Astra Exploration Inc. (ASTR.TSX.V) announced a non-brokered private placement of up to CA$2.4 million Tuesday, and strategic investor Michael Gentile said he planned to “make a significant investment” in the company.
The Vancouver, British Columbia-based firm will use the net proceeds on exploration efforts and general working capital. In fact, this financing should fully fund the Phase 2 drill program at Astra's flagship project Pampa Paciencia in northern Chile, slated to start in Q3/22. During this upcoming campaign, the company will follow up on the high-quality gold-silver targets identified during initial drilling.
“I really liked the potential for scale and grade in an area of Chile that has excellent infrastructure, including nearby mills and producing assets,” Gentile said.
Astra Exploration directors and officers are also expected to take part in the offering. Gentile is a strategic investor in the mining and metals sector and has worked roughly 20 years in investment management and is the founding partner and senior portfolio manager of Bastion Asset Management in Quebec. He said he is currently invested in “about 20 early stage junior exploration companies.”
“I really liked the potential for scale and grade in an area of Chile that has excellent infrastructure, including nearby mills and producing assets.”
—Strategic investor Michael Gentile
“I try to identify as early on as possible assets that have the attributes to potentially become producing mines one day and then invest as early and cheaply (low maket cap) as possible,” Gentile said. “When I invest in a company like Astra, if my thesis is correct I’m looking to make 10-40x my money and hope to realize that value in my portfolio over the long term through eventual acquisitions or mergers of the companies in my portfolio.”
Brian Miller, CEO of Astra Exploration, said in a news release that Gentile’s interest is an endorsement for the company.
"His participation would be a testament to the company's potential as an attractive investment opportunity,” Miller said.
Much of Site Remains Unexplored
Astra released results this spring from its 30-hole reverse-circulation drill campaign at Pampa Paciencia, including one hole that returned 3 meters grading 14.48 grams per tonne gold (14.48 g/t Au) and 39.7 g/t silver (Ag) as part of a broader intercept of 2.71 g/t Au and 10.8 g/t Ag over 21 meters. The drilling showed the company that the mineralized zone in the Paciencia vein is at least 300 meters long and remains open at depth and along strike and that another vein, the Paciencia Oeste (Paciencia West), has a mineralized zone that is at least 200 meters long and is open at depth and along strike.
So far, Astra has drilled in a relatively small area that represents only about 10% of the project area. Phase 2 is expected to expand the open intersections and explore for more veins.
The company's private placement will comprise up to 12 million units priced at $0.20 apiece. Each unit consists of one common share and one common share purchase warrant. Each warrant allows the holder to buy one additional common share for $0.26 during a period of two years from the closing date of the offering.
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