Silver Valley Mining Journal
Toronto, Ontario – Normal people bugger-off to
places like Cabo, Mazatlan, or the French Riveria
this time of year. But oh, no, not the guys we hang with. Kirk McKinnon and
Bill Nielsen are instead heading north of all possible sanity to bang on a
pile of radioactive boulders in Quebec's “Friveria”
up by James Bay – a detritus of a long-ago Ice Age that left its
calling card: 10 oz/ton gold, and uranium values worth more far more than the
incredible gold values, a frog-lash south of the Circle.
And we're with them.
We don't usually depart far
from our beat as the second or third-most astute writer about all topics
regarding silver and silver mining to write about uranium. Normally, we leave
that task to the plethora of pump'n'dumpers out
there. But when a great detective yarn, a quest for a new Mother Lode,
10-ounce gold and $1,800 rock all ravel together in one story, well . . . we
could turn away Sandra Bullock's friendly advances for a piece of that.
Welcome to Uranium Star
(URST, and until earlier this month known as Yukon Resources), and the
Detective Story of the Century: The Mystery of Mistamisk.
Star guys are out to solve that mystery, which is why these great big
radioactive 10 ounce-gold rocks are where they are, and where they came from.
This is the 21st Century's first great search for the Mother Lode.
Hang with us for a moment:
Satellites first discovered
the Mistamisk boulders in the early 1980s, back
when most satellites were looking for Russian rockets and mapping Earth's
resources was something of an afterthought. But here was this blob of
inexplicably rich rocks on the tundra. Majors from Noranda
and Kennecott on up drilled around and about these boulders, as a prudent
geologist would do, but to no avail. Seems the Mistamisk
boulders had fallen out of the sky. Which, based on our 1980s understanding
of how Ice Age glaciers moved, they might as well have. I mean, think about
how we were taught that glaciers move: an inch or two per century, right?
(Our first inkling that
geologic events move at least as fast as our pass at Sandra Bullock would be
rejected came when Mount St. Helens blew up
in May of 1980. With very little warning. Violent and rapid. In one afternoon
a mountain 300 miles
west of Wallace went Ker-Pow and six hours later we
were drenched in a foot of volcanic dust. So it is not too far a reach to
speculate that Ice Ages advance and retreat with similar dispatch.)
As the Finns discovered two
years ago in a study of ice movements on the Scandinavian
peninsula, these glaciers don't creep at the rate of centimeters
per century. Try, instead, kilometers per century. The Finns also came up
with vectors of Ice Age movement. Turns out, the glaciers boogied in
directions contrary to the common wisdom, amped-up
on mid-Proterozoic speed.
So here is the scenario. For
reasons far beyond control of the current Bush Administration, the Tories
Greenpeace, the EEU or anybody else, this glacier went BANG over the top of
this uranium- and gold-rich horst, mowed the top of it off, and sent those
boulders a-scattering to their present location. Back-track the ice, and
there's the Mother Lode.
Which to Bill
Nielsen, Uranium Star's geologist, is a trail that can be followed quite
accurately. Nielsen (yes, Nevsun's Nielsen) is no schlepper. We are walking together from Uranium Star's
offices on Adelaide in Toronto
up to lunch around the corner at Barrister's, a popular Toronto miner's hang-out..
Turns out we have mutual friends: Nielsen was once Hecla's one-man office in Toronto. He knows our
neck of the woods well. (If you can figure out Coeur d'Alene District
geology, you can do arithmetic in Chinese.)
Geologists were a dime a
dozen in the 1990s. So what kept you in the game? we
ask him. “They treated miners like dirt. But I have a restless
mind,” he replies, sharing the angst he felt being a miner, a pariah,
during that dreadful era.
Nielsen applied Finland's vectors
to the Mistamisk boulders,
back-tracked accordingly, kilometers instead of meters, drew some water, and
found the pH to be right for uranium. When we visited their Toronto
office on Adelaide,
everyone in that little cramped space was working the logistics for a
full-tilt, 6,000- to 8,000-meter drilling program, scheduling helicopters,
DC-3s and Twin Otters. The rush is on.
So come about March, Uranium
Star will begin drilling this discovery out, building the base camp, plowing
out the runways. They don't expect to even have to do all the NI 43-101
stuff; somebody will take them out when the first holes come in. Tough darts
if the gold comes up a little radioactive. Goldfinger
had a cure for that.
As we visited in Toronto in late
December, Uranium Star's prexy, Kirk McKinnon, had
just closed out a PP for 50 cents; the stock was trading at 0.85 US. As we
type this, URST's stock is well over $1.20 and
headed seriously north.
Not a one-trick pony,
Uranium Star is also active in Arizona, at the Workman Creek uranium project
in Gila County, on claims drilled out in the 1960s by a Westinghouse
subsidiary, and right next door to Rodina Minerals'
claims, the latter reporting a NI 43-101 inferred resource of 5.54 million
pounds of U308, and on a pair of uranium prospects in Finland covering 150
A final note, as, if you
attended our rant in Paris
in November, we gauge mining outfits by their people. We had a niggling technical
question for Mr, McKinnon. So we phoned up,
expecting the usual voice-mail Hell. To our surprise, the receptionist was
the president himself. 'Can I help you?'
“Kirk, what are you doing,
answering the phone?”
His reply: “Well,
everybody else here was busy.”
By : David Bond
Editor : The Silver Valley Mining Journal