VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Surging uranium demand is driving investors to Saskatchewan's red hot Athabasca Basin which already supplies 20% of the world's uranium.
Hathor Exploration discovered Athabasca's Roughrider deposit in 2008 and was later sold for $654 million. In Q4, 2013 Fission Uranium and Alpha Minerals merged their interests in Athabasca's Patterson Lake South property. Fission and Alpha experienced massive stock price appreciation after the discovery of high-grade uranium mineralization.
"The chances that Fission and Alpha are the only ones that have uranium on their property is probably relatively low," states David Talbot, a senior uranium analyst with Dundee Capital Markets, in a recent interview with Resource Clips.
One nimble exploration company has recently made a series of strategic acquisitions in the Athabasca Basin. In 2013 Zadar Ventures (ZAD-TSX.V) acquired a 100% interest in three uranium projects comprising 28,376 hectares in the Patterson Lake South district, including PNE (Patterson Lake North East).
"We are extremely excited about the current position of our company in the world's most prolific uranium basin," states Paul Gray, President and CEO of Zadar, "and our focus in 2014 is on resource growth and discovery".
Zadar conducted on-the-ground geophysical, geochemical and geological programs on the PNE uranium project this past season.
The PNE project lies within a structural corridor that encompasses the former Cluff Lake uranium mine, the Shea Creek uranium deposits, and the high-grade uranium discovery at Patterson Lake South.
The PNE project shares a common boundary with the Patterson Lake North project, joint ventured by Fission Uranium and Azincourt Uranium where an 8 kilometer conductor trend was recently announced.
Fission Uranium, the operator of the Patterson Lake North project, announced an exploration budget of $1.5 million that includes 2,500 metres of diamond drilling in the winter of 2014. Fission's exploration program for PLN supports Zadar's belief that the PNE project has a high discovery potential for a basement hosted uranium deposit at shallow depths.
Although the PNE asset shines brightly in the current investment environment due to its proximity to Patterson Lake South, Zadar has made a second package-acquisition which could deliver even bigger returns to ZAD shareholder.
In 2013, Zadar acquired a 100% interest in five advanced uranium exploration projects covering 67,561 hectares in the prospective Athabasca Basin. Pasfield Lake, West Carswell, Stony Road, Riverlake and Highrock were advanced by Triex Minerals under the guidance of Dr. Michael Gunning during the 2000's.
As the former CEO of Hathor and Chairman of Alpha, Dr. Gunning is a guru and talisman of Canadian uranium discoveries.
"Dr. Gunning has a proven track record of uranium discovery in the Athabasca Basin," states Gray, "this package of projects represents high priority, advanced exploration targets Doctor Gunning personally developed during his time at Triex".
The value of the historical data compiled by Dr. Gunning is estimated at $17 million. Although Triex had partial ownership of the five properties; Zadar now holds 100% interest.
Zadar has begun a detailed data analysis of the Triex package and is developing prioritized drill targets, with a particular focus on the Pasfield Lake Uranium Project.
"So much money was been spent in the 2,000s exploring Pasfield and the other Triex properties that we believe the data deserves a fresh set of eyes," explains Gray in an exclusive interview with Financial Press, "Our geological team is compiling and reviewing the $17 million of data to ensure that Zadar shareholders get maximum benefit from the exploratory work that has been done. This puts us in a position to make clear informed decisions about future drill targets."
All five projects contain uranium targets that are partially tested, or untested. Ongoing analysis and integration of the technical data will further refine drill targets.
"The Pasfield Lake project is one hundred percent drill ready," explains Gray, "Phase One exploration drilling has proven the uranium geological model. In Phase Two we get on the ground and do some diamond drilling. Our intention is to execute a substantial drill program on Pasfield."
"Exploration in the Athabasca Basin can be conducted year round. In many respects it is advantageous to operate in the winter. Like Patterson, the main target is under a lake where the frozen surfaces provide easy access. But there is also meaningful work we can do in the summer."
Unlike many other uranium juniors, Zadar is not required to spend massive amounts of money to retain the rights to the assets they currently control. Zadar's total mandatory spend on its entire uranium portfolio is only about $250,000 a year.
"In a worst case scenario if this market flat-lines, we are good for the next two years," confirms Gray, "Companies that went in and did wholesale land grabs will likely be shrinking. Our land package is secure."
"The Athabasca Basin represents the best region in the world to discover and mine uranium," states a November 2013 independent report by Rockstone Research, "It is the only region in the world capable of making a lot of money for western capitalists without much hassle."
"Other large deposits are situated in countries with considerable geopolitical risks/uncertainties, especially in Africa, Russia, and Kazakhstan. There are also cultural and language barriers that create difficulties for foreign/western investors to negotiate; thus, limiting capital appreciation potentials."
As well as uranium development veteran CEO Paul Gray, Zadar has assembled a veteran uranium management team, including Jeremy S. Brett M.Sc., P.Geo, who is leading the ongoing data compilation program and Kieran Downes Ph.D.,P.Geo who has over 40 years diversified international experience in, base metals, gold, diamonds and uranium.
In January 2014, Zadar completed a $933,000 equity financing and anticipates finalizing another $1.248 million placement by GRIT. This placement will allow the Company to concentrate on developing and testing the drill targets identified within the 100% owned stable of quality Athabasca Basin Uranium projects.
"The Pasfield Lake Project was previously under fractional ownership," states Gray, "and the company raised $35 million to explore. With 100% interest Zadar can entertain joint ventures, which gives us the opportunity to execute drill programs with innovative non-dilutive financing. With fractional ownership that is more difficult to do, even when a major is involved."
The Athabasca Basin contains known uranium reserves with the energy equivalent of 19 billion barrels of oil.
China currently has 28 nuclear reactors under construction, with another 49 planned and 120 proposed. According to China's Nuclear Power Development Plan, domestic nuclear power production will increase 400% by 2020. Vietnam, Turkey, Indonesia, Egypt and Kazakhstan are all building their first reactors.
Zadar is currently trading at .27 with a market cap of $6.5 million.
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CONTACT: Zadar Ventures Ltd. Paul D. Gray President 604-682-1643 www.zadarventures.comSource:Zadar Ventures Ltd.