- Ivana property hosts a near-surface deposit containing 19.1 million pounds of U308 (23.9 million tonnes averaging 363 ppm U308 at a 100 ppm uranium cut-off; see Inferred mineral resource estimate.)
- Ivana deposit open for expansion
- 140km uranium trend discovered by Blue Sky hosts near-surface uranium and vanadium mineralization
- Potential for discovery of additional resources on properties totaling over 280,000 hectares
- Test work to date shows mineralization is amenable to alkaline leach processing and can be upgraded through simple low-cost wet screening
- Excellent candidate to be the first low-cost, near-term uranium producer in Argentina
The Amarillo Grande Project is located in central Rio Negro province, in the Patagonia region of southern Argentina. The properties are all road accessible from major centres, such as Valcheta or Neuquen, via the gravel Provincial Road 66, approximately 65 kilometres south of the town of Villa Regina. Villa Regina has the fifth largest population in the province of Rio Negro with approximately 28,000 inhabitants.
Exploration & Development Strategy
In 2016 Blue Sky launched an aggressive exploration program to prove up resources and outline economics at Amarillo Grande in order to capitalize on its early-mover advantage with the goal of becoming the first domestic supplier of U3O8 to the Argentine nuclear industry.
Amarillo Grande is one of the most advanced uranium projects in Argentina and has the potential for low-cost mining & processing in a regulatory environment that supports resource development:
Defined mineralization at Amarillo Grande is found in three target areas (Ivana, Anit, and Santa Barbara) along a 140 kilometre trend. Mineralization at all three areas occurs at or very near surface, in weakly-cemented host rocks, making simple and inexpensive open pit mining a likely development scenario. The majority of uranium mineralization found to date is in the form of the leach-amenable mineral carnotite as coatings on pebbles. Preliminary beneficiation test work on samples from Anit indicates that a simple wet-screening technique could be used onsite to concentrate and upgrade this material, which could significantly reduce transport and processing costs. Rio Negro already supports the nuclear industry with several facilities in the province.
This new uranium district was an in-house discovery for Blue Sky. Under the guidance of Dr. Jorge Berizzo, Blue Sky selected Rio Negro as a high-potential location for new uranium deposits. In 2007 the first airborne radiometric survey led to discovery of zones of uranium mineralization at the Anit and Santa Barbara properties. A second large-scale airborne radiometric survey in 2010 led to the acquisition of the Ivana property. Detailed exploration work on all three projects led to the discovery of significant zones of uranium mineralization with potential for expansion to depth and along strike. Additionally the Company considers the exploration potential within the district-scale 140 kilometre geologic trend to be high.
Surface exploration, geophysics, and more than 8,000 metres of drilling were completed since the beginning of the revitalized work program in 2016. On March 5th, 2018 the Company announced its first mineral resource estimate for the Amarillo Grande Project. The resource estimate focuses on the Ivana deposit and includes 19.1 million pounds of U308 (23.9 million tonnes averaging 363 ppm U308 at a 100 ppm uranium cut-off; see Inferred mineral resource estimate)
The program also outlined a zone of significant vanadium associated with the uranium at the Anit target.
The Company considers the exploration potential at Ivana and within the district-scale 140 kilometre geologic trend to be high.
Deposit Model, Examples and Project Geology
The Amarillo Grande project has discovery potential for both Surficial and Sandstone-type uranium deposits. Most of the mineralization found on the properties to date has the characteristics of Surficial Uranium Deposits in which uranium occurs in sediments or soils of relatively young age (Tertiary to Recent). However, these types of secondary deposits are interpreted as being sourced from earlier-formed Sandstone-type uranium deposits that are expected to be preserved at depth. Surficial deposits typically form in semi-arid to arid uranium rich districts adjacent to uranium source rocks (granites or ash flow sequences) or primary uranium. The main uranium mineral in these deposits is typically carnotite, a yellowish hydrated potassium uranium vanadium oxide, K2(UO2)2(VO4)2.3H2O.
Well-known examples of Surficial Uranium deposits include the Langer Heinrich deposit in Namibia ( 93 Mlb P&P reserves @ 471 ppm U3O8 www.paladinenergy.com.au) and the Wiluna deposit in West Australia (62 Mlb M&I resources @ 525 ppm U3O8 www.toroenergy.com.au ). Investors are cautioned that there is no assurance that deposits similar i n size or grade to these will be found on the Properties. The Qualified Person has not verified the information, that is believed to be reliable, concerning these deposits.
Regionally at the Amarillo Grande Project, Quaternary gravel and sand deposits cover most of the area, and outcrops are scarce. Basement rocks include Proterozoic shales and schists of the Nahuel Niyeu Formation and Carboniferous to Permian granites of the Navarrete Plutonic Complex. The stratigraphy includes Late Cretaceous sedimentary sequences that represent the upper section of the oil and gas producing Neuquén basin. Middle to Upper Tertiary sedimentary sequences overlap unconformably on the Mesozoic units. The Tertiary sequences include fluvial and marine sediments at the base grading upwards into continental sediments and volcanic flows. A noticeable NW-SE lineament related to the edge of the geologic province appears to control the radiometric anomalies detected along the Amarillo Grande project trend.
Uranium and vanadium mineralization at the Amarillo Grande Project is most commonly found in the form of carnotite hosted by unconsolidated to well sorted reddish and yellowish sands and gravels, commonly covered by calcrete. Lower-grade mineralization is hosted by green clays with carnotite occurring along parting planes. These sediments are interpreted as stacked paleochannels of a Tertiary fluvial system developed during an active volcanic period relating to uplift to the west. This fluvial system is intercalated with marine-coastal sediments to the south. At Ivana higher-grade mineralization is associated with coffinite +/- uraninite, often with peripheral carnotite mineralization.
There are many possible sources of uranium in the District, including uranium rich-granites, volcanic rocks and primary uranium deposits within the underlying Cretaceous sediments. The presence of different potential sources enhances the chances of having uranium available to be mobilized within aquifers and along paleo-fluvial systems redox front traps where uranium-deposits are formed.
For additional details on the geology of the properties, please refer to the Technical Report by C. Verley, dated May 18th, 2012 and filed on SEDAR.