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Benton Receives Conditional Regulatory Approval for Great Burnt Copper-Gold Option and Expands Disclosure of Outstanding Net Smelter Returns

Aug 31, 2023

Benton Resources Inc. has entered into a binding letter of intent with Spruce Ridge Resources Ltd., whereby Benton can earn an undivided 70% interest in Spruce's Newfoundland properties (the "Property") including the Great Burnt Copper deposit and South Pond Gold and Copper zones (the "Option"). The Company has received conditional approval by the TSX Venture Exchange (the "Exchange") for the Option, pending this disclosure of the Net Smelter Return ("NSR") from previous operators/owners of the Property. Under previous agreements, there exists a 2% NSR royalty in favour of Glencore (as a successor to Noranda) on mining lease ML211 and part of Exploration Licence 21732M that was part of former Exploration Licence 10210M, which covers the area of the Great Burnt Copper Deposit. In addition, if commercial production commences from this lease, then a cash payment of $1,000,000 or the issuance of common shares representing equivalent value must be made to Glencore.

Under the agreement between Pavey Ark and Spruce, Pavey Ark will retain a 0.5% NSR royalty on any production from Mining Lease ML211 and that part of Exploration Licence 21732M that was part of former Exploration Licence 10210M. Pavey Ark will retain a 2% NSR royalty on any production from the Mineral Exploration Licenses numbered 6682M, 6683M, 9881M, 20961M and that part of 21732M that was not part of former Exploration Licence 10210M. 

Highlights of the Option 
Under the terms of the Option, Benton can earn a 70% undivided interest in the Property by:

  • making a $40,000 cash payment to Spruce upon receipt of final Exchange approval;
  • issuing to Spruce 15 million common shares in the capital of Benton ("Benton Shares") as follows:
    • 5,000,000 Benton Shares subject to a four-month regulatory trading restriction;
    • 5,000,000 Benton Shares subject to a four-month regulatory trading restriction plus an additional eight-month trading restriction;
    • 5,000,000 Benton Shares subject to a four-month regulatory trading restriction plus an additional twenty-month trading restriction; and
  • completing $2.5 million in exploration expenditures on the Property within 36 months of the date of the LOI, of which $1.0 million must be expended by the first anniversary of the LOI, subject to the right of Benton to accelerate the completion of such expenditures and share issuances at its election.

Once a 70% interest in the Property is earned by Benton, the Property will be operated as a participating joint venture.

Company President and CEO Stephen Stares, stated, "This project provides Benton with another prospective opportunity in central Newfoundland, which is ranked one of the best mining jurisdictions worldwide. We're excited to be building off a great land position with many known zones that are open for expansion and the potential for new discoveries provides confidence for future exploration success. Benton will plan an aggressive exploration program that will commence as soon as possible." 

Commenting on the Option, interim Spruce President and CEO, Steve Balch, explained that, "Spruce is very pleased to be partnering with Benton, a well-known exploration company with deep roots in Newfoundland. This agreement forms part of our plan to diversify our property obligations while acquiring additional critical mineral resources through a combination of expertise and leverage of our security portfolio, including our 5.5 million common shares of Canada Nickel Company Inc. We see this as a good time to expand and diversify our asset base."

Great Burnt Copper-Gold Project 

The Great Burnt Main Zone has an NI 43-101 compliant resource prepared in 2022 for Spruce by P&E Mining Consultants Inc. of 667,000 Tonnes (47.2 Mlb) Cu at 3.21% (indicated) and 482,000 Tonnes (25.0 Mlb) Cu at 2.35% (inferred) contained within mining lease 211(10210M). The Copper resource remains open to the south and at depth. Highlights of the drill programs to date include:

  • GB20-05: 27.20 m of 8.06% Cu, including 7.75 m of 16.88% Cu
  • GB20-20: 22.75 m of 6.89% Cu, including 12.55 m of 10.59% Cu
  • GB18-05: 20.94 m of 6.21% Cu, including 6.98 m of 10.71% Cu
  • GB18-06: 9.97 m of 7.45% Cu, including 5.03 m of 11.42% Cu
  • GB16-08: 7.50 m of 9.45% Cu, including 3.00 m of 19.30% Cu
  • GB16-09: 5.75 m of 6.68% Cu, including 1.50 m of 11.70% Cu

Exploration at the South Pond Zone has identified potential for both copper and gold along several kilometers of strike. Highlights of the 2021 drill program include:

  • SP21-01: 1.69g/t Au over 51.00 m, including 3.19g/t Au over 11.00 m, within 10 m of surface
  • SP21-03: 2.36g/t Au over 15.00 m, including 11.33g/t Au over 1.00 m
  • SP21-08: 1.75g/t Au over 21.20 m, including 2.82g/t Au over 10.20 m
  • SP21-11: 1.34g/t Au over 17.60 m, including 2.48g/t Au over 4.20 m
  • SP21-14: 2.06g/t Au over 21.00 m
  • SP21-16: 1.72g/t Au over 10.00 m

Note: Widths quoted are true core length, true widths are estimated at approximately 70% of core lengths

Stephen House (P.Geo.), Vice President of Exploration for Benton Resources Inc., the 'Qualified Person' under National Instrument 43-101, has approved the scientific and technical disclosure in this news release and prepared or supervised its preparation.

About Benton Resources Inc.

Benton Resources is a well-financed mineral exploration company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol BEX. Following a project generation business model, Benton has a diversified, highly prospective property portfolio of gold, silver, nickel, copper, platinum group elements and, most recently, lithium and cesium assets. In addition, it currently holds large equity positions in other mining companies that are advancing high-quality assets. Whenever possible, BEX retains net smelter return (NSR) royalties with potential long-term cash flow.

Benton is also a 50/50 partner in a strategic alliance with Sokoman Minerals Corp. through three large-scale joint-venture properties, including Grey River Gold, Golden Hope, and Kepenkeck in Newfoundland.

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