High River Gold Mines (HRG-T) has acquired a 100% ownership interest in a Russian nickel deposit for US$10.6 million.
Dan Hrushewsky, High River Gold's vice president of investor relations, says the company has no intention of diluting its focus on gold and other precious metals, but that the opportunity was simply too good to pass up.
"It's a very nice asset and a company with a nickel deposit with a National Instrument 43-101 resource of this size and grade could have a market capitalization anywhere from C$200 to C$400 million and that's twenty to forty times what we paid for it."
The deposit was also a way to capitalize on High River Gold's local expertise and knowledge in mining and logistics in the area, he adds.
The Chaya magmatic nickel sulphide deposit is located in the Russian Far East, where High River Gold's Russian subsidiary, Buryatzoloto, has been operating two underground mines for more than 15 years.
The nickel deposit is 70 km northeast of the northern tip of Lake Baikal, about 300 km west of High River's Irokinda mine, and 100 km by road north of the regional centre of Nizhne-Angarsk.
Chaya hosts historical Russian Classified C2 and P1 resources totaling 121.7 million tonnes containing 1.38 billion lbs. nickel and 314 million lbs. copper.
At cut-off grades of 0.5% nickel and 0.3% copper, the deposit has a C2 resource of 51.1 million tonnes grading 0.6% nickel and 0.19% copper for a total of 670 million lbs. contained nickel and 212 million lbs. copper.
In addition, the deposit has a P1 resource of 70.6 million tonnes grading 0.46% nickel and 0.17% copper for a total of 714 million lbs. nickel and 102 million lbs. copper.
The deposit strikes about 1,500 metres in an east-west direction, dips sub-vertically, and is on average 20 metres thick. Mineralization largely consists of pyrrhotite, pentlandite and chalcopyrite.
Metallurgical testing conducted on five 400-500 kg samples by leading Russian metallurgical laboratories (Gibronickel and Mechanobr) indicated recoveries of 80%-87.5% for nickel and 81% for copper into a bulk concentrate using a gravity-flotation flow-sheet. Nickel recovery increased to 92%-94% using a pressure leach process.
The deposit is open at depth and its dimensions "appear to be amendable to open-pit mining," the company stated in a press release.
High River says it will involve a third party in the project either through a joint-venture or spin out.
High River's shares closed down 1¢ apiece to $3.17 on a trading volume of 1.4 million.
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