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For those not up on their Brothers Grimm, Rumpelstiltskin was an unpleasant little fellow that was able to spin straw into gold. Exeter Resource Corp (AMEX: XRA ) is similarly spinning out a golden offering that should interest any Fool seeking an advanced-stage project on its way to becoming a mine.
Back in 2004, Exeter made a push into the Patagonian region of Argentina through a deal with AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU ) . This netted the company a basket of properties, with the jewel being Cerro Moro. At the time, Cerro Moro already had seen a few dozen holes drilled, resulting in some high-grade gold/silver intercepts.
The following year, Exeter made similar moves in Chile, hooking up with Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP ) in the southern part of the country and optioning properties in the Maricunga district from Anglo American. The latter deal led to Exeter's control of Caspiche, which has since become the company's flagship project. This is a huge property way up in the Andes (elevation: 2.6 to 2.9 miles), near Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX ) and Kinross Gold's (NYSE: KGC ) equally unwieldy Cerro Casale project. Both sport around 20 million ounces of gold and five billion pounds of copper, give or take. Given the challenging setting, however, these projects are no slam dunk.
Exeter has busily advanced both Cerro Moro and Caspiche over the years, through extensive drilling and other studies. Both saw resource estimates released last year. Cerro Moro's 646,000 ounces of inferred gold equivalent resources don't sound like much compared to Caspiche, but at a grade of half an ounce per ton, that's some very valuable rock. Also consider that Santa Cruz province, while chilly, is hot on mining, having recently welcomed Pan American Silver's (Nasdaq: PAAS ) Manantial Espejo mine with open arms.
Cerro Moro meets many of the criteria I seek in a potential mine. For that reason, I'm excited to see Exeter proposing to spin the asset out into a separate company. The "newco" will also get other Argentinean exploration properties and $25 million in working capital.
I imagine that the majority of Exeter investors are captivated by Caspiche, which holds even less appeal for me than Seabridge Gold's (AMEX: SA ) KSM project. If these folks dump their "newco" shares, I may be standing there to take some off their hands.