Legends of Mining Part 1: Where are Australia’s greatest mine finders now?
Link copied to
Successful explorers typically have quality leadership teams.
These proven mine finders and builders – the kind that make shareholders a lot of money – are hard to come by.
Here are three mining legends who moved on from prior successes and are batting for another company-making home run.
In 2012, micro-cap explorer Sirius Resources was completely skint when it found the globally significant Nova deposit in the Fraser Range of WA.
It sent an otherwise dour market into a frenzy.
Within two months the Sirius share price was up 4,000 per cent from 5c to over $2.50.
And when it was finally acquired by major miner Independence Group (ASX:IGO) in 2015, the former penny stock was valued at $4.38 per share, or $1.8 billion.
But this wasn’t the first big find for Sirus boss Mark Bennett.
Bennett had already discovered the Thunderbox gold mine in 1999 – WA’s best discovery in decade — and the nearby Waterloo nickel mine in 2002.
Bennett now helms cashed-up gold and base metals-focused Sirius spinout S2 Resources (ASX:S2R), which has projects in Finland and the Fraser Range of WA.
He is also on the board of Todd River Resources (ASX:TRT) — alongside former Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) boss Ian Murray — which is hunting for nickel, copper and PGEs near Chalice’s massive Julimar discovery in WA.
Both these guys have experience turning struggling small cap explorers into +$1bn success stories.
That’s rarefied air.
High profile mining personality Norman Seckold has managed miners and explorers for about three decades.
In 2007, his ASX-listed explorer Bolnisi Gold was taken over by major US silver producer Coeur d’Alene Mines for $1.3 billon.
It was a deal that made Bolnisi one of the great success stories of the junior end of the ASX market.
More recently Seckold helped complete the $200m float of Nickel Mines (ASX:NIC), which is now worth ~$2.3 billion after two years on the bourse.
A +1,000 per cent gain.
Seckold is also currently chairman of Alpha HPA (ASX:A4N), a high purity alumina stock quietly preparing for the next boom, Santana Minerals (ASX:SMI), a NZ-focused gold explorer, and Sky Metals (ASX:SKY).
In February, Sky hit a massive 93m grading 4.24 grams per tonne (g/t) gold in maiden drilling at the Hume prospect, part of its Cullarin project in NSW.
That discovery — still in its early stages — has already created a decent amount of value for shareholders.
WA mining stalwart Terry Streeter knows — from experience — that a major discovery can change an explorer’s fortunes in a very short amount of time.
Streeter has already helped develop two junior nickel explorers into mid-tier success stories.
Jubilee Mines, worth about $20m when it discovered the Cosmos nickel deposit in WA, was eventually sold for over $3bn in 2007.
Similarly, Western Areas (ASX:WSA), which floated with a market cap of $5m in 2000, is now an established WA nickel producer with a market cap of ~$630m.