Lessons from the Masters: Where is super prospector Mark Creasy looking for his next payday after Galileo’s big hit?
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Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL) is on a tear after making what could be WA’s second substantial and surprising platinum group elements discovery in a little over two years.
The strike of 33m at 2g/t palladium, platinum and gold with rich notes of nickel and copper at what had been known as the Norseman cobalt and nickel project sent the company’s drifting shares soaring 200% in one day last week.
Once a massive gap in the mining State’s dominance of the global resources industry, WA now promises to become one of the few PGE provinces to challenge the dominant South African and Russian suppliers following the Julimar find by Chalice Mining a couple years earlier.
But excitement was also generated by the fact Galileo is one of the many listed vehicles of legendary prospector Mark Creasy, WA’s man with the Midas touch.
Renowned for his role in the discoveries of the Bronzewing and Jundee gold mines and the Nova nickel mine, the billionaire prospector is a name market watchers follow closely.
And when news emerges that he wants to buy into a stock, investors tend to flock.
Already Galileo’s top shareholder after folding projects owned by his private Creasy Group at Norseman and the Fraser Range into the 2018 float, Creasy sent its shares soaring even further to a record 86c after buying 3 million on market in the wake of the ‘Callisto’ discovery.
A self-fulfilling prophecy if ever there was one, Creasy’s purchase at 58c was already in the money within minutes of the trade being revealed.
Creasy’s 26% stake in Galileo was valued at a cool $38.6 million as of Monday’s close, making it his third biggest investment on publicly available data.
Want to catch a Creasy wave?
According to top 20 shareholder and substantial shareholder notices compiled by Stockhead Creasy is sitting on a share portfolio worth at least $1.05 billion.
That probably masks Creasy’s true wealth, ignoring material assets like property, cash from dividends and mine sales and companies in which the prospector is not a top 20 shareholder.
(At one point Creasy held ~3m shares in Evolution Mining and picked up a big Northern Star Resources stake in 2014 as a condition of waving his pre-emptive right to buy Newmont’s 300,000ozpa Jundee gold mine.)
Creasy also boasts equity stakes in projects like his South African Wits Basin gold explorer White Rivers Exploration and his 40% share of Azure Minerals’ Andover nickel-copper project.
Not all of Creasy’s stocks have been winners. A gold bug famed for his love of the sparse Aussie outback, Creasy tends to favour junior explorers with a high risk to reward ratio, many of whom the uber-prospector has done business with over access to his extensive and prospective tenement holdings.
Some, like collapsed former gold producer Millennium Minerals, have gone to the dogs.
But when his picks hit, the 77-year-old Creasy tends to go big.
Creasy’s portfolio is dominated by his 9.6%, 80.5 million share stake in battery minerals miner IGO (ASX:IGO), which tallies over $858 million in paper bucks.
Source: IRESS, ASX company announcements
It is a business success at least partly attributable to Creasy’s own sense of curiosity and wonderment, if legends are to be believed.
A space enthusiast, Creasy reputedly identified the potential of the remote Fraser Range in WA’s east to host nickel and copper sulphides after heading that way in search of wreckage from the Skylab satellite, which famously crash-landed over farmland around the small coastal community of Esperance in 1979.
While the sleepy town — best described as a tourist town that thumbs its nose at outsiders by closing on Sundays — has dined out on the story since, Creasy has dined out on the land he pegged in the aftermath.
He picked up a dominant land position in the Fraser Range, part of which he JV’d with Sirius Resources, an explorer run by Dr Mark Bennett, a geo renowned for the discovery of the crudely named Thunderbox mine for LionOre.
Sirius made the Nova discovery 180km southeast of Kalgoorlie on the last hole of a deep drilling program on the eve of the Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in 2012, making them the talk of the town at the iconic talkfest.
It propelled Creasy, Sirius’ major shareholder, back into the mainstream spotlight for the first time since he entered the record books by selling Bronzewing and Jundee to Diamond Joe Gutnick’s Great Central Mines for ~$130 million in the mid-90s, the biggest haul negotiated by a prospector.
Sirius was later sold to IGO in a $1.8 billion cash and scrip deal which valued the explorer at $4.38 a share, an eye-catching 7200% up on the 6c share price before the discovery was made.
The big man picked up around $5 million in cash when IGO mopped up neighbouring explorer Windward Resources in 2016, 27.44% owned by Creasy, and has major stakes in fellow Fraser Range explorers Legend and Galileo.
Want to know if Creasy has muscled in on your stock?
Typically companies will reveal if a major investor like Creasy has taken an interest, given the bump influencers like the septuagenarian prospector tend to give the share price.
The big name to look out for is Yandal Investments Pty Ltd, the investment vehicle through which Creasy tends to hold his ASX stocks.
The name is a nod to the rich multi-million ounce Yandal gold belt where his career-making Jundee and Bronzewing discoveries were found.
Also be on the lookout in substantial shareholder notices and top 20 shareholder lists for Mark Gareth Creasy, Creasy Group, Australian Gold Resources (the firm through which most of Creasy’s Galileo holding is carried) and Dunstan Holdings.
Other private companies linked to Creasy include Lake Rivers Gold Pty Ltd and Ponton Minerals Pty Ltd.
Outside of his three biggest publicly disclosed holdings IGO, Legend and Galileo — all exploring for nickel and copper on the Fraser Range — Creasy has a diverse range of interests in uranium, oil and gas, potash, gold, iron ore and more.
Here are five other junior stocks recently attracting some attention from the Creasy stable.
Creasy holding: 16.85%
Market Cap: $80.79 million
Azure Minerals owns the Andover nickel-copper sulphide project in WA’s Pilbara region in a 60-40 JV with the Creasy Group.
The firm has spent much of the past 18 months sinking its money into the ground there, dovetailing with rising prices for the key battery metals.
In March AZS delivered a maiden resource of 4.6Mt at 1.11% nickel, 0.47% copper and 0.05% cobelt (1.41% NiEq) for 75,000 tonnes of contained metal.
Creasy holding: 55.28%
Market Cap: $58.57 million
Up 100% over the month of April, under the radar Australian junior CZR is looking to unlock an iron ore payday with the ‘Robe Mesa’ DSO mine immediately north of Rio Tinto’s Mesa F deposit in the Pilbara.
The company is looking to ramp up its proposed production rate from 2Mtpa of hematite DSO to 3Mtpa in an upcoming DFS after a host of new drilling results identified mineralisation outside its PFS mine plan.
A new resource is due in the June quarter, with diamond and extensional RC drilling also planned.
Effectively under Creasy’s control given his majority stake, its proximity to Rio’s rich iron ore infrastructure may be the way Creasy et. al. extract value from this one through a long rumoured sale to the iron ore giant.
Creasy holding: 1.61%
Market Cap: $198.54 million
Backed by Canadian resources giant Teck, Rumble has interests in Creasy’s favourite Fraser Range province but has most recently attracted investor interest for a new zinc discovery north of Wiluna in WA’s Earaheedy basin.
Creasy has similar stakes in both Rumble and Zenith Minerals (ASX:ZNC), who respectively own 75% and 25% of the Chinook discovery, where Rumble last year made a discovery hit of 34m at 4.22% Zn + Pb from 66m.
Rumble shares have fallen 50.77% over the past 12 months after an initial surge when the discovery was announced last April.
Creasy holding: 9.6%
Market Cap: $20.29 million
Creasy’s Yandal scooped up a 9.6% stake in gold-lithium explorer PGD for $2.25m back in Feb.
He subscribed for 4.5m shares at 50c each, plus 1.8m options exercisable at 75c each before 2025.
Talking about Creasy’s status as a self-fulfilling prophecy, his announcement as a major shareholder propelled the stock from 57c to 67c the day it was announced, but not quite enough to get those options in the money straight away.
Some folk seem to have Peregrine on their mind ATM. It unexplainably shot up more than 23% yesterday to 55c after drifting for a few ordinary newsless weeks.
Cashed-up PGD had $4.97m in the bank as of March 31 to accelerate exploration on its portfolio of gold and lithium projects, which has rapidly expanded since listing in March 2021.
Upcoming exploration includes the drilling of four gold targets mid-year at the Pilbara gold project, which is right next door to Capricorn Metals’ (ASX:CMM) Karlawinda gold mine.
Field activities on PGD’s new lithium project adjacent to Pilbara Minerals’ (ASX:PLS) Pilgangoora operations, will also “commence as soon as possible”.
Creasy holding: 19.26%
Market Cap: $15.58 million
One of Creasy’s most recent purchases, the former Dampier Gold exploded in January thanks to a $3m private placement with Yandal.
ZAG said at the time proceeds from the private placement would be used to underpin the company’s ongoing drilling programs across multiple exploration targets at its Kalgoorlie projects.