Gerardo DelReal: This is Gerardo DelReal with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is President, COO and Chief Geologist for Fission, Mr. Ross McElroy. Ross, thank you for joining me.
Ross McElroy: Good afternoon. It's great to join you Gerardo.
Gerardo DelReal: I needed to have you on because we definitely have a better uranium market, and sure enough, right on the heels of that you just announced on February the 16th that Fission is expanding the winter program and you're getting aggressive. You're doubling the exploration drilling. So I was hoping that you could share the details of what that drilling now will look like.
Ross McElroy: I sure can, and you're right. We are taking advantage of the fact that there are some pretty good improvements in the uranium sector overall. In fact, we've seen the price of uranium increase over the last three months up 45% from where it was, so we think it still has a long way to go, but it's certainly a vast improvement from where it was back in the earlier parts of 2016.
The sector is picking up overall and we're taking advantage of that because our PLS project has got a lot of great targets on it. There's better sentiment in the sector. We have the cash to go forward and expand the program. Obviously the project has the targets, and we do have the team in place in order to put that money to work.
What we just announced a couple of days ago is that we're essentially doubling the winter program as far as the meterage is concerned. The budget is now upsized about 35 to 40% to just over a $9.5 million budget. That will allow us to drill 19,000 meters. We'll get 63 holes out of there. The real emphasis with the 63 holes, probably around 60% of that meterage will be allocated towards exploration targets. This is testing parallel conductors on trend of the Triple R deposits. We'll be testing along there. We'll be testing conductors to the north and those to the south. We're basically on the hunt to find another Triple R deposit.
We do have the biggest footprint in the Athabasca Basin with our 2.6 kilometer mineralized trend that we've already outlined, but we know that there's a great deal more potential even outside of that further on trend and to the north and to the south, so that's really where we're going to be hunting. We'll be doing around 37 holes in exploration. 23 of those core holes we'll also be targeting with our RC holes, again looking for the shallow mineralization, similar sort of earmarks as we have at the Triple R deposit.
Gerardo DelReal: Excellent. Now as a shareholder, I get excited any time that I hear that you're launching into a lot of new exploration drilling. For those that are new to the Fission story, could you give us the hit percentage on past drilling? I believe it was greater than 80%? Pretty closer to 90%, if I'm not mistaken? Is that accurate Ross?
Ross McElroy: It is accurate. When you look at the drilling that we've done on the Triple R deposit, the two zones that make it up, the 00 East and the 780, we had over 90% hit ratio in there. In other words, 90% of the holes are actually hitting mineralization that's going to a resource estimate.
Gerardo DelReal: That's incredible.
Ross McElroy: When we've stepped out more recently with the discovery of the 840 West zone on strike to the west of the deposit and the 1620E zone on strike to the east, those similarly had high numbers, in the high 80, low 90% hit ratio, so it does tell us that we have a big mineralized system. We're very, very successful with our drilling that way.
With exploration drilling, it's a bit more wildcat as it were. I mean you tend to have a lot of hits that are interesting geologically and you vector yourself into the most interesting areas in the hopes that you'll find high grade mineralization, so that's really what exploration is. It's a little bit different than drilling the zone because we're hunting for new mineralization.
It does take a bit more effort in drilling, looking at our most prospective areas, but this property is just ripe with targets. Obviously our mineralized trend is pretty important, but I'd say with the other 105 conductors that we see on the property, which translates into about 200 to 300 kilometers of prospective trend, it is absolutely in need of seeing exploration drilling. We believe that the potential is there to find more shallow hosted, high grade uranium on the property.
Gerardo DelReal: I think again the exciting thing as a shareholder Ross, is that regardless of how the exploration drilling goes, and of course everybody keeps their fingers crossed, but at the end of it we'll still have a world-class asset on our hands, and I think that's exciting. You mentioned that the budget was approximately 9.6 million, if I recall correctly. What does your cash position look like right now Ross?
Ross McElroy: We're doing very well. Our cash position is around $60 million and we're embarking, as you say, on the $9.6 million program this winter, so we're in very good shape for at least the next two to three years. The company is very healthy. That allows us to put a great emphasis on drilling such as we are undertaking here with our winter of 2017 program, so we'll be able to plan future programs in the summer, and of course extending in 2018 and 2019.
I think Fission is sitting really well with respect to cash in the treasury, and of course a team that's very eager to get out there and explore and make new discoveries.
Gerardo DelReal: Excellent. Drilling has begun? Is that correct?
Ross McElroy: Drilling has begun. We're probably around two and a half weeks now into our program. As we've been doing over other programs, you'll see us start to put out news releases shortly that we'll batch together holes, so we'll drill about 10 holes, something like that, and start putting news out, so shareholders can start expecting to see news from what we're seeing on our drilling, which is both of the stages, both the zone drilling on the 840 West and the 1620 East and also on the exploration holes. So shareholders stay tuned and see what we're up to.
Gerardo DelReal: It sounds like it's going to be an exciting 2017. Ross, I want to thank you for your time today and I hope that we can have you back on as we start getting those assays coming in.
Ross McElroy: You bet. Thank you very much for the opportunity to provide the update.
Gerardo DelReal: Thank you Ross. We'll chat soon.
Ross McElroy: Okay.