Cloncurry Copper Mine

Funding approval for $329m metal project in NWQ

A metal producer has been approved funding for its $329 million copper project in northwest Queensland.

Altona Mining recently secured approval from China-based Sichuan Railway Investment Group (SRIG) for finance to develop the Cloncurry Copper Project, 95km northeast of Mount Isa.

Altona has agreed, subject to conditions, for SRIG to fund the project through its Hong Kong subsidiary, China Sichuan International Investment Limited (CSII).

“It is great news that all Chinese approvals required to finalise this transaction have been obtained. I look forward to updating shareholders once we have been advised on the outcome of FIRBs review of the transaction,”  Altona managing director Dr Alistair Cowden says.

The transaction now requires two primary approvals:

  • Sichuan Provincial Government
  • Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)

Approval of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council of the Sichuan Province of the Peoples Republic of China has already been granted.

CSII’s remaining condition precedent is FIRB approval. CSII has met with Australian Treasury officials and plans to lodge the application for FIRB approval shortly. Unless there are requests for additional information, the statutory period for a decision from FIRB is 30 days and 10 days for notification.

The project involves developing a 7 million tonne per annum open-pit mine and flotation plant, which will be able to produce 39,000 tonnes of copper and 17,000 ounces of gold annually. The project will have an initial mine life of 11 years. Altona expects capital costs will be lower due to the depressed market for mining construction.

A revised mine plan layout has been approved.

Key amendments include:

  • a new open pit at Turkey Creek Mine
  • waste rock storage from the Turkey Creek Mine
  • increase to mine life and total tonnage treated
  • re-location and increased capacity of the Tailings Storage Facility
  • a larger flood protection bund and diversion channel around the Little Eva Pit to permit a larger pit

Altona recently sealed a joint venture (JV) deal with SRIG for the project. The contract will provide enough capital to cover the project’s full production expenses, leaving a remainder of $294m plus $18m in contingency funds. The enlarged entity will be called Roseby Copper.

The grant of the amendment is a key condition precedent to the completion of the SRIG JV.

Altona will manage Roseby Copper for three months after which Roseby will have its own independent management appointed.

On closing of the transaction, CSII will make a cash contribution of US$213.53 million to purchase shares in Roseby Copper and will own 66 per cent.

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