• Mark Creasy is set to net over $200 million from his stake in Azure Minerals if a takeover deal goes ahead
  • The one prospector to rule them all has had a number of high profile successes across a 60-year career in Aussie mining
  • As he turns 80 later this year, we check in on how Creasy’s portfolio is going and who may be his next winner



When we last checked in with Mark Creasy and his myriad mining investments, the ‘Prospector Laureate’ of WA who’s curiosity led him to some of the biggest discoveries of the past three decades was riding high around a frothy response to platinum group metals hits by his explorer Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL).

READ: Lessons from the Masters: Where is super prospector Mark Creasy looking for his next payday after Galileo’s big hit?

But the canny fossicker, one of WA’s largest tenement holders and most adventurous explorers, has a way of switching up the narrative.

Within a year it would be his holding in Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) that would move the Nostradamic figure up the ranks of Australian rich listers.

Azure uncovered what could be one of the largest pegmatites in the famous Pilbara lithium district in thick drill hits at the Andover project.

Previously a nickel project of moderate scale, Andover is yet to post a resource but drew a $1.7 billion takeover offer from Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting and Chile’s SQM.

Held up by a slow approval Foreign Investment Review Board — probably due to added scrutiny applied to the 23% stake China’s Tianqi Lithium holds in SQM — should the deal clear that final hurdle Creasy’s 12.8% stake will net almost $220 million in cash.

Even more importantly, it values the 40% stake Creasy privately holds in the project at $1.1b, more than the value of his entire publicly known share portfolio two years ago.


“Starved for years”

According to a profile by the Australian Miners and Prospectors Hall of Fame which quotes a 1995 interview with the Australian Business Magazine — the man is described by colleagues as private and rarely provides interviews — Creasy arrived in Broken Hill from London as a young mining engineer in 1964.

Reportedly charmed by the Klondike Gold Rush adventure novels of Jack London, he broke off into opal prospecting before arriving in WA in 1972.

His first big wins included the discovery of gold nuggets during a downturn which fetched a fraction of what they would today.

Creasy told the ABM he “starved for years” and called terms like Gold Fever “bullshit”.

But what the nugget finds did do was enable Creasy to peg vast swathes of ground in the then unheralded Yandal greenstone belt between Leinster and Wiluna in 1978 and tenements in the Fraser Range, where legend says the space enthusiast went out scouring for pieces of junk from the SkyLab satellite explosion over Esperance in 1979.

Those acquisitions laid the foundation for the mineral hunter, who put rock specimens on same pedestal as the artworks of Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh, to make his first billion.

Though it took decades to realise, Creasy was eventually rewarded first with the sale of his interests in the Jundee and Bronzewing discoveries to Joe Gutnick’s Great Central Mines for upwards of $120 million and then when Sirius Resources made the Nova nickel discovery in 2012 on it last drill hole before running out of cash.

Sirius was sold to IGO (ASX:IGO) in a $1.8b deal and remains the last truly significant nickel discovery made in WA.

And until Azure and the lithium boom came knocking, Creasy’s 8.9% stake in IGO was his largest source of wealth.

It was worth well over $1b when IGO shares hit an all time high of $16.12 in July last year, but the stake is now valued at around $480m.


How does he do it?

Many onlookers have pointed to Creasy’s first mover status in a number of frontier and underexplored territories which would now be looked at as Tier-1 destinations.

Yandal was little drilled in the 1960s and 1970s as gold prices proved uneconomic and explorers set their sights on other commodities like nickel and uranium.

But it forms a core part of the soon to be 2Mozpa portfolio of $17b gold miner Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), with Bronzewing and Jundee key contributors to the 520-570,000oz expected to be produced this financial year in the district.

That’s not to say Creasy doesn’t have his losers.

Australian Potash (ASX:APC) (10% Creasy) went belly up after jettisoning its Lake Wells SoP project last year before relisting as a more traditional gold and critical minerals explorer in 2024.

A collapse in nickel prices sent Mallee Resources under earlier this year as well. The company had briefly tried to restart the Avebury nickel mine near Zeehan in Tasmania.

Yet by and large an investment from Creasy is a vote of confidence in a stock and has the potential to rerate an explorer on its own.

Yandal Investments Pty Ltd is the main Creasy Group company to look out for in substantial shareholder and Top 20 shareholder disclosures. ASIC filings show it reported a net profit of over $48m last year, up from around $11m in 2022.

But there are other company names which carry the Creasy brand: Be on the lookout for the names 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.

All up the total value of Creasy holdings identified by Stockhead and disclosed via Top 20 shareholder and substantial shareholder notices on the ASX came to $770.6m as of April 26.

That’s down from $1.05b in May 2022, when Creasy’s IGO investment was almost double its current value amid a lithium and nickel price boom.


Disclosed Mark Creasy shareholdings

Source: IRESS, ASX company announcements

ZAG ZULEIKA GOLD 313034895 43% $0.02 $6,260,697.90
CZR CZR RESOURCES 123529413 53% $0.26 $32,117,647.38
APC AUSTRALIAN POTASH 102282056 10% $0.004 $409,128.22
IGO IGO LIMITED 67103153 9% $7.11 $477,103,417.83
AZS AZURE MINERALS 58883978 13% $3.40 $200,205,525.20
HLX HELIX RESOURCES 51437609 2% $0.003 $154,312.83
GSR GREENSTONE RESOURCES 45000000 3% $0.009 $405,000.00
S2R S2 RESOURCES 42482707 9% $0.12 $5,097,924.84
GAL GALILEO MINING 54140534 27% $0.29 $15,700,754.86
RTR RUMBLE RESOURCES 10000000 1% $0.068 $680,000.00
ICL ICENI GOLD 9000000 4% $0.027 $243,000.00
TAM TANAMI GOLD 8250001 1% $0.039 $321,750.04
PGD PEREGRINE GOLD 7768887 11% $0.22 $1,709,155.14
PGM PLATINA RESOURCES 7000000 1% $0.024 $168,000.00
TLG TALGA GROUP 5500000 1% $0.68 $3,740,000.00
ZNC ZENITH MINERALS 3588417 1% $0.095 $340,899.62
RHI RED HILL IRON 2200000 3% $6.65 $14,630,000.00
JLL JINDALEE LITHIUM 1000000 2% $0.60 $600,000.00
EME ENERGY METALS 511718 0.2% $0.098 $50,148.36
LEG LEGEND MINING 823153914 30% $0.013 $10,701,000.88
TOTAL $770,638,363.10
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Some Creasy investments to watch



This is intriguing since it is one of the few investments Creasy’s Yandal Investments has topped up in recent times.

The focus there is the Newman gold project, a 1000km2 slab of tenements just 70km from Capricorn Metals’ (ASX:CMM) Karlawinda gold project.

Karlawinda is notable for being among the most reliable mid-tier gold operations in WA in recent years despite the low grade nature of the resource.

PGD briefly stormed to prominence in August 2022 after finding visible gold in a quartz-ironstone breccia vein at its Peninsula prospect.

Costeans at its Birdsnest prospect were later pulled up grading a quite ridiculous 122,497g/t gold and 26,234g/t silver.


Samples like these don’t directly translate to bedrock discoveries, but they give off a spectacular whiff of smoke which suggests the fire is not far away.

Gold exploration in the Pilbara has become a serious game after the discovery in 2020 of De Grey’s (ASX:DEG) 10Moz+ Hemi, though no one has made a big follow up yet.

But Peregrine has made headway on that, hitting bedrock gold mineralisation in RC drilling at its Tin Can prospect including 8.08m at 5.63g/t from surface, 9.85m at 5.43g/t from 3.65m and 6m at 11.54g/t from 9m among other shallow hits announced to the market in October last year.

Drilling is set to begin at Tin Can in early May with a field campaign delayed by wet weather due to kick off imminently.

Stream sediment sampling will also take place at tenements picked up from neighbours Fortescue (ASX:FMG) and DiscovEX (ASX:DCX).


Peregrine Gold (ASX:PGD) share price today



Floated from Creasy Group tenements held near Norseman and in the Fraser Range a few years ago, Galileo is still led by Creasy lieutenant Brad Underwood.

The explorer shot to prominence in 2022 on a ‘major palladium discovery’ at its Norseman project, historically a nickel and cobalt story adjacent to Greenstone Resources and Conico’s Mt Thirsty deposit.

Callisto now sits at 17.5Mt at 2.3g/t PdEq, though crummy palladium and platinum prices in recent times have dulled excitement, with ASX palladium darling Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) also feeling the heat.

A new RC drilling program at Norseman will pump 3000m into nickel and palladium targets between one and five klicks from Callisto to see what lies beyond.

Your entry point into Galileo today is, at the very least, far cheaper than it was after the Callisto discovery was initially made.

At 29c, GAL is up slightly in 2024, but well down on the $1.78 it hit at the height of the PGM fever in 2022.


Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL) share price today



Led by another resources veteran in Josh Pitt, Red Hill is up a tidy 33% YTD, valuing the tightly held explorer at around $425 million.

It’s done a bit of drilling around gold and base metal targets in the West Pilbara.

But the real reason this explorer is surging is because Mineral Resources is building its 35Mtpa Onslow Iron project.

RHI inked a $400 million deal to sell its share of the Red Hill Iron Ore JV to MinRes in 2021. The initial sale netted $200m on delivery, but the second $200m is due once first ore is on ship — expected in June this year. Given RHI previously distributed its winnings to shareholders another juicy dividend could be on the cards.

It will also net a handy 0.75% royalty on ore sold from the Kens Bore mine.


Red Hill Minerals (ASX:RHI) share price today



It is with great irony that Creasy’s largest listed investment outside of IGO and Azure is dabbling in the tried and tested field of iron ore, when his previously gold rich portfolio had pivoted strongly to battery metals in recent times (though not necessarily by design).

The big trigger for CZR is the proposed sale of its Robe Mesa iron ore deposit to a Chinese investor for $102 million in cash, announced at the start of 2024.

The sale was approved by shareholders back in February but is yet to clear all its conditions, notably FIRB and Chinese outbound investment approvals. But the $20m sale to a linked entity of Strike Resources’ (ASX:SRK) nearby Paulsens East project, which was meant to share port infrastructure in Ashburton with CZR, would suggest it is still being progressed.

Creasy’s stake in CZR is a controlling one, the largest he holds across any ASX-listed company in terms of his percentage holding.

The cash sale is around 60% higher than CZR’s current market cap and probably puts dividends on the table. CZR also holds gold and copper exploration projects in WA, though they are at a far earlier stage than the 33Mt Robe Mesa.


CZR Resources (ASX:CZR) share price today



Voted up by shareholders, a deal to sell Azure to the team of Gina Rinehart and SQM for $1.7b in cash (minus the shares Hancock Prospecting and the Chilean lithium giant already own) looks like a virtual formality.

The only water to pass under the bridge is Foreign Investment Review Board approval. Should that come, and Tianqi’s stake in SQM be of no concern to regulators, the Azure sale will be finalised and Creasy, along with other investors who piled in before the start of 2023, will be running to the bank to stash their newfound wealth.

Should something untoward happen it’s worth noting this will be a key asset in the next upwards lithium price move. It’s one of the world’s largest lithium pegmatites and there’s plenty of untapped potential given a resource is yet to be declared.

An exploration target of 100-240Mt at 1-1.5% Li2O puts Andover in a similar class to major lithium deposits like Liontown’s (ASX:LTR) Kathleen Valley, the early stage resources at Pilbara Minerals’ (ASX:PLS) Pilgangoora, Patriot Battery Metals’ (ASX:PMT) Corvette, Sigma Lithium’s Grota Do Cirilo and MinRes (ASX:MIN) and Albemarle’s Wodgina.

It would start off a higher initial base as well. For Creasy himself it’s worth noting the prospector would boast the largest individual stake in the deposit, with SQM and Rinehart no doubt desperate to consolidate.


Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) share price today



Creasy’s Yandal has a stake in Greenstone, which along with Conico owns the adjacent cobalt and nickel resource at Mt Thirsty next to Galileo’s Mission Sill prospect near Norseman.

But Greenstone’s main aim now is pursuing a merger that will combine its gold business with that of Ashok Parekh’s Horizon Minerals (ASX:HRZ).

The deal will create a gold explorer and developer with 1.8Moz at an average grade of 1.9g/t in JORC compliant resources between the historic Goldfields locales of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie.

It would make the combined company among the largest players in the district outside Australia’s largest pure-play gold miner Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), owner of the historic Super Pit.

Horizon and Greenstone are hopeful the 914,000oz at 1.7g/t contained in the Boorara (HRZ) and Burbanks (GSR) resources will underpin a profitable long-life operation, with gold prices currently around record highs.

The merger, expected to be completed in June, will pair the bulk, low grade Boorara baseload with higher grade, narrow-veined underground resources from the historic Burbanks mine.

At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Peregrine Gold, Greenstone Resources and Azure Minerals were Stockhead advertisers at the time of writing, they did not sponsor this article.