In 2013 so far, we've seen the resurgence of the uranium space. The two stories that stick out the most over the last 12 months were those of Alpha Minerals [TSX.V: AMW] and Fission Uranium [TSX.V: FCU]. Due to an incredibly high-grade Patterson Lake uranium discovery in November of 2012, a renaissance ensued in Saskatchewan's Athabasca Basin.
The result was incredible gains for both companies. Alpha Minerals was a resource-space darling this year, rising from a 52-week low of $0.40 to a high of $7.60; smashing above ten-bagger status.
Fission Uranium was incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fission Energy in February only to be sold months later in April to Denison Mines [TSX: DML].
The two together hold 50/50 interest in the joint Patterson Lake South ("PLS") property. After the discovery was made in November, all things lifted off quickly. Drilling since the discovery has brought back incredible assays including 10.5 metres at 29.26% U3O8, 6 metres at 35.0% U3O8, and more recently 21.5 metres at 21.76% U3O8.
After the excitement hit, a rush of companies looking to stake the land were left empty-handed. The best parcels were already spoken for.
However, prior to the flurry of activity, one company was able to acquire what is now the largest land package in the Patterson Lake area.
Skyharbour Resources [TSX.V: SYH
] scooped up roughly 160,000 hectares (400,000 acres) of strategically located lands surrounding the PLS property. In comparison, Fission/Alpha's property consists of 31,039 hectares (or 76,700 acres).
Upon first glance, Skyharbour, at a current market cap of less than $4.5 million, looks a little too small to carry out the necessary work to develop the property to Fission/Alpha levels. However, Skyharbour's management knew the size of the task ahead, and thought outside the box.
Spanning from May to July, the company announced a series of strategic partnerships to help handle the workload. The result was the creation of what's known now as the Western Athabasca Syndicate. Four junior companies, each with their own areas of expertise, geological teams, and rolodexes of potential investors to call when it's time to finance.
The four-company group consists of Skyharbour and its new partners Lucky Strike Resources [TSX.V: LKY], Athabasca Nuclear [TSX.V: ASC], and Noka Resources [TSX.V: NX], each earning in 25% interests in an expanded property package totaling over 285,000 hectares (roughly 710,000 acres).
For its efforts of bringing the deal together, Skyharbour is only on the hook for 1/6th of the costs going forward. When looking at the next two years, the agreement requires the syndicate to spend $6,000,000 on exploration, however Skyharbour's share is only $1,000,000.THE WESTERN SYNDICATE: STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
The aim of any new project for an explorer is to make a discovery. However, in today's market for hotly contested junior explorer dollars, prospectors need to be crafty and wise to their surroundings.
Across all four companies the Western Syndicate has over 200 combined years of experience in the Athabasca Basin. As of mid-October, the group will have done $1.5 million in work on the property.
One million dollars won't get a junior a discovery. But $6 million could do the trick. Having a full-scale team with focused experience in the Basin should help the combined group's results, as they'll each have input on where the work is being carried out and what's being done.
The shared costs run all the way down from drilling to the cost for a table at road shows. It's a brilliantly maneuvered deal.
All four companies have seen their stock prices (and subsequent market caps) rise since joining the Western Syndicate. It's a prime example of the whole being worth more than the sum of its parts.THE INVESTMENT POTENTIAL FOR URANIUM
When comparing uranium's current prices to other metals, it's still quite profitable, despite the fallout from Fukushima.
When the Skyharbour team looked at opportunities in the beginning, they evaluated everything from gold to base metals to even oil and gas plays. But after assessing what was out there, President and CEO Jordan Trimble and his team could see true potential in uranium.
There weren't many other areas that generate the same return on investment like that when you make a uranium discovery in the Athabasca Basin. Case in point with Alpha Minerals over the last 12 months.
With distractions such as Fukushima, and posturing by certain EU countries against nuclear power, it's easy to miss the true value of uranium. For example, it's not common knowledge that the value of a 1% uranium discovery is equivalent to that of roughly 22 grams/tonne of gold. This shows how rich the ore is.
The reason is because these are difficult deposits to find. They're small, and typically quite deep, like those seen on the east side of the Athabasca Basin. Hence the reason why Trimble and his team liked the Patterson Lake area so much. It's a shallow, under explored part of the Basin that a lot of companies ignored.
Geologically, Skyharbour is looking for basement-hosted deposits with no Athabasca sandstone above for hundreds of meters because the Patterson Lake South discovery is just outside of the Basin proper. When looking for shallow targets, the odds of making a discovery are increased, because you don't have to drill as deep.
PThe area they're in offers opportunities to find high-grade deposits. These are where there's a lot more value to be unlocked through mining. As well, it's these types of discoveries that draw the attention of the larger companies, like how Hathor lured in Rio Tinto. Even after Fukushima we've seen quite a few recent takeovers that have been noteworthy.THE BOTTOM LINE
Right from the beginning of the Skyharbour story, there's been an impact from the likes of the Fissions and Alphas of the world.
When it's time to start financing, it helps when you have neighbours that are making noise in a positive way. Fission and Alpha should continue to make headlines with their PLS project. Each time they do so, there's a good chance there will be a positive reaction for the companies of the Western Athabasca Syndicate.
Despite the fact that Skyharbour's share price has risen since the start of the year ($0.04 low to $0.115 high), there's still an overwhelming feeling there's more to come. Given the steady stream of progress coming out of their headlines, it's clear that they've added far more value than what the market is crediting them with.
In the meantime, they are funded to meet their work obligations and keep the Syndicate moving forward. The significant work program they are carrying out should provide a steady news flow from the project.
With a solid flagship property in place, and a newly formed conglomerate to help see it through to a discovery, Skyharbour is in a good place to grow. Money saved on exploration costs will allow them to possibly pick up other properties outside of the Western Athabasca Syndicate as they continue to build the company and maximize shareholder value.
G. Joel Chury
for the Bottom Line Report
Skyharbour Resources Ltd.
777 Dunsmuir Street - Suite 1610
Vancouver, BC V7Y 1K4
Toll Free: 800-567-8181
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