ASX-listed nickel explorer, Auroch Minerals has lauded the continued support of “cornerstone investors” who were predominantly behind a large tranche of option conversions that contributed approximately $1.3 million to its working capital. Conversion of the options well ahead of their expiry by the long-term shareholders is an unexpected shot in the arm for the company as it seeks to develop its portfolio of high-grade nickel sulphide projects in WA.
Auroch’s share price has been on a tear over the past 12 months or so, climbing from about two-and-a-half cents to 24.5 cents at the close of trading today. With lots of options now in the money, punters are enjoying something of a financial bonanza by converting them to shares at will, swelling the company’s bank account in the process.
Perth-based Auroch says that many of its cornerstone sophisticated investors originally came in at the IPO stage and are currently top 20 shareholders in the company.
We are very pleased by the strong show of support from such a core group of our shareholders, which is a great endorsement to the company itself and to its portfolio of high-grade, high-potential nickel sulphide assets in WA.
This inflow of capital combined with our existing cash balance (of $3.2 million as at December 31, 2020) puts Auroch in a great position to carry out the aggressive exploration programs scheduled for 2021 as well as develop and build upon the high-grade resources at all three of our nickel sulphide projects as we move towards scoping studies and possible development.
Last month Auroch kicked off a maiden RC drilling campaign at its recently acquired historic Nepean nickel project 25 kilometres south of Coolgardie that is operated by the company under an 80:20 joint venture.
Nepean takes in the old high-grade Nepean underground nickel sulphide mine, which produced 32,202 tonnes of nickel between 1970 and 1987 from 1.1 million tonnes of ore that averaged an impressive recovered grade of 2.99 per cent nickel.
Nickel mineralisation was discovered at Nepean more than half a century ago by Metals Exploration, who trucked the rich ore to Western Mining’s nearby Kambalda concentrator for processing.
The project takes in a remnant JORC 2004 compliant inferred resource ascribed to it of 591,300 tonnes of ore going an average grade of 2.2 per cent nickel for 13,250 tonnes of contained nickel.
Auroch says its RC drill program, comprising approximately 30 holes for an aggregate of about 3,500 metres, will vector in on untested prospective aeromagnetic targets to the north and south of the former mine.
According to the company, the exploration targets extend for more than 10km along strike and each one has the potential to host significant massive nickel sulphide mineralisation.
Auroch’s maiden round of drilling at Nepean is designed to intersect the ultramafic-basalt contact, delineate channel geometry and detect the presence of any nickel sulphides.
It also plans to sink an initial eight drill holes – as part of the total 3,500m program – into testing shallow near-mine mineralisation approximately 200m south of the historic mining operation.
The company is looking to define the extents of the mineralisation identified by historic high-grade intercepts.
Notable relatively shallow intersections from drilling in 2008 include 3m grading an eye-catching 11.78 per cent nickel from 37m, 3m at 9.93 per cent nickel from 49m, 4m at 6.63 per cent nickel from 46m, and 6m at 2.82 per cent nickel from 53m.
Auroch anticipates further tranches of option conversions prior to their expiry in November this year that it says will remove any medium-term cash risk and provide the company with sufficient funding for planned exploration and resource drilling.
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