It goes to show just how reluctant millionaire prospector Mark Creasy is to put himself in the public spotlight that the prospect of having his photo taken was enough to deter him from watching the approval of a deal that will net him more than $230 million.
Creasy was notable in his absence at yesterday’s meeting of Sirius Resources shareholders, who overwhelmingly voted in favour of a transaction to buy his 30 per cent stake in the world-class Nova-Bollinger nickel-copper discovery for 70.6 million Sirius shares and $28m in cash.
The deal gives Sirius a 100 per cent interest in the project, simplifying the ownership structure ahead of what is estimated to be a $500m mine development.
An independent expert engaged by Sirius found the transaction to be “not fair but reasonable”, although Sirius managing director Mark Bennett said the strong shareholder approval and the rally in Sirius stock since it was announced suggested the deal was a “ripper”.
While press photographers hoping to snag a photo of the camera-shy Creasy were left disappointed, Bennett said the no-show was no surprise.
“It’s difficult to prise Mark out of his castle on Kings Park Avenue. He’s very publicity shy,” Bennett said.
Sirius shares have risen by almost 28 per cent since the deal was announced, with a surging nickel price adding to the stock’s rally.
A definitive feasibility study into the potential development of Nova-Bollinger is due for completion by midyear, leaving project approvals and financing as the next key hurdles.
The indications are that funding won’t be a problem, with Bennett in no doubt that the project will secure whatever debt and equity it needs.
“Without talking specifics, the support we’ve got from the banks is very, very strong,” he said.
“We haven’t finalised how we’ll fund this thing, but what I can say is that irrespective of which way we fund it we’ve got more than enough support.”
Avoiding a significant dilution of existing shareholders through an equity raising was important, Bennett said, although he said he was cautious about funding the development with too much debt.
The issue approved yesterday will help lift Creasy’s stake in Sirius to 35 per cent.