Canadian billionaire investor and gold bull Eric Sprott says the Pilbara conglomerate gold story could provide a huge economic boost for WA.
Talking from Melbourne yesterday, where he is a keynote speaker at the Precious Metals Investment Symposium, the 73-year-old chairman of Kirkland Lake Gold confirmed to WestBusiness that he was a believer in the story, which he described as already being 90 per cent proved.
The discovery of watermelon seed-shaped nuggets, talk of conglomerate-hosted gold and comparisons with the massive Witwatersrand gold basin in South Africa has sent the share prices of several Australian Securities Exchange-listed Pilbara explorers soaring recently.
But it is the Sprott-backed, Toronto-listed Novo Resources which has led the charge by securing vast tracts of land in the Pilbara (12,000sqkm) and striking a joint venture with the ASX-listed, David Lenigas-chaired Artemis Resources over the Purdy’s Reward prospect south of Karratha.
Novo’s shares have soared from C82¢ at the beginning of July to a high of $C8.55 earlier this month, giving it a market capitalisation of more than $C1.2 billion.
Artemis shares have surged from 8¢ to more than 50¢ over the same period, giving it a value of more than $250 million.
Having visited the Pilbara recently and used a metal detector to find nuggets, Mr Sprott said he believed the region could host a gold resource of the same scale as Witwatersrand, from which more than a third of the world’s gold has been mined.
“We know conglomerate rock exists over a wide area of the Pilbara and we’ve discovered gold nuggets unlike any other nuggets in the world,” he said.
“We now need drilling and assays to test the grade and thickness of the mineralisation.
“It’s not yet conclusive but it’s looking good.”
The former Merrill Lynch analyst said large-scale gold mining in the Pilbara would be a big economic boon for WA.
“It would create huge opportunities. Wouldn’t we all want this type of thing in our backyard,” he said.
Besides Novo, Mr Sprott also recently made $5 million investments in Pilbara explorers De Grey Mining and Kairos Minerals, but signalled it was unlikely he would make further plays.
“I think the time for a steal is finished, unless there are other data points that emerge,” he said. He also conceded that he stood to “lose a lot of money” if drilling failed to reveal economic gold mineralisation in the Pilbara.
Mr Sprott’s comments came as Kairos enjoyed a 20 per cent share price rise yesterday after announcing it had identified prospective conglomerates at its Croydon project south-west of Port Hedland as well as discovering visible gold from panning.
Meanwhile, shares in West Wits Mining jumped 16 per cent after it said it was close to finalising the acquisition of the 224sqkm Mt Cecelia project in the East Pilbara, which it believes is prospective for conglomerate-hosted gold.
- Source, The West