19/02/2018 - 14:39

Bass back with Eagle raising

19/02/2018 - 14:39

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SPECIAL REPORT: Four years after exiting the iron ore sector near the top of the boom, Charlie Bass has teamed up with a pair of experienced company directors for a new mining float.

Bass back with Eagle raising
Charlie Bass is back in the resources sector after a four-year hiatus. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Four years after exiting the iron ore sector near the top of the boom, Charlie Bass has teamed up with a pair of experienced company directors for a new mining float.

Mr Bass co-founded Aquila Resources with Tony Poli, transitioning the gold explorer to iron ore and coal before it was taken over for $1.4 billion in 2014.

More recently, Mr Bass founded and chairs the Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation in Nedlands, providing local researchers with mentors, business advice and potential investors.

In the background, however, he has been investing in Eagle Mountain, which is focused on its Silver Mountain copper-gold project in Arizona.

The company is seeking to raise between $6 million and $8 million at an offer price of 20 cents, with Sydney-based Peloton Capital acting as the lead manager.

Joining Mr Bass on the Eagle Mountain board is corporate lawyer Rick Crabb, as non-executive chairman.

Mr Crabb co-founded West Perth law firm Blakiston & Crabb and currently serves as chairman of uranium producer Paladin Energy and as a director of gold explorer Thundelarra.

Also on the high-calibre board is non-executive director Roger Port, a former partner at PwC for nearly 20 years who currently serves as a director with the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, and Guildford Grammar.

Rick Crabb says he is keen to work alongside Charlie Bass.

Since 2013, Mr Bass has put more than $4 million into Silver Mountain, accumulating the Pacific Horizon, Scarlett and Red Mule tenements in Arizona.

“Eagle Mining taught me that grade is king, and when I was introduced to the waste dump samples at Pacific and along the whole trend, they had grade,” Mr Bass told Business News.

“Big miners go for tonnage, but the profit is in high grade.

“The area hasn’t been subject to modern exploration.”

Mr Bass said the tenements hosting the old mines were fragmented in ownership, making it difficult for large companies to undertake a comprehensive exploration program.

“Landowners didn’t want to deal with large companies, giving me the opportunity to consolidate ownership,” he said

Mr Bass said his latest venture was proving to be his most challenging to date.

“Not only is the terrain very difficult, keeping the faint-hearted away, but the geological complexity has also been difficult to crack,” he said

“This is by far the most challenging project I have encountered in my career, not only in physical access and geological complexity, but also in the potential value that it presents.”

In mid-2017, Mr Bass made the decision to take the company public.

“At that point, I saw the start of the market again supporting junior exploration companies, as well as the rise in the copper price and gold being fairly stable,” he said.

“When I knew the time was right to take it forward; I wanted a small board of very experienced directors and reached out to both Rick and Roger.

“When I first told them the story and they saw my passion, they agreed to join.” 

Mr Crabb said his involvement in the company stemmed from a desire to work with Mr Bass.

“He’s somebody I’ve admired for what he’s achieved; he’s a very good geologist, good entrepreneur and a great guy, so I was quite happy to team up with him,” he said.

Mr Crabb believes it is a good time for a copper-gold project.

“Copper is very much an industrial product, so it has universal application and there will be good demand for that,” Mr Crabb said.

“It is a bit harder to predict what the gold price will do, but it seems to have found a new position at a price that is quite sustainable for most operations.”

Mr Crabb also has confidence in the broader mining sector.

“It’s a good time; there’s a good future in resources, there’s a definite feeling,” he said

“People in our business are talking their own book, but you do get the feeling that resources generally are back on the up.”

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