DigiGeoData continuously monitors exploration activities in active mining regions of Canada and provides data through a web-mapping application as well as printed maps. These statistics are based on its recent publication of the Athabasca Basin exploration activity map (January 2019).
The Athabasca Basin is a unique mining area in Canada and has been a very active mining and exploration region for uranium over 80 years. Secondary commodities in the area include gold, cobalt, nickel and rare earth elements.
The map area covers about 25 million hectares of land located mainly in northern Saskatchewan with some extensions in Alberta and Manitoba. Only 4.7 million hectares (19%) of the total map area is staked with active mining claims. This is due to the very deep sandstone coverage in the center of the Basin. Saskatchewan mineral dispositions account for 79% of the total claims in the area covering 3.7 million hectares.
DigiGeoData has compiled 51 mining assets in the area that includes 2 operating mines, 22 deposits (with compliant resources) and 27 past producing mines. The Athabasca Basin has produced 34 million pounds of uranium in 2017 and 1.07 billion pounds of uranium over the last 80 years. There are still large amounts of in-situ uranium resources in the area to that are being explored including 679 million pounds of compliant reserves (proven and probable), 826 million pounds of compliant resources exclusively of mineral reserves (measured and indicated) and 446 million pounds of compliant inferred resources. The total known endowment of the Athabasca Basin is 3.02 billion pounds of uranium which includes current and historical production as well as compliant reserves and resources.
The Athabasca Basin map area includes 3,622 active mining claims registered to 138 owners (100% full ownership or joint ventures) of listed companies, private companies or individuals. Land ownership has increased and decreased over the years depending on the sentiment towards uranium. The last three years has seen a significant increase in exploration and land acquisition of 1607 new claims. This added 44% more claims, or 1.5 million hectares, which is roughly 34% of the total staked area.
The new claim staking in 2018 contributed 434 new mining claims adding 389,385 hectares of mining area. The claim staking was high in first two quarters of the year in both statistics of the claim count and the area. The last two quarters of 2018 showed a decrease in claim activity, as most companies had solidified their acquisitions.
The majority of the claims staked in 2018 (402 of 434 claims) were registered under 17 companies and 3 individuals. Comparing the 2018 claim staking with properties of selected major companies (limited to DigiGeoData map sponsors) 45 active mining properties were expanded in 2018 adding new mining claims.
Over the past three years, a number of companies have been actively exploring and increasing their land positions.
Most of these companies have committed funds for what should be an active year in 2019 in the Athabasca Basin.