M&A

Big Ridge rises as it becomes operator of First Mining project

Canada-focused explorer Big Ridge Gold caught investors’ attention as it became operator of First Mining Gold’s Hope Brook circa 1 million ounce project in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Staff reporter
 The Hope Brook gold project in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Hope Brook gold project in Newfoundland and Labrador

Under the agreement, which closed yesterday, Big Ridge can earn an 80% interest through a five-year, two-stage earn-in by spending C$20 million and issuing 25 million shares.

It had issued 11.5 million shares to First Mining, which is focused on its advanced Springpole project in Ontario, and paid $500,000 on closing.

First Mining's COO Ken Engquist was nominated to Big Ridge's board.

Big Ridge also announced a $5 million placement yesterday, at 20.5c per flow-through unit, to fund exploration at Hope Brook.

The project has an indicated 5.5 million tonnes at 4.77g/t gold for 844,000 ounces and an inferred 836,000t at 4.11g/t for 110,000oz.

It had produced more than 750,000oz between 1987-1997.

Big Ridge had $3.1 million in cash at March 31 and was planning to start drilling in the third quarter.

"We are excited to close the Hope Brook transaction and to commence our Phase 1 exploration programme this summer," president and CEO Mike Bandrowski said.

Big Ridge (TSXV: BRAU) shares closed up 51% to a one-year high of 28c, valuing it at $13 million (US$10.7 million).

First Mining (TSX: FF) lost 1.3% to 37c, capitalising it at $258 million (US$213 million).

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