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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Aquila To Sell Reef, Bend Sites, Focus on Back Forty

Issue Date: June 3, 2021

Canadian-based mining company Aquila Resources, Inc. is planning to sell its interests in two central Wisconsin ore deposits containing gold and copper to put more focus on its business interests in the Back Forty Mine, which is located on the banks of the Menominee River in Lake Township, Michigan, about 20 miles north of Menominee.

In a news release issued on Tuesday, June 1, Aquila Resources announced its intent to sell the Reef deposit in Marathon County and the Bend deposit in Taylor County to a private company dubbed "Newco" for a reported $7,000,000.

Guy Le Bel, President & CEO of Aquila, commented, "We are very pleased to have reached an agreement in principle to monetize our non-core Wisconsin assets. The transaction provides Aquila with immediate cash without diluting Aquila shareholders. It also provides us with meaningful upside exposure to an exciting new exploration focused company with the resources to explore the Bend and Reef properties as Aquila focuses on the development of Back Forty."

According to the news release, total consideration of $7,000,000 payable to Aquila will consist of cash consideration of $3,000,000, of which $1,000,000 will be advanced immediately as a deposit, and shares in Newco with an estimated value of of $4,000,000 on completion of the go-public transaction.

The Bend deposit, located within the Chequamegon National Forest about 19 miles north of Medford, was discovered in 1986 and first drilled in the 1990s. It contains copper, gold and silver, totaling an estimated 4.23 million tons of ore that would be accessed via an underground mine. The Reef project, located in Marathon County, is expected to yield mainly gold.

Aquila has an exploration license through the federal Bureau of Land Management, according to the DNR, and was reevaluating the deposit before the sale. The company also has an exploratory license through the DNR, which expires at the end of the month, and reports are that the company has not indicated that it will submit any exploration plans before the permit expires. 

Reports are that no applications for exploratory licenses for the Reef and Bend projects have been submitted by a new company to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Aquila has not notified the DNR of the sale of its interests, but is not required to.

Subject to the necessary approvals, Newco will list itself on the TSX Venture Exchange, a Canadian stock exchange, the release said. No other information on Newco was given in the news release, and no information about it was available online.

Completion of the transaction is subject to certain conditions including definitive documentation, completion of financing by Newco, listing of Newco on the TSX-V (a Canadian stock exchange) and receipt of all necessary third-party consents and approvals, including the approval of the TSX-V. According to the news release, if the transaction does not close, Aquila will return the deposit in shares of Aquila (subject to the receipt of all necessary approvals of the Toronto Stock Exchange) or in cash, depending on the circumstances.

No other information on Newco was given in the news release, and no information was available about the company online.

Dana Dziedzic, Government-Community Relations Advisor for Aquila, said the pending transaction "provides immediate cash to Aquila Resources, while allowing our shareholders to continue to benefit from exploration success at Bend and Reef through Aquila's ownership position in newco. The transaction is a win-win that Aquila can continue focusing its resources on the development of Back forty Mine in Menominee County, Michigan, while at the same time newco raises capital and explores Reef and Bend." Dziedzic said additional transaction details will be disclosed when the definitive agreement is announced in the next 45 days or so.

Aquila Resources Inc. is a Canadian-based company, and has headquarters for the Back Forty project in Stephenson, Mich.

Tom Boerner, owner of a property adjoining the mine site, staunch opponent of the mine, and frequent anti-mine spokesman, said in 2006 Aquila negotiated a "reverse takeover transaction" or merger with a company called Newco. He expressed belief that this proposed transaction may be "a way to get $1 million into Aquila without them having to get more money from Osisko - or declare bankruptcy." He believes if the deal with Newco falls through, Aquila can pay back the $1 million in Aquila stock.

The proposed Back Forty Mine is expected to yield gold, zinc and copper. The project has generated strong opposition from local and state-wide groups, including the Coalition to Save the Menominee River, adjacent property owners in Marinette and Menominee counties, and the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, which claims the proposed mine is located on a site sacred to the origins of their tribe. Some of the lawsuits against various permits have stated that Aquila's mining permit applications lack an understanding of the true impact of a proposed mine on the banks of the Menominee River.

In January, a Michigan administrative law judge denied a wetlands permit for the Back Forty Mine, ruling in favor of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and noting that "the project is not in the public interest" and would have negative effects on surrounding cultural and historic resources. According to a press release issued by legal advisors for the Menominee Tribe of Indians, the permit would have allowed Aquila Resources "to fill, excavate, and drain Menominee River wetlands in the process of constructing the proposed open-pit mine and ore-processing facility, significantly lowering the area groundwater table, irretrievably devastating area wetland ecosystems, and contaminating the river with acid-mine pollution."

Subsequently Aquila announced it was surrendering mining permits that had already been approved and dropping efforts to reinstate its wetland permit for the Back Forty project. The company indicated it was redesigning its proposed Back Forty plans to include underground mining and would submit appropriate new permit applications.


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