Contango Ore Inc   (CTGO)
Other Ticker:  
    Sector  Basic Materials    Industry Metal Mining
   Industry Metal Mining
   Sector  Basic Materials

Contango Ore Inc

Business Description

The Company is a Houston-based company, whose primary business is the participation in a joint venture to explore in the State of Alaska for gold ore and associated minerals. On January 8, 2015, the Company and Royal Gold, Inc. (“Royal Gold”), through their wholly-owned subsidiaries, consummated the transactions (the “Transactions”) contemplated under the Master Agreement, dated as of September 29, 2014 (the “Master Agreement”), including the formation of a joint venture, Peak Gold, LLC (the “Joint Venture Company”), to advance exploration of the Company's Tetlin Property, which is prospective for gold and associated minerals. As of June 30, 2016, the Joint Venture Company had leased or had control over an estimated 775,000 acres for the exploration of gold ore and associated minerals.

Contango Mining Company (“Contango Mining”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Contango Oil & Gas Company (“Contango”), was formed for the purpose of mineral exploration in the State of Alaska. Contango Mining initially acquired a 50% interest in properties from Juneau Exploration, L.P., (“JEX”) in exchange for $1 million and a 1.0% overriding royalty interest in the properties under a Joint Exploration Agreement (the “Joint Exploration Agreement”). On September 15, 2010, Contango Mining acquired the remaining 50% interest in the properties by increasing the overriding royalty interest in the properties granted to JEX to 3.0% pursuant to an Amended and Restated Conveyance of Overriding Royalty Interest (the “Amended ORRI Agreement”), and JEX and Contango Mining terminated the Joint Exploration Agreement. JEX assisted the Company in acquiring additional properties in Alaska pursuant to an Advisory Agreement dated September 6, 2012, and the Company granted to JEX a 2% overriding royalty interest in the additional properties acquired. On September 29, 2014, pursuant to a Royalty Purchase Agreement between JEX and Royal Gold (the “Royalty Purchase Agreement”), JEX sold its entire overriding royalty interest in the properties to Royal Gold. On the same date, the Company terminated the Advisory Agreement with JEX.

The Company was formed on September 1, 2010 as a Delaware corporation and on November 29, 2010, Contango Mining assigned all its properties and certain other assets and liabilities to Contango. Contango contributed the properties and $3.5 million of cash to the Company, pursuant to the terms of a Contribution Agreement (the “Contribution Agreement”), in exchange for approximately 1.6 million shares of the Company’s common stock. The transactions occurred between companies under common control. Contango then distributed all of the Company’s common stock to Contango’s stockholders of record as of October 15, 2010, promptly after the effective date of the Company’s Registration Statement Form 10 on the basis of one share of common stock for each ten (10) shares of Contango’s common stock then outstanding.
In connection with the closing of the Transactions with Royal Gold (the “Closing”), the Company formed Peak Gold, LLC and contributed to the Joint Venture Company its Tetlin Property near Tok, Alaska, together with other personal property (the “Contributed Assets”) with a historical cost of $1.4 million and an agreed value of $45.7 million (the “Contributed Assets Value”). At the Closing, the Company and Royal Gold, through their wholly-owned subsidiaries, entered into a Limited Liability Company Agreement for the Joint Venture Company (the “Joint Venture Company LLC Agreement”). The audited financial statements of Peak Gold, LLC for the years ended June 30, 2016 and 2015 are filed as an exhibit to this Form 10-K.

Upon Closing, Royal Gold initially invested $5 million to fund exploration activity. The initial $5 million did not give Royal Gold an equity stake in the Joint Venture Company. Royal Gold has the option to earn up to a percentage interest of 40% in the Joint Venture Company by investing up to $30 million (inclusive of the initial $5 million investment) prior to October 2018. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, Royal Gold contributed $5.7 million (in addition to its initial $5 million investment) to the Joint Venture Company and earned a percentage interest of 11.0%. The proceeds of Royal Gold’s investment have been and will be used by the Joint Venture Company for additional exploration of the Tetlin Property.


Since 2009, the Company's primary focus has been the exploration of a mineral lease with the Native Village of Tetlin whose governmental entity is the Tetlin Tribal Council (“Tetlin Tribal Council”) for the exploration of minerals near Tok, Alaska on a currently estimated 675,000 acres (the “Tetlin Lease”) and almost all of the Company's resources have been directed to that end. All significant work presently conducted by the Company has been directed at exploration of the Tetlin Lease and increasing understanding of the characteristics of, and economics of, any mineralization.

The Tetlin Lease originally had a ten year term beginning July 2008 which was extended for an additional ten years to July 15, 2028. If the properties under the Tetlin Lease are placed into commercial production, the Tetlin Lease will be held throughout production and the Company would be obligated to pay a production royalty to the Tetlin, which varies from 2.0% to 5.0%, depending on the type of metal produced and the year of production. In June 2011, the Company paid the Tetlin $75,000 in exchange for reducing the production royalty payable to them by 0.25%. In July 2011, the Company paid the Tetlin Tribal Council an additional $150,000 in exchange for further reducing the production royalty by 0.50%. These payments lowered the production royalty to a range of 1.25% to 4.25%, depending on the type of metal produced and the year of production. On or before July 15, 2020, the Tetlin has the option to increase its production royalty by (i) 0.25% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $150,000, or (ii) 0.50% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $300,000, or (iii) 0.75% by payment to the Joint Venture Company of $450,000.

Partnering with strategic industry participants to expand future exploration work. In connection with an evaluation of the Company’s strategic options conducted by the Board of Directors and its financial advisor, the Company determined to continue its exploration activities on the Tetlin Property through a joint venture with an experienced industry participant. As a result, the Company formed the Joint Venture Company pursuant to a Joint Venture Company's LLC Agreement with Royal Gold. Under the Joint Venture Company's LLC Agreement, Royal Gold is appointed as the manager of the Joint Venture Company (the “Manager”), initially, with overall management responsibility for operations of the Joint Venture Company through October 31, 2018, and, thereafter, provided Royal Gold earns at least a forty percent (40%) percentage interest by October 31, 2018. Royal Gold may resign as Manager and can be removed as Manager for a material breach of the Joint Venture Company LLC Agreement, a material failure to perform its obligations as the Manager, a failure to conduct the Joint Venture Company operations in accordance with industry standards and applicable laws, and other limited circumstances. The Manager will manage, and direct the operation of the Joint Venture Company, and will discharge its duties, in accordance with approved programs and budgets. The Manager will implement the decisions of the Management Committee of the Joint Venture Company (the “Management Committee”) and will carry out the day-to-day operations of the Joint Venture Company. Except as expressly delegated to the Manager, the Joint Venture Company's LLC Agreement provides that the Management Committee has exclusive authority to determine all management matters related to the Company. Initially, the Management Committee consists of one appointee designated by the Company and two appointees designated by Royal Gold. Each designate on the Management Committee is entitled to one vote. Except for the list of specific actions set forth in the Joint Venture Company's LLC Agreement, the affirmative vote by a majority of designates is required for action.


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