Alligator Energy testing Blackbush resource limits

Alligator Energy (ASX: AGE) is no newbie on the uranium block, having been exploring for the metal since 2010.

Alligator Energy’s key uranium assets comprise the Samphire and Big Lake uranium projects in South Australia, and the Alligator Rivers uranium province in the Northern Territory.

In 2023, the company announced an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE) for the Samphire project after infill drilling at the Blackbush deposit converted a substantial portion of the resource from the inferred to indicated JORC category.

The indicated mineral resource increased by 21 per cent to 12.9 million pounds, at an average grade of 754 parts per million uranium with 2.2 million pounds uranium converted to indicated resource, with a corresponding drop in inferred resource of 2.9 million pounds.

The final tally resulted in 74 per cent of the metal in the total MRE now classified as indicated.

Alligator subsequently identified a pipeline of targets outside the Blackbush MRE envelope, which it incorporated into an exploration target range – the backbone for what will be a sustained multi-year exploration program.

‘Apart from the significant resource we now have at Blackbush, we now need to learn where else we could extend the resource – not just around that project, but also along the known channels in the tenement area,’ Alligator Energy CEO Greg Hall told Future Mining.

‘So, this year will be about extending the resource around Blackbush, and then moving into the southern tenement area.’

Exploration is just one facet of Alligator’s plans at Blackbush, which the company wants to develop as an in‑situ recovery (ISR) project, utilising a process with a very low-impact footprint compared to conventional open pit or underground mining.

ISR enables the recovery of uranium by essentially reversing the natural process that deposited the uranium in the first place.

The highly saline groundwater within the sedimentary sand layer that hosts the ore body is conditioned to mobilise the uranium back into solution, which is then drawn to the recovery wells.

ISR mining is an effective and economic uranium‑extraction method, and accounts for around 55 per cent of current global uranium production. It has been successfully operated in South Australia since 1998.

News flow from Alligator is expected to be constant throughout 2024, with the company to conduct a field recovery trial at Samphire (subject to required regulatory approvals), which will essentially be a pilot trial of this ISR method.

The objective by the end of the year at Samphire, based on the field trial and associated drilling, will be the commencement of a feasibility study during the second half of 2024.

Drilling will be on the go all year, designed to extend the project’s already substantial resource.

Drilling elsewhere on the company’s assets will be targeting uranium intersections at the Alligator Rivers project, while the company’s very first stratigraphical geological drilling will commence at the Big Lake uranium project. 

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