CAPITAL MARKETS

Cassini surges on BHP buy

SHARES in Mike Young-chaired Cassini Resources more than quadrupled this morning after acquiring BHP Billiton's world-class Nebo-Babel nickel deposit in the Musgrave region of Western Australia.

Kristie Batten
Cassini surges on BHP buy

The company’s shares jumped 444% to a high of A26c.

Speaking to MiningNews.net this morning, Cassini managing director Richard Bevan was obviously pleased with the reaction to what he described as a company-making transaction.

“We’ve been working on the deal for a while and we thought it was a great deal – it’s nice that the market thinks that as well,” he said.

The company entered into an agreement with BHP to acquire 100% of its West Musgrave project, comprising the Nebo-Babel nickel-copper sulphide deposit and Succoth copper prospect.

Nebo-Babel was discovered by Western Mining Corporation in 2000, prior to its 2005 takeover by BHP, with the discovery hole returning 26.5m at 2.45% nickel, 1.78% copper and 0.74 grams per tonne platinum group elements plus gold.

Since then, BHP has defined an inferred resource of 446 million tonnes at 0.33% nickel and 0.35% copper for 1.47Mt contained nickel and 1.56Mt copper, using a 0.2% nickel cut-off.

“We’ve really fast-tracked ourselves into a position where there’s a resource there and there’s really a lot to work with,” Bevan told MNN.

“It’s derisked a lot of that – it’s better than drilling a discovery hole yourself in many ways.

“It allows us now to really move on into that final resource definition phase and really look to develop these assets as quick as we can.”

Cassini will pay just $250,000 up-front for the asset, with $10 million in cash, as well as a net smelter royalty of 2%, due when the project begins production.

Bevan said the company’s experience in the region – its main project is 120km away – made it the preferable buyer to BHP.

“The back-end payment showed that really they’re backing us to develop the asset and get it into production,” he said.

Cassini had about $500,000 in the bank at the end of 2013.

“We can settle the transaction okay, but at some point we’ll need to raise some capital to fund the development,” Bevan said.

“The intention was really to get the transaction out there and see how the market reacted to that and then we’ll assess our options going forward.”

Cassini’s plan is to drill out the deposit and focus on a lower tonnage, higher-grade resource.

“[BHP] were out there looking for a giant resource so a lot of their drill spacings are quite broad and while they’ve identified this mineralisation, there’s an opportunity for us to go in and do reasonably straightforward technical work and do an infill and extension RC and diamond program to really firm up the high-grade resource,” Bevan said.

The company will also work on defining a resource at Succoth.

As part of the transaction, Dr Jon Hronsky will join Cassini’s board.

“He led Western Mining’s global geoscience division so they actually targeted and did the initial discovery, so he’s a very well regarded technical geologist,” Bevan said.

He added that it was unusual for such a small company to have such expertise on its board.

“We’ve got Mike Young, who’s really had a recent exploration to production experience with BC Iron,” he said.

In a statement, Young said he hoped to repeat his success at BC at Cassini.

Shares in Cassini were trading 433% higher at 24c, with almost 17 million shares traded.

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