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UPDATE - Stratex teams up with Goldstone in £1.25mln deal



Stratex International (LON:STI) said it is taking an initial 33.4% stake in fellow AIM mining exploration group Goldstone Resources (LON:GRL) in an all-paper deal worth £1.25mln.

Stratex’s holding will rise to 50.1% with the exercise of warrants and it will receive two seats on the restructured Goldstone board.

Goldstone’s key assets are the Homase and Akrokeri properties in Ghana, which are host to a 602,000 ounce resource. It holds 100% of the latter and 65% of the former, with the option of going to 85%.

The licences butt up against AngloGold Ashanti's 42mln-ounce Obuasi gold mine, Ghana's largest producer.

Goldstone’s other assets include the Sangola exploration project in Senegal (around 100km west of Stratex's Dalafin project) and two earlier stage projects in Gabon.

Goldstone was hit by the withdrawal of Randgold Resources from its joint-venture focused on developing Sangola.

The exit of the mining giant occurred when it was realised the deposit was unlikely to meet Randgold’s exacting hurdle rate of being a 3mln ounce deposit grading 3 grams per tonne of gold.

Stratex believes the asset has “significant unexplored potential”. 

Chairman Christopher Hall told investor: "We are very pleased to have reached agreement with the board of Goldstone; this transaction will further Stratex's stated strategy of investing in quality opportunities arising in our sector in order to accelerate exploration progress. 

"We believe the combination of Goldstone's assets, particularly the advanced Homase-Akrokeri property in Ghana, with the financial and technical strengths of Stratex will be a win-win for both companies. 

“The proper development of all of Goldstone's exploration properties has been held back by a lack of resources, resulting from the continuing poor market for exploration funding. We look forward to working with Goldstone's capable management team to finalise and undertake tightly focused programmes designed to add maximum value at minimum cost.

"We are particularly pleased to have found a company with an existing resource that can be worked on, to demonstrate real economic value in a shorter time frame than from conventional grass roots exploration. 

“There will undoubtedly be some synergies in Senegal where, in spite of the recent withdrawal by Randgold from the Sangola project, because it did not offer a fast, clear route to their 3mln ounces at 3 grams per tonne target, we believe there is still significant unexplored potential.”

Broker Northland notes the combined Homase-Akrokeri project has a JORC resource estimate of 602,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 1.77g/t.

Analyst Dr Ryan Long said Goldstone had struggled to move its projects forward at pace, giving Stratex the current opportunity. 

He suggests the price of around US$11 per ounce of gold for the interest in Goldstone is a bargain.

The broker's stance on the shares is 'buy' and the target price is 10.9p, which is a hefty increase on the current share price of 3.7p (up 5.71% today).

Quick facts: Oriole Resources PLC

Price: 0.45 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £4.1 m

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