Twelve months ago Jeremy Martin, the chief executive of nickel and gold exploration group Horizonte Minerals (LON:HZM), oversaw a major tie-up with industry giant Teck Resources (TSX:TCK) that promised to transform the AIM listed company. The move involved Teck handing over control of its Araguaia nickel project in the Carajas mineral district of northern Brazil in return for a 50% stake in Horizonte. Since then, Horizonte has merged Araguaia with its own Lontra nickel project and met every milestone in its plans to establish a 100 million ton resource at the site. In turn, drilling is now under way on the company’s Falcao gold project, where it is working in partnership with another mining giant, AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU). In addition to a series of resource updates, the company has found time to complete a substantial fundraising, expand its licence holding and complete a listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Jeremy, the last 12 months have seen some significant changes at Horizonte Minerals, particularly at your Araguaia nickel project in Brazil. What have been the important milestones?

Well, going back to last year, we closed the deal in August with Teck and in October we started the main resource drilling programme. We have got six drill rigs active on the project at the moment, so it is a big drill programme down there. In January we signed a royalty agreement with Anglo Pacific, which was another milestone in the project, and that is where they can effectively acquire a 1.5% net smelter royalty (NSR) for $12.5 million, so that’s good downstream funding potential. We then raised £8.3 million in February, which allowed us to really ramp up everything across the board down in Brazil. In March we released our maiden resource of 76 million tons at 1.35% nickel, which was ahead of expectations in terms of size and grade. We have just got our TSX listing and in July we completed the final acquisition of three additional target areas, one with some resources on, from TSX-listed Lara Exploration (TSX:LRA).

So we have basically hit all of the milestones on time. The resource upgrade is due out in Q4, and that will be the 100 million tons target, which is all looking good. We have got some high grades coming out of the project, there have been a number of…

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