Thursday, 2 March 2023

Basin’s board brings the skills and experience for uranium success

by Berkeley Lovelace

Basin has a suite of uranium projects in the Athabasca Basin within Saskatchewan, Canada, which is one of the world’s leading uranium mining destinations.

The Athabasca is ranked the second most attractive mining destination in the most recent Fraser Institute global mining investment attractiveness index thanks to its mining friendly regime.

Its large tonnage, high grade uranium deposits and continuous track record of discovery success, make it a premium destination for major and junior uranium explorers.

Basin Energy (ASX:BSN) is one of the few ASX listed companies chasing Athabasca style high grade uranium, and has built up a package of three highly-prospective yet virtually unexplored projects in the district.

The Geikie Project is strategically positioned on the eastern fringe of the basin, traditionally overlooked from much of the previous campaigns of uranium exploration.

Basin recently completed airborne geophysics on the project and are focussed on advancing six priority targets.

Recent nearby high-grade, and critically shallow uranium discoveries by 92 Energy (ASX:92E) and Baselode Energy (TSXV:FIND), further enhance the overall perspectivity of the asset.

North Millennium’s primary target is an extension of the Mother Fault that hosts Cameco’s Millennium Deposit (104.8 Mlb U3O8 @ 3.76%) just 7km to the south and is located in the heart of the Athabasca, whilst the adjacent Marshall project is centred on a strong magnetic and conductive anomaly interpreted as a significant unconformity-type uranium target only 11km west of the Millennium Deposit.

However, attractive as the Geikie, North Millennium and Marshall projects might be, the combination of expertise and experience that the company’s board brings to the playing field is equally as important.

Leadership is key

Managing director Pete Moorhouse is an experienced uranium geologist – having worked 17 years within the uranium exploration sector.

Pete’s uranium career started with a series of junior uranium explorers, including TSX listed Laramide Resources and Mega Uranium, as well as ASX listed Impact Minerals.

This provided a rounded basis to uranium exploration and project work, including at the Westmoreland sandstone hosted uranium deposit in Queensland, on the Lake Maitland calcrete hosted system along with a series of grass roots conceptual exploration plays in Botswana.

“I then took on the role of exploration manager for Alligator Energy (ASX:AGE) from its IPO and worked with them for about 10 years,” he told Stockhead.

“We did some great exploration for a similar style of deposits to what we are looking for now in the Athabasca.

“But with the uranium downturn, we had to really strategise and move our focus to be a little more cost conservative, so we decided to go for some ISR opportunities and ultimately picked up some assets in South Australia which really turned the company around.”

He left Alligator in 2021 as the company was focussing on the development of its ISR projects, which he said was not his passion.

Moorhouse then worked as the exploration manager for Aeon Metals (ASX:AML) for a short period before it became clear to him that the uranium cycle was really warming up and decided to take up a real challenge back uranium.

“I believe it, so I want to be in the driving seat. I got talking with the guys at Discovery Capital, the lead brokers for our IPO about Basin, and after doing on some research on the assets decided that this was the play for me. So that’s where I am, a true uranium believer,” he explained.

“My experience comes from exposure to a series of juniors. This includes times where you have plenty of money and everything’s going really well, as well as times when it is tough but you still do credible work to build an exploration narrative and advance the company.

“There’s not that many people in Australia who have that level of broad uranium specific junior exploration experience which I believe gives me a solid foundation for building a company like Basin.

“I’m fortunate to have an extremely competent Board to support me, who bring a broad and complimentary skill set to the table.”

Board support essential for uranium success

So just what do the other members of the Board bring to the game?

First up is non-executive chairman Blake Steele who Moorhouse describes as a uranium and capital markets veteran who provides a strong complement to his skill set.

“He’s been operating in and around the uranium space for a while now and previously led Azarga Uranium, which had a series of uranium assets in the US,” he noted.

“Steele built up the company, moved it forward and then ultimately sold it to enCore Energy at the start of last year for C$200m, which delivered a strong return for shareholders.”

“Blake was a strong supporter of Basin at the IPO, and he brings a complementary financial viewpoint and strategy to supplement my technical and geological viewpoint.”

Moorhouse added that Steele has a good appreciation for Basin’s assets and engages regularly with the company in his chairman and counsel role.

Non-executive director Cory Belyk, who is the Chief Executive Officer of CanAlaska – the TSX listed company from which the company acquired its assets from – is also a geologist with 30 years of experience, including working with Cameco and Orano – two of the largest uranium companies in the world.

He is based in Saskatchewan and has a solid background in all levels of exploration for both majors and juniors.

As the representative of CanAlaska’s interests in the company, through its 19.9% stake, he also brings his local specific skill sets, knowledge and operational knowhow of the Athabasca Basin.

“He has experience with major deposits within the Basin, having worked on Fox Lake and West MacArthur, and as Chief Mine Geologist at Cameco’s Eagle Point uranium mine, so he’s got a pretty solid skill set in what we’re looking for,” Moorhouse noted.

“He and his team have also had recent exploration success with CanAlaska, which is ultimately what we are here for.”

Also bringing technical skills, albeit over a much broader range of commodities and jurisdiction is Adelaide-based Jeremy Clark, who previously held management role for consulting firm RPM Global and now runs his own boutique consultancy with a focus on mergers and acquisitions.

“He has a very different way of looking at other opportunities and company growth, which is quite a powerful asset,” Moorhouse explained.

“It is fair to say that he has seen a lot of projects, not just uranium, across a lot of different commodities and different jurisdictions and has quite a broad global operating technical experience.

Providing investment bank advice is non-executive director Peter Bird, who was one of the original backers behind Basin Energy.

“He’s a seasoned investment banking professional who has worked for a variety of Perth finance groups but more recently moved to New York where he now works for Obsidian Global Capital Fund, which has an energy specific fund,” Moorhouse said.

“He brings a strategic viewpoint and the knowhow of how to take a $10m market cap company and build it up.

“We are very focused on credible uranium opportunities, with the Athabasca Basin at the forefront of any uranium discussion. We are working hard now to build the company through good, scientific and credible exploration, but are also open-minded to corporate ideas.”

The final member of Basin’s non-executive board is Ben Donovan who is also its company secretary and hence responsible for the company’s compliance.

He used to work at ASX Compliance but has since moved to the business side of things.

Moorhouse noted that as such, Donovan really knows the ASX listing rules and how to ensure that the company is being compliant and meeting its commitments to shareholders and requirements for being a listed company.

Nimble management

Moorhouse added that the skills and expertise brought by the board helps fill in the gaps for the company’s small but nimble operating team which besides Moorhouse himself, includes exploration manager Odile Maufrais.

“Odile is an absolute asset to the company. We brought her on not long after the IPO,” he noted.

“She is an exploration geologist who was working for ORANO, a big uranium producer, and she was previously a project lead for their exploration activities out of Saskatchewan.

“This gives us a great network of operational people through her and knowledge of how the Basin works and also the technical foundations of exploration on a day to day basis.

“Having her as the person I throw the most ideas around with is turning out to be really beneficial for the company.




This article was developed in collaboration with Basin Energy, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.


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