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Cashed -up Venture Minerals poised to pounce after sealing Jupiter deal

Venture Minerals’ Jupiter prospect has the potential to become Australia’s biggest clay-hosted rare earths discovery

A cashed-up Venture Minerals (ASX: VMS) is ready to make good on its promise to explore the vast potential of its record-breaking Jupiter rare earths deposit in Western Australia’s Mid West region after securing full ownership of the Brothers project.

The company also confirmed this morning it had completed a $6 million capital raising mission that would fund its aggressive strategy at Jupiter, which is part of Brothers, for the next 18 months.

As part of a new deal, Venture is set to acquire joint venture (JV) partner Merchant Venture’s 30 per cent share of the Brothers project for $1.5 million worth of its shares. That will see the company grab full rights to the emerging Jupiter operation it says has all the hallmarks of being Australia’s biggest clay-hosted rare earths discovery.

Merchant will retain a 1 per cent net smelter royalty over future production at the project.

Fresh off the back of Venture’s $3 million sale of its Riley iron ore project in Tasmania, the company completed its capital raising that was heavily backed by institutional investors, including ESG fund NorthStar Impact and well-known mining investment house Lion Selection Group. The two groups cornerstoned the placement for $2.5 million and $1 million, respectively.

Following a share purchase plan to raise a further $1 million from existing shareholders, Venture expects to have an enviable expected funding base of $12.1 million – more than enough to carry out pivotal metallurgical test work at Jupiter and fully drill out a predicted sizeable maiden resource.

The all-in strategy and “one-and-done” capital raising follows a steady stream of impressive Jupiter assays and the company says its infill air-core (AC) campaign in the southern half of the 40-square-kilometre clay-hosted target has continued to produce consistent, broad and high-grade rare earths mineralisation.

Delivering a maiden resource followed by a resource upgrade usually involves companies doing numerous, dilutionary capital raisings. The low-cost nature of the Jupiter discovery means that we can leverage exploration dollars very effectively and focus on these major milestones from one financing.
Venture Minerals Managing Director Philippa Leggat

The company made its clay-hosted Jupiter rare earths discovery, some 230km inland from Geraldton, back in November last year.

The project has produced several stunning recent drill hits, including 2m at 26,958 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO), a thick 60m at 2014ppm and an intersection described by management as Australia’s best-ever rare earths drill hit of 48m at 3025ppm. The company also revealed a “head-turning” 58m at 2723ppm TREO, which it described as its “best hit yet”.

The rare earths commodity sector has taken on huge strategic interest for governments, in particular for neodymium and praseodymium and their broad suite of applications in magnets and super magnets. Production is dominated by China and western governments are providing big sources of financial support for projects showing potential for future production and processing.

Typical intersections at the Jupiter prospect grade some two to three times those of the similarly clay-hosted Chinese deposits, with access to infrastructure described as “second to none” by Venture featuring sealed road access via the route between Mount Magnet and the port of Geraldton, which is paralleled by a commercial gas pipeline and grid-power infrastructure and can also be accessed via the Great Northern Highway from Perth.

Since Venture’s significant board refresh in May, it has continually reinforced its commitment to making the most of its Jupiter opportunity. Now, with a big sack of cash swung over its shoulder, management appears ready to pin back its ears and fulfil its promises.

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