Aston Bay Holdings (BAY.V) surprised friend and foe when it announced BHP Billiton (BHP) as its joint venture partner on the Storm copper project. This JV agreement required BHP to spend at least C$40M on exploration at Storm within nine years of which at least C$2.5M will have to be spent within the next 24 months. We’re obviously still waiting to see the final and definitive agreement (which is expected in the second quarter of this year), but this seems to be a pretty good deal considering the current circumstances on the base metal markets.
Additionally, Aston Bay has been able to attract Thomas Ullrich as its COO and EVP Exploration, and that’s another exciting achievement. It’s quite special to see someone with this much experience (Ullrich worked for Almaden Minerals and most recently was the chief geologist for Antofagasta’s North American operations) join a small exploration outfit, and it looks like Aston Bay is taking advantage of the current downturn to pick up the ‘human assets’ it wants to add to the team.
Unsurprisingly, Aston Bay is taking advantage of the current strength in its share price to raise C$800,000 in an attempt to convert the working capital deficit on the balance sheet (which was –C$320,000 as of at the end of September) into a working capital surplus. The placement has been priced at C$0.20 per share (and it doesn’t look like the placement includes a warrant at all).