Monday, August 21, 2017

Bloomberg weighs in on Novo Resources (NVO.v)

The president of Novo Resources Corp. thinks he may have found a counterpart of South Africa’s Witwatersrand in the ancient red rocks near Australia’s northwest coast. The first test on land south of the coastal town of Karratha looked good. Employing two men, a metal detector and a jack hammer, Vancouver-based Novo extracted gold nuggets as long as 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) from an exploration “trench” little more than a half-meter deep. That tiny sample hinted at ore grades that could be among the highest of any operating mine in the world. Hennigh’s theory is that Karratha and the surrounding Pilbara region is a long-lost scrap of the Earth’s crust once conjoined to Witwatersrand -- a massive underground belt of gold and other minerals in South Africa that’s supplied more than 2 billion ounces, or about one-third, of the yellow metal ever mined by man.
How the Witwatersrand became so rich in gold has long been debated among geologists. One hypothesis was that the Witwatersrand was once covered by acidic seas that could dissolve gold. The emergence of photosynthetic life -- blue-green algae spewing oxygen into the atmosphere -- changed that chemistry, forcing gold to precipitate out of seawater. Coarse sedimentary rocks of little interest might hide an ore-rich layer formed by a primordial seafloor. There are very few places on earth where rocks are old enough. Australia is one.

Novo’s holdings are some 12,000 square kilometers, close to the size of Connecticut. Newmont snapped up a 36 percent stake of Novo in 2013 and remains the largest shareholder. Sprott is the second-biggest investor.
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