Projects

Newnham Lake

The Newnham Lake Project straddles the northeastern margin of the Athabasca Basin. The property is underlain by a series of graphitic meta-pelites and several faults zones have been identified along strike and cross-cutting the basement rocks.

Highlights

  • Historic DDH 66 encountered a 20 cm interval of 0.20% U3O8 along with high Ni, As, Pb immediately below the sub-Athabasca unconformity.
  • 25 kilometre-long folded and faulted conductive basement rock trend.
  • Several areas have not been drill tested.
  • Relatively shallow depth to basement.

Location

  • Northeastern margin of the Athabasca Basin, northern Saskatchewan

Proximity to Uranium Discoveries, Deposits, Mills and Mines

  • 30 km (approx.) east of highway 905.
  • 47 km (approx.) southeast of the Nisto Uranium Zone.
  • 55 km (approx.) north of the La Rocque Lake Uranium Zone.

Property Description and Ownership

  • 11,737 hectares over 8 claims
  • ALX has entered into three Option Agreements to acquire 100% of the claims that constitute the property.

Historic Exploration

  • The Newnham Lake Property and surrounding area was the subject of intense exploration efforts by Saskatchewan Mining and Development Corporation (“SMDC”) for shallow, unconformity-style uranium deposits from about 1976 to 1984. JNR Resources conducted exploration on and near the Property between 1997 and 2011. The recent work includes a ground electromagnetic (HLEM) survey with targets on the Property not yet drill tested. Other recent work includes airborne VTEM and ZTEM surveys, and an airborne full tensor gravity gradiometry survey.

Highlights of historic drilling results include:

  • DDH 66 encountered a 20 cm interval of 0.20% U3O8 along with high Ni, As, Pb immediately below the sub-Athabasca unconformity.
  • DDH 104 encountered 20 cm of 0.13% U3O8 within basement metapelite.
  • DDH 37 encountered 2 cm of sooty pitchblende in the Athabasca sandstone immediately above the unconformity. A 1 metre sample graded 389 ppm U3O8.
  • The Property now includes the entire folded and faulted, graphitic meta-pelite trend which was the subject of the historic work. In excess of 140 drill holes targeted this trend prior to 1984, and were focused on mineralization at the unconformity. Limited work was done exploring for deeper basement style mineralization despite extensive alteration, anomalous geochemistry and favorable rock types, with most holes continuing less than 25 metres past the sub-Athabasca unconformity. The exploration in the area of the Newnham Lake Property was largely prior to the understanding of the importance of basement-hosted unconformity-style uranium deposits.

Property Overview

Regional Geology

The Newnham Lake Property is located on the northern margin of the Athabasca Basin. A small portion of the property to the northwestern lies on stratigraphy of the Archean gneiss of the Mudjatik Domain, whereas the majority of the property lies on the stratigraphy of the Athabasca Basin sandstone.

The Athabasca Basin is within the Churchill Structural Province of the Canadian Shield. It is crosscut by the northeast-trending Snowbird Tectonic Zone, a collisional zone between the Rae (north of the Snowbird Tectonic Zone) and Hearne (south) domains of the Churchill Province. The Snowbird Tectonic Zone formed during the Hudsonian Orogeny at approximately 1.8 Ga. It is referred to as the Black Lake Shear Zone at the northern edge of the basin, and lies directly west of the Newnham Lake property.

Property Geology

Athabasca Group formations that outcrop on the majority of the property consists of the basal Manitou Falls Formation. A small northwest portion of the property consists of metamorphosed archean to proterozoic rocks of the Mudjatik Domain. Figure 14 is a geological map of the property.

The sandstone of the Manitou Falls Formation unconformibily overlies the Archean gneiss of the Mudjatik Domain. The Manitou Falls Formation consists of poorly sorted sandstone with common pebble beds. Stylolites are found indicating silica solution has taken place, precipitaing between quartz grains. Multiple phases of iron and carbonate mobilization has taken place, as well as kaolinite and illminite. Illminite is found in more permeable portions of the formation which may be due to fluids from the basement.

The Manitou Falls Formation is separated from the Smart Formation below by a local unconformity. It is divided into 5 members; from oldest to youngest they are the Bird, Raibl, Warnes, Collins, and Dunlop. The majority of the Newnham Lake property overlies the Raibl and Bird members. The Athabasca Basin margin cuts across the northeast portion of the property, and divides the Bird Member to the southwest from Archean felsic gneisses of the Mudjatik Domain to the northeast.

Previous exploration on the property has identified belts of graphitic metasediments, primarily metapelite, semipelite, and meta-arkosic rock types (White, 1984), in the crystalline basement below the unconformity at the base of the Athabasca Group. The metapelite unit dominantly consists of biotite schist/gneiss with associated graphite and sulfides.

The depth to the unconformity in the Athabasca Basin on the Newnham Lake property is likely a maximum of approximately 100 metres deep. Many faults have been detected throughout the property, and drilling has intersected hydrothermal alteration commonly associated with unconformity-related uranium deposits. The geology of the Newnham Lake property is favourable for uranium mineralization.

The Newnham Lake Property has been explored for uranium since 1969, with most exploration activity occurring between 1976 and 1984. Since then, the property has been explored sporadically during the 2000’s. The most extensive work was carried out by Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation (SMDC) from 1976 to 1984. Most recently, JNR Resources conducted several geophysical survey programs, and identified multiple interpreted conductors within the basement. In total, 157 drill holes have been drilled on the property; drill holes from the historic exploration that produced core samples containing greater than 100 ppm uranium are summarized in Table 3. Exploration programs conducted on portions of the Newnham Lake property are summarized below. The corresponding assessment reports for the exploration programs described are referenced within the text; these reports can be accessed by searching the assessment report number in the Saskatchewan Mineral Assessment Database (www.smad.gov.sk.ca), and contain further information regarding the historic programs.

Hole ID

Easting

Northing

Zone

Azimuth

Dip

EOH (m)

U (ppm)

Width (m)

Lithology

BL-037

524896

6549078

13

000

-90

92.40

330

1.10

sandstone

BL-040

524857

6549000

13

000

-60

181.70

190

0.20

sandstone

BL-066

518863

6546698

13

000

-90

113.40

264

0.50

basement

BL-066

518863

6546698

13

000

-90

113.40

1656

0.20

basement

BL-066

518863

6546698

13

000

-90

113.40

188

0.20

basement

BL-071

524901

6549203

13

000

-90

89.30

101

0.80

sandstone

BL-075

525095

6549066

13

000

-90

92.40

114

0.40

sandstone

BL-085

524478

6549251

13

000

-90

58.50

167

1.00

basement

BL-085

524478

6549251

13

000

-90

58.50

210

1.20

basement

BL-087

524277

6549135

13

000

-90

64.90

170

2.00

basement

BL-088

524282

6549240

13

000

-90

46.30

175

1.00

basement

BL-090

524077

6549113

13

000

-54

95.40

855

N/A

basement

BL-091

524075

6549208

13

000

-45

98.20

332

0.60

basement

BL-092

524078

6549151

13

000

-50

90.20

205

0.60

basement

BL-092

524078

6549151

13

000

-50

90.20

335

0.60

basement

BL-099

518674

6546671

13

000

-60

143.90

190

0.40

basement

BL-100

518673

6546617

13

000

-65

153.00

236

0.40

basement

BL-104

519139

6546530

13

000

-65

143.90

1121

0.20

basement

BL-115

524088

6549315

13

000

-45

110.2

193

0.50

basement

BL-132

519092

6546550

13

002

-70

171.60

430

0.20

sandstone

BL-132

519092

6546550

13

002

-70

171.60

413

0.50

basement

BL-133

518967

6546577

13

002

-70

128.60

220

1.00

basement

BL-139

519342

6546412

13

000

-65

168.6

140

0.50

sandstone

BL-139

519342

6546412

13

000

-65

168.6

157

0.50

sandstone

BL-146

525294

6548986

13

000

-60

113.70

548

0.66

sandstone

BL-146

525294

6548986

13

000

-60

113.70

607

0.08

basement

BL-146

525294

6548986

13

000

-60

113.70

2260

0.13

basement

BL-146

525294

6548986

13

000

-60

113.70

138

0.33

basement

BL-146

525294

6548986

13

000

-60

113.70

133

0.50

basement

BL-146

525294

6548986

13

000

-60

113.70

170

0.50

basement

BL-148

525499

6549029

13

000

-90

116.40

206

0.50

basement

BL-151

525299

6549055

13

000

-90

110.60

375

0.30

sandstone

BL-151

525299

6549055

13

000

-90

110.60

183

0.50

basement

BL-152

525295

6549010

13

000

-90

104.60

128

0.38

sandstone

BL-167

528043

6547304

13

000

-90

123.10

258

0.40

basement

BL-167

528043

6547304

13

000

-90

123.10

114

0.50

basement

BL-167

528043

6547304

13

000

-90

123.10

186

0.50

basement

BL-172

525543

6548890

13

000

-90

130.00

748

0.50

basement

BL-174

525540

6549046

13

000

-90

99.50

262

0.50

sandstone

BL-178

523493

6549026

13

000

-90

88.30

113

0.50

basement

BL-179

523287

6549030

13

000

-90

132.50

102

0.50

basement

BL-179

523287

6549030

13

000

-90

132.50

131

0.50

basement

BL-179

523287

6549030

13

000

-90

132.50

125

0.50

basement

JN9804

530744

6550735

13

315

-60

155.50

175

0.60

basement

During 1969, a variety of companies conducted exploration activities in the vicinity of the Newnham Lake Property. A host of airborne geophysical techniques were employed over portions of the Newnham Lake and Brassy Rapids properties, including radiometric, magnetics and gamma-ray techniques (Donald Fisher & Associates Ltd., 1969). Photogeological interpretation, geological mapping and prospecting were also completed on portions of the Newnham Lake Property. A ground geophysical survey was carried out in 1975 by the Government of Saskatchewan to investigate radiometric anomalies initially discovered by previously airborne surveys (Munday, 1975).

1976 to 1984 – SMDC

In 1976, SMDC was the operator of two permits which covered the Newnham Lake Property, west of Newnham Lake. Initially, an airborne EM, magnetic and radiometric survey was flown by Questor (Munday, 1977a). After, SMDC conducted scintillometer prospecting and ground checking anomalies found by the Questor survey to determine their source. An airborne hound-dog survey was also conducted which duplicated all previous anomalies and identified several additional ones. The program also included lake sediment sampling and overburden sampling.

During 1977, SMDC conducted an airborne EM (INPUT) and magnetic survey, followed up with a field program that consisted of VLF-EM, magnetic, resistivity and Track Etch ground geophysics, topographic surveying, line cutting, Pleistocene mapping, lake sediment and overburden sampling near the Newnham Lake Property (Munday, 1977b). The airborne surveys did not produce any anomalies of note. Lake sediment samples indicated uraniferous drainage areas, and overburden samples taken from within the Athabasca basin have yielded anomalous nickel values. During August 1977 to February 1978, SMDC conducted a drill program consisting of 4 diamond drill holes (BL-023 to BL-026) located just south of Newnham Lake (Harper, 1978). Drilling was carried out to investigate the Athabasca unconformity, anomalous overburden samples, and geophysical anomalies discovery from the Questor 1976 surveys. No uranium mineralization was intersected by these drill holes; however, pre-Athabasca Formation deposition weathering was encountered in each hole, and several faults were observed in the drill core.

In 1978, SMDC carried out airborne EM (INPUT) and magnetics surveys which covered the Newnham Lake Property and the north half of the Brassy Rapids Property. A large airborne radiometric survey was conducted to the south which only covered the south-eastern quarter of the Brassy Rapids Property. An aerial photogeological study was also conducted over the Newnham Lake Property. Ground geophysical surveys were laid out to more accurately define anomalies discovered from airborne surveys. During this program SMDC carried out HLEM, VLEM, magnetic, AFMAG and IP surveys over portions of the Newnham Lake Property (Glenhill, 1978). The combined ground geophysical surveys outlined 18 linear conductors with a total strike length of approximately 30 kilometres, located southwest of Newnham Lake in a v-shape pattern. These were interpreted to be due to a folded unit of graphitic Aphebian metasediments underlying Helikian Athabasca Formation sandstone, referred to as the Newnham Synform. A helicopter hound-dog survey, as well as ground scintillometer prospecting was carried out to help identify areas of radioactive material (Rebagliati, 1978). Lake sediment and soil samples were also taken from the Newnham Lake Property. The lake sediment samples covered the same area as the 1976 program, but at a tighter spacing to better define the anomalies.

Between 1978 and 1979, 26 (BL-030 to BL-055) diamond drill holes were drilled on the Newnham Lake Property (Rebagliati, 1978; Rebagliati, 1979). These holes were drilled to test EM conductors. Holes BL-037 and BL-040 intersected pitchblende mineralization, 330 ppm U over 1 metre and 190 ppm U over 0.20 metres respectively, and a total of seven other drill holes intersected minor to abundant graphite.

In 1979, Glenhill Consultants Ltd. carried out ground VLEM, magnetic and IP – resistivity survey over the Newnham Lake Property for a joint venture project between SMDC (50% interest) and Eldorado Nuclear (50% interest) (Gillick, 1980). This survey identified 12 new conductive anomalies. In 1980, SMDC followed up this program with a ground HLEM and VLEM survey to better define these anomalies. The follow up program identified several moderate to poor vertical conductors, while the horizontal survey only produced one anomaly of note. Along with ground geophysics, SMDC carried out boulder prospecting, soil sampling and geological mapping.

After the 1978 drill program failed to intercept conductors consistently, four EM surveys (Crone, DEEPEM, PEM, VEM) were conducted over the Newnham property to compare the cost and effectiveness of each. A drill program consisting of 32 diamond drill holes (BL-056 to BL-087) was carried out in 1979 (Rebagliati, 1980), which was a continuation of the 1978 drill program. This program was to investigate conductors from EM and resistivity surveys. Most drill holes failed to intercept conductive material. Hole BL-066 encountered minor pitchblende mineralization that assayed 1656 ppm uranium over 20 cm, and holes BL-066, BL-068, BL-070, and BL-071 encountered graphite.

In 1980, SMDC performed a prospecting program and radon survey on the Newnham Lake grid (Harper, 1981a). Follow-up prospecting and boulder sampling occurred at the drill collars of drill holes from previous programs that returned anomalous uranium values in drill core samples; no significant results were obtained from this sampling. Two traverse lines were surveyed for radon, crosscutting the N-S trending Newnham Fault, the ENE trending Brinks-Gauthier Lineament, and two electromagnetic conductive zones. A total of 44 water samples were collected. There was one anomalous reading of 41.2 counts per minute (cpm), which was greater than the average background reading by tenfold. That year SMDC continued their drill program, adding an additional 35 holes (BL-088 to BL-107, BL-111 to BL-125) over the Newnham Lake Property (Harper, 1981b). The object of this program was to target geophysical anomalies interpreted as being graphite zones and/or fault zones that may contain uranium. This program was intersected zones of graphite and faulting. The highest uranium value intersected was 1121 ppm uranium over 20 cm in drill hole BL-104 from uranium secondary minerals in strongly hematized metapelite right below the unconformity. One sample from drill hole BL-090 returned 855 ppm uranium, where pitchblende was found coating an open fracture in pyrite-bearing pelite approximately 13 metres below the unconformity. Five other holes contained uranium values greater than 100 ppm; 12 holes in total had samples that returned anomalous values of uranium.

Exploration in 1981 consisted of a large-scale boulder prospecting and soil sampling program (Daugavietis, 1982). A number of radioactive boulders of Athabasca Formation conglomerate were located within the Newnham Synform; the best result from these boulder samples was 33 ppm uranium. Additionally, a compilation and interpretation of all geophysical survey results from the Newnham Lake property was completed. Follow-up work in 1982 included ground geophysics (magnetometer, ELFAST Turam, and gravity), airborne geophysics (gradiometer and magnetometer), lake sediment sampling, hydrogeochemistry of groundwater in historic drillholes and trenches, prospecting, mapping, trenching, and outcrop fracture analysis (Daugavietis, 1983a). 11 radioactive boulders were found and sampled on the Newnham Lake grid; all of the samples returned anomalous uranium, up to 211 ppm. Fracture analysis of the Newnham Lake grid detected three significant fracture orientations in the Athabasca sandstone, with strikes of approximately 030°, 090°, and 140°. These correlate with the directions of major faulting identified by geophysical surveys on the property, striking 000°, 60°, 90°, and 130°.

SMDC performed a groundwater sampling program in 1982 (Drever, 1982). Most of the groundwater samples were collected from 12 of the historic drill holes. 7 of these returned anomalous concentrations of radon (Rn²²²), but only background levels of uranium.

In 1983, SMDC held a large exploration program that included ground VLF, Mag, MaxMin, and Gravity surveys, as well as drilled 41 diamond drill holes (BL-131 to BL-171), totalling 5,075 metres, on the Newnham Lake property (Daugavietis, 1983b). No economic uranium mineralization was intersected during the program. Anomalous uranium was encountered in 23 of the holes, the highest being 2260 ppm uranium over 13 cm immediately below the unconformity in BL-146. 7 of the holes had samples which returned values over 100 ppm uranium.

The final exploration program completed by SMDC on the Newnham Lake property occurred in 1984 (White, 1984), and included ground geophysical surveys (VLF-EM, Magnetic, and HLEM), re-interpretation of airborne geophysical surveys, and 17 diamond drill holes (BL-172 to BL-188). Weakly anomalous uranium values were encountered in 8 holes, with the highest grade sample being 748 ppm uranium over 50 cm with 1 m below the unconformity. 4 of the holes returned values greater than 100 ppm uranium over 50 cm intervals.

1997 to

JNR Resources acquired the property over a decade later and begin work in 1997. 12 holes were drilled between 1998 and 1999 (JN9801 to JN9807, JN9908 to JN9912) after an airborne electromagnetic and magnetic survey that identified six electromagnetic conductors on the Newnham Lake property (Cole, 1999). The best uranium result from the core samples from this program was 175 ppm uranium over a 60 cm interval of metapelite from drill hole JN9804. The program also included a ground TDEM survey, geological mapping, prospecting and sampling of soil, till, outcrops, and boulders.

In 2006, JNR Resources continued their exploration of the Newnham Lake property with three geophysical surveys. An airborne VTEM electromagnetic and magnetic survey was conducted in January 2006 (Billard & Wasyliuk, 2006); 1,580.3 line-kilometres were flown for the survey, and four significant conductors were detected, ranging from 400 metres to 7 kilometres in length. 98.6 line-kilometres of ground horizontal loop electromagnetic (HLEM) survey was completed in the spring and fall seasons (Figure 7) (Bradley, 2006); five conductors were identified and delineated, four of which are interpreted to be due to graphitic units. In addition, 919.2 line-kilometres of DIGHEM electromagnetic/resistivity/magnetic survey was flown in October 2006, and identified eight zones of interest (Bradley, 2007).

In 2008, JNR Resources conducted an airborne high-resolution magnetic gradiometer survey over the Newnham Lake property (Annesley, 2008). The survey totalled 4,243 line-kilometres and detected nine zones of interest. A ZTEM-magnetic airborne survey was executed in 2009 (Annesley, 2009). Seven features were interpreted to be significant and follow-up ground electromagnetic surveying to define these target features was recommended.

In 2011, JNR Resources conducted a fixed-wing, high resolution Air-FTG® (Full Tensor Gravity Gradiometer) survey, totaling 1,379 line Kilometers. Ten “Initial Zones of Interest/Targets” have been selected to call attention to interesting Air-FTG® gravity, ZTEM, and magnetic responses and environments. These targets are primarily zones of prominent ZTEM conductors within gravity and/or magnetic settings considered to be favorable for localizing uranium mineralization.

Future Exploration by ALX

ALX plans to test the property by a combination of ground gravity and radon in soils. ALX plans to carry out a follow-up diamond drilling program consisting of four to six holes totaling approximately 1,000 to 1,200 metres to test targets based on a combination of historic and recent exploration data.
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