Cobalt explorer Meteoric Resources (ASX: MEI) has shouldered into Brazil’s gold sector after entering a binding agreement to acquire the Juruena and Novo Astro gold projects from Crusader Resources (ASX: CAS).
Located in central Brazil’s Mato Grosso state, the projects cover a combined area of 770 square kilometres in the Alta Floresta Belt, which hosts operations from major miners including Anglo American and Vale.
Speaking with Small Caps, Meteoric managing director Dr Andrew Tunks said he was “very excited” by the Juruena and Novo Astra acquisitions after scrutinising many potential projects across the globe over the last 12 months.
Dr Tunks also noted the timing was right and that he was bolstered by the fact many of the world’s largest miners operate in the area, claiming the Alta Floresta Belt was Brazil’s “most desirable gold exploration destination”.
With Crusader spending millions on exploration at Juruena to-date, the project has a JORC resource of 1.3 million tonnes at 6.3 grams per tonne gold for 261,000 gold ounces.
The resource includes the high-grade Dona Maria and Querosene deposits which total 436,000t at 14.7g/t gold for 205,000oz gold.
Additionally, the global resource also comprises a large-tonnage lower-grade deposit Crentes which is 846,000t at 2g/t gold for 55,000oz gold.
Dona Maria and Querosene resources remain open along strike and at depth providing Meteoric with immediate drill targets.
Previous drilling at Dona Maria has generated bonanza gold hits of 10m at 101.1g/t gold, including 2.4m at 389g/t gold; and 8m at 62.4g/t gold, including 3m at 162g/t gold.
Meanwhile, drilling at Querosene unearthed a bonanza 3.6m at 554.3g/t gold, including 1m at 1,992g/t gold.
Commenting on the bonanza gold intersections that have arisen from previous exploration at Juruena, Dr Tunks said the “grade is king” truism aligns with assays from Juruena.
“We’ve seen outstanding high-grade drill intercepts within a large mineralised system, which remains largely open with areas untested.”
“I see this as a remarkable acquisition with an experienced team already on the ground and ready to hit the ground running.”
“It’s a pivotal point in developing our work/mission/identity, from explorer to miner,” he added.
Dr Tunks explained the acquisition will diversify the company’s commodity portfolio, which is currently cobalt focused, and add “immediate value” for shareholders.
In return for the assets, Meteoric will pay Crusader a total consideration of $3 million.
Once the acquisition has been completed, Meteoric will immediately pay $1 million in cash and 50 million shares, which will be escrowed for 12 months.
The remaining cash and shares will be handed over upon reaching various milestones.
To fund the acquisition, Meteoric will raise up to $2.6 million via the issue of 264 million new shares at $0.01 each.
Dr Tunks said the Juruena was the company’s new focus and it plans to hit the ground running in Brazil.
As part of Meteoric’s aim to fast-track Juruena, Dr Tunks said the company was immediately applying to convert four key exploration licences to mining licences.
Other near-term work will involve collecting and reviewing all exploration data and building 3D geological models to assist with firming up drill targets.
At this stage Dona Maria and Querosene will be the priority deposits for resource definition and extension drilling, which is scheduled to begin before the end of the June quarter.
In readiness for the work, Dr Tunks has retained central Brazil-based geological and mining services group Target Latin America and several key personnel from Juruena which have a long involvement with the project.
To facilitate rapid exploration and development, Juruena already hosts site offices, accommodation for up to 60 people, a core shed and a 1,000m dirt airstrip.
The project is also accessible by well-maintained roads and has intermittent barge access along the Juruena River.
Meanwhile, over at Novo Astro, Dr Tunks said the project hosts 15sq km of old mine workings that have never been drilled.
However, 13 rock chip samples taken over the anomaly return in excess of 10g/t gold, with a peak value of 264g/t.
Dr Tunks pointed out that Anglo American had pegged up almost 2 million hectares of ground surrounding the tenements.
“As an explorer, it is incredibly exciting.”
Initial work at Novo Astro will involve ground based geophysical surveys.
“Across Juruena and Novo Astro we are presented with a fascinating array of first-class targets, which have been pinpointed by in excess of $25 million in exploration expenditure to-date, including over 50,000m of drilling,” Dr Tunks said.
“I am confident there will be exciting exploration results from Juruena once we mobilise to site,” Dr Tunks added.