The West

Sirius Resources' Nova nickel-copper discovery could be a $260 million-plus windfall for veteran prospector Mark Creasy and put him among WA's 10 richest people.

Mr Creasy, whose worth was estimated at $295 million in WA's Rich List last year, has not only benefitted from a $80 million-plus surge in the value of his Sirius shares, but also through a direct stake in the Nova discovery that could be worth more than $100 million.

On top of this, the prospector who made his first fortune two decades ago by selling the Bronzewing and Jundee mines to Joe Gutnick's Great Central Mines, has options in Sirius that were chronically out of the money last year but could be conservatively valued at more than $80 million today.

When Sirius was trading at 5.7¢ in late July, Mr Creasy's stake was worth just a little over $2 million.

The Nova discovery, north-east of Norseman, could push Mr Creasy's wealth to more than $500 million.

Speaking to _ WestBusiness _yesterday, Mr Creasy said although he was grateful for the share price turnaround, people tended to forget that investments in small exploration companies quite often "went the other way".

"Two months I go I was an idiot," Mr Creasy said, referring to Sirius' share price before Nova.

"Now I'm a genius. But my shares cost me an average of 50¢, so when they were 7¢ or so I was feeling a bit bruised and unhappy."

Mr Creasy's involvement in Sirius stems from the mid-1990s through the company's former incarnation, Croesus Mining.

He pegged the site in 1979 and sold it off to Sirius in 2010, maintaining a 30 per cent stake.

The industry veteran, known widely in WA mining circles as the "prospector of the century", said he rated the Nova find "close to the top".

"The first drill hole was an absolute ripper," he said. "It's a little bit early to call the size of it, but it's obviously a very significant discovery." He said he had been unsurprised by the market reaction, which has seen Sirius' share price jump more than 3500 per cent in less than two months.

Without big discoveries of this nature, and the associated windfalls, no one would punt.

"Most people lose their money when it comes to exploration," he said.

"And it's things like the discovery of DeGrussa (Sandfire Resources) and now ourselves with Nova that keep people interested."

WA's Rich List from 2011 is set for some major shake ups with the fall in the value of iron ore prices. But increases in the value of gold and the spectacular run of Sirius could change the order.

The 2012 edition of WA's Rich List will be published in November.

The West Australian

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