Mineral exploration firm Aeon Metals has agreed to acquire Aston Metals, which owns the Walford Creek project and interests in four exploration joint ventures in the Mt Isa area in Queensland, Australia.
Aston Metals holds a 3,600km² tenement package in the Mt Isa minerals province in North West Queensland.
The tenements Aeon will acquire under the deal include 170km of contiguous land along the Mt Isa fault, north and south of Glencore Xstrata's Isa mine.
As per the deal, Aeon would provide Aston with a A$20m non-recourse loan, with a 12%-a-year capitalised interest payable after three years, along with 48.2 million shares, at a price of $0.145 per share and options with a face value of about A$10m.
Subject to shareholder approval, Aeon has raised about A$8m in capital through an equity placement to institutional and sophisticated investors, with 66.7 million shares at $0.12 per share.
The proceeds from the placement will be used to advance the Walford Creek project, with funding going towards drilling, infrastructure studies, metallurgical flowsheet assessments and environmental studies, as well as Aeon's existing Ben Hur and 7B projects, that are also in Queensland.
The placement will result in Aeon being fully funded until the end of December 2015, when the company is planning to complete a pre-feasibility study for the Walford Creek project.
Walford Creek is a large base metals project with significant 2012 JORC indicated and inferred resources of 48 million tonnes grading at 1.42% of copper equivalent.
Aeon said that since 2010, Walford Creek was privately owned with 14,992m of drilling undertaken over a 5km zone, and the current JORC resource has been defined along the 5km strike length of the Fish River Fault Zone, which extends for 25km within the project tenements.
The company is planning to drill an additional 12,000m with the target to increase the Walford Creek Resource by about 50%, to more than 75 million tonnes.
Aeon Metals managing director Hamish Collins said the addition of the Walford Creek project and the Mt Isa tenement package to the company's portfolio forms a complementary asset base and will significantly increase its scale and long-term growth potential.
"This is a major deal for a junior like us and will transform Aeon into a premier base metals focussed company," Collins said.
Image: Combined Aston and Aeon Queensland assets. Photo: courtesy of Aeon Metals.