Panthera Resources PLC (AIM: PAT), the gold exploration and development company with key assets in India and West Africa, is pleased to announce its unaudited interim results for the half year ended 30 September 2018.
· Panthera’s JV partner in the Bhukia gold project (Bhukia), Metal Mining India Pvt. Ltd., (MMI) was granted an interim stay order by the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan (Court), following rejection of its prospecting licence application (PLA) by the Government of Rajasthan (GoR).
· A funding and partnership term sheet was signed between Panthera’s 100% owned subsidiary, Indo Gold Pty. Ltd (IGL) and Galactic Gold Mines Pvt. Ltd (Galaxy) to advance the Bhukia project.
· Significant gold mineralised drill intercepts were returned from drilling at the Naton project in Burkina Faso.
· The Kalaka tenement in Mali was successfully renewed and an exploration licence was granted for the Bassala property.
· Good progress has been achieved in the planned corporate restructuring with new subsidiaries formed in Mali and Burkina Faso to hold assets in-country.
· Indo Gold Ltd was converted to a private company in Australia to reduce compliance costs.
· Board restructure with appointment of UK based Catherine Apthorpe and the resignations of Chris Rashleigh and Peter Carroll.
Activities during the Reporting Period
The key focus of Panthera’s operating activities during the reporting period was to:
(i) Progress the permitting of the Bhukia joint venture property in Rajasthan, India;
(ii) Continue to build a highly attractive portfolio of West African gold exploration properties, some with clearly identified drill targets;
(iii) Seek and successfully identify a strategic investor to partner to advance the Company’s Indian initiatives; and
(iv) Nurture and eventually harvest the portfolio of other exploration opportunities and equity investments the company has accumulated through its project generation efforts.
To this end the Company met with good success:
Bhukia Project (70%), India
· Panthera is targeting a 6.0Moz+ AU resource at Bhukia, where it currently has a JORC (2012) compliant inferred resource of 1.74Moz on a 100% basis (1.22Moz on a 70% attributable basis), defined over approximately 10% of an extensive gold in soil geochemical anomaly.
· During the reporting period, MMI’s Bhukia PLA was rejected by the GoR on spurious grounds that had previously largely been dealt with. The Company received extensive advice from legal counsel in India regarding the strength of MMI’s case. A Writ Petition was filed with the Court, and was granted an Interim Stay Order. A hearing date is set for 11 January 2019, but the GoR is yet to file its response to MMI’s Writ Petition and we anticipate delays from the impact of staffing changes following the recent elections in Rajasthan and general bureaucratic tardiness.
· In December, the company signed a definitive term sheet with Galaxy, providing for several phases of investment from Galaxy into IGL and forming a partnership in India to advance Bhukia.
West African Gold Exploration Initiative
· During the reporting period the West African assets were restructured to be held in subsidiary companies in Mali and Burkina Faso.
· Significant drill results have been returned from the Somika Hill, Kaga Vein, Bido Vein and Somika Hill East targets including:
o Somika Hill: 10m at 0.52 grams per tonne (“g/t”) gold (“Au”) from 11 metres (“m”) including 2m at 1.61g/t Au from 13m
3m at 1.03g/t Au from 36m
6m at 1.04g/t Au from 82m including 1m at 4.98g/t Au from 86m
2m at 3.00g/t Au from 77m
o Kaga Vein: 8m at 4.7 g/t Au (from 66m), and
o Bido Vein: 6 m at 2.0 g/t Au (from 99m).
· The Kalaka exploration licence was successfully renewed.
· An exploration licence was granted for its Bassala project in Southern Mali following the conclusion of the JV with Golden Spear Mali SARL.
o The licence has been granted for an initial three-year period with the option to renew for a further three years, and then an additional year if the exploration success and all normal regulatory conditions are met.
o Large scale lateritic, alluvial, eluvial and some hard rock artisanal gold workings have been identified over an 8km strike length.
o Previous soil sampling and RAB drilling, has identified several large gold geochemical anomalies, confirming mineralisation is present at depth.
o Panthera plans to follow up on previous exploration undertaken in the project area through infill soil sampling which will provide the detail for targeted RAB and RC drill testing of the mineralisation
Strategic Partnership in India – Galaxy
IGL has concluded negotiations and signed a definitive term sheet with Galaxy, an Indian Company with Australian management with over 15 years’ experience in the gold exploration and mining industry in India. The agreement involves an equity investment by Galaxy into IGL in two tranches totalling US$1.25m in return for 10% ownership of IGL. The investment will provide Galaxy with exposure to Bhukia, and fund progress in the granting of a PL and initial Bhukia resource drill-out, once the PL has been granted. Galaxy’s principals have many years experience in gold exploration and mine development in India. Galaxy has agreed to purchase two 5% stakes in IGL in two stages:
Stage 1 (5%) – US$250,000 immediately upon receipt of Indian government overseas direct investment approval, with a further US$250,000 due before 31 March 2019;
Stage 2 (5%) – US$750,000 prior to the re-commencement of exploration (now expected mid- to late-2019).
Strategic Investor – Republic Investment Management
Panthera has a binding investment agreement with Republic Investment Management Pte Ltd. (Republic) of Singapore for three tranches of equity investment totalling A$6.7m by Republic and co-investors (represented collectively by Republic) into Panthera. The Company received Tranche 1 in July 2017 and Tranche 2 in January 2018 totalling A$4.0m. The final Tranche 3 of A$2.67m at A$0.65 per share is due at the time the Bhukia PL is granted and the necessary environmental and forestry permits for drilling are obtained. The funds will be used to finance a ramp up in exploration activities designed to confirm the Geological Survey of India non-JORC resource of 108 million tonnes grading 2.0g/t Au and define it to JORC compliant standards.
Geoff Stanley, Chief Executive Officer of Panthera Resources, commented:
“During this period Panthera has been able to build on the transformation of the Company that began with its AIM listing late in 2017. Strong Stay Order protection of our key Bhukia PL rights puts us in a good position to negotiate a PL grant. A partnership with Galaxy Gold (and its main Indian investor, Hunch Ventures and Investments) was negotiated, which validates the technical merits and strength of our legal claim as well as providing a strong valuation measure.
Exploration success was achieved early in West Africa with four of the five targets we drill tested at Naton yielded good gold grades which require aggressive follow-up. Further excellent anomalies were identified for testing at all three projects (Naton, Kalaka and Bassala), so we are off to an excellent start in Mali and Burkina Faso. Additionally, our investment in Anglo Saxony Mining (ASM) appears to be unfolding exceptionally well with good progress on a PFS at its Tellerhauser project in Saxony, Germany.
We are looking forward to reporting substantial additional progress in 2019. Areas of focus will remain advancing the permitting process in India to allow exploration to recommence at Bhukia, adding to our already successful West African exploration efforts and nurturing the ASM investment”
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