A Kalahari Minerals
copper exploration
site in Namibia
 
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 February 2009 – AIM-listed junior Kalahari Minerals (Kalahari) – an emerging exploration company with a portfolio of copper, base metal and uranium interests in Namibia – has expressed concern that resource giant Rio Tinto has embarked on a creeping takeover of the company.

Kalahari says it has been notified by Rio Tinto that it bought another 1.93% of the company, taking its total stake in Kalahari to 15.8%.

According to Mark Hohnen – chairperson of the junior exploration company – this is because of Kalahari’s strategic 40% stake in ASX-listed junior Extract Resources (Extract). Extract owns the Rössing South uranium project in Namibia, which adjoins Rio Tinto’s Rössing Uranium mine.

Rio Tinto also holds a 14.4% direct stake in Extract, which it has built up since September 2008.

Hohnen said: “The board of Kalahari believes it is important for shareholders to be apprised of Rio Tinto’s further stake-building in the company.”

Fin24.com reports that while Rio Tinto’s increased interest represents an endorsement of Extract’s prospects, and of the Rössing South deposit in particular, the board of Kalahari considers it imperative for Kalahari and Extract to remain independent from Rio in order to fully secure the inherent value of Extract’s projects.

Rio Tinto spokesperson Nick Cobban said: “Rössing South is an early stage exploration project situated close to Rössing Uranium which shows some promise. We are interested in discussing with the board of Extract how we might maximise value for shareholders in both Extract and our Rössing mine,” he added.

Hohnen said the initial resource estimate for Rössing South Zone One of 108 million pounds of U3O8 was published on January 27. The resource statement for Zone Two – which was due by the end of July – was likely to be at the "higher end" of the earlier estimate of about 105m lb.