Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., an innovator in the field of deep-ocean exploration, has successfully achieved an equity interest of 79.9% in Bismarck Mining Corporation (PNG) LTD (Bismarck) in exchange for Odyssey’s common stock totaling 249,584 shares.
The main asset of Bismarck is an exclusive exploration license that covers about 320 km2 of a subsea area comprising a minimum of five potential exploration targets in two varied mineralization types—epithermal and modern placer gold related to seamount.
With regards to Odyssey’s acquisition, the seller and Bismarck signed a royalty agreement under which Bismarck will pay the seller a 2.496% net smelter royalty on minerals extracted from the license region.
The license region is located contiguous to the Lihir Island in Papua New Guinea, where one of the largest known terrestrial gold deposits in the world is now being mined and processed by a leading international mining company.
The deposit represents a substantial strategic value to Odyssey and introduces useful diversification to its mineral property portfolio. Earlier exploration expeditions performed in the license area, including a survey carried out by Odyssey, indicate the potential presence of a polymetallic resource with commercially feasible grade gold content.
Besides, it is believed that both the subaqueous debris fields inside the area and contiguous to the terrestrial Ladolam Gold Mine have evolved from the same volcanogenic source that is presently being mined on the Lihir Island.
Odyssey is quickly starting to develop the exploration plan of Bismarck to confirm and measure the base metal and precious content of the potential resource. Moreover, Odyssey is planning environmental studies and surveys accruing to environmental permitting in adherence to the requirements of Papua New Guinea.
John Longley President and COO of Odyssey, along with an Odyssey advance team, spent the past week in Papua New Guinea, determining baseline business functions required for an effective program and meeting with regulatory authorities. Additionally, the team met with experts in local mining as well as environmental law and logistics support service companies for future marine operations in the license area.
We are looking forward to applying Odyssey’s 20-plus years of deep ocean exploration experience to help Bismarck, PNG and Lihir understand the full potential of the resource and environment in the license area. Our meetings in October of last year and again last week reaffirm that PNG will be an excellent host to our operations. We look forward to working with their government agencies and businesses in a collaborative and transparent manner to realize the full benefit of the resource for not only the company but the country.
John Longley, President and COO, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
The latest acquisition of the equity interest in Bismarck further develops Odyssey’s business plan, which concentrates on responsible development of subsea mineral assets to generate and achieve long-term and near-term value for the company, host countries, and shareholders.
Odyssey is actively extending its subsea mineral portfolio through acquisition of mineral rights and deposits, development of the latest projects, and via a leveraged contracting model that enables value to be achieved in deep-sea mineral projects through the provision of the company’s specialized services.
Such assets are being further developed to the value creation curve, which presents opportunities to monetize them by selling stakes in these individual assets at any development phase. Earlier, a percentage of Odyssey’s Mexican phosphate project was sold off for $27.5 million during a preliminary stage of the company’s development before the assessment of resources. Recently, Odyssey announced an LOI to sell around one-third of the 15% equity held by the company in an early stage mineral project for about $5 million. This transaction value balances the company’s remaining interest in this project at $10 million, albeit as required by GAAP, no value is presently assigned to this asset on the company’s balance sheet.
“In my previous communications, I’ve discussed our new business model, which includes the development of multi-billion-dollar assets through the discovery and development of valuable seafloor mineral deposits while being responsible stewards of the environment. This acquisition is an example of our successful execution of our business plan, and we are focused on adding other new subsea mineral deposits around the world to our expanding portfolio.
Mark Gordon, Chairman and CEO, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
Gordon added, “We’ve been evaluating this project for some time and believe it will add significantly to Odyssey’s portfolio. Millions of dollars were invested in development and exploration of the license area by the previous owners. We’re pleased that the acquisition was achieved in a non-cash transaction. The expense and time involved in developing a similar property to this level would have far exceeded the cost of this transaction, and the modest dilutive impact is more than compensated by the potential returns from this project.”