Increase in Permit Land Holdings and Mineral Exploration update
February 28, 2007
EDMONTON, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - Athabasca Minerals Inc. ("Athabasca" or the "Company") (TSX Venture: ABM) is pleased to provide this progress report and notice of an increase of permit land holdings to 710,023 hectares to the north, south and east of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The Company has implemented an exploration budget of $1.6 million to evaluate the mineral potential of these permitted lands by December 2007. Athabasca's interests are primarily in the exploration for industrial minerals such as salt, silica sand, gypsum and limestone, as well now for diamonds as a result of recent exploration activities near the Company's permitted lands.
The Company's current program is a continuation of exploratory work begun in the summer of 2006 and is focused initially on silica sand. Previous work, including sampling and analyses of sand deposits at several outcrop localities, confirmed the presence of high-grade silica, with grades up to 98 % in raw, untreated samples. The Company has carried out intensive well log studies to outline prospective areas for silica mining, i.e., where the deposit exists at mineable depth. A test-drilling program is planned for a selected area, involving five or more drill holes that should provide conclusive data on the quality and recoverability of the deposit. The program currently awaits the availability of a suitable drilling rig that can ensure reliable sample recovery in the friable deposits.
Silica sand has a host of industrial uses, the most immediate in Alberta being its use as proppant or "frac" sand in oil well reservoir stimulation. At present imported sand is used to satisfy most of these requirements. Diamond has emerged as another potential mineral prospect for the Company because of the proximity of the Company's lands to recent diamond-bearing kimberlite discoveries in the Birch Mountains area. The same permit land that is under evaluation for silica happens to straddle the southeast projection of a linear trend formed by alignment of five kimberlite pipes in the Birch Mountains. One of these, the Legend pipe, lies about 11 km from the Company's permit boundaries and is currently undergoing mini-bulk sampling by Grizzly Diamonds Ltd.
The drill sites chosen for silica sampling are prime locations also for sampling of uphole till and surficial materials, to check for the possible presence of diamond indicator minerals. Further to this sampling, a program of systematic ground surface sampling for indicator minerals is planned for the Athabasca property, to be followed by geophysical survey of the property, should the results of surface sampling warrant it.
The Company's other target mineral is salt, which under investigation here as a potential raw material source for the chemicals required in bitumen extraction from oil sands. Salt deposits underlie large parts of the region west and south of Fort McMurray, at depths from 300 to 450 metres. A subsurface study based on well logs was undertaken to locate favorable sites for a salt brining recovery operation. In addition, a first-level engineering study of chemical plant specifications will be completed by Aker Kvaerner Chemetics of Vancouver, British Columbia, a supplier of chemical technology, in order to provide a basis for determining the feasibility of establishing a chloralkali plant in the region.
Mr. Wylie Hamilton, P.Eng., Vice President, Chief Geologist is identified as Athabasca Minerals Inc.'s qualified person for this news release.
Athabasca Minerals Inc. is an innovative exploration company formed to explore for mineral resources, other than oil, gas and oil sands, in northeast Alberta. The Company's aim is to find and develop local sources of the minerals essential to the economic development of the region, i.e., minerals used in oil sand processing, construction, and in the everyday requirements of community living. Athabasca's permit holdings of 710,023 hectares in the vicinity of Fort McMurray, Alberta have exploration prospects for an assortment of industrial minerals, including salt, silica sand, gypsum and limestone, and (in the Birch Mountains area) diamonds.
Independent from its mineral exploration activities, Athabasca is also pursuing sand and gravel exploration and development projects throughout northern Alberta. These activities include contract works, gravel pit management, new gravel pit development and the acquisition of other sand and gravel operations.
This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements or information are based on current expectations, estimates and projections that involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by Athabasca. The forward-looking statements or information contained in this news release are made as of the date hereof and Athabasca does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless so required by applicable securities laws.
This news release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any of the securities in the United States.
The TSX Venture Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release.
For further information: Dom Kriangkum, P.Eng., President and CEO of Athabasca Minerals Inc. at (780) 465-5696 or Mike Rousseau, a Consultant to Athabasca Minerals Inc. at (403) 816-1947