Stratex in gold jv with funded Turkish partner
Stratex International, the Turkey-focused gold explorer, (AIM:STI) has been seeking a joint venture partner to move its gold projects at Inlice and Altintepe - which host a combined oxide gold resource of around 576.000 ounces - into production. Today Stratex announced a Memorandum of Understanding with a well-funded major Turkish construction and mining company, NTF Insaat Ticaret Ltd Sti (NTF). The joint venture company will be established in a 45/55 ownership ratio between Stratex and NTF, and it is envisaged that, as well as Inlice and Altintepe, future discoveries will be vended into the JV by Stratex as they develop, thus creating a significant gold production company. NTF will earn a 55% interest in the JV by paying US$1 million up front, and by funding feasibility study expenditure on Inlice and Altintepe up to US$2 million and US$2.5 million respectively, for a total contribution of US$5.5 million. Once the earn-in is completed, Stratex will have the option to contribute in proportion to its JV holding or dilute. It is envisaged that both projects will be fast-tracked to production over 18 months for Inlice and 3 years for Altintepe. Subject to satisfactory feasibility studies, combined gold output is anticipated to be at least 50,000 ounces pa by 2012, when both projects are in production.The JV agreement will be finalised over the next 90 days, but in the meantime, NTF will pay Stratex a minimum of US$50,000 per month to maintain its exclusivity, which will finance technical start-up studies on both projects.Commenting on the agreement Executive Chairman David Hall said, "We are delighted to join forces with NTF in creating a new gold mining company in Turkey, focused on fast-tracking gold development projects into production. I believe that this venture confirms our business model of identifying quality gold projects and then rapidly developing them with joint venture partners whilst continuing to explore for new discoveries."Hanson Westhouse, broker to Stratex International, reiterated its ‘buy’ stance on the junior gold and base metals explorer, and noted that with £2.7 million in cash in the bank, the company was in a comparatively strong position to many of its peers. Hanson Westhouse further noted that if the MOU with NTF is signed, Stratex will receive a US$1 million fillip. "The new JV company provides the perfect vehicle for Stratex to develop other projects, which whilst economic, may fall short of the company’s two million ounce target," Hanson Westhouse commented. "The JVC could also be used to develop projects other groups have in Turkey. We believe that NFT is the perfect partner for the JVC providing the local expertise, equipment and financial backing needed."