Canada’s top 10 base metals and uranium explorers and developers

The Northern Miner has compiled a list of the top-10 base metal and uranium juniors — with no production, and which are not a royalty company — headquartered in Canada, arranged by market capitalization as of early July.

 

1. IVANHOE MINES

$4.5B market cap

Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN; US-OTC: IVPAF) sits firmly atop the top-10 list for the third year in a row, and up $2.5 billion in market capitalization to $4.5 billion in early July 2019.

The company is developing three world-class projects in sub-Saharan Africa: the Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (where Ivanhoe has a 39.6% stake, equal with partner Zijin Mining); the Platreef project in South Africa for platinum group metals and nickel (64% stake); and the Kipushi zinc project, also in the DRC (68% stake).

Kamoa-Kakula ranks as one of the world’s most-significant high copper discoveries in recent decades, and comes in the form of near-surface, flat-lying, stratiform copper deposit, 25 km west of the town of Kolwezi.

Kamoa-Kakula boasts a combined indicated resource of 1.39 billion indicated tonnes grading 2.64% copper for 36.6 million tonnes (80.6 billion lb.) contained copper, plus another 316 million inferred tonnes at 1.76% copper for 5.6 million tonnes contained copper.

 

2. NEXGEN ENERGY

$743M market cap

NexGen Energy’s uranium exploration camp in northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca basin. Credit: NexGen Energy.

With Arizona Mining dropping off the list after last year’s $1.8-billion takeover by South32, Vancouver-based uranium explorer NexGen Energy (TSX: NXE; NYSE-AM: NXE) moves up to second-spot among base metal and uranium developers

NexGen has emerged as the biggest winner so far coming out of the recent wave of uranium exploration in the underexplored southwestern portion of Saskatchewan’s Athabasca basin, In 2018 the company won the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s Bill Dennis Award in 2018 for a Canadian discovery.

As of 2018, the various structures at Arrow host a combined 2.89 million indicated tonnes grading 4.03% uranium oxide for 257 million lb. uranium oxide, plus another 4.84 million inferred tonnes at 0.86% uranium oxide for 91.7 million lb. uranium oxide.

A recent prefeasibility shows the project capable of producing 25.4 million lb. uranium oxide annually for 9 years, which would turn NexGen into the world’s second largest uranium miner after Kazatomprom.

Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall sits as a NexGen director.

 

3. TRILOGY METALS

$526M market cap

Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, president and CEO of Vancouver-based Trilogy Metals, at the company’s Arctic polymetallic project in Alaska’s Ambler district. Credit: Trilogy Metals.

Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, president and CEO of Vancouver-based Trilogy Metals, at the company’s Arctic polymetallic project in Alaska’s Ambler district. Credit: Trilogy Metals.

Vancouver-based, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse-led Trilogy Metals (TSX: TMQ; NYSE-AM: TMQ) has more than doubled its market capitalization and risen from seventh to third spot on the list over the past year.

Trilogy is exploring its sizeable and high-grade Bornite copper-cobalt and Arctic polymetallic projects that are part of its Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects in Alaska’s Ambler mining district.

Work at Bornite is being funded by South32 under a joint venture whereby South32 will spend US$150 million over three years to earn a 50% interest in the junior’s Alaskan assets.

Exploration program at Bornite started in June with more than 2,000 metres of drilling completed as of a July 9 updated.

At the Arctic project, feasibility level studies are underway with the goal of completing a feasibility study in the first half of 2020.

 

DENISON MINES

$394M market cap

David Cates, president and CEO of uranium developer Denison Mines. Credit: Erik Rotter for George Matthew Photography.

David Cates, president and CEO of uranium developer Denison Mines. Credit: Erik Rotter for George Matthew Photography for The Northern Miner.

A member of the Lundin Group of Companies and led by David Cates, Denison Mines (TSX: DML; NYSE-AM: DNN) is a Toronto-based senior developer focused on exploration and development of uranium assets in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca basin.

Denison says its 90%-owned Wheeler River “ranks as the largest, undeveloped, high-grade uranium project in the infrastructure-rich eastern portion of the Athabasca basin.”

In June, Denison launched a program of in-situ-recovery field testing at Wheeler River, as part of summer field work at the project.

The firm’s exploration portfolio in the basin consists of numerous projects covering 3,200 sq. km.

Denison is also engaged in mine decommissioning and environmental services through its Denison Environmental Services division and manages Uranium Participation Corp. — a publicly traded company that invests in uranium oxide and uranium hexafluoride.

 

5. NGEX RESOURCES

$270M market cap

Taking in the view of NGEx Resources’ Josemaria copper-gold property in San Juan province, Argentina. Credit: NGEx Resources.

Taking in the view of NGEx Resources’ Josemaria copper-gold property in San Juan province, Argentina. Credit: NGEx Resources.

NGEx Resources (TSX: NGQ; US-OTC: NGQRF) — another member of the Lundin Group of Companies — is developing its two large copper-gold-silver discoveries, Los Helados and Josemaria, located in Chile’s Region III and adjacent San Juan Province, Argentina.

NGEX owns 100% of Josemaria and is majority partner and operator for Los Helados.

The junior says the assets are “considered one of the best exploration-development plays in the region.”

 

6. NORTHERN DYNASTY MINERALS

$259M market cap

Northern Dynasty Minerals’ Pebble copper-gold deposit, 321 km southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. Credit: Northern Dynasty Minerals.

Northern Dynasty Minerals’ Pebble copper-gold deposit, 321 km southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. Credit: Northern Dynasty Minerals.

Northern Dynasty Minerals’ (TSX: NDM; NYSE-AM: NAK) colossal Pebble copper-gold deposit in Alaska is too large to ignore, despite the vigorous and sustained opposition to its development from environmental groups.

Over the years, the assets has attracted a couple of major partners, who eventually walked away. The election of a pro-mining president in the U.S. in 2016 brought in a new wave of optimism among Northern Dynasty Minerals shareholders that the project could regain positive momentum.

Resources at Pebble stand at 6.5 billion measured and indicated tonnes containing 57 billion lb. copper, 71 million oz. gold, 3.4 billion lb. molybdenum and 345 million oz. silver. In the inferred category lie another 4.5 billion tonnes containing 25 billion lb. copper, 36 million oz. gold, 2.2 billion lb. molybdenum and 170 million oz. silver. Palladium and rhenium are also present.

 

7. FISSION URANIUM

$233M market cap

Drillers at Fission Uranium’s Patterson Lake South uranium project in Saskatchewan. Photo by Richard Quarisa.

Drillers at Fission Uranium’s Patterson Lake South uranium project in Saskatchewan. Photo by Richard Quarisa.

The third Athabasca basin trailblazer on the list is Kelowna, B.C.-based Fission Uranium (TSX: FCU; US-OTC: FCUUF), which is advancing its PLS uranium project, which hosts the near-surface, high-grade Triple R deposit. Major high-grade zones have been found each year since discovery in 2012, and Fission says recent exploration drilling has uncovered more mineralization west of the trend.

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NASDAQ 7948.56 0.68%
TSX 16213.31 0.56%
TSX-V 576.68 0.00%

Resource Commodities

Name Last Change
Gold 1504.98 0.07%
Silver 17.13 0.18%
Copper 2.58 2.584
Platinum 901.00 0.67%
Oil 56.34 0.23%
Natural Gas 2.22 0.36%
Uranium 25.08 0.00%

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