In July of this year, Fission Uranium appointed industry-leading uranium geologist, Kanan Sarioglu, to the role of VP Exploration. Kanan is a professional geologist with seventeen years of experience and several uranium discoveries under his belt. He was part of the original Fission team responsible for our 1st discovery at Waterbury, and even more significantly, was an integral part of the Triple R discovery team at PLS. Recently, Kanan lead 92 Energy’s technical team on the eastern side of the Athabasca Basin, helping that company to grow its exciting Gemini uranium discovery. Having received numerous enquiries from interested shareholders, we sat down with Kanan to get his views on the most asked questions.
Fission Uranium Blog: What was it that persuaded you to return to Fission Uranium and take up the exploration helm as VP Exploration?
Fission Uranium VP Exploration, Kanan Sarioglu: There were two reasons. Working with the Fission Uranium team again is obviously one of them, and you know, of all projects in and around the Athabasca Basin, the one that stands out the most for me as an exploration geologist is PLS. The discovery here started a whole rush to the Western side and I believe that this project still has untapped exploration potential.
If I look back to the initial years after the discovery was made, it was obvious that the company had something quite special, and so most of our exploration work focused on growing that discovery out along trend. That work was very successful, which is why Fission Uranium is now in the development phase with a view of being in production in the next five years or so.
While the company’s development team is working hard on that side of the business, from an exploration standpoint, the main resource, R780E, along with the four flanking mineralized zones are still largely open for expansion. Moving away from the Triple R deposit, it has been about seven years since we’ve conducted any exploration drilling on the property, so it is long overdue for another round. That’s why Ross, our CEO, has brought me on board – because we consider PLS to still be widely underexplored, and it’s in the real “sweet spot” in terms of where you want to be looking in the Basin.
What I mean by “sweet spot” is a buffer zone a couple of kilometers in, to a couple of kilometers outside of the Basin. In this buffer zone you're dealing with relatively shallow depths to the unconformity and underlying basement rocks, which host these uranium deposits. At PLS, we’re just outside the Basin, so there's no Athabasca sandstone - just thin layers of younger sedimentary rocks. That makes it easier, faster and cheaper to get down to the basement rocks where you want to be testing.
And then there’s the sheer amount of EM conductors on the property. It’s pretty impressive. We interpret these EM conductors to represent graphitic fault zones, which are often associated with the high-grade unconformity associated uranium deposits in the Athabasca Basin.
There are many, many tens of kilometers of these conductors, often forming wider conductor corridors, all over the PLS property which are only sparsely drill tested. And so that's what we want to be chasing up, where those really prospective conductor corridors are. The technical team is currently reviewing and reinterpreting the existing geophysical coverage at PLS with an updated exploration model to identify key structural trends we believe are associated with uranium mineralization. This is very exciting stuff to get back to.
With all of the work that Fission has done on the Triple R deposit at PLS, the company’s understanding of the geology in the western Athabasca Basin, along with some state of the art geophysical techniques that are now available to us, some really compelling exploration areas are being highlighted on the property. Plus, there are a number of locations that the team identified up until 2017, that we had to put on hold due to the focus on the expanding the Triple R deposit, which are high on the list for follow up drilling.
Fission Uranium Blog: With a property as large and as prospective as PLS, the exploration team has obviously got a lot of options available. You’ve got areas with some very interesting reconnaissance holes drilled years ago, you’ve got some eye-popping geophysical anomalies in other areas, and then you have targets near the known mineralized zones at Triple R. What are the most exciting opportunities do you think, from an exploration perspective?
Fission Uranium VP Exploration, Kanan Sarioglu: Yeah, it’s a combination of all of the above to be honest and that’s one of the things that makes this project so incredible. There’s this world class existing deposit – the Triple R – with obvious growth potential, but then you also have these targets elsewhere on the property which are really exciting – and perhaps there’s another mineralized zone with the scale of the Triple R or Arrow sitting at one of those targets. What we’ve seen with the success of Fission Uranium and NexGen so far tells us that this district absolutely has the potential to host additional pods of uranium. So, to begin with, James and I are assessing all the existing geophysical data at PLS to see if there are either gaps in our coverage that we need to close or a need for higher resolution coverage. After that we will then be in a position to start prioritizing exploration target areas. That work will potentially be completed at some point this Fall, in advance of drilling in 2024.
So, without getting into an order of priorities, let’s touch on the subject of the existing mineralized zones at Triple R. The key fact for me as an exploration geologist is that for the most part, the mineralized zones appear largely open for expansion along trend. The zones are also open at depth too, but I'm not necessarily concerned about that because depth is something that, once PLS is production, you could test from the underground workings of the mine. So, depth is kind of a lower priority, but I think extending the known zones along trend, that’s a different matter.
And a perfect example of that would probably be the R840W and R1515W zones. When you look at the east and west end of them, they are not in any way closed off by drilling. So, there's potential to just keep going. You know, the drillholes currently located on the end of the mineralized zones may not be absolute superstars but the way these deposits work is that the uranium grade and geometry can be highly variable. So, you could step over onto a new drill line from the edge of R840W and the uranium mineralization may seem like it’s dying off, only then to move over again one more drill line and the uranium mineralization comes right back. That's just how these things are. And that's something that I think is worth exploring.
Stepping back from the deposit scale you have the Patterson Lake corridor (PLc) itself which hosts close to half a billion pounds of uranium, between Fission and Nexgen, in various resource classifications, as well as numerous other small uranium deposits. You know, about 10 to 15 kilometers of that corridor occur on Fission's property, and there are long sections of it that haven't been drill tested. So that's an area that James and I are going to be looking at as well, especially where these very prospective interpreted faults cross-cut the PLc. These are going to be top priority exploration areas and I think there's a real potential along the PLc for additional pods of uranium.
And just stepping back even more on the property scale, there are areas from 2017 – our last exploration drill program – 5 kilometers southwest of the PLc on a completely different conductor corridor that intersected very anomalous uranium concentrations. A fence of three drillholes there had some of the most anomalous uranium and intense alteration out of all exploration drillholes on the property and we didn’t get a chance to follow up because of the focus on the Triple R deposit. That area really looks like a compelling target down there. And as a final mention there's other areas like the Forrest Lake conductors that we haven't really done any drill testing on since 2015.
We’re already getting excited based on the work we’ve done so far, including re-examining core from some of those early reconnaissance drillholes at targets that we think are prospective. Yes, it is a large property, but we also have a great deal of high-quality data and a deep understanding of the geology, so that means we can refine and prioritize target areas to a degree that most explorers can only wish for.
Fission Uranium Blog: Obviously a lot of work ahead of you but some exciting times coming up as well. Let’s end with one final question. With all the skilled geologists out there, why did you choose to bring James Haley on board with you?
Fission Uranium VP Exploration, Kanan Sarioglu: That’s a great question. James worked with Fission Uranium from 2014 through to the end of 2017. So he was deeply involved with a huge amount of the drilling that has happened at PLS. James is detail oriented but also a big picture guy – that's the beauty of his skillset. So he’s the person you want next to you when you’re taking that crucial step back and thinking about things on a property-wide scale, answering questions like where else could these deposits form? What kind of structural trends are we looking for? What kind of structural relationships control the mineralization of Triple R that we can apply to other parts of the property and see analogs for. And he's always thinking about it. That's the beautiful thing. You can tell he's going home and laying down at night thinking about it because it's not just the job for him, it’s a passion. So, yeah, he is the obvious choice for Fission Uranium and for this stage of PLS exploration.