SKR unknown

nice announcment!

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    This announcement is a company maker for Striker. Market shld send this company higher in the short term.

    Striker to acquire the former Merlin Diamond Mine From Rio Tinto
    31/03/04 By: Adam Dawes

    Striker Resources NL (SKR) late yesterday advised that it has entered a preliminary agreement with Ashton Mining a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto (RIO) to acquire 100% of the former Merlin Diamond Mine in the Northern Territory. The deal if it gets the go ahead will result in a payment of $2 million at the commissioning of a mine and Ashton will have an option to claw back a 51% interest in a discovery.

    The Merlin Diamond Mining Lease encompasses 11 of the 13 known kimberlite pipes of which 9 were subject to open-pit operations, producing approximately 500,000 carats of diamonds with an average value over US$100 per carat. Two pipes with potential economic ore grades remain to be evaluated.

    Striker’s primary focus will be to assess the Palomides, Sacramore and Launfal diamond pipes, which are part of the southern pipe cluster, the company said.

    “Ashton has identified an inferred resource of 7.8 million tonnes at 20cpht with an approximate insitu value of $200m based on an average value of US$100 per carat and US Dollar exchange rate of $0.75c.”

    “This resource extends 277m from the base of the existing pit for Palomides/Sacramore and 198m below the base of the existing pit for Launfal,” the company added. “These three pipes are in close proximity and are clearly on the same geological structure.”

    Drilling to date has shown that Palomides and Sacramore coalesce (join together) to form a single elongated pipe at a depth of approximately 120m.

    Striker said that it expects that, as a result of further drill evaluation, Launfal will be found to be a part of this same pipe structure and, if so, the potential diamond resource would be significantly increased

    “A drilling program, aimed at confirming the identified and potential new resources at depth, will commence as a prelude to pre-feasibility studies to investigate recommencing mining operations.”

    “This program will coincide with drilling activities on anomalies identified as potential new kimberlite pipes in the southern portion of the exploration tenements,” it said.

    Striker’s General Manager Mr Tom Reddicliffe discovered the Merlin Diamond Mine while he was Australian Exploration Manager for Ashton prior to Ashton’s takeover in 2000 by Rio Tinto.

    Two of Striker’s directors Messrs Ewen Tyler and Bill Duchatel were also directors of Ashton during the discovery and commencement of mining of the Merlin pipes.

    The largest diamond recovered from Merlin (Gareth pipe) weighed 104.73 carats (approximate value-US$525,000) which to date is the largest diamond recovered in Australia.

    The agreement places Striker in a position of now controlling the majority of the Merlin Diamond Province (see map). This area includes 1,800 km2 of tenements surrounding the Mining Lease.

    The agreement comprises that if Ashton exercises its option, Striker and Ashton will enter into a joint venture to develop and mine the resource.

    Ashton will receive a 1% gross revenue royalty on mineral production, but not in the event it reacquires a 51% interest in the project and in the event that Ashton has exercised its option and re-acquired a 51% interest in the project, Rio Tinto will have commercial marketing rights to production of all diamonds, otherwise Striker will market its own production.

    At 1030 AEST Striker Resources shares were trading 0.1c higher to 6.4c while Rio Tinto shares lost 4c to $34.80

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