For many junior mining companies, winning over the financial and technical support of a major industry player is the moment when the transition from exploration to production becomes a real prospect. For AIM listed Horizonte Minerals (LON:HZM) , securing the backing of two mining majors in the last year has transformed the company and offered up significant potential for a major nickel project and multiple gold opportunities in the Carajás region of Brazil.
Horizonte has been active in Brazil for four years under the leadership of CEO Jeremy Martin, chairman David Hall and operations director Nick Winer, all of whom have wide experience of working in the region. Like Hall’s other AIM listed mining interest Stratex International (LON:STI) , Horizonte set out to identify exploration targets and then bring in mining partners to drive them through to production. Earlier this year that strategy was rewarded with a major deal with Canadian giant Teck Resources (TSE: TCK), which swapped its Araguaia nickel operation for a 50% stake in Horizonte. The result, the companies hope, will be a 100m ton resource formed from Araguaia and Horizonte’s nearby Lontra nickel project, with grades comparable to other world class projects in Brazil. Drilling there is now under way.
If that wasn’t enough, Horizonte has also partnered with AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU) on two joint venture gold projects in the country – at Santana and Falcao – with Horizonte taking the exploration lead with up to US$10m of AngloGold’s cash. It also operates a JV with Troy Resources (TSE: TRY) on another gold project at Tangara. With the price of gold continuing to surge and the price of nickel now rising from market lows, Jeremy Martin spoke to Stockopedia about the thinking behind Horizonte’s Brazilian endeavours and the prospects that lie in wait for the company and its investors.
Jeremy, can you tell us about Horizonte and the strategy you have been pursuing in Brazil?
Our business model hasn’t changed. We went out and we recognised the lack of discoveries coming through and that’s the same model that Stratex had in Turkey. The majors are looking for new projects, there needs to be new discoveries in the business to sustain that supply side of the business. Discovery rate is in decline,…