCJ-NYSE] Laroque Lake deposit with drill intersections as high as 27.9% U308 over 7.0 metres in drill hole Q22-040.
Based on the interpretation of government regional magnetic data, Fission 3.0 inferred that a conductor corridor, within which Cameco drill hole Q23-5 intersected anomalous uranium and pathfinder element geochemistry, projected northward onto the Murphy Lake property into an area where there had been no previous drilling.
This was confirmed by ground DC Resistivity and EM geophysics carried out this past spring and further corroborated by the five recently completed holes in the southeastern part of the property.