Gold fever in WA as miner digs up big nuggets
10 hrs ago
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The nugget weighs in at more than half a kilo and measures ten centimetres across.© Magnetic Resources The nugget weighs in at more than half a kilo and measures ten centimetres across. Prospectors in WA's Goldfields have dug up a big gold nugget weighing in at just over half a kilo from an area long abandoned to mining.
The nugget measuring 10 centimetres across and weighing in at 21 ounces - 670.3 grams - was discovered at Magnetic Resource's Mertondale tenement between Leonora and Laverton in the Goldfields.
The tenement covers land on a pastoral lease that once held a gold mine early last century, and Magnetic has been exploring the remote Goldfields tenement looking for viable gold reserves to exploit.
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The second largest nugget ever found in the world is the Normandy Nugget dug up by Newmont Mining in a dry creek bed near Kalgoorlie in the Goldfields in 1995.
That monster nugget, currently on display at the Perth Mint, weighs in at 25.5 kilograms - close to 900 ounces - dwarfing Magnetic's half kilo find.
But the junior miner has also revealed a grab bag of smaller nuggets alongside its larger find totalling more than fifty ounces, including a ten ounce example.
Magnetic excavated many more nuggets from the project area.© Magnetic Resources Magnetic excavated many more nuggets from the project area. They were all dug up by prospectors at shallow depths using handheld metal detectors.
With gold fetching just over $1600 Australian dollars an ounce, digging up the precious metal can be a big moneyspinner, although the recent push against a gold tax in WA revealed the often tight margins miners deal with to play the game.
Junior miners like Magnetic need to show investors and the share market that their project areas are financially viable with decent reserves of gold, and finds like the nuggets can be used to indicate that they are looking at rich ground.
Magnetic Resources managing director George Sakalidis said the company is now conducting soil sampling and drilling to further confirm gold at the project site, while also striking sharing agreements with local prospectors who are finding the nuggets.
"We are very impressed by the size of these nuggets 10oz and 21oz, which appear to have come from an underlying bedrock source near existing aeromagnetic targets in an emerging gold province.
"We have acted quickly to ensure Magnetic benefits from any nuggets recovered by signing a tribute agreement with the local pastoralist."
Pilbara gold punt: The key players and discoveries in WA's new gold rush
Tony Barass, PerthNow
November 5, 2017 2:00am
IT’S the biggest punt going in Australia — $1 billion and counting — and Gary Morgan can’t get a bet on.
But he doesn’t miss a beat when asked how much he’s sunk into Haoma Mining, his small gold operation in the searing heart of the Pilbara.
“$100 million,” he bellows down the line from his Flinders Lane office in Melbourne’s CBD.
“But don’t you go writing that Gary Morgan is mad.
“This gold rush isn’t bullshit. It’s real. We’ve found the biggest deposit in the world. Put that in the bloody paper.”
Gary Morgan with the gold nuggets. Picture: Ian Currie
While his quotes make good copy, they don’t make good reading for ASX compliance officers who have suspended Haoma’s shares.
They say he is not complying with JORC Code requirements, the strict reporting guidelines governing resource stocks.
Typically, he says that’s “bullshit”. This time he’s got another independent analyst backing his claims, a chemical engineer from Melbourne University. Mr Morgan is almost apoplectic that he’s missing out on the action.
The stock is stuck on 23c and that’s where it will stay until Mr Morgan — he of market research fame and fortune — can convince the ASX that everything Haoma is claiming about its gold discoveries up north is true.
The Great Pilbara Gold Rush is on for young and old, from mining companies big and small to roving Grey Nomads with caravans in tow.
If you haven’t got a metal detector or a will to drive to the North West, there’s seemingly a bucket-load to be made on some stocks that are skyrocketing.
Mining companies with big share price gains in the last six months.
Tiny miners with a few tenements in the back-blocks are adding millions to their market caps without even lifting a finger, let alone sinking a drill. Not surprisingly, the brokers are jumping on for the ride, fuelling a separate wave of mum and dad investors and pushing stocks even higher.
Some stocks have jumped to astronomical levels. Earlier this month, financial advisers Argonaut, in a cautious note to potential investors, showed that over one week in early October juniors such as De Grey Mining jumped 260 per cent, Chalice Gold 28 per cent, Venturex Resources 67 per cent, Marindi Metals 50 per cent and Impact Minerals 64 per cent.
But with big money comes big risk and the colourful characters for which the industry is famous.
Players such as Mick “Many Names” Shemesian, who has a penchant for misspelling his surname on ASIC documents and quietly takes strategic holdings in such colossal money-making ventures, as he has in this one; David Lenigas, the high-flying former WA mine inspector and now Monaco-based entrepreneur who claims there’s 100 billion barrels of oil under Gatwick Airport; and Eric Sprott, an intriguing, canny Canadian investor who rarely backs a loser.
Trying to figure out where this will all end, it’s best to start at the beginning.
Artemis Resources was a junior miner with no money in the bank and a market cap of just $3 million when its managing director Ed Mead was told by the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety to clean up one of its Pilbara tenements.
How the price of gold has tracked in the last 12 months.
While faffing about on Purdy’s Reward, south of Karratha, in September last year, he found some unusual gold nuggets in the shape of watermelon seeds.
Recalling the story to The Sunday Times, he said a man then unexpectedly arrived in a helicopter to tell him that he was going to stake a Special Prospecting Licence over the tenement. An SPL allows prospectors free range over any pegged ground.
Mr Mead then realised Purdy’s was considered hot property among the army of prospectors — many of them Grey Nomads and indigenous fossickers — who roamed the wide red spaces and holed up in Marble Bar and Tom Price.
So for the next two months, armed with a metal detector, he said he came to the conclusion that the rock formations in that particular area of the Pilbara had been misread by the long line of geologists.
Mr Mead said he was also convinced the area, at the base of what is known as the Fortescue Basin, was similar in geological make-up to the granddaddy of them all — the Witwatersrand Basin in Africa, or the “Vits” as it is known among geologists — which has produced more than two billion ounces of gold at last count in a unique rock formation known as conglomerate.
After aggressively pegging a huge slab of dirt in the West Pilbara, Artemis made another announcement to the ASX regarding the unique flat nuggets it found. Its shares jumped from 5c to 16c.
Enter Canadian-listed Novo Resources, which had cut its teeth in another Pilbara gold project at nearby Beatons Creek. In a 50/50 joint venture with Artemis, Novo handed over $30 million in shares and promised that it would cover $2 million a year in exploration.
Novo then put a rocket under everyone’s share price without a drill hole being sunk. It decided to release a YouTube video following Artemis’ lead and talking about Purdy’s geological similarity to The Vits. The bulls were off and running.
Novo then came up with another novel way to sell its story, this time in front of a packed house at one of the world’s premier mining conferences, the Denver Gold Forum.
During a live 2am cross to the Pilbara, and with a stunned audience watching on, a couple of locals dressed in high-viz simply stumbled across even more nuggets.
Novo’s and Artemis’ shares soared, dragging along the dozen or so lucky juniors on their tails. Since then, another Canadian miner Kirkland Lake Gold has jumped aboard to join one of WA’s most wily investors Mark Creasy, and a host of others.
Novo now has a market cap about $1.5 billion while Artemis is now worth more than $200 million after its stocks rose a whopping 344 per cent in a matter of months.
On Friday, Artemis hit a record 40c after a joint announcement that open trenches were being dug at Purdy’s, which were showing signs of “fine grain gold and coarser gold”.
But the conglomerate angle to this gold story has raised the collective eyebrows of Perth’s mining community.
They are also intrigued by the role of two of the main players, Messrs Shemesian and Lenigas.
While Mr Lenigas was happy to talk to The Sunday Times at length, Mr Shemesian is known to keep a much lower profile and could not be contacted by The Sunday Times about the 13 per cent of Artemis he controls through Exchange Minerals, a Dubai-based company.
Artemis has another Dubai link in Sheikh Maktoum Hasher al Maktoum, a member of the wealthy emirate’s royal family, who was recently welcomed on to the Artemis board as a non-executive director.
The last time Mr Shemesian made the news was when Melbourne underworld figure Mick Gatto was called in to negotiate a settlement between Mr Shemesian, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and former Perth Glory owner and WA businessman Tony Sage over the troubled $400 million sale of Cape Lambert in 2009.
According to media reports at the time, Mr Gatto got $1 million for settling the deal, Mr Sage got to stay with the company and Mr Shemesian walked away with millions — some said 80 — for his 10.5 per cent of the company.
Mr Lenigas has fingers in many pies, having dabbled in everything from low-cost aviation companies in Africa (FastJet) to oil and gas plays throughout Europe.
He was a former executive chairman of Lonrho, a company synonymous with the downfall of another WA high-flyer, Alan Bond.
Speaking to The Sunday Times from London, Mr Lenigas said he needed to be “very careful” about how we went about publicly talking about this story.
“But every week and every month I’m getting more and more comfortable that what we’re seeing out there has the potential to have some pretty good size,” he said.
“Obviously our friends at Novo have different reporting requirement and they can do and say things differently to what we can do on the ASX, but we’re getting quite excited.”
While admitting there was still “a lot of doubt within the Australian investment community”, he said the Canadians were “much more aggressive” in chasing plays around the world. If people were making money out of the story, then “good on them”.
“Canadian investors believe in the dream. Australian investors believe in the reality,” he said. “We’ve had very little support for Australian investors, to be honest. Probably less than 10 per cent.”
But he did admit there were plenty of unanswered questions and he was looking forward to some strong drilling results “within a few weeks”. “The big question is grade. Grade makes mines, grade makes profits,” Mr Lenigas said.
He said he welcomed the financial muscle the Dubai royal family could bring to the operation as it vigorously chased a growth strategy. “If this is going to be a huge play, I’m going to need huge money,” he said.
Back in Melbourne, Gary Morgan poses with a handful of nuggets he’s taken from the dirt around his Pilbara operation. They are a constant reminder the ASX is keeping him and his backers from making the most of a once-in-a-lifetime ride.
But, he says, he’s made more than $1 million in three weeks anyway, through a holding in one of the smaller players caught up in the whirlwind.
Mr Morgan can’t talk it up enough.
“This will change Australia in the same way the discovery of gold over here in the 1850s changed Victoria,” he said.
And he’s adamant there’s a “load” along a 200km strip between Karratha and Marble Bar, which he describes as the “biggest gold deposit in the world”.
So where exactly?
“We don’t want to give the exact location,” he says.
“But I tell you what, this whole thing . . . it’s going to be bigger than Poseidon.”
another run may come good price action good sector
Bottomed at 1.6c.
Gaining momentum now.
Should retest 2c(today).
yep still hear decent numbers on this puppy
turned out a P& D bailed
a classic P& D big time from the perth sharks
Selling or soaking up at 1.4 Sandy?
50:50 atm imo.
Decent Ann and good early vols.
bailed at 1.9
Yeah appears to be selling into news.
Gap at 0.009-1c.
Might get another run out of it yet,but safer to just wait for the gap to fill over xmas break.
yep any news is being dumped into