The Shea Creek deposits were the first new discoveries in the rapidly developing Western Athabasca uranium district.
Shea Creek is a joint venture between UEC (49.1%) and Orano (50.9%) and is located just 18 km south of the past producing Cluff Lake mine. Four deposits combine to form one of the largest undeveloped uranium resources in the Basin and all four deposits remain open for significant expansion.
- 67.57 million lb. of U3O8 in the Indicated mineral resource category comprising 2,056,000 tonnes grading 1.49% U3O8. 33.175 million lb are attributable to UEC; and
- 28.06 million lb. of U3O8 in the Inferred mineral resource category comprising 1,254,000 tonnes grading 1.02% U3O8. 13.775 million lb are attributable to UEC.
Systematic exploration on the Shea Creek property commenced in 1990 with airborne EM coverage flown by Amok Limited. In 1993, ownership of the property was transferred to Cogema (now Orano). Drilling between 1994 and 2000 discovered the Anne and Colette deposits. In March of 2004, Cogema signed an earn-in option agreement with UEX Corp. (“UEX”). Subsequent drilling, funded by UEX and operated by Orano, consisted of 141,317 m of drilling in 307 drill holes, resulting in the discovery of the Kianna, 58B, Colette South, and Kianna South pods. In total, 278,889 metres of drilling in 563 drill holes have been completed on the Shea Creek property since 1992.
UEC believes that the potential to expand uranium resources within the footprint of the existing Shea Creek is very high as only a couple of these favorable intersecting fault junctions have been drill tested into the basement to date along the 3 km trend of the known deposits.
The Shea Creek Project is located in the western part of the Athabasca Basin, approximately 15 km south of Orano’s past-producing Cluff Lake Uranium Operation and 50 km north of NexGen’s Arrow Deposit and Fission Uranium’s Triple R Deposit.
Four unconformity-related deposits have been discovered to date on the Shea Creek Project: Kianna, Anne, Colette, and 58B. These deposits occur along 3 km stretch of the >30 km long Saskatoon Lake Conductor and were the first new discoveries in what is now shaping up to be the Western Athabasca Uranium Camp.
Uranium mineralization at Shea Creek occurs at the unconformity and extends, in some cases, more than 200 m into the basement. The unconformity in the deposit area is about 700 m from the surface. The uranium mineralization occurs in pods where faults provide traps for the mineralization. The main fault in the deposit area is the north-northwest trending R3 fault, this is offset locally in the deposit area by east-northeast faults that help to focus both the unconformity and basement-hosted mineralization.
Significant volumes of classic unconformity-style uranium mineralization have been defined along the R3 Fault/Unconformity intersection. Uranium mineralization occurs in shoots that extend down to as much as 200 m below the unconformity surface in the basement rocks and as much as 100 m above the unconformity in the sandstone. Both the basement and perched uranium mineralization are preferentially deposited in the junction developed within the intersection between the R3 Fault and east-northeast trending faults that disrupt the R3 trend.
The discovery potential along the remaining 26 km of the Saskatoon Lake Conductor Trend is considered to be very good, as the Trend has only been lightly testing by historical drilling. One of the best results along the trend is located only 2 km south of the Anne Deposit, where drillhole SHE-002 intersected 0.34% U3O8 / 0.4 m. Limited follow-up drilling in the SHE-002 area by the partners in 2015 encountered a wide zone of indicative hydrothermal clay alteration and anomalous uranium that has been observed proximal to the Shea Creek Deposit.
The 2022 mineral resource estimate for the four Property deposits, Kianna, Anne, Colette and 58B, at a cut-off grade (“COG”) of 0.30% U3O8, total:
- 67.57 million lb of U3O8 in the Indicated mineral resource category comprising 2,056,000 tonnes grading 1.49% U3O8. 33.175 million lb are attributable to UEC; and
- 28.06 million lb of U3O8 in the Inferred mineral resource category comprising 1,254,000 tonnes grading 1.02% U3O8. 13.775 million lb are attributable to UEC.
Much of the estimated mineral resource is in the Kianna and Anne deposits, over an approximately one km strike length in southern parts of the Property deposit trend where a significant portion of the resource lies in basement rocks beneath the Athabasca unconformity. In this area, a combined indicated mineral resource at the Kianna and Anne deposits at a COG of 0.3% U3O8 totals 59.5 million lb of U3O8 grading 1.70% U3O8 in the Indicated category and an additional 19.4 million lb of U3O8 grading 1.29% U3O8 in the Inferred category.
Table 1: Shea Creek Mineral Resource Estimate at 0.3% U3O8 COG, Showing Total Resources and Resources Attributable to UEC
*Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and have not demonstrated economic viability. There is no certainty that all or any part of the mineral resource will be converted into mineral reserve. Figures are rounded to reflect the relative accuracy of the estimates. Resources were estimated using a cut-off grade of 0.30% U3O8.
**UEC Share of mineral resources is calculated based on UEC 49.0975% equity in the Property.