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Noka’s “Western Syndicate” Uranium Play Gets a Shotgun Exploration Program

 Investor money would have been more efficiently used with a phased approach that used the result of one survey to progressively hone in on higher priority targets. Why any junior would choose a shot-gun blast approach to exploration in a tight capital market is beyond me.

Disclaimer: This is an editorial review of a public press release and not an endorsement. It may include opinions or points of view that may not be shared by the companies mentioned in the release. The editorial comments are highlighted so as to be easily separated from the release text and portions of the release not affecting this review may be deleted.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – Oct. 10, 2013) – Noka Resources Inc. (“Noka”) (TSX VENTURE:NX) is pleased to announce results from its initial lake sediment geochemical survey on the Western Athabasca Syndicates’ 246,643 hectare Preston Lake Property located south of Fission Uranium (TSX VENTURE:FCU) and Alpha Minerals (TSX VENTURE:AMW) Patterson Lake South (“PLS”) high-grade uranium discovery. The Western Athabasca Syndicate consists of Noka Resources Inc., Athabasca Nuclear Corp. (TSX VENTURE:ASC), Skyharbour Resources Ltd (TSX VENTURE:SYH), and Lucky Strike Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:LKY) (collectively, “the Syndicate”).

Below, we’ve provided a map of the Athabasca Basin showing the location of the Preston Lake Project area.

For a little background reading on the topic of uranium deposit formation read our article.

Location of the Preston Lake Project area, Athabasca Basin

Location of the Preston Lake Project area, Athabasca Basin

Highlights:

  • Confirmation of several historic clusters of anomalous U concentrations well above the background value of 1.0 ppm U in lake sediments.
  • A total of 133 samples have an anomalous U value including a peak of 7.0 ppm U; for comparison, the highest value down-ice from the PLS discovery is 3.8 ppm U.
  • In most cases the uranium and pathfinder element anomalies correlate with areas of interest generated independently through the interpretation of airborne VTEM and radiometric geophysics, radon in water samples and historic data reviews.
  • Identification of a new target area (termed ‘Montgrand Lake Zone’) with anomalous U and pathfinder element concentrations.
  • Final results from the Phase 2 and Phase 3 exploration programs are still pending and will be reported when received; the bulk of this field work has been focused in the northeast portion of the Preston Lake Property.
The Noka syndicate is basically following the play-book that Alpha Minerals used on their Patterson Lake Project. Patterson Lake is a pretty hot property right now and Noka no doubt wants a piece of that action.

One of the earlier clues leading to the Patterson Lake discovery was a 1982 GSC survey revealing elevated Uranium (up to 3.8ppm) in lake sediments and elevated Radon in surface water. Later airborne geophysical surveys showing radiometric anomalies led to the discovery of a U-rich boulder train near the lake; which ultimately led to the Patterson Lake discovery. (A boulder train is a series of genetically linked rocks and boulders that were deposited along the direction of glacial ice flow.)

The Noka syndicate is trying to repeat this process on their properties which lie just to the south of Patterson Lake. Their exploration plan has included airborne geophysical surveys, a boulder survey as well as water and stream/lake sediment survey.

Lake Sediment Geochemical Results in the Phase 2 Exploration Program:

Preston Lake Property Lake Sediment Geochemical Map:

Lake sediment sample results in the Preston Lake Project area

Lake sediment sample results in the Preston Lake Project area

Above, we’ve provided the Preston Lake property lake sediment geochemical map for your reference. Note that, according to Noka’s disclaimer the map includes historical results as as well as Noka’s own results, so they should be referenced with caution.

The “Western Syndicate” has not published anything about their QA/QC process. There should be a set and specific methodology for sampling and testing lake water and sediments. They have said nothing about this. With a large team and aggressive exploration plan, consistency and preservation of the sample integrity is extremely important.

Recently completed fieldwork included the collection of 248 lake sediment samples from lakes and ponds using a float equipped helicopter or boat. Sample targets included both regional reconnaissance areas and the fourteen high-priority targets identified by the Syndicate’s Technical Committee. The samples were analyzed by ACME Labs, an ISO/IEC accredited analytical services provider. The dataset shown also includes 420 historical samples collected in previous exploration programs within the current Preston Lake Property boundaries. The values from the historical samples appear to correlate with the values derived from the 2013 program. Management cautions that although it has not independently reviewed all of the historical work on the Preston Lake Property, as referenced in this news release, it has no reason to doubt the accuracy or correctness of such work.

The survey, which covered primarily the northeastern part of the Preston Lake Property, has successfully identified a number of uranium in lake sediment anomalies as well as anomalous pathfinder geochemistry. In most cases the uranium and pathfinder element anomalies correlate with areas of interest generated independently through the interpretation of airborne VTEM and radiometric geophysics, radon in water samples and historic data reviews. Uranium in lake sediments is considered anomalous at >1 ppm U. In total, 133 samples have an anomalous U value including a peak of 7 ppm U (for comparison, the highest value down-ice from the Patterson Lake South discovery is 3.8 ppm U). A historic sample collected by the Geological Survey of Canada on the Preston Lake Property returned a value of 4.8 ppm U, considered to be significant in an area with a background uranium value of 1 ppm U. Management cautions that past results or discoveries on proximate land are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved on the Western Athabasca Syndicate Property.

Remaining Phase 2 and Current Phase 3 Exploration Program:

Final datasets from the helicopter-borne VTEM plus survey (time domain EM and aeromagnetic gradiometer) and the fixed-wing radiometric survey have been received and are currently being analyzed by Phil Robertshaw, P.Geo., for a final detailed interpretation. Other fieldwork to date includes geological mapping and prospecting, soil and lake sediment sampling, and biogeochemical sampling. Final results from the Phase 2 exploration program are still pending and will be reported when received. Targets continue to be prioritized based on a detailed criteria set consisting of similar geological features and exploratory indicators present at Fission and Alpha’s nearby PLS discovery.

The Phase 3 exploration program includes ground work focused on high-priority areas identified from the findings to date, including the radon in water anomalies. By the end of this summer/fall field program in October, a total of approximately $1.5 million will have been spent in exploration on the property via airborne geophysical surveys and follow-up ground work. The goal of this summer’s exploration program is to identify uranium showings and potential drill targets through detailed airborne geophysical surveys, lake sediment and soil sampling, radon sampling, and prospecting for radioactive boulder fields. The exploration methodology is similar to that which led to the discovery of significant mineralization at PLS.

Noka states that their methodology is similar to that which led to the discovery of the Patterson Lake South (PLS) discovery yet there is one important difference: Noka has lobbed $1.5 million at this project all at once and performed several survey types simultaneously in one field season. Investor money would have been more efficiently used with a phased approach that used the result of one survey to progressively hone in on higher priority targets. Why any junior would choose a shot-gun blast approach to exploration in a tight capital market is beyond me. Perhaps their “syndicate” members were pushing too hard for economic sense to prevail or perhaps they had money they needed to burn up.

In addition to the sediment survey, Noka’s has previously released results of their their boulder survey and Radon in surface water survey. The geophysical survey has been completed, but no results have been published.

About the Western Athabasca Syndicate:

The Western Athabasca Syndicate is a strategic partnership formed between Skyharbour, Athabasca Nuclear, Lucky Strike and Noka to explore and develop a 287,130 hectare suite of uranium properties that is the largest land position along the highly prospective margin of the Western Athabasca Basin controlled by a single group. Under the terms of the agreement, each of the four companies has an option to earn 25% of the five uranium properties comprising the Western Athabasca Syndicate Partnership by making a series of cash payments, share payments, and incurring their pro-rata amount of the total $6,000,000 in exploration expenditures over the two-year earn-in term of the agreement. The properties were acquired for their proximity to the PLS discovery and interpreted favourable geology for the occurrence of PLS style uranium mineralization. The bulk of the Syndicate land package is bisected by all-weather Highway 955 which runs north through the PLS discovery on to the former Cluff Lake uranium mine.

The Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan hosts the world’s largest and richest high-grade uranium deposits which have grades substantially higher than the world average grade of about 0.1% U3O8. The Patterson Lake area has received escalating exploration attention and claim acquisition activity as a result of the new, near surface discoveries made by Alpha and Fission which includes the recently reported drill interval of 9.08% U3O8 over 54.5 metres in drill hole PLS13-075. Consistent high-grade, near surface U3O8 assays from Alpha and Fission demonstrate the potential for high-grade uranium mineralization on the geologically prospective yet underexplored margins of the western side of the Athabasca Basin.

The “Western Syndicate” is clearly in a rush to find a drill target in the hopes of duplicating Alpha Mineral’s success at PLS. Their exploration plan doesn’t appear to be particularly efficient, but there’s nothing to say that they won’t find something interesting. Let’s hope they don’t run head long into drilling with the same reckless abandon.

Qualified Person:

Athabasca Nuclear President and CEO, Charles C. (Chuck) Downie, P.Geo., is the Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 and has approved the technical information in this release.

About Noka Resources Inc.:

Noka Resources Inc. is a junior exploration company with a focus on uranium in the prolific Athabasca Basin, Northern Saskatchewan. Noka’s exploration strategy is focused in relatively underexplored areas of the Athabasca Basin Region, targeting favourable geology and structure amenable to near surface, unconformity-style uranium mineralization.

With a total land position of 488,463 hectares, Noka holds one of the largest geologically prospective land packages in the region through a 100% interest in the Clearwater and Athabasca North group of properties, as well as a 25% interest in the Western Athabasca Syndicate group of properties.

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Geology for Investors seeks to demystify mineral exploration and mining projects for mining company investors. All of our writers and contributors are experienced and educated in geology and the geosciences.