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australias 1st platinum mine??/article

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    Date: February 10, 2005

    Jubilee Mines Gets Involved In What Could Be Australia’s First Platinum Mine.

    By Our Man In Oz

    Jubilee Mines has been living up to its name over the past few weeks with strong nickel production from its Cosmos mine in Western Australia, plus the sniff of a significant new discovery at the equally well-named Prospero exploration target just 4.5km from Cosmos. But those events may prove to be just the beginning of a fresh chapter in the short life of Jubilee because it has jumped into the driver’s seat at what might turn out to be Australia’s first platinum mine.

    In late January, Jubilee snapped up a 16 per cent stake in Falcon Minerals, a partner with WMC in the Collurabbie nickel, copper and platinum discovery located about 160kms from WMC’s flagship Mt Keith nickel mine. The deal makes Jubilee the biggest single shareholder in Falcon and buys out the previous management team. At the time of the transaction it was seen as just another little adventure for Jubilee’s effervescent founder and chairman, Kerry Harmanis. After all the chap, who was dubbed the Golden Greek by classmates at Perth’s Christ Church Grammar School back in the 1960s, had been in a bit of a hurry to do a deal which would make Jubilee more than a one-mine wonder.

    Over the past year, Harmanis has directed Jubilee into a joint venture exploration project with Pioneer Nickel, snatched a stake in MPI Mines, tipped a little bit of cash into the nickel explorer, Northern Star, and farmed into a nickel exploration project with Image Resources. Those deals, in hindsight, were small beer compared to recent events at Jubilee which have driven the share price of the market darling through the A$5 a share mark. At a recent price of A$5.40 Jubilee is valued at A$690 million, and Harmanis’s 22 million shares make him a A$118 million man, and substantially better off than if he had practiced law which was his first aim in life until caught up in the hurly-burly of the Poseidon and Tasminex nickel booms of the 1970s.

    The Cosmos discovery has delivered success in spades to Harmanis, and fulfilled a prophecy made by his late father that the Kathleen Valley near Leinster in central WA would yield a fortune in gold and nickel. The cash-generating power of Cosmos was reaffirmed in late January when Jubilee reported December quarter production of 2,970 tonnes of nickel at a production cost of A$3.57, close to one-third of the Australian dollar nickel price of around A$9.30 a pound. Shortly after delivering the strong production report, Jubilee said it had recorded drill core hits of up to 3.8 metres assaying an astonishing 15.1 % nickel at Prospero. One intersection is not a mine, but that grade falls into the phenomenal category, and when added to continuing success in finding additional material near Cosmos, such as the Alec Mairs deposit (named, after a former Australian finance journalist - so there is some justice in the world) it can be seen that Jubilee has a robust production outlook.

    The blue sky, however, is being spread further because Collurabbie has everyone in the Australian mining game a little excited. As Minesite reported last year, Collurabbie has returned drill core results that include an 8metre hit assaying 1.23% nickel, 1.62 % copper and 3.84 g/t PGMs. On their own each assay is close to being considered ore grade. In the same slice of rock it is rich stuff indeed.

    But, as they say in some advertising campaigns, there’s more. The Collurabbie discovery in which Falcon has a 30 per cent interest (WMC holds the rest) is in a 500 square kilometre tenement. Immediately to the south of the discovery block, Falcon has a 20 per cent free carried interest in an adjoining tenement which has Newmont (62 per cent) and Regis Resources (18 per cent) as its partners. Regis, for anyone with a reasonable memory, is the old Johnson’s Well Mining and remains under the control of high-profile mining entrepreneur, Joseph Gutnick.

    The key to all this is that for an outlay of A$9.99 million in cash, plus an issue of 2.27 million Jubilee shares, Harmanis has acquired effective control of Falcon and put Jubilee into the Collurabbie picture, on both sides of the border. He is a partner with two of the world’s leading miners in WMC and Newmont, with both of them eagerly looking for what optimists are already calling Australia’s next nickel province, and/or Australia’s first platinum mine.

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