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Kirkland Lake Gold increases Novo stake

Kirkland Lake Gold (TSX: KL) has paid A$20.7 million (US$15.6 million) to acquire Artemis Resources’ stake in Novo Resources Corp.
Kirkland Lake Gold increases Novo stake Kirkland Lake Gold increases Novo stake Kirkland Lake Gold increases Novo stake Kirkland Lake Gold increases Novo stake Kirkland Lake Gold increases Novo stake

Nuggets from Novo's Pilbara ground

Staff reporter

Artemis has agreed to sell its 4 million Novo shares to KL at an average price of C$5 per share.

The shares were issued to Artemis in August as part of the formation of the Purdy's Reward joint venture with Novo.

When issued, the shares were worth $21.8 million, and the value climbed to as much as $35 million during the height of the conglomerate gold rush.

Artemis already had A$17.36 million in cash at the end of March.

Executive chairman David Lenigas said the deal would more than double cash reserves without diluting shareholders.

"Our 50% interest in the exciting Novo/Artemis joint venture in the Karratha area remains unchanged and we are well funded to continue paying our share of JV expenses," he said.

"Artemis believes that the decision by Kirkland Lake Gold to increase its position in Novo is further evidence of the strength in the conglomerate and paleo placer gold story."

KL already holds 25.8 million shares in Novo, or about 16.3%, spending C$56 million for its initial 9.2% stake in September 2017.

The company also holds 14 million share purchase warrants, which if exercised, would give the company a 23.1% stake in Novo.

The acquisition of the Artemis shares will boost KL's stake in Novo to 18.8%.

The company said the shares were being acquired for investment purposes.

KL president and CEO Tony Makuch said previously the company wanted to ensure it had a strong enough foothold to participate in a potential discovery made by Novo.

"The goal is not to invest in companies, they do something and we sell the shares, the goal here is to invest in something, have that money we put in to develop and advance the project and make it better until a time that we come in and be owner-operator of the project," he said at the time.

KL chairman Eric Sprott is also a major shareholder in Novo.

"He's a pretty shrewd investor and pretty smart," Makuch said.

"You want to get involved in these investments fairly early, you don't want to wait until it's too far along."

Shares in Novo closed at C$5.30 in Toronto overnight. The hype has died down on the story since the stock peaked at $8.83 in October - something the company says isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Artemis rose by 2.6% to A19.5c this morning, well below its November peak of 59c, while KL's Australian shares were untraded at $25.35.