Last week, Forum announced a new acquisition in the Thelon Basin, a vastly underexplored region in Nunavut, Canada. Management’s expectations are high for this one.
Outside Saskatchewan’s prolific Athabasca Basin several hundred kilometers to the south, the Thelon Basin is the most prospective region in the world for the discovery of new high-grade unconformity-style uranium deposits. That’s the thinking here.
Forum’s CEO, Rick Mazur, believes Thelon is where the Athabasca Basin was 50 years ago in terms of discovery and development. If he’s right, his Company’s dominant land position in the region stands to generate significant shareholder value.
A February 1 headline…
Forum already had a foothold in the region with some 44k hectares (light green blocks, map below).
Forum staked an additional 53,402 hectares (solid green blocks, map below), ground once held by Cameco Corp. that is on-trend with one of the largest undeveloped uranium deposits in the world—the 133 million pound Kiggavik uranium deposit held by Orano (66.2%), Denison (16.9%), and UEX (16.9%).
Kiggavik – the colossus next door
Kiggavik was pushed a good distance along the development curve by Orano and its JV partners.
Orano completed six years of engineering, environmental, and community engagement studies at Kiggavik. A development proposal was submitted in 2008 envisioning 7.8 million pounds of uranium per year at an average head grade of 0.46% U over a 17-year mine life. Kiggavik’s 133 million lb resource is contained within three deposits—the Kiggavik and Andrew Lake open pit deposits, and the End underground deposit. (Source: *Areva Resources Canada Inc., The Kiggavik Project, Project Proposal, November 2008 and Kiggavik Popular Summary, April, 2012 submission to the Nunavut Impact Review Board).
Orano submitted a Final Environmental Impact Study to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) in October of 2014, but due to a downturn in the industry at that time, they were unable to commit to a firm development schedule. The project was subsequently placed on care and maintenance.
Forum’s new ground
While Cameco was active on this property (2008 to 2012), they drilled 135 holes for over 36,000 meters to the west of Orano’s Kiggavik deposit. The upshot of that labor was the discovery of two uranium deposits—Tatiggaq and Qavvik—and one significant showing—Ayra. This ground is now controlled by Forum.
Cameco first staked claims in the Thelon Basin in 2004 and conducted regional geological, geophysical and geochemical studies up until the first drill campaign in 2008. Cameco drilled 23 holes for just under 5,000 metres in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, Cameco drilled 31 holes totalling just over 8,800 metres in 2010 and discovered the Tatigqaq showing (approximately 5km west of Orano’s Andrew Lake deposit) and the Qavvik showing (15km to the west of Tatiggaq). A further 81 holes totalling just over 22,000 meters were drilled in 2011 and 2012 resulting in the discovery of the Ayra showing and tested three other targets identified by geophysical surveys, now requiring further follow-up (map below).
The Kiggavik deposit and the Cameco discoveries in the northeastern Thelon Basin, Nunavut share many common features as the prolific Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan. With Forum’s legacy claims in the area, Forum holds 97,433 hectares of prime exploration ground approximately 100km west of the Hamlet of Baker Lake, Kivalliq region in Nunavut.
The Tatiggaq discovery
Tatiggaq was discovered in 2010 by way of a 13.7-meter intersection grading 0.85% U3O8 (including 4.03% over 0.5 meters).
Tatiggaq’s two near surface zones—Main and West—average 30 meters in thickness with strike lengths of 80 and 60 meters, respectively. The deposits remain open along strike and to depth within a large gravity anomaly (0.8 x 1.5 kilometers) that has yet to be fully tested.
Highlights from historic Cameco drilling include:
- DDH TUR-042 – 2.69% U3O8 over 7.9 meters from 200.2 meters to 208.1 meters, including 24.8% U3O8 over 0.4 meters from 202.9 meters to 203.3 meters;
- DDH TUR-052B – 0.43% U3O8 over 54.2 meters from 115.4 meters to 169.6 meters;
- DDH TUR-056 – 0.93% U3O8 over 9 meters from 126 meters to 135 meters;
- DDH TUR-058 – 1.17% U3O8 over 6.1 meters from 88.2 meters to 94.3 meters.
The Qavvik discovery
Qavvik was discovered in 2009. Its four steep dipping lenses have a strike of 250 meters; the widths vary between 5 and 20 meters and run to a depth of 350 meters.
Qavvik is characterized by hole SAN-002 which tagged four discreet mineralized intervals: 0.92% U3O8 over 2.5 meters (253.9 to 256.4 meters), 1.18% U3O8 over 4.3 meters (259.0 to 263.3 meters), 0.57% U3O8 over 1.6 meters (273.7 to 275.3 meters), and 0.62% U3O8 over 2.2 meters (277.5 to 279.7 meters).
The highest grade interval at Qavvik = 5.69% U3O8 over 0.3 meters.
The ultimate extent of Qavvik’s mineralization is unknown. More work is needed.
The Ayra showing
The Ayra showing has all the hallmarks of a classic unconformity deposit with uranium enrichment (67 to 610ppm uranium) near the unconformity along steeply dipping faults that are clearly reactivated fault zones which offset the 10 to 60 metre thick overlying Thelon sandstone. The host rocks to the Ayra showing consists of lamprophyre, syenite, and gneiss unconformably overlain by strongly altered and uranium enriched (2 to 11ppm uranium) Thelon sandstone. Further drilling is required as only 15 widely spaced holes have tested this prospect.
Forum was active in the region at the same time as Cameco.
In 2008, during a 12 hole 2,474-meter campaign, Forum discovered the Tarzan zone where drill hole TZ-04 demonstrated the most anomalous geochemistry of the program—22ppm U over 79.5 meters (from 45 to 124.5 meters). This intercept also contained numerous pathfinder elements—up to 120ppm Pb over 11.2 meters and 801 ppm B over 12.7 meters.
Management’s experience in the region dates back even further.
Ken Wheatley, Forum’s VP of Exploration, a professional geoscientist with an impressive track record of mineral discoveries, including eight uranium deposits (four of which became producing mines in the Athabasca Basin), first visited Nunavut in the late 1970s as a student. He would later take on the role of Orano’s district geologist and was in charge of exploration at Kiggavik.
CEO Mazur, a geoscientist with over 40 years of experience, cut his teeth on Nunavut ground, working for four years in the region after graduating in 1975. According to Mazur…
“There is no better place in the world to explore for high grade unconformity style uranium deposits outside the Athabasca than the Thelon in Nunavut. We have been keeping an eye on this uranium district since Forum actively explored in the region from 2006 to 2012. Cameco’s work has given Forum a head start on building a significant resource on our 100% owned property.
Forum’s goal is to supplement the already established mineable reserve at Kiggavik and establish a production centre in Nunavut to fulfill the demand for the carbon-free energy future. Nunavut is a jurisdiction that has proven that mining is an important activity for the benefit of all Nunavummiut as shown by existing mining operations at Agnico’s Meadowbank, Meliadine and Hope Bay gold mines and Baffinland’s Mary River iron ore mine.”
Exploration plans for 2022 – 2023
The Company is planning a campaign of geophysics (gravity and magnetic surveys), mapping, prospecting, and re-logging of historical drill core this summer. Further, the Company aims to mobilize a camp and equipment ahead of a drill campaign scheduled for the summer of 2023.
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