Appia Energy: Sowing the seeds of clean energy technologies in Canada’s Athabasca Basin area
Appia Energy Corp., (CSE:API, OTCQB:APAAF) is ramping-up uranium and critical rare earth elements exploration and development activities in Canada, with active projects in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin area and uranium and REE resources in the province of Ontario. The Athabasca Basin is the world’s leading source of high-grade uranium and currently supplies about 20% of the world’s uranium.
Appia is currently drilling for near surface high-grade uranium on its Loranger property and plans to continue drilling its Alces Lake project for critical rare earth magnet metals where previous drilling has indicated world-class high-grade neodymium and praseodymium.
Rare earth elements (REEs) are critical for current and emerging high-tech applications such as electric vehicles (EV), clean energy, communication, and robotics. Uranium in nuclear power generation is the most efficient base-load and carbon-free energy source; a necessary requirement to fuel the dawning EV revolution. In addition, emerging small modular reactors (SMR) are a positive disruptor for the nuclear technology sector as they retain the benefits of traditional nuclear energy but are also cost-effective, safer in design, and well… modular, ideal for remote locations.
James Sykes, Appia’s vice-president, exploration and development, one of the world’s foremost Athabasca uranium exploration geologists, is currently overseeing a drill program for high-grade uranium on the Company’s Loranger project in the Athabasca Basin area, located 28 km southeast of Cameco’s Rabbit Lake mill, in northern Saskatchewan.
The program will consist of approximately 10 drill holes totaling a minimum of 1,000 metres and will be guided by Sykes, who has had direct and indirect involvement with five major discoveries in the Athabasca Basin in the past decade, most notably leading the discovery of NexGen Energy’s Arrow high-grade uranium deposit.
The program will be targeting areas which display geophysical features commonly exhibited with other Athabasca high-grade uranium deposits, such as broad gravity lows, diminished electromagnetic conductors, and apparent magnetic lineation offsets.
Drilling is crucial to the unfolding nuclear energy story. Nuclear energy demand is steadily growing; +450 reactors are still planned for construction, 65 are currently under construction. A looming supply shortfall remains on the utility demand side of the nuclear energy market and there’s an even longer lead-time to bring on new mine supply to fill these demands. Cameco and other suppliers are currently buying on the spot market to fulfill their contractual demands.
We are still 5 to 10 years away from SMRs, but they offer a much-needed competitive strategy for nuclear energy to contribute to continuously growing global energy consumption.
“Nowadays it is getting even more difficult to build the big reactors so the idea is to downsize and make them more modular which makes them more cost-effective and safer. This new nuclear technology is quickly gaining momentum and acceptance across the globe,” Sykes said.
“Brands planning to work on SMR’s include giants like Rolls-Royce,” Sykes added.
Appia’s goal is to discover a near-surface, high-grade uranium deposit with infrastructure in-place and a mill “just down the road”. Appia is confident these are fundamentals that would bring a deposit into production much quicker than any of the conventional Athabasca uranium deposits that are hosted within the Basin itself and could be economically viable at almost any uranium price.
“Appia has a large uranium resource in Ontario,” said Appia’s President and CEO Tom Drivas. “It sets us apart from other junior explorers that we have resource[s] right now.”
On the REE-side of the Appia story, the Company is very active on its Alces Lake project.
Drivas emphasized, “We see world-class grades, with world-class potential, and our critical rare earth metals are specifically essential for contributing to the EV revolution.”
Most car manufacturers today have at least one EV and/or Hybrid model. These models are using REEs in terms of the batteries and the motors. Batteries are only one side of the EV story; you can’t have an efficient EV without an REE-based permanent magnet motor.
About 95% of the REE end-use supply currently comes from the Chinese market, and the western world, wary of the trading issues, is uncomfortable about the sustainability of sourcing the supplies from China.
Appia is exploring to develop a viable supply of critical rare earth materials in North America and could be poised to become a key domestic market supplier.
“We are exploring for the critical metals required to feed the growing energy and technology futures,” Sykes said. “I see things as starting to happen now that can really revolutionize the current-day energy supply. Our technological world continues to advance and both uranium and REEs will continue to play important parts in our daily lives.”
— The preceding Joint-Venture Article is PROMOTED CONTENT sponsored by Appia Energy Corp., and compiled in cooperation with MINING.com. Visit www.appiaenergy.ca for more information.