IRIS Metals launches $7m IPO to join Western Australia’s gold rush

Iris Metals IPO ASX gold
Under the IPO, IRIS Metals will issue up to 35 million shares at $0.20 each.

IRIS Metals is set to become the latest Kookynie entrant to join the ASX boards, with its sights set on following the recent exploration successes other companies have had in the Kookynie mining camp.

The company’s portfolio includes tenements in Kookynie, and a strategic package in the tier one Leonora mining district.

IRIS’ initial public offering will see the issue of between 30 million and 35 million shares at $0.20 each, to raise between $6 million and $7 million.

The offer opens on 2 August and is scheduled to close on 23 August, with IRIS to trade under the ticker ‘IR1’.

This comes at a time when the Australian dollar gold price is near record levels, holding well above A$2,400 per ounce and offering gold producers in the country comfortable margins.

IRIS chairman Simon Lill said it is important to note that all the directors are invested in the company, “thereby ensuring full alignment with the interests of shareholders.”

“The capital table of IRIS has been tightly structured and is highly leveraged to exploration success,” he added.

Mr Lill is also non-executive chairman of De Grey Mining (ASX: DEG), which is renowned for its 6.8 million ounce Hemi gold discovery in WA’s Pilbara.

Historic Kookynie field producing bonanza hits

IRIS is among the growing number of explorers aiming to bring back to life Australia’s historic fields where gold was left unmined and is now being discovered through modern exploration technology.

Kookynie is a relatively small mining camp and IRIS succeeded in consolidating a relatively large 35.5sq km tenement package in this historically high-grade jurisdiction.

The mining camp first produced gold in the 1890s and has a recorded output of about 600,000oz of gold at 15g/t.

IRIS says it is using 21st century technology and modern techniques to explore for what the “old timers” may have left behind due to a thin layer of transported cover across most of the Kookynie district.

Two other explorers in the district recently announced high-grade hits within seven days of each other.

On 8 July, the Metalicity Ltd (ASX: MCT) and Nex Metals Explorations (ASX: NME) joint venture reported bonanza assays from reverse circulation drilling of 5m at 25.9 grams per tonne gold from 28m, including 3m at 41.5g/t gold and 1m at 91.2g/t gold; 6m at 20.6g/t gold from 19m; and 1m at 52.8g/t gold from 89m.

A week later, on 15 July, Carnavale Resources (ASX: CAV) released bonanza grades from aircore drilling at its Kookynie project, with gold intercepted in one hole just 10m from surface.

Assays there included 4m at 31.08g/t gold from 96m (with the hole ending in mineralisation); 2m at 32.5g/t gold from 18m; and 8m at 4.06g/t gold from 20m.

Drill targets at multiple old gold mines

Mr Lill confirmed that there are 55 historic mine sites on IRIS’ Kookynie tenure.

Of these, 37 produced at a grade greater than 20g/t, with a highest recorded production grade of 63.8g/t at Lily.

Kookynie is located 180km north of Kalgoorlie, with the project area containing 20 prospecting licences, two exploration licences and one mining licence.

“IRIS has identified advanced drill targets at multiple historic gold mines that remain untested along strike and at depth,” the company says.

“Targets include high-grade quartz vein-hosted gold lodes and wide, near surface, stockwork mineralisation.”

In addition, IRIS will use current geological techniques in identifying potential new high grade gold bearing structures hidden beneath transported cover.

The most recent exploration at Kookynie was conducted mainly in the 1980s and early 1990s and focused on areas of outcrop or under shallow cover.

Leonora

IRIS holds 41 prospecting leases at Leonora, which are either sandwiched between, or share borders, with ground held by Kin Mining (ASX: KIN).

Earlier this month, St Barbara (ASX: SBM) acquired a 19.8% stake in Kin for $25.3 million – a move that provoked speculation that the mid-tier producer would eventually move to acquire the entire company. This follows the $285 million merger between Dacian Gold (ASX: DCN) and NTM Gold late last year.

Kin is a major landholder in Leonora with its Cardinia gold project, where there is a 1.23Moz JORC resource.

At 61.72sq km, Chain Bore is the larger of IRIS’ Leonora projects. It borders the eastern end of Kin’s ground, and has seen limited previous exploration by IGO Limited (ASX: IGO) and the former Normandy Mining.

The 7.84sq km Little Dipper project is located along the same structure that hosts Golden Mile Resources’ (ASX: G88) recent Wanghi discovery.

Little Dipper was delineated by reverse circulation drilling in 1995 (a year when the average gold price was US$384/oz) but has seen no further work. The deposit is characterised by shallow, high-grade mineralisation.

Board with strong multidisciplinary skills

As well as Mr Lill, IRIS’ board consists of two executive directors – Tal Paneth and Peter Marks.

Mr Paneth was responsible for the identification, negotiation, acquisition and pegging of IRIS’ tenement package.

Meanwhile, Mr Marks has extensive corporate expertise with publicly listed companies in Australia and overseas, including capital raisings and restructurings.

Mr Marks is also a director of three drug and health companies, Noxopharm Ltd (ASX: NOX), Nyrada Inc (ASX: NYR) and Alterity Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ATH), along with connectivity play Elsight Ltd (ASX: ELS).

Geologist, Chris Connell, provides over 20 years’ gold and copper exploration experience in his role as non-executive director. Mr Connell is also regional exploration manager at SolGold Plc.

Post-listing news flow

IRIS anticipates being able to report its aeromagnetic data interpretation for its tenements in both Kookynie and Leonora shortly after listing.

The company also has plans for an aggressive drill programme on various walk-up targets post-listing.

The IPO is not underwritten.

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