Rio Tinto Contrite, But Still Digging, After Juukan Gorge Destruction

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), publicly at least, has its tail between its legs in regards to the destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal heritage site in Juukan Gorge.

The company blew up the Juukan Gorge rock shelters in the Hamersley Range in the Pilbara of Western Australia in May to expand its Brockman 4 iron ore mine.

The Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people (PKKP) had pleaded with Rio, telling it they wanted to preserve the site and had issued an urgent request to halt the blast five days before the detonation took place.

Photo Credit: Puutu Kunti Kurrama And Pinikura Aboriginal Corporation

Rio Tinto made a submission to a Senate inquiry into the destruction of the site, saying that it, “has unreservedly apologised to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people (PKKP), and we reaffirm that apology now”.

Then came the lip-service, letting the company look contrite, but not taking away from the wanton damage it caused.

“For the benefit of current and future generations of Australians,” the company continued.

“We are determined to learn the lessons to ensure that the destruction of heritage sites of exceptional archaeological and cultural significance, such as the Juukan rock shelters, never occurs again”.

It is probably fair to give credit to the company here, as it is true the destruction of the Juukan rock shelters can never happen again, because it has happened and they can never be re-constructed for them to fall under any further protection. They’ve gone. Never to return.

What has come to light from the Senate inquiry is that Rio had another three options on the table to expand its iron ore mine that would not have damaged the caves.

Instead, it chose option four, which allowed it to, “access higher volumes of high-grade ore”, which would ensure it maintained the happiness of its shareholders who all received a healthy dividend of approximately $2.16 this year.

Rio informed the inquiry that it had engaged an independent expert to see if it could unload explosives from the relative holes before the blast.

It was found there was, “insufficient time to do so safely”.

On how much time compared to 46,000 years it did not expand.

As we were going to press a response was in the offing from Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) to a submission by the Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation (WGAC) regarding two rock shelters, estimated at 60,000 years old, that are under threat from FMG expansion.




Ausgold Fills Coffers for Katanning Drill Push

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Ausgold Limited (ASX: AUC) is well and truly cashed-up for drilling planned at the company’s 100 per cent- owned Katanning gold project in Western Australia.

Ausgold announced it had binding commitments from institutional and sophisticated investors for a share placement to raise just over $6.3 million to underpin an extensive exploration and Resource expansion drill program at it’s the Katanning gold project.

The raising included a $3 million cornerstone investment from Canadian resources investor, Dundee Goodman Merchant Partners.

The company indicated the proceeds will be used to accelerate Resource drilling within the Central Zone at the Katanning project, which currently boasts a JORC Resource of 1.2 million ounces of gold.

“We are pleased to welcome our new investors, including Dundee Goodman Merchant Partners (DGMP), as significant shareholders in Ausgold,” Ausgold managing director Matthew Greentree said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Following the completion of a thorough due-diligence process, DGMP share our view of the significant potential of the Katanning gold project (KGP).

“The funds raised in this placement will be used to accelerate drill programs at the KGP, which are expected to add further high-grade Resource ounces and to advance high priority targets within the Company’s significant tenement position.

“The Mineral Resource at the KGP is currently 1.2 million ounces with clear extensions to mineralisation as demonstrated by the recent round of high-grade drill results which should add to the current gold Resource at Katanning and further improve the project economics.

“Further drilling is planned to target high-grade mineralisation down dip and north along strike where it remains open.

“With this new funding Ausgold will be expanding its current drill programs and we look forward to updating the market with further exploration success.”








Venture Minerals and Chalice Gold Mines Sign South West Project Agreement

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Venture Minerals (ASX: VMS) inked a Binding Terms Sheet with Chalice Gold Mines (ASX: CHN) with the aim of unlicking the potential of Venture’s South West project in Western Australia.

Chalice Gold Mines made news recently by claiming discovery of the Julimar nickel-copper-PGE discovery in a new province near Perth.

The company has committed to spend up to $3.7 million to earn 70 per cent in Venture’s South West project, located south of Perth.

Chalice will advance previous exploration completed by Venture to test for nickel-copper-PGE sulphides in potential ultramafic-mafic intrusive complexes sitting under cover within the South West project.

The two main prospects within the project are Thor and Odin that both contain areas of potential nickel-copper-PGE prospectivity.

Thor is a 20km long magnetic anomaly associated with chromium rich rocks indicative of maficultramafic intrusions.

Odin has previously been subjected to one drill hole drilled that encountered nickel and copper sulphides within a prospective maficultramafic unit that extends over 10 strike kilometres.

This was further supported by surface sampling returning nickel and copper geochemical anomalies.

“The company looks forward to seeing Chalice use its nickel-copper-PGE exploration expertise at the South West project, which sits in the same geological terrane to that of the Julimar discovery,” Venture Minerals managing director Andrew Radonjic said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“This gives Venture shareholders the best opportunity of bringing forward any potential Julimar ‘look-a-like’ discovery within the project.”








Eagle Mountain Mining Cashed-up for Oracle Ridge Exploration

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Eagle Mountain Mining (ASX: EM2) has received firm commitments to raise $3 million via a share placement.

Eagle Mointain Mining will use the funds to carry out exploration drilling at the company’s high-grade Oracle Ridge copper project in Arizona, USA.

The company will put the funds towards a surface diamond drilling program at the Oracle Ridge project, and to potential acquisitions of prospective ground in the vicinity.

The initial drilling program at Oracle Ridge will target extensions to high-grade portions of the existing Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) in three priority zones.

“The successful completion of this placement sees the company being well funded to conduct a maiden diamond drilling program at our high-grade Oracle Ridge copper project in Arizona,” Eagle Mountain Mining chief executive officer Tim Mason said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Priority drill targets have been defined in prospective zones for higher-grade copper mineralisation as extensions to the existing mineralisation.

“We look forward to updating the market as results arise in the coming months.”








Bellevue Gold Raises $100M to Fund Resource Growth and Accelerate Project Development

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Bellevue Gold (ASX: BGL) announced a fully underwritten institutional placement of new fully paid ordinary shares to raise approximately $100 million.

Bellevue Gold will also undertake a non-underwritten Share Purchase Plan to raise up to $20 million.

The monies raised will complement current cash on hand, and will be used to grow resources and accelerate development of the company’s Bellevue gold project in Western Australia.

“Proceeds from the raising will help ensure we can unlock the full value of what is clearly an exceptional asset with extremely high-grades and immense scope for further inventory growth,” Bellevue Gold managing director Steve Parsons said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“By implementing our dual exploration and development strategy, we will seek to maximise our ability to create value for shareholders through both resource growth and project development.”








Black Cat Syndicate Completes Fingals and Rowe’s Find Acquisition

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Black Cat Syndicate (ASX: BC8) announced completion of the acquisition of a 100 per cent interest in the Fingals and Rowe’s Find gold projects, located outside of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Black Cat Syndicate has purchased the projects from Silver Lake Resources (ASX: SLR) for $50,000 in cash and the issue of approx. 8.4 million fully paid ordinary shares in Black Cat, making Silver Lake a substantial shareholder in Black Cat.

Fingals and Rowe’s Find have increased Black Cat’s total JORC Mineral Resources by 145 per cent, however because a substantial portion of these are JORC 2004-compliant, the company needs to convert them to JORC 2012-compliancy before publishing.

“We are extremely pleased to have completed this transformational acquisition and welcome Silver Lake as our largest shareholder,” Black Cat Syndicate managing director Gareth Solly said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“With the acquisition of Fingals and Rowe’s Find completed, we will now focus on converting the JORC 2004 Resources to JORC 2012 Resources, updating the JORC 2012 Resources and identifying our immediate drilling priorities.

“We will commence releasing the results of this work later in July 2020.”

With the completion of this acquisition, Black Cat will control 281 square kilometres of prospective tenements to the east of Kalgoorlie.

The three main project areas include:

Bulong, which comprises some 140sqkm located 25 km east of Kalgoorlie, covering advanced projects undergoing mining studies along with early stage exploration opportunities;

Fingals comprises around 100sqkm located approx. 30km south east of Bulong and contains multiple Resources and extensive areas of historic mining and has seen only limited modern exploration; and

Rowe’s Find that comprises approx. 41sqkm located near 100km east of Bulong and hosts the JORC 2004 component of the Resources, as well as drill ready targets.







VRX Silica to Divest Biranup Nickel-Gold Project

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: VRX Silica (ASX: VRX) has entered into a conditional agreement for the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary company Ventnor Gold Pty Ltd, owner of the Biranup nickel and gold project in Western Australia.

VRX Silica reached the agreement with New Energy Metals Limited (NRG), an unlisted public company that is planning an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and subsequent ASX-listing later this year.

New Energy Metals is a nickel sulphide focused exploration company with exposure to the Albany Fraser Oregen and South West Yilgarn of WA with a proprietary nickel sulphide prospectivity database to generate further projects.

VRX Silica indicated that New Energy Metals will prioritise applications in the IPO from VRX Silica shareholders.

“We are delighted to have reached agreement with NRG on the terms for the sale of the Biranup project which will enable VRX Silica to share in any future exploration success,” VRX Silica managing director Bruce Maluish said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The Biranup project tenements have an extensive and comprehensive exploration data base that we have assembled and this will be a great starting point for NRG.

“This is an ideal outcome for VRX Silica and its shareholders as it will allow us to focus on the company’s stated aim of becoming a global supplier of high-quality silica sand.”








Genesis Minerals to Acquire the Kookynie Gold Project

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Genesis Minerals Limited (ASX: GMD) has entered into a binding agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the Kookynie gold project, located immediately south-east of the company’s 100 per cent-owned Ulysses gold project in Western Australia.

Genesis Minerals will part with $13.5 million to pick up the project, comprising a $3 million upfront cash and share payment with the full balance of $10.5 million due in six months, plus a one per cent net smelter royalty (NSR) capped at $5 million.

The tenement package includes a JORC 2012 Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource of 8.53 million tonnes at 1.5 grams per tonne gold for 414,000 ounces.

This will take the total Mineral Resource of the Greater Ulysses project to 17 million tonnes at 2.34g/t gold for 1.28 million ounces, providing a strong foundation for the next stage of Genesis’ development as a future mid-tier Australian gold company.

“This is an acquisition which ticks every box for us from a strategic, corporate, geological and tactical perspective,” Genesis Minerals managing director Michael Fowler said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“It provides the springboard for a significant re-boot of the Genesis story and puts us on a firm growth trajectory towards the establishment of a significant new standalone gold mining and processing operation at Ulysses.

“The acquisition consists of two distinct parts.

“The northern tenement package represents the immediate south-eastern extension of the Ulysses project, consolidating our ownership of this highly prospective gold corridor.

“It gives us an immediate opportunity to in-fill and extend the current Resources at the Admiral, Butterfly and Clark deposits – drawing on the geological IP we have developed on our neighbouring ground at Ulysses.

“We see enormous potential to extend the existing Resources down-dip, to find new high-grade lodes just as we did at Ulysses, and to make potential new discoveries and find parallel structures along strike.

“The package being acquired also offers vast regional exploration upside, including along the under-explored southern tenement package, providing us with a pipeline of both near-mine and regional exploration targets.”

Genesis Minerals indicated that for the remainder of CY2020, the company will be focusing on a combination of resource definition and expansion drilling to feed into a Feasibility Study on the development of a standalone gold operation at Ulysses, with ore to be sourced from a combination of known underground and open pit Resources.

Genesis is targeting completion of this Feasibility Study in the first quarter of CY2021.





RareX Boosts Company Coffers by Completing $2.3 Million Raising

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: RareX Limited (ASX: REE) has raised $2.3 million on the back of firm commitments from institutional and professional investor support for a share placement.

RareX will issue 46 million shares at 5 cents per share, with company directors chipping in to the tune of collectively subscribing for $200,000 worth of shares.

The shares to be issued to the Directors will be subject to shareholder approval at a meeting to be convened in due course.

RareX indicated the proceeds will further strengthen its balance sheet, placing it in an excellent position to progress the upcoming maiden drilling program at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Cummins Range rare earths project in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

An upcoming drill program is to be the first drill program carried out at Cummins Range in almost a decade with the last drilling completed by previous ownership in 2011.

Elsewhere, RareX has exposure to an exciting ongoing exploration campaign via its 35 per cent free-carried interest in the Trundle copper-gold porphyry project in New South Wales, alongside Kincora Copper (65%).

The company also has 100 per cent interest in a highly prospective gold project near Orange in NSW known as Orange East, which is located within close proximity to the large McPhillamys gold mine owned by Regis Resources Limited.

Following completion of the Placement, RareX will hold cash and listed investments totalling $6.1 million, including its 9.65 per cent stake in TSX.V-listed Kincora Copper.

“We are delighted with the strong support received from investors as part of this capital raise, which reflects the quality of our assets and the exciting outlook for the company,” RareX chairman John Young said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“RareX shareholders will have exposure to two quite different, but equally exciting, exploration campaigns over the coming weeks and months.

“Drilling is on track to commence next month at Cummins Range targeting extensions of our high-quality existing Resource as well as new satellite discoveries.

“Meanwhile, we are in the midst of a potentially game-changing drill program at the Trundle project in New South Wales, where the Kincora team have intersected significant porphyry mineralisation in the first two diamond drill holes.

“The third hole is in progress and we are eagerly awaiting further results, and assays, from this maiden drill program.”



Red 5 Exercises Acquisition Option Over Cables and Mission Deposits

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Red 5 Limited (ASX: RED) has exercised an option to complete the acquisition of the Cables and Mission gold deposits in Western Australia.

Red 5 described the acquisition as strategic, given that the “bolt-on” deposits are located around ten kilometres north of the company’s Darlot gold mine.

Red 5 explained the acquisition forms part of a multi-strand strategy to expand the Darlot Mineral Resource base, which includes ongoing near-mine and regional exploration as well as consolidation of strategic opportunities.

Before completing the acquisition of the Cables and Mission deposits, Red 5 carried out due diligence and confirmatory Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling to validate historical drilling and determine the potential of the Cables and Mission deposits.

Confirmatory Reverse Circulation drilling by Red 5 confirmed the mineralisation with best intercepts of:

7 metres at 5.7 grams per tonne gold;

4m at 14.7g/t gold; and

5m at 3.7g/t gold.

The Cables and Mission transaction follows Red 5’s recently announced acquisition of the Great Western gold deposit.

“The acquisition of the Cables and Mission deposits represents another strategic low-risk opportunity to continue growing the company’s Resource base in the area surrounding the Darlot gold processing plant,” Red 5 managing director Mark Williams said in the company’s annooucnement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The acquisition includes a JORC 2004 Inferred Resource which we plan to upgrade to JORC 2012 compliance, while at the same time commencing exploration activities aimed at testing the broader potential of the tenements, which are located in close proximity to our existing Darlot operations.

“Significantly, the rock units hosting the Cables and Mission deposits are similar to those that host the Centenary orebody, which has been mined for many years from underground at Darlot.

“The Cables and Missions transaction follows the recent acquisition of the Great Western gold deposit, both of which are planned to provide additional sources of ore feed for the Darlot processing plant in the coming years.”