Mr. Mark Selby reports
RNC MINERALS SHARPENS FOCUS ON ADVANCING DUMONT NICKEL-COBALT PROJECT; LAUNCHES STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVES PROCESS FOR THE BETA HUNT MINE
Royal Nickel Corp. (RNC Minerals) is sharpening its focus to advance the Dumont nickel-cobalt development project, the largest undeveloped nickel and cobalt reserve in the world, by initiating a strategic alternatives process for its 100-per-cent-owned Beta Hunt gold and nickel mine located in Western Australia. PCF Capital Group, based in Perth, Western Australia, and Haywood Securities Inc. have been retained as financial advisers for the Beta Hunt process.
"RNC has made the decision that its central strategic focus going forward will be the advancement of the Dumont nickel-cobalt project -- one of the few large-scale, shovel-ready projects positioned to deliver large quantities of nickel and cobalt to market in the next few years. With the positive outlook for nickel and cobalt underpinned by growing demand from electric vehicles, the potential for the Dumont project to be a large multiple of the value of Beta Hunt, and with one of the industry-leading nickel-cobalt management teams, now is the time to aggressively advance Dumont towards making a decision to begin construction in 2019. With this shift in our focus, Beta Hunt is considered to be non-core to RNC," said Mark Selby, president and chief executive officer of RNC Minerals.
Mr. Selby continued: "RNC has engaged PCF Capital and Haywood to run this strategic process. Based on inbound interest we've received and the recent increase in [merger and acquisition] activity in the gold sector, our view is that Beta Hunt may be attractive to numerous companies, including the following two groups: a gold-focused company which can provide the capital and local management expertise to unlock the massive gold exploration and production potential of this asset in a region where we believe there is significant synergy with a number of Western Australian gold assets; or a nickel-focused company looking to take advantage of Beta Hunt's combined nickel-gold scale and strategic position to launch a consolidation of Kambalda's nickel assets at a time when the type of high-grade nickel sulphides produced in the Kambalda district is in high global demand by battery makers."
Beta Hunt mine
Since the acquisition of Beta Hunt in Q2 2016, RNC has significantly increased the scale of the operation. The company's exploration activities discovered a third gold-bearing structure -- the Fletcher trend, which increased the known extent of the existing A zone structure by 500 metres along strike to 1.7 kilometres and highlighted the potential of the existing structures to continue at depth with drill results such as hole WF18-036: 6.3 g/t Au over 33.0 m; WF18-035: 4.1 g/t Au over 21.5 m; WF18-064: 3.7 g/t Au over 30.2 m; WF18-055: 7.78 g/t Au over 7.78 m; and WF18-061: 9.00 g/t Au over 6.25 m (see RNC news release dated Oct. 19, 2017).
Production at Beta Hunt continues to improve and the company expects to see the fifth straight quarter of increases in gold ounces, tonnes mined and grade in Q1 2018. Further growth is also expected in the second quarter of 2018.
Beta Hunt's measured and indicated mineral resource, as at Feb. 1, 2016, was 379,000 tonnes at 4.2 per cent Ni for 15,840 tonnes of contained metal and 815,000 tonnes at 3.5 g/t Au for 92,000 ounces. Inferred resources total 216,000 tonnes at 3.4 per cent for 7,400 tonnes of contained metal and 2.91 million tonnes at 3.4 g/t Au for 321,000 ounces (1).
Reference is made to tables 1.1 and 1.2 in Section 1 of the National Instrument 43-101 technical report on the on the Beta Hunt mine, dated March 4, 2016, available at the company's website and under Royal Nickel's profile on SEDAR. Note: the mineral resources are as of Feb. 1, 2016, and do not reflect depletions or additions since that date.
Strategic alternatives may include, but are not limited to, the sale of all or a portion of RNC's interest in Beta Hunt. There are no assurances that the process will result in a transaction or, if a transaction is undertaken, as to the commercial terms or timing of such a transaction.
The disclosure of scientific and technical information contained in this news release has been approved by Kevin Small, director, mining operations of RNC, a qualified person under NI 43-101.
About Royal Nickel Corp.
Royal Nickel is a multiasset mineral resource company with a portfolio of nickel, cobalt, and gold production and exploration properties. RNC has a 50-per-cent interest in a nickel joint venture with Waterton that owns the Dumont nickel-cobalt project located in the Abitibi region of Quebec which contains the second largest nickel reserve and eighth-largest cobalt reserve (the largest undeveloped nickel and cobalt reserves in the world). RNC has a 100-per-cent interest in the producing Beta Hunt gold and nickel mine located in Western Australia. RNC has a strong management team and board with over 100 years of mining experience at Inco and Falconbridge.
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