Insiders are buying stock at Athabasca Minerals (ABM.V; $0.63), with the CEO, CFO and COO recently joining the chairman in the insider trading filings. This is encouraging, especially because the company is currently working on choosing a partner to build the Duvernay frac sand project, and must be close to a decision by now.

There are two parties at the table, which is always better than one. One of them, at least, has made several visits to the site, so I assume they’re quite a ways down the path. The NI-43101 on the project (a regulatory filing produced by a qualified expert that details the vital elements of any resource project) has been produced in draft form. At the annual meeting the CEO said we should be very pleased by the report.

The reason it hasn’t been published yet is that the company continues to  “sterilize” (their word) the project, by which they mean sewing up all the adjacent land around our deposit. They’ve learned from observing what happened in the Premian when prospectors found good deposits but allowed competitors to stake the land next door and competing if they found anything. The NI-43101 requires revealing locations, and the company doesn’t wnat to do that yet. Sterilization takes time, especially in summer, because there are landowners involved, and they have to sign off on a deal.

There remain three big catalysts that could move the stock price: a resolution of the Syncrude lawsuit, which I expect by October (because the two are scheduled to go to court then); a beneficial financing agreement on the Duvernay frac sand project; and a decision to spin off aggregates marketing, which is stirring up a lot of interest in the industry. I expect a decision this month.

All in all, the story remains very attractive at the current market cap.


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