How Saskatchewan remade uranium mining – by Vladimir Basov ( – March 31, 2016)

String of high-grade high-tonnage discoveries reestablishes Canadian province as the world’s richest uranium jurisdiction

It’s a fact that new high-grade high-tonnage metal deposits are becoming extremely scarce, with falling grades and a lack of new world-class deposit discoveries. While it is next to impossible to imagine, for example, discovery of a new 200g/tonne 25 million ozt gold deposit, it is just has become a routine process for one particular commodity in one particular jurisdiction.

Athabasca sedimentary basin, located mainly in Canada’s Saskatchewan province, contains both high-grade and high-tonnage unique, a.k.a “unconformity” bonanza-type uranium deposits.

Just for comparison, Priargunsky underground uranium mine in Trans-Baikal region of Russia has approximately 0.15% grade of uranium in resources, while in Saskatchewan the world’s highest-grade and second-biggest Cigar Lake underground uranium mine boasts an average 15% grade of uranium in resources. And this is a mind-blowing 100-times difference.

In addition, Rio Tinto’s struggling Rossing open-pit uranium mine in Namibia has ~0.03% grade of uranium in resources, while recently calculated open-pit portion of Fission Uranium’s Patterson Lake South deposit has yielded 19% grade of uranium in resources, and this is a fantastic 630-times difference!

What is that unique about Athabasca? The first Athabasca uranium deposits were discovered in the early 1950s and Eldorado (now Cameco Corp.) began mining at Beaverlodge Mine in 1953. But nothing was special about first deposits discovered there, which had ordinary uranium grades in ores and located out of Athabasca Basin borders.

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