Newcrest takes bigger bite of SolGold

NEWCREST Mining, owners of Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea, has invested a further $40 million in SolGold to increase its stake to 14.5%.
Newcrest takes bigger bite of SolGold Newcrest takes bigger bite of SolGold Newcrest takes bigger bite of SolGold Newcrest takes bigger bite of SolGold Newcrest takes bigger bite of SolGold

Nick Mather

The investment was part of a $41.23 million placement completed by SolGold, with Ecuadorian investors taking the balance.
As part of the placement, SolGold agreed to revise its existing subscription agreement with Newcrest to include an anti-dilutionary right to participate in any further equity raisings over the next 12 months to maintain the 14.5% stake.
As per the original agreement, Newcrest has agreed to support transactions recommended by the SolGold board, including potential takeover bids, and will continue to provide technical assistance given its expertise in underground block cave mining.
"The arrangement with Newcrest, particularly in the area of technical liaison over the past six months since their original investment into SolGold, has been pleasingly smooth and the SolGold board and management are encouraged by this further endorsement of the technical merits and management's commitment to the Cascabel project, SolGold's exploration strategy across Ecuador and SolGold's interests generally," SolGold CEO Nick Mather said.
The placement price of 41p per share is a 15.5% premium to Friday's closing price and only 12.3% below SolGold's all-time high of 46.75p reached on May 26.
Newcrest's original investment was made at a price of 12p per share.
"The Cascabel project, and surrounding region generally, appear to be prospective and we are pleased to have increased our interest in the region as SolGold continue to increase their drilling activity," Newcrest managing director Sandeep Biswas said.
Newcrest paid $22.8 million in October last year for its 10% stake, fending off a competing proposal from BHP.
At the time, Biswas said BHP's interest validated its investment, which was "really about what is there from a development point of view".
Brisbane-based, AIM-listed SolGold had around $30 million of cash before the placement, and the funds raised will be used for the ongoing exploration work at Cascabel.
There are four rigs currently testing the copper-gold porphyry discovery, with another three to arrive by the end of the year.
Recent drilling at Alpala extended the mineralised corridor to 1300m.
The company has also flagged that hole 23R is expected to represent one of the most significant intersections achieved at the project. Results are imminent.
Last year, SolGold announced that it had hit one of the "top porphyry copper-gold exploration drill holes in history" at Cascabel, with drilling returning 1338m at 0.49% copper and 0.36 grams per tonne gold, or 0.81% copper equivalent.
SolGold shares have jumped by over 1210% over the past 12 months, and the company now has a market capitalisation of more than $700 million.
The company is working on a move to the main board of the London Stock Exchange, as well as a listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.