The consolidated property package is district scale and totals more than 400sq.km. It is host to an established 2.7 million ounce resource and hosts the Telbel mine on the Joutel property which produced 1.15 million ounces at a grade of 6.5 grams per tonne from 1974 to 1993.
Agnico will contribute the first $18 million in staged payments toward JV expenditures over a four-year term. Upon closing the transaction, Maple Gold will have $12 million in cash and $18 million in committed JV funding for $30 million in cash and committed funds.
"This is an incredible endorsement of the project and our team. Agnico is the preeminent gold producer in the country and this is a transformational transaction for us," Maple president and CEO Matthew Horner told Mining Journal.
"They don't get involved unless there is plus-5 million ounce potential so they expect this to be much bigger. It took about two years to put this together and it shows we are already thinking about building a mine. This transaction shows we won't have any issues financing it as they will be there to help us."
Agnico has been looking at Maple for some time. Its $6.2 million investment follows the company taking a 4.4% interest in the company in August. On closing, Agnico will increase this to about 12.8% which could be lifted to 19.9% through the exercise of its warrants.
Maple has an almost 3Moz gold resource at Douay at a US$1,500/oz gold price, which increases to about 4Moz at a $2,000/oz gold price. It plans to commence a 3,000m drilling programme in the near-term with a bigger programme to follow once the transaction concludes.
"We have the same game plan as before for project wide exploration. We are thinking of drilling at least 10,000m in the winter and depending on how it plays our we could bring an updated resource to the market in the second half 2021," Horner said.
"Each company will retain a 2% net smelter return royalty on the properties they contribute to the JV with buy back provisions of $40 million. The joint venture is set up so that Agnico can buy us and cancel the royalty, or someone else can come in an enter the JV with Agnico, like Yamana Gold did with Agnico at Canadian Malartic. We negotiated the transaction so any party will fill comfortable stepping into our shoes."
Shares in Maple Gold are trading at C21c, valuing the company at $56 million.