Niger – A Radon survey will use surface mounted equipment to measure the presence of radon gas at depths of up to 250 m. Radon gas is given off by and indicates the presence of uranium ores. Radon surveys have been responsible for uranium deposit discoveries worldwide.
The key findings from the RadonEx programme are:
1. The exploration method was successful in outlining the known drilled deposits. The existing Miriam deposit was accurately identified by the study as a control;
2. The existence of a substantial exploration target approximately 1 km wide by 5 km long adjacent to and parallel with GoviEx’s existing Miriam deposit at Madaouela in Niger, and;
3. The potential for the continued extension of the Marianne deposit, also at GoviEx’s Madaouela project with two zones defined to the north west and south west of the Marianne deposit extending towards the Cominak mine, operated by Areva.
Daniel Major, GoviEx’s CEO commented, “We are very excited by the results of this initial survey which has focussed on a very limited part of our exploration tenements in Niger. The radon survey has not only highlighted a clear drill target adjacent to the Miriam deposit, which was the initial programme focus, but also shown the exploration potential of our tenements, with strong radon anomalies recorded close both to the Miriam and the Marianne deposits.”
The radon survey covered two zones with a total area of 30 km2, or approximately 3% of GoviEx’s total mining permit and exploration licenses in Niger, which cover a total area of 912 km2.
The radon survey focused on the area west of the Miriam deposit that is planned, in the GoviEx’s Integrated Development Plan, to be mined as an open pit at the start of the life-of-mine.
Miriam is one of six deposits at the Madaouela project, and is estimated to contain over 26 million lbs U3O8 but remains open in many directions. Miriam is expected to be developed first and to provide the mill feed for the initial eight years of the project’s mine life.
Firstly, the survey showed its ability to be used in Niger to define exploration targets, as it clearly replicated the known Miriam deposit.
Secondly, the survey defined a strong radon signature adjacent and parallel to the Miriam deposit, and part of a 1km-wide, 5km-long anomalous corridor. This will be the future focus of delineation drilling as the key objective of the survey was to find additional resources that are amenable to lower-cost, open-pit mining, important in the current uranium price environment.
Obtaining favourable results could positively impact GoviEx Uranium’s recently announced initiative to seek debt financing for our planned mine at the Madaouela project.
Thirdly, a large radon anomaly was discovered about 4 km to the west of Miriam in the area previously not drilled by GoviEx.
The Marianne and Marilyn deposits contain over 54.75 million lbs U3O8 in measured and indicated resources, and is planned as an underground mine to commence after the Miriam deposit. The radon survey confirmed the potential for the continued extension of the deposit, with two zones defined to the North West and South West of the Marianne deposit.
The North West anomaly was intersected by a historical GoviEx drill hole, the highlight of which is provided in the table below. Interestingly, three separate mineralized zones were identified at shallow depths historically mined in the district:
|Hole_ID||From (m)||To (m)||Thickness (m)||Grade (% U)|
Radon gas is produced by the radioactive decay of radium-226, which is found in uranium ores. Radon gas detection can be a reliable indicator of the presence of uranium and its radon measurement is a technique frequently used in uranium exploration.
Importantly, at the Madaouela project, the radon survey can first be correlated to known drilled deposits, and then may be able to provide a rapid, low-cost approach to highlight previously untested uranium targets with the potential to increase the project’s resource base.
The initial survey area selected covers part of the Miriam deposit and is designed to confirm the suitability of the survey. Once the suitability of the survey has been validated, the survey area was then extended along controlling structures to identify similar deposits.
The radon flux monitors will be set out on an initial spacing of 100 m along lines 400 me apart. Upon completion of the initial survey, the grid was closed up where anomalies have been identified to achieve a higher resolution.
The successful radon survey could lead to the expansion of resources at the Madaouela project that are amenable to open-pit mining (as contemplated in the Madaouela PFS), which could enable GoviEx to defer capital associated with the underground mine development and increase the scale of the project’s lower-cost, open-pit mining at the beginning of the planned mines’ operation.
The combination of factors could potentially result in an improvement in the projects’ economics and valuation as compared to that set out in the Madaouela PFS.