Investing

Brightstar Resources

Overview

The price of gold stays strong. In April 2024, the yellow metal’s price passed US$2,400 per ounce for the first time. The reason is multifaceted. The world teeters on the brink of a severe recession while some markets attribute the increase to safe haven rush. Amidst ballooning interest rates, bank failures and falling bond yields, demand for gold continues to rise. At this precise moment, gold is simultaneously an excellent portfolio diversifier and a compelling hedge against ongoing inflation — particularly if one invests in the right company.

Brightstar Resources (ASX:BTR) aims to be that company. An emerging mining and development company, Brightstar occupies a strategic land position of roughly 300 square kilometers in the Laverton Tectonic Belt and 80 square kilometers of the Menzies Shear Zone.

The company also owns an existing processing facility that can potentially provide tremendous shareholder value in a low-capital cost restart scenario.

That plant, once fully refurbished and operational, could prove a key differentiator for the company, enabling fast gold production at a low capital cost. This is especially noteworthy given that many other gold companies trading on the ASX are largely focused on greenfield exploration and development. Even once those companies discover a promising resource, mining and processing facilities would still need to be built, undertakings which can incur significant upfront capital costs and take several years.

Brightstar’s Laverton gold assets are all centered on a 100 percent-owned 300-square-kilometer tenure in the Laverton Tectonic Zone and all within 70 kilometers of the Laverton Processing Plant. Additionally, all resources within this zone are open along strike and at depth. Only minor drilling programs have been conducted in recent years, paving the way for significant exploration upside with the potential for further regional and greenfields discoveries.

Brightstar also owns 100 percent of the Menzies Gold Project, a contiguous land package of granted mining leases over a strike length of roughly 20 kilometers along the Menzies Shear Zone and adjacent to the Goldfields Highway.

In 2023 and 2024, the company announced a mineral resource upgrade to the Cork Tree Well deposit (Laverton gold project) and also delivered two maiden mineral resource estimates at the Link Zone and Aspacia deposits (Menzies gold project). This has grown the total group MRE by approximately 150 koz gold through organic exploration.

The company has also acquired a relevant interest in 96.75 percent shares and 96.81 percent optionshares and 96.81 percent option of Linden Gold Alliance, a gold producer, developer and explorer with existing mineral resources of 350 koz @ 2.1 g/t gold near Brightstar in the Laverton district. Brightstar’s MRE has reached 1.1 Moz gold across the Menzies and Laverton projects, with an additional 0.35 Moz gold in resources added after the successful acquisition of Linden Gold Alliance. Brightstar has commenced the compulsory acquisition process for the remaining Linden shares and options in respect of which it has not received acceptances under the agreemnt.

Company Highlights

  • Brightstar Resources is an ASX-listed mining and development company with more than one million ounces of gold resources and an on-site processing infrastructure.
  • Brightstar’s mineral assets are situated across roughly 300 square kilometers of 100-percent-owned land in the Laverton Tectonic Zone and ~80 square kilometers in the high-grade Menzies Shear Zone.
  • The Laverton Gold project has a mineral resource of 9.7 Mt @ 1.6g/t gold for 511 koz gold and the Menzies gold project has 13.8Mt @ 1.3g/t gold for 595 koz gold. This is a total combined existing mineral resource of 23 Mt @ 1.5 g/t gold for 1.1 Moz of gold
  • In 2023, the company completed a scoping study into the development of its Menzies and Laverton gold projects and the refurbishment and restart of its processing plant in Laverton.
  • Once refurbished, this infrastructure will allow Brightstar to fill a growing investment void for near-term gold developers in Western Australia, producing large quantities of gold at low capital cost.
  • In 2023 and 2024, Brightstar completed a small-scale mining joint venture with BML Ventures which involved a 50/50 profit-sharing agreement to exploit the Selkirk deposit at Menzies. In April 2024, Brightstar announced that this joint venture delivered a net profit to Brightstar of $6.5 million.
  • In June 2024, the company successfully acquired all of the issued ordinary shares and options in Linden Gold Alliance, a gold producer, developer and explorer with existing mineral resources of 350 koz @ 2.1 g/t gold near Brightstar in the Laverton district.
  • Linden is currently a gold producer, mining 15-20 koz pa from its high-grade underground Second Fortune Mine south of Laverton.
  • Brightstar’s total MRE across the Menzies and Laverton gold projects increased to 1.45 Moz gold after acquiring Linden. All of the mineral resources are located on granted mining licenses.
  • As part of the merger with Linden Gold, Brightstar released a scoping study into Linden’s development-ready Jasper Hills gold project, which delivered key metrics including:
    • 140 koz mined over 3.75 years (35 koz pa)
    • Net present value of AU$99 million
    • Internal rate of return of 736 percent
    • Pre-production capital requirements of $12 million
    • All-in sustaining costs of AU$1,972/oz
  • Jasper Hills is located just 50 km SE of Brightstar’s processing plant in the Laverton gold project
  • Brightstar plans to continue generating shareholder value through a combination of development and strategic acquisitions along with some exploration.

Key Projects

Brightstar Processing Facility

Situated close to Brightstar’s existing mineral assets at Laverton, the Brightstar Processing Plant provides the company with a considerable operational head start over its peers.

Highlights:

  • Extensive Infrastructure: Current facilities at the plant include two ball mills, a power station and gravity and elution circuits. Other infrastructure includes:
    • A tailings storage dam
    • An on-site process water pond
    • An operational 60-person accommodation camp
    • An airstrip at the nearby Cork Tree Well Project
    • Vehicles and equipment include a forklift, bobcat, two loaders, multiple light vehicles and a 30-tonne crane.
  • A Leg Up Over Competitors: The presence of pre-existing processing infrastructure represents significant time savings compared to greenfields development. Brightstar had an independent valuation completed which valued the processing plant at AU$60 million in replacement value.
  • Low Upfront Capital Cost: As part of the scoping study released in September 2023, GR Engineering estimated a capital cost requirement to refurbish and expand the milling capacity would cost just AU$18.5 million.
  • Close to Existing Assets: Brightstar’s major development projects — Cork Tree Well, Jasper Hills, Beta and Alpha — are all close to the plant.

Gold doré bars (BTR005 – BTR016) poured on 9 March 2024

Cork Tree Well

Cork Tree Well is a formerly operating mine, producing 45 koz of gold over its lifespan. Located roughly 35 kilometers north of Laverton on Bandya Station Road, the project’s JORC 2012-compliant mineral resource of 6.4 Mt at 1.4 g/t for 303 koz of gold.

Highlights:

  • Promising Drilling Results: Two 6,000-meter drill programs were completed in late 2022, and in the first quarter of 2023 delivered an uplift in tonnages and ounces at a discovery cost of AU$30 per ounce. In 2023 the JORC 2012 Mineral Resource Estimate increased by 20 percent to 303 koz, representing a 65-percent increase to the indicated ounces to 157 koz @ 1.6 g/t gold.

Second Fortune Gold Mine

Second Fortune is an operating underground gold mine owned and run by Linden Gold, which is the subject of an off-market takeover by Brightstar announced in March 2024. Second Fortune has produced +14,000oz gold in FY24 year to date and is run under an ‘owner operator’ model.

Second Fortune has a high-grade MRE of 165kt @ 10.9 g/t gold for 58 koz. Limited modern and systematic exploration has occurred across the ~20km of strike length of prospective geology at Second Fortune. This presents a superb opportunity to leverage existing team, camp & related infrastructure to rapidly assess targets and conduct efficient drilling programs to further grow the MRE and extend the mine life at Second Fortune.

Menzies Gold Project

Situated 130 kilometers north of the globally significant Kalgoorlie gold deposit, Menzies represents one of Western Australia’s leading historic gold fields. The project, fully owned and operated by Kingwest before its merger with Brightstar, consists of a contiguous land package of a strike length above 20 kilometers. All deposits are now 100 percent owned by Brightstar and lie within granted mining leases.

Brightstar intends to leverage existing processing infrastructure in the district to monetise the high-grade open pit ounces produced by this mine.

Highlights:

  • Significant Historical Production: Menzies has hosted multiple historically mined high-grade gold deposits which together produced a total of over 800,000 ounces at 19 g/t gold. This includes 643,000 oz @ 22.5 g/t gold from underground.
  • Area Geology: The Menzies Gold Project is hosted along the Menzies Shear Zone in the western margin of the Menzies greenstone belt. It displays a geologic setting similar to the Sand Queen Gold Mine at Comet Vale.

LAVERTON GOLD PROJECT – OTHER RESOURCES

Beta

Located immediately adjacent to the Brightstar Plant, the Beta Project includes a 60-person camp. It contains a combined JORC 2012-compliant mineral resource of 1,882 kt at 1.7 g/t for 102 koz of gold. The deposit occurs along the Eastern Margin of the Laverton Tectonic Zone, notable for hosting multiple major gold occurrences including Granny Smith, Keringal, Red October and Sunrise Dam.

Alpha

Hosting a combined JORC 2012-compliant mineral resource of 1,452 gold at 2.3 g/t for 106 koz, the Alpha Project. Future exploration programs and feasibility studies will seek to potentially capitalize on Alpha’s close proximity to Beta.

Management Team – Post Completion of Linden Merger

Alex Rovira – Managing Director

Alex Rovira is a qualified geologist and an experienced investment banker having focused on the metals and mining sector since 2013. Rovira has experience in ASX equity capital markets activities, including capital raisings, IPOs and merger and acquisitions.

Richard Crookes – Non-executive Chairman

Richard Crookes has over 35 years’ experience in the resources and investments industries. He is a geologist by training having previously worked as the chief geologist and mining manager of Ernest Henry Mining in Australia.

Crookes is managing partner of Lionhead Resources, a critical minerals investment fund and formerly an investment director at EMR Capital. Prior to that he was an executive director in Macquarie Bank’s Metals Energy Capital (MEC) division where he managed all aspects of the bank’s principal investments in mining and metals companies.

Andrew Rich – Executive Director

Andrew Rich is a degree qualified mining engineer from the WA School of Mines and has obtained a WA First Class Mine Managers Certificate. Rich has a strong background in underground gold mining with experience predominantly in the development of underground mines at Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) and Westgold Resources (ASX:WGX).

Ashley Fraser – Non-executive Director

Ashley Fraser is an accomplished mining professional with over 30 years experience across gold and bulk commodities. Fraser was a founder of Orionstone (which merged with Emeco in a $660-million consolidation) and is a founder/owner of Blue Cap Mining and Blue Cap Equities.

Jonathan Downes – Non-executive Director

Jonathan Downes has over 30 years’ experience in the minerals industry and has worked in various geological and corporate capacities. Experienced with gold and base metals, he has been intimately involved with the exploration process through to production. Downes is currently the managing director of Kaiser Reef, a high grade gold producer, and non-executive director of Cazaly Resources.

Dean Vallve – Chief Operating Officer

Dean Vallve holds technical qualifications in geology & mining engineering from the WA School of Mines, an MBA, and a WA First Class Mine Managers Certificate. Vallve was previously in senior mining and study roles at ASX listed mid-cap resources companies Hot Chili (ASX: HCH) and Calidus Resources (ASX: CAI).

This post appeared first on investingnews.com

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