Deal or no deal: Exore blindsided by Ibaera takeover offer, Golden Deeps partner bails on JV
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West African explorer Exore Resources (ASX:ERX) says there were “no discussions” with Ibaera prior to the private company agreeing to buy 20 per cent in the Bagoe and Liberty gold projects from Exore’s joint venture partner.
Yesterday, Western Australia-focused gold explorer Apollo (ASX:AOP) agreed to sell its remaining interest in the Cote d’Ivoire JV for ~$7m to Perth-based Ibaera Capital Fund LP, which successfully launched a hostile takeover of Ghanaian gold explorer Azumah Resources (ASX:AZM) late last year.
Ibaera only invests in projects “that have already been technically and economically ‘discovered’ but remain ‘undervalued’ by an inefficient and lethargic market”, according to its website.
The sale hinges on majority project holder Exore not exercising its pre-emptive rights to match the offer.
“Prior to receiving the formal notice from Apollo of the Ibaera offer, Exore has had no discussions with Ibaera regarding an investment in the Bagoe and Liberty projects or Exore,” Exore said today.
“Exore, in conjunction with its advisers, will consider its position in respect to the pre-emptive right, which expires 4 June 2020, and make an ASX announcement at the appropriate time.”
In late 2018 Exore – then cashed up lithium shell Novo Litio – acquired an 80 per cent interest in the early stage projects from Apollo for about $4.05m in shares.
The sale of Apollo’s remaining 20 per cent to Ibaera for ~$7m would represent a +590 per cent premium to this original deal.
Exore released a maiden resource for the Bagoe project of 6.65mt grading 2.5g/t for 530,000 ounces on May 4 this year.
“The company believes this maiden mineral resource estimate is an important step towards its objective of defining a multi-million-ounce gold project in northern Cote d’Ivoire,” the company said.
“Exore considers this maiden mineral resource estimate as an interim resource with potential to define further shallow ounces from on-going step-out and exploration drilling at the Bagoe gold project.”
The ~31m market cap company still had about $13m cash in the bank at the end of the March quarter.
Golden Deeps (ASX:GED) is now assessing several Australian gold projects after Chinese company Generous Metals Company (GMC) exited a joint venture deal over the high-grade Abenab vanadium-lead-zinc project in Namibia.
GMC believes “the global spread of COVID-19 will continue to soften both demand for, and price of, vanadium worldwide in the short to medium term and has consequently advised the company it does not plan to proceed with the next stage of the joint venture agreement,” Golden Deeps says.
The stage two deal would have given GMC exclusive access to the “above ground” minerals at Abenab in return for sole funding the construction of a vanadium concentrator on site.
Golden Deeps, which says it will keep advancing Abenab, now has several Australian gold projects in its sights.
“The base metals markets have experienced significant volatility due to the global pandemic whilst gold has continued its strong performance, and consequently, Golden Deeps has been reviewing several Australian based gold projects,” Golden Deeps says.
“The company will advise as the review progresses.”