Stock Snippets: EVN, NTO

Thursday saw some good news from Evolution Mining regarding its Ernest Henry mine, while it may well be game, set and match in the long-running battle for Nitro Software.


Evolution Mining (ASX: EVN) has surprised with news of a completely new area of gold mineralisation at its Ernest Henry mine in northern Queensland.

“New drillholes completed as part of the ongoing Ernest Henry exploration program have returned gold and copper assay results for Bert, which is a new mineralisation area at Ernest Henry located below and adjacent to the existing open pit,” Evolution said.

That news holds out the possibility of a further extension of the mineralisation and resource at the mine.

Evolution first bought a stake in Ernest Henry in 2016 and gained full control in late 2021 and started a series of new drilling campaigns to try and expand the existing reserves beyond those identified in its pre-feasibility study (or PFS which is being done to evaluate expanding operations at the mine) and in several other areas of interest.

Some of this drilling has been testing ground under the 775-metre resource limit for the PFS and has encountered new areas of gold copper mineralisation.

The PFS was supposed to have been finished by the end of 2022 but Evolution said in February that June 30 is now the new target date.

In the February release of the company’s December 31 mineral resources data, Evolution said Ernest Henry had seen its mineral resources increased by a third to 94.8 million tonnes at 1.27% copper and 0.75g/t gold for 1.2 million tonnes of contained copper and 2.3 million ounces of contained gold.

That was from the December 2021 estimate of 71.4 million tonnes at 1.24% copper and 0.73g/t gold for 885,000 tonnes of copper and 1.7 million ounces gold.

The increase over the year was 618,000-ounce increase (37%) in contained gold ounces and 322,000 tonne increase (36%) in contained copper tonnes.

Evolution said “significant growth targets exist beyond the currently modelled resource domains.” at Ernest Henry

“These areas remain to be drilled down plunge of the Main Lens ore body at depth and in the untested region that separates the Main Lens from Ernie Junior. Recent underground drilling is confirming continuity of mineralised widths outside the Mineral Resource outlines.

But this week’s report is based on drilling from the existing underground area that has found a new mineralisation area located below and adjacent to the existing open pit and has been named Bert!

“The recent Bert drilling results reinforce potential for a separate ore body to be developed parallel to and stratigraphically beneath the main ore body which is accessible from the ramp system in the pit and remains open down-plunge.

“These results are in addition to, and not included, in Evolution’s recent Annual Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve Statement released on 16 February 2023,” Evolution said.

Evolution also said that a separate zone of mineralisation located along the hanging wall of Bert shows gold grades that are significantly higher than usual.

“Crucially, the drilling at Bert is defining copper and gold mineralisation in a location that could be accessed from the ramp system in the pit, with potential to become an additional source of ore independent of hoisting capacity in the shaft.

Bert remains open down-plunge and has potential to follow the main mineralisation zone at depth unlocking significant potential to grow the Mineral Resource in future drilling programs. A program will start later in 2023.

Evolution shares rose nearly 4% on Thursday to end at $2.94.


Is it game over in the takeover battle for Nitro Software (ASX: NTO) after the company told shareholders to accept local private equity firm Potentia Capital’s sweetened offer of $532.3 million, weeks after they rejected A$526.9 million from Canadian firm Alludo?

Nitro shareholders early last month rejected Alludo’s $2.15 per-share bid, after which Potentia hinted at hiking its offer, securing access to the software company’s books and making a $2.17 apiece offer last week.

Nitro said it now considers Potentia’s latest offer to be “superior” to Alludo’s, and unanimously recommends shareholders accept it in the absence of any other better offer.

The shares rose 0.9% to $2.20 at one stage, then retreated back to end at $2.18, where they finished on Wednesday and still under the potential peak price from Potentia if the offer is a success, but well above Alludo’s current price.

Potentia, which has a 19.31% stake in Nitro, has said its offer could go as high as $2.25 per share if it obtained a 75% stake in Nitro by the end of March and if at least 25% of total Nitro shareholders accepted a scrip offer, Nitro added.

Alludo and Potentia have been battling for control of Nitro since last August as the attractions of tech growth stocks have faded in the face of high inflation and tighter monetary policy from central banks.

It’s now up to Alludo to go again, if it wants to keep up this long battle.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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