The company is focused on high demand gold assets in the Yandal region.
In May this year, Strickland began a merger and acquisition strategy to create the Yandal Gold Project that has so far helped it increase its resource base from ~150,000 ounces to over 600,000 ounces of gold in less than three months.
That is a significant increase, which Strickland expects to build on having begun a drilling program that will proceed will into 2022.
Importantly, all acquisitions are approximately 30 kilometres from ASX gold major Northern Star Resources’ plus-10-million-ounce Jundee operation – the jewel in its tier-one Yandal production base.
Strickland is confident of proving up its assets and has worked hard not only to bring on-ground operations into play but to strengthen operations behind the scenes.
Since May this year, Strickland has brought on board a highly experienced and credible board and management team, repaired its balance sheet through well-received capital raises including a fully underwritten, oversubscribed $5 million rights issue and a $12 million capital raise and acquired highly prospective assets.
Strickland is a tightly held company with board and management holding 11.8% and the top 50 shareholders holding 50% – a number that should give shareholders confidence that those running the show are fully invested in its success.
Management expects to create a massive footprint in this blue-chip gold belt that will step out of Northern Star’s shadow.
Acquisition strategy nets highly prospective assets
Strickland began its acquisition run in May, with the purchase of Silver Lake’s joint venture (JV) interest in Horse Well. In early June, the company acquired Renegade Exploration Ltd (ASX:RNX)’s Yandal project, immediately to the south of Horse Well. In late June, it acquired Millrose Gold which is also adjacent to Horse Well and boasts ~346,000 ounces of gold.
This strategy has eliminated Milrose, Renegade and Silver Lake from the area, leaving only Strickland and Northern Star to share the spoils.
Overall, Strickland has spent $3.75 million to buy Silver Lake Resources’ interest in the Horse Well project and Renegade Exploration’s Yandal project and $10 million to takeover Millrose.
The acquisitions have created Strickland’s Yandal Gold Project and it is now in drilling mode to prove up these assets.
The Horse Well purchase for $1.75 million saw Strickland acquire 100% of the JV’s holding of Horse Well, including 1000 square kilometres, an inferred mineral resource of 5.7 million tonnes for 257,000 ounces of gold.
Strickland CEO Andrew Bray said the acquisition was a major focus for the company.
“We are tremendously excited to have secured a pathway towards 100 per cent ownership in Horse Well,” Bray said.
“In our view, it represents a very substantial gold system, particularly around the major Big Daddy prospect and untested granite intrusives where we have some new concepts to apply.”
Prior to Strickland taking over, Horse Well had undergone 75,000 metres of aircore drilling and 10,000 metres of RC (reverse circulation) drilling.
When Strickland acquired the ground, it identified a number of ‘walk up’ targets, where it has now begun an extensive drilling campaign.
Horse Well has two outstanding drill targets:
- Big Daddy Prospect – a huge gold system with no RC drilling. It has multiple gold in soil anomalies.
- Dusk til Dawn – historic drilling likely drilled oblique to the mineralisation (ineffective testing)
Acquiring Yandal East from Renegade gave Strickland a project area of about 320 square kilometres and sits immediately to the south of Horse Well.
Yandal East extended the prospective mineralised strike along the regional Celia shear zone and further consolidated Strickland’s landholdings across the north-eastern flank of the Yandal-Millrose greenstone belt.
There was one final piece of the puzzle to complete the consolidation of Yandal’s north-eastern flank.
Millrose was Strickland’s next big acquisition.
The project contains nine exploration licences and one mining lease application covering over 600 square kilometres and is adjacent to Strickland’s recently acquired Yandal East project
Milrose boasts an existing 346,000 ounces inferred and indicated resource (JORC 2012).
There is 30 kilometres of strike over the Celia Shear Zone and over the last 15 years, minimal exploration has been undertaken there.
The Millrose acquisition took Strickland’s project resource inventory past 600,000 ounces and gave it the platform to begin a systematic drilling campaign across a 100-kilometre-long stretch of the prospective Celia shear zone.
Effectively, the acquisition transformed Strickland into an emerging Western Australian gold company.
Drilling, which is well-funded via capital raise, will take place over the next 12-18 months.
Drilling underway and will go well into 2022
Strickland has begun its systematic exploration of the area, having booked 100,000 metres of aircore to cover about 80 kilometres of the Celia shear.
Drilling began with a 10,000-metre aircore drilling program at the Horse North prospect, over a 3 kilometres section at the Celia Shear zone.
This is the same mineralised structure that hosts the existing Horse Prospect with inferred mineral resources of 148,100 ounces of gold.
Strickland will drill Horse North in the next month and send an RC rig to its Dusk ’til Dawn gold prospect and to the Iriquois zinc/lead prospect.
A multi-purpose (RC and diamond) rig is due to arrive at the project in mid-October for work at all three abovementioned prospects.
Strong team moves Strickland forward
Strickland is run by an impressive management team, consisting of managing director of Gateway Mining Mark Cossom, who is also the ex-Doray Minerals project manager at Horse Well.
Veteran geologist Tony McClure, Strickland’s chairman, key technical advisor, OMNI GeoX principal Peter Langworthy and project geologist, Richard Pugh, who works with Langworthy at OMNI GeoX, will also play a major role.
CEO Andrew Bray has 10-plus years behind him in the formation, financing and development of natural resources companies and has been involved with Gateway Mining Ltd (ASX:GML), Silver Mines Ltd and Futura Resources Ltd.
Is Strickland a takeover target?
Strickland’s assets are roughly 30 kilometres due east of Northern Star’s 10 million ounces Jundee operation.
With the acquisition aggression currently in the air, Bray wouldn’t be surprised if Strickland became a takeover target with Northern Star already “inquisitive on the belt”.
Bray told Proactive, “We already have their (Northern Star’s) attention. Our plan is to go as hard and as fast as we can to prove up what we think is there and ideally make a new discovery to add to the existing resource.
“If we fiddled around, we wouldn’t have got Millrose. Northern Star was already speaking with them, however, they were taking their time because there was no pressure on Northern Star to act as they were the only ones with a balance sheet and a resource on the belt.
“However, we came along out of nowhere and scooped everything up. If we had left it another couple of months, they would have had a call from Northern Star and we would have missed out.
“I believe now that if we can get the exploration right, our share price will be way higher and if Northern Star do try to take us, there is a nice liquidity event.
"If they don’t come for us, we’ll become a developer, which in itself is a liquidity event so everyone wins.”
Hear more from Andrew Bray: