CanAlaska has now partnered with mining giant Cameco for uranium exploration in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca basin. Another joint-venture deal, with De Beers, adds more risk for the company.
CANALASKA URANIUM (symbol CVV on the TSX Venture Exchange; www.canalaska.com) explores for uranium—and now diamonds—in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin region.
The stock has moved up this year as the company took on a couple of big joint-venture partners (Cameco and De Beers). It also branched out into diamond exploration.
CanAlaska has explored for uranium for many years.
Until January 2016, the company had another joint venture agreement in place for its West McArthur project in the Athabasca basin. Under the terms of that deal with giant Mitsubishi Corp., the Japanese company would receive 50% interest in the property for its investment of $14.4 million in exploration spending. However, Mitsubishi pulled out by selling its interest to CanAlaska in exchange for $600,000 and a 1% royalty arrangement.
In February, Canadian major Cameco (symbol CCO on Toronto, and a recommendation of Stock Pickers Digest) jumped in to option the property, which sits 15 kilometres west of its 70% owned McArthur River uranium mine.
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Penny Stocks: Partnering with De Beers Canada for Athabasca exploration
In May 2016, CanAlaska announced a separate deal on another of its properties with another big name in mining. That agreement is with De Beers Canada to explore for diamonds in Saskatchewan’s northwestern Athabasca basin.
Exploration in the area is focused on uranium, and until now has not been thought of as a suitable for diamond mining. But after examining a high-resolution, airborne geophysical survey carried out by the Saskatchewan Geological Survey in 2011, De Beers thinks that a series of magnetic anomalies could indicate the presence of 75 kimberlite targets.
Kimberlite is solidified magma that flows to the surface from deep within the earth’s mantle. Millions of years ago, the molten magma’s flow acted like an elevator, lifting diamonds from far below the surface.
A multistage option agreement could earn De Beers up to 90% in the project within seven years, if it spends the entire $20.4 million.
Investing in uranium-exploration stocks is risky—and the odds of finding diamonds are even more remote. For both, it’s a long way between the exploration phase and commercial production. As well, there’s often a long time lag between progress updates and share prices can drop in the meantime.
TSI Network recommendation: HOLD for highly aggressive investors.
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