The best way to describe Aurium Resources Limited, a diversified uranium and gold explorer with roughly 14,000 square kilometres of ground in Western Australia’s Northern Territory, is probably as a chrysalis. While this company is currently undervalued and under-researched by the ASX, it is also about to emerge in six months time with great potential for added shareholder value.
According to Terry Quinn, Aurium’s Managing Director, the company’s Telecom Hill project, within its Peak Hills iron ore joint venture with Padbury Mining (Aurium has 30 per cent), is “the number-one hotspot,” for the company today. It looks like refocusing on iron ore has treated Aurium well.
With its wider portfolio of uranium projects and an exciting exploration story to tell for Peak Hills, Quinn spoke to IRJ about what Aurium is today—and what the company has set to emerge in the coming year.
Turning to iron ore and Telecom Hill
When Quinn joined Aurium back in late 2008, the company had come onto the market with a group of tenements in the Northern Territory. During that time, Quinn says Aurium was searching for gold ground. “(We) did a small drilling program and the results that came back weren’t too flush. When I came on board, we refocused,” he says.
“The whole region we’re in, the Mid-West, has many companies who have already progressed iron ore projects. The market cap for these companies is big, they already have JORC resources and the whole region was focused on iron ore. It was a hot sector and everybody knew it, but this company hadn’t looked at iron ore in the region.”
This marked Aurium’s decision to turn to iron ore, and in the process to renegotiate its joint venture agreement with Padbury mining to include iron ore. Negotiations took place successfully and two drilling programs followed, outlining one particular focus ground; Telecom Hill.
“We have 2,500 square kilometres of ground in Peak Hill as a whole, and Telecom Hill consists of 13 square kilometres of those 2,500 square kilometres,” Quinn says.
“We’ve just had someone finish a mapping exercise. Our geologist has gone up and mapped the whole 13 square kilometres of ground, preparing the company’s joint venture partner for a very extensive drilling program—much bigger than we’ve ever done before.”
The process of arriving at the new Aurium begins with this shift in focus.
Towards the JORC for Telecom Hill
Quinn explains that up until today, Aurium has done small drilling programs and in doing so, gotten a guideline for where it ought to be looking.
“We’ve brought in CSA Global, a large geological consulting firm, and we’re pretty confident that we can go out and do a large drilling program there; the biggest one we’ve ever done, maybe five or six times the size of what we’ve done in the past,” Quinn says.
“We’re just getting the approvals in place now, we’ve got the program of work approved, and so we’re mapping out and identifying, in conjunction with the geological firm, where the drill holes should go.”
This process ought to take around one month to put in place, and Quinn says that it is then a case of organising drilling companies to get up and get into the work. Once complete, Aurium will have its first magnetite resource estimate—expected by the end of this calendar year.
A new era looms for Aurium
Essentially, Aurium is at one of those pivotal moments—calm before the storm—where being undervalued and overlooked is set to change rapidly by next year.
“Because of that fact, its market cap is somewhere in the region of A$6 million. And with 30 per cent interest in this possible five billion tonnes of ore, we believe it’s so undervalued,” Quinn explains.
“It will change, and when it does it will do so drastically, we believe, and the joint venture partners have already gotten significant interest coming from the Chinese.”
Once re-valued, complete with a new share price, Quinn says the company will “go again,” and move ever closer to its goal of building a company based on the Peak Hills project, which can be taken to the next stage.
“We want to complete pre-feasibility, bankable feasibility and build a real, serious project,” Quinn says. “We’re at the end of the Oakajee port and rail in this region, due to be built by the end of 2013/2014, and that’s when we expect to be a significantly changed company. We’re very well-located to take advantage of the Oakajee port and rail system being built.”
Oakajee is government and funding approved, waiting to be built in perfect time for Aurium to make use of the new exportation links it will offer. In fact, it appears with Aurium that everything is set in place and about to take off.
“The foundations have been set properly now—real foundations for this company going forward. We believe that how we’re located is a significant step for us to provide added shareholder value,” Quinn says. “In six months time we’ll be a different company.”
All of the pieces are in place; the project, the funding, the proximity to infrastructure, the refocused company, the great relationship with its joint venture partners and plenty more besides. Aurium is in a very pleasant position today. In six months time this will be one company that nobody undervalues.