Top geo backed by leading resources funds believes he has discovered a potential new gold-copper district

With the gold price at an all-time record of US$2,354/oz and breaching new highs almost every day, many investors are left scratching their heads when they look at their gold stock portfolios.

Hedley Widdup, fundie and CEO of resources specialist Lion Selection Group (ASX:LSX), is known for his focus on ASX-listed, advanced projects which are close to existing infrastructure.

Hence our surprise at Reach’s Meet the Fund Manager webcast last year, when he presented his top pick Plutonic – a vast greenfield copper-gold project in the centre of Australia which is backed by Lion Selection Group, Lowell Resources and Sandfire as it approaches a 2025 IPO.

We will soon open a wholesale capital raise for Plutonic Limited. Click here to request the offer docs.

Lion Selection clearly went full-throttle on Plutonic, investing a total of $3 million (now owning 48.5%), with Hedley stepping on as Chairman and even venturing deep into the Australian outback with the prolific Plutonic Founder and MD Dr Kris Butera to see for himself.

When asked why, the veteran geo and minerals stock-picker can hardly hide his enthusiasm, stating:

“This is one of the most exciting things I have seen in exploration in a very long time; […] something which has literally hundreds to thousands of times multiple upside on the price at which we invested. [] If they discover something, it’s going to be a district – it’s not going to be one deposit, it will put that part of the Northern Territory on the map.”

Plutonic MD Kris Butera and LSX CEO Hedley Widdup (Source: LinkedIn)

Reach Markets will soon open an opportunity to invest in Plutonic at the same terms as Lion Selection. Click here to request the offer docs.

Plutonic – chasing hypergiant mineral systems

The company was founded by Dr Kris Butera, with the mission of discovering “hypergiant” mineral systems. The term “hypergiant” comes from astronomy, meaning a very rare type of star that is extremely large. With this metaphor, Plutonic is expressing that it is searching for deposits of enormous proportions that are so big a new mining district can be created from it.

An example of this is Cadia, one of Australia’s largest ever gold copper mining operations. The Newmont owned project holds reserves of 17 Moz of gold and 3.6Mt of copper, and its annual gold copper production is worth nearly 4 billion dollars at current prices.

Kris set his sights on what is now Plutonic’s Champion project. It is a vast area in the centre of Australia that is underpinned by an extremely large intersection of crustal structures – a  setting that has led to some of the largest discoveries in history including many major orebodies across Australia.

A historical survey for this area did not indicate much of value, only suggesting limestone, but the highly experienced geo disagreed.

He saw a strong alteration of the Earth’s crust and quartz veins that contain low levels of gold and copper, which points to mineral system that can carry vast amounts of gold and/or copper in as many as three possible mineral systems – porphyry, as well as low and high sulphidation epithermal.

The location of the Flaship Champion Project and secondary projects (Source: Feb24 Plutonic investor presentation)

As the Plutonic and Lion teams continued to explore their Champion project, it became apparent to them that this vast 6,500km2 tenement package has the potential to host a resource that could extend into the billions of tonnes of ore – thereby defining an entirely new mining district.

The team has designated a series of zones as high priority targets for further exploration after subjecting them to early stage exploration techniques including airborne hyperspectral surveying, geochemical modelling, rock chip sampling and structural groundwork. They believe all findings point to a vast consistency in the orebody which indicates that if mineralisation is found, it could extend at an enormous scale resulting in a new mining district.

The work conducted over the past four years has drastically increased the understanding of Champion. Plutonic took a bold geological concept and identified targets through rigorous fieldwork reconnaissance and geochemistry, before mapping 1,800km2 of the project with hyperspectral surveying in order to increase confidence in both the prospectivity of the targets and the targeting models.

The hyperspectral survey has outlined areas of alteration minerals that are significant because of their association with common mineral systems that can contain gold and copper. Rock chips to date have returned results up to 1.3 g/t Au, 21ppm Ag, 0.32% bismuth and 1,840 ppm copper – proving there is mineralisation in the region, the source of which Plutonic is on the cusp of discovering.

With Plutonic now in the process of deploying an exploration program that consists of geophysics and geochemistry, the key item being a $2.5 million+ Induced Polarisation geophysical imaging program, which will measure the chargeability of the subsurface and further screen the targets in order to get them ready for a drilling program that will swiftly follow, this could be an exciting time to get involved in Plutonic.

The campaign has already revealed many shallow, near surface chargeable zones with a large high chargeability and resistivity zone, which is consistent with quartz veins of elevated mineralisation and porphyry targets.

IP Line from the Champion Project’s McLovin Prospect (Source: LinkedIn)

Reach Markets will soon open an opportunity to invest in Plutonic at the same terms as Lion Selection. Click here to request the offer docs.

The Lion’s pride

Lion Selection Group (ASX:LSX) is one of Australia’s longest-running and best-known resources funds, having outperformed its benchmark by 3.4% pa from its 1997 inception and returning more than 341 cents per share as distributions to shareholders. This is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and multiple times LSX’ current market cap.

The LSX team has a long standing reputation of analysing deals to the ends of the earth, based almost exclusively on each opportunity’s geological merit. This has resulted in the fundie passing on countless opportunities because the technical support of the vision was not entirely clear.

But LSX just couldn’t pass on Plutonic. Having advanced through extensive due diligence tests, the explorer has now become a recipient of a significant portion of Lion’s focus and capital. The fund joined MD Kris Butera in his hunt for hypergiants with a first investment in 2022 and then a larger second tranche late last year.

LSX CEO Hedley Widdup traditionally invests in smaller, more advanced assets that are near sub-capacity mills. When asked why going off-piste with Plutonic he stated. “This is something which has literally hundreds to thousands of times multiple upside on the price at which we invested”.

Hedley entered funds management with the best background a resources investor can have – a seasoned career as a geologist. After graduating from Melbourne University’s prestigious BsC in Geology (Hons), he then worked at various mining companies – including the world-renowned Olympic Dam mine in South Australia. The project was acquired by BHP and is now one of the world’s largest producers of copper, gold and uranium.

But it’s not just expertise and money the team is bringing to the table. After almost three decades in the market, LSX has a deep network which can help progress its portfolio companies in all kinds of scenarios by bringing in the right partners at the right time. This could be vital for Plutonic’s progress.

Reach is offering wholesale investors the opportunity to invest in Plutonic at the same advantageous terms in which Lion Selection Group entered two years ago. Click here to request the offer docs.

The Plutonic Team – on a mission to find hypergiants

The opportunity to capture true alpha in resources investing largely rests in exploration success. The huge potential upside of ‘hitting pay dirt’ is what draws investors to this sector, one example being the recent >100x return of WA1 in less than two years.

Calling this ‘the thrill of discovery’, Plutonic Founder and MD Dr. Kris Butera has made it his life’s work to push the boundaries of exploration through the discovery of hypergiant mineral systems – the biggest deposits that can exist on Earth.

Over the past five years of rigorous exploration across Plutonic’s vast 6,500km2 NT tenement package Kris ventured into the desert many times to challenge the previously held belief that this region was home to nothing other than barren limestone and pegmatites.

Thanks to this work, Plutonic is now on the verge of launching the most pivotal stage of exploration on its Champion project. This project they now consider to be a hypergiant epithermal quartz vein system that contains gold mineralisation – with the potential of a gigantic porphyry zone as well.

Dr. Kris Butera is a highly experienced discovery and corporate geologist, geoscience innovator & company founder with extensive executive, geoscience and exploration leadership across Australia. He has strong discovery and target generation background across gold, copper, silver and other base, critical and defence metals. He is the Founder of ASX-listed companies Cygnus Metals Limited, 92 Energy Limited, Nickel X Limited, Koonenberry Gold Limited and Patriot Lithium Limited.

The highly regarded geologist has a huge following in Australia’s geo community – not just for this skill and success, but also for his non-conventional style and authenticity which extends to his looks (covered in tattoos), how he has named prospects (his favourite songs) and how he presents his company (he is not afraid to express his creativity and flair).

The Plutonic team on one of their reconnaissance missions (Source: Plutonic Website)

Another key specialist is Non-Executive Director Dr. Amanda Buckingham, who was the key geophysicist on the winning team of a Goldcorp competition that aimed to identify the best possible target for a major discovery, and did so by modelling data that was too complicated for most other explorers in order to find the best crack in the crust – exactly what Plutonic is doing at Champion. Amanda has 25+ years experience in mineral exploration and developing cutting edge geophysical processes across many continents and geological provinces.

Reach Markets is soon opening a capital raise for Plutonic, offering wholesale investors the opportunity to join the Plutonic team on their journey. Click here to request the offer docs.

Plutonic’s Flagship Champion Project – a future mining district?

The scale of this opportunity is a key consideration for any investor. The Plutonic team believes there is the potential for a regional, district-scale discovery that could rival the biggest gold and copper mines in the world.

To give context to just how large the epithermal gold field here is, you could fit ten Pajingo’s (a large gold mine in northern Queensland) inside of it – or several Cadia’s.

Epithermal systems have produced a significant portion of the world’s gold. They are usually dominated by gold and silver, but can also contain significant amounts of copper, lead, zinc and mercury. These systems have a diverse range of forms including disseminated bulk tonnage, veins, fault-hosted veins, stockwork veins, and breccias, which result from variations of the dominant control on their formation.

They usually form under low pressure and temperature conditions (below 300 degrees celsius) and typically only stretch down to a maximum of 1,500m below the water table. These deposits can have massive variances in size and grade – from 0.1g/t – >30g/t Au and less than 1g/t to several thousand g/t Ag, and tens of thousands of tons to billions of tonnes.

The vastness of Plutonics land package in the Australian outback is hard to grasp (Source: Plutonic Website)

Earlier this year the Plutonic team rejoiced upon a critical finding by Curtin University at Champion’s Asgard DomeNorth prospect after analysing the age of the system.

Geochronological results for alteration (sericite) associated with mineralisation from two samples of altered Paleoproterozoic intrusives (syenite and monzonite) returned Ar-Ar maximum age dates of 450 and 400 million years.

This age dating overlaps with the ages of most of the porphyry, epithermal and orogenic gold±copper mineralisation of the Tasmanides (Eastern Australia) during the Palaeozoic period. This period was responsible for over 250 million ounces of gold currently extracted or held within resources.

This finding was greeted by ecstatic reactions from everyone working on the project, because it greatly increased the strength of the hypothesis of the project containing economic grades of mineralisation. It also makes the concept Plutonic is trying to prove more relatable to investors who are familiar with the Australian deposits.

These results provide an important framework for their understanding of the likely genetic processes for mineralisation at Champion and give confidence to their field observations. Contemporaneous development of mineral systems at Champion and throughout the Tasmanides adds confidence to Plutonic’s targeting model and the endowment of the project. Curtin University has subsequently been engaged to carry out further research on the samples, with a view to better constrain the ages through cutting edge Rb-Sr age dating on the sericites.

There is also the G3 corridor to consider. Major structural corridors such as the G3 are known to host multiple mineral deposits with a variety of geological ages and commodity types, attesting to their long-lived nature and metallogenic importance. Notably, the G3 Corridor in the Northern Territory hosts the Paleoproterozoic-aged Tanami Gold Province, with a > 20 Moz endowment.

The G3 corridor as it stretches across Australia and through Plutonic’s Champion Project  (Source: Plutonic presentation)

This is significant because the G3 corridor also includes Newmont’s Tanami mine, which produces around 500kz of gold per annum and first produced in 1983. While being 1,000km away from Champion, it is related by the geology of the G3 Corridor – which stretches from North Western WA to Northern Victoria.

Northern Star (ASX: NST) has invested tens of millions of dollars in actively exploring and partnering up with juniors who are exploring along the G3 corridor, with the Tanami Goldfields continuing to produce a raft of encouraging results in this region, while operating under the established thesis of this area.

We will soon open a wholesale capital raise for Plutonic Limited. Click here to request the offer docs.

The Road Ahead: Working towards a 2025 IPO

As the company gears up for its maiden drilling campaign and a targeted 2025 IPO, the LSX network will play an increasingly key role in leveraging strategic partners to progress the project. As Hedley put it,

“ [If we find something] it will result in a nearology rush, and it will create a lot of value very quickly.”

Plutonic’s stage in their journey (source: Plutonic presentation)

The first hint at an economic mineralisation discovery from a drilling program would likely result in an influx of exploration capital from growth hungry major producers who are chasing tier one deposits.

This opportunity can be seen in Northern Star’s exploration spend along the G3 corridor, and shows the commitment of the majors to contribute to globally significant discoveries.

The most probable outcome entails Plutonic partnering with a prominent producer possessing the necessary capital to advance such a large-scale project upon discovery. Sandfire emerges as a potential avenue, given their dual role as a Plutonic shareholder and a tenement holder within the broader region.

Plutonic has 100% ownership of the Champion project with no legacy royalties, and could assess whether attaching a royalty to the project and selling it to a company with immediate access to the development capital would be the best option at the right time. The company could also retain a minority equity interest and act as a passive or active owner.

Any such outcome would be the well-deserved reward for years of hard work in the desert by Kris, Hedley and their teams.

If you are interested in joining Kris Butera and Hedley Widdup in their search for hypergiant mineral systems, click here to request the offer docs.

Reach Markets have been engaged by Plutonic Limited to manage this offer and may receive fees based on the uptake.

You should read the Offer Documents in full before making any decision on this wholesale investment. Any advice is general only and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs, and you should consider whether it’s appropriate for you. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

 

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