Lazarus-like Gascoyne plots return from the dead

After months of negotiation, Gascoyne Resources has announced a rescue package worth A$50 million that could see its shares trading as soon as next month (reports MiningNews).

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The company blamed abnormally high rainfall, labour shortages and COVID-19 impacts for a loss-making September quarter, before suspending its Dalgaranga operation in Western Australia in November.

It has since been scrambling around for cash to fund a restart plan.

The funding includes a fully underwritten $26.3 million equity package and a $21.3 million loan from global resources investor Tembo Capital, which has backed a number of Australian-based firms. 

It will appoint John Hodder to the board. 

Long-standing shareholder Delphi is one of the key underwriters, and will invest up to $8.3 million, including a $2.5 million unsecured loan. 

Gascoyne's directors will put in $100,000, while NRW Holdings will be issued shares as part of a $4 million settlement with its contractor.

The raisings are priced at 10c per share, a 49% discount its last trading price, and will see the company end up with 871 million shares on issue, twice as much paper as before.

Tembo and Delphi will convert $8.8 million of loans into royalties of up to 2.5% over Gascoyne's entire portfolio, including Glenburgh, to ensure Gascoyne has no net debt.

Gascoyne has buyback rights over four years.

More than $27 million of the cash is targeted towards exploration and studies, with the aim of getting the Dalgaranga project ready for a restart decision in the second half of 2024, with the new high-grade Never Never discovery as the foundation asset of a new five-year plan aiming for annual production of 130,000-150,000ozpa operation, twice that of the run rate achieved in 2022.

A drill drive will be established to improve access to Never Never, while a number of prospects have been mapped targeting the Mt Magnet-style mineralisation that was not previously known at Dalgaranga until Never Never was discovered in 2021.

Permitting of the 244,000oz Yalgoo project will be advanced to provide restart optionality and an additional ore source.

Managing director Simon Lawson said Gascoyne would emerge "in a unique position in the Australian gold sector" with a modern 2.5Mtpa processing plant and a new 303,000 ounce discovery that remained open and growing.

He said it was "one of the highest-grade and fastest growing new gold discoveries" in WA.

A maiden exploration target has been estimated for the Never Never deposit of between 600,000oz and 1Moz grading 4-5 grams per tonne. 

More drilling is planned to expand Never Never as soon as the capital plan is finalised, with the promise of six-monthly resource updates.

Lawson said on an enterprise value to resource basis Gascoyne was attractive compared to peers such as Bellevue Gold, Capricorn Metals, Ramelius Resources, Red 5 and Westgold Resources.

It has a modern mill that could cost $200 million to replace, and a dominant position across two gold fields around the plant.

Gascoyne needs $12 million for care and maintenance of Dalgaranga, and $6 million to cover redundancies and extinguish liabilities with its creditors. 

Shareholders will need to support the plans at meetings scheduled for April and June.

Canaccord Genuity, Ashanti Capital and Bridge Street Capital Partners helped with the equity raisings, with Sternship Advisers and KordaMentha advised Gascoyne on its complicated financial restructure. 

Gascoyne ended the December quarter with $12 million cash and bullion and was debt-free.

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