MAC: Mines and Communities

It still hasn't dawned on Aurora!

Published by MAC on 2008-08-11

Aurora works harder in face of uranium moratorium

The Northern Miner,

7th August 2008

Vancouver - Aurora Energy Resources is determined to keep advancing its Central Mineral Belt uranium project in Labrador despite a moratorium on uranium production in the region, and strong drill results from its two main deposits are bolstering its efforts.

Aurora has its hands full expanding the six uranium deposits that make up the project. The largest is Michelin; the second largest is Jacques Lake. The other four deposits - Rainbow, Nash, Inda, and Gear - are still in the early stages of exploration.

At Jacques Lake, the summer program has focused on infill drilling. Highlights include 7 metres grading 0.22% U3O8 from 222 metres down hole 94 followed closely by 3.5 metres 0.19% U3O8 and 35.3 metres grading 0.07% U3O8 from 202 metres down hole 97, including 0.14% U3O8 over 12.6 metres.

Hole 90 cut 0.12% U3O8 over 4 metres within a broader interval grading 0.06% U3O8 over 22 metres starting at 360 metres depth. And hole 88 cored 6 metres of 0.09% U3O8 within 19 metres averaging 0.05% U3O8 from 314 metres depth.

And the last set of results from the winter program included several strong intercepts, including 40.8 metres grading 0.1% U3O8 from 360 metres depth, including 11.8 metres of 0.19% U3O8.

These recent results from Jacques Lake show the new and growing resource could one day match the resource at Michelin. Three years ago Jacques Lake was an undrilled surface showing. It now hosts an open-pittable resource of 2.3 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 0.07% U3O8 plus 2.2 million inferred tonnes averaging 0.05% U3O8. In the underground zone resource stand at 3.8 million measured and indicated tonnes and 2.8 million inferred tonnes, both grading 0.08% U3O8.

At Aurora's main deposit, Michelin, the company is working through a drill program with two aims: infill drilling the deeper portion of the deposit and confirmation drilling the shallow, open-pittable portion.

Two deep holes returned particularly strong results. Hole 103 cut 8 metres grading 0.27% U3O8 from 540 metres depth. And hole 111 returned 0.14% U3O8 over 12.5 metres from 553 metres downhole followed closely by 20.1 metres grading 0.08% U3O8, including 5 metres of 0.21% U3O8.

In the open-pit portion, hole 105 hit 34 metres grading 0.1% U3O8 from 21.6 metres downhole, including 7 metres of 0.25% U3O8, and hole 93 cut 13.2 metres averaging 0.12% U3O8 from 108 metres depth, including 0.21% U3O8 over 3 metres.

In the open pit zone, Michelin hosts measured and indicated resources of 12.9 million tonnes grading 0.07% U3O8 as well as 19 million inferred tonnes at the same grade. The underground deposit's measured and indicated resources stand at 17.5 million tonnes grading 0.12% U3O8; inferred resources add 12.6 million tonnes of the same grade.

Aurora is spending $20 million at Michelin and the satellite deposits this year, with the work plan including a tailings management options study, an environmental baseline program, a community outreach program, a training plan, engineering studies, and continuing drilling.

The community outreach program is of particular importance. In April the Nunatsiavut government passed a motion initiating a three-year moratorium on uranium production in its territory, which includes all of Aurora's projects. The moratorium is intended to allow time for the government to formulate a land use plan. The Nunatsiavut government has indicated that it is supportive of natural resource development but says it needs more time to prepare for significant projects, such as Michelin. Exploration for uranium is still permitted during the moratorium.

The outreach program in this year's work plan is part of the company's response to the ban. One component of the program is a new panel that will give community representatives from coastal Labrador input into project planning and key environmental work. The program also provides jobs for local communities, funds community initiatives, and provides information about mining, especially in terms of health and safety concerns.

In other Aurora news, the company appointed a new president and CEO. Bruce Dumville will take over from Mark O'Dea in early September. O'Dea will then move into the position of deputy chairman.

The uranium mining moratorium dealt a hard blow to Aurora's share price: it fell from over $16 last October to trade around $3 in August. The company has 73.3 million shares issued.


Renee Borsberry, CPT Canada

31st July 2008

Early on the morning of 21 July, five CPTers joined a group of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN) members and local non-indigenous people (who refer to themselves as settlers) at the Robertsville site where they have been resisting efforts by Frontenac Ventures Corporation to explore for uranium since last year. The gathering was brief, lasting only about forty-five minutes, but the message was clear: NO MINING ON FIRST NATIONS TERRITORIES WITHOUT CONSENT.

During the witness, Ardoch community leader Bob Lovelace shared a traditional story, "The Great Bow" to the circle of approximately twenty-five people, about a young man's vision, his journey to fulfill it, and the people he meets along the way. Lovelace noted that one key theme of the story was accepting the limits of the help offered by those who walk beside us for a time and then have to go their own way. Another was the importance of being true to our dreams, to the best of our abilities.

On 28 May, the Ontario Court of Appeals ruled that the sentence imposed on Lovelace and leaders of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug community (known as the KI Six) for peacefully protecting their territories, was overly harsh. In its reasons for an acquittal released earlier this month, the Court stated that this "situation that cries out for dedicated negotiation among Ontario, the AAFN and Frontenac with a view to reconciliation of the competing interests". The decision declared that before the Crown allows private companies access to land claimed by First Nations, it must ensure that the Crown has fulfilled its mandate to consult these Nations and exhausted every effort to resolve the matter. The Court also acknowledged that both the Ardoch and KI communities had fulfilled their duty in requesting direct negotiations-a request ignored by the provincial government, which allied itself with Frontenac.

The court decision represents another reaffirmation of First Nations' sovereignty and asserts that the nineteenth-century Mining Act is inherently problematic and in need of change. First Nations communities are waiting to see if Ontario will finally be faithful to its mandate to consult.

Since spring of 2007, the Ardoch along with neighboring Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation and local supporters have resisted the destruction of their traditional lands by uranium mining. The Shabot Obaadjiwan community is currently engaged in consultation proceedings with Ontario and Frontenac Ventures, hoping to eliminate or reduce mining on their lands.

To see photos of the story circle and a subsequent action at the Robertsville site on July 23, go to

The Aboriginal Justice Team participating in the week's actions included Carolyn Hudson, John Hudson, Rebecca Johnson, Renee Borsberry, and Joel Klassen. .

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