IPO Watch: ex-Gold Road exec Ian Murray heads up new copper explorer Virgo Resources
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ASX aspirant Virgo Resources (ASX:VIR) is hunting copper-gold in mining friendly Namibia and Botswana, steered by proven mine finders/developers Ian Murray and Dr Quinton Hills.
An IPO to raise up to $5.5m at 20c per share is scheduled to close December 4, with ASX listing planned for December 20. Assuming the $5.5m is raised, Virgo will have just 52.48m shares on issue for a market cap of around $10.5m on listing.
Virgo’s successful, battle-hardened board is a big advantage.
For the past 12 years, non-exec chairman Ian Murray was executive chairman, then managing director and chief exec of ASX-listed success story Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR). Over this time Gold Road’s market cap grew from ~$5m to over $1b.
And then there’s managing director Dr Quinton Hills, who was responsible for the discovery of a ~100 million tonne copper resource at the Boseto project in Botswana.
“I was part of the team at [now defunct] Discovery Metals that made the discovery and did the early studies,” Hills told Stockhead.
“The company went from about a $10m market cap to about a $100m market cap [during this period].”
The Virgo project portfolio reminds him of his early days at Discovery, “when it was just like ‘wow — we could really find some significant resources here’”.
“It’s wide open. [Discovery Metals] was a great success in the early part of my career, and I would love to replicate that here.”
Virgo’s flagship is the Hope copper gold project in Namibia, which comes with a 10.2-million-tonne JORC 2012 resource grading 1.9 per cent copper and 0.3 grams per tonne (g/t) gold. That equals about 193,000 of copper plus 103,000oz of gold (and possible silver credits).
But that’s just the beginning, Hills says. For starters, a lot of the historic drilling wasn’t assayed for gold.
“All the other resources that have been mined further north grade between 0.8-1 gram per tonne gold,” he says.
“So, the gold grade, I think, has been significantly underreported at Hope.”
Virgo has a three-pronged exploration strategy.
One, drill to increase confidence in the resources they already have.
Two, all the mineralised bodies are ‘open’ down plunge, so the explorer will look to grow the resource base with further drilling.
And three, complete an electromagnetic (EM) survey over the project area to find something completely new. This has never been done, says Hills.
“No one has done the simple, modern electromagnetic survey; something you would do on a VMS project anywhere else in the world,” he says.
“That’s the opportunities I really look for — when people haven’t done the simple things.”
There’s so much upside here, Hills says. Previous explorers have just drilled mineralised outcrops due to the widespread sand cover.
“They’ve gone ‘oh here’s green oxide copper — drill here’ and not done a huge amount of regional work.”
Virgo also has 15,035sqkm on the Kalahari Copper Belt in western Botswana. This is a great spot, host to major development projects including Cupric Canyon’s Zone 5 and Zone 5 North and Sandfire Resources’ (ASX:SFR) T3 copper deposits.
And a recent discovery right next door just makes things more interesting.
“A company called Kalahari Metals had just drilled 24m of sulphides; the assays are pending so we don’t know how good they are yet,” Hills says.
“[But] that proves that our interpretation of where that copper horizon is, and where it runs onto our tenements, is correct.”