Weatherly International’s plans to acquire a large-scale copper deposit in Zambia – to build on its smaller production capabilities in Namibia – has failed, for now.
The company was unable to agree to an extension to a backstop date with Intrepid Mines in respect of the agreement to purchase the Kitumba project and as such the agreement for the acquisition has lapsed.
Intrepid had requested an extension to 30 April 2018.
However, Orion has agreed to allow the company to seek alternative financing for the Kitumba transaction and thecCompany is engaged in discussions with Intrepid in this regard.
Intrepid has notified Weatherly that the requisite consents for the transfer of Kitumba's shares to Weatherly have now been received from the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development in Zambia and from the Zambian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. The consent from the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development remains conditional upon payment by Intrepid of Property Transfer Tax on the transaction.
Development plans for Kitumba were based on large-scale and high capital cost development of the entire resource from the outset, and also included a decision to follow a relatively complex processing route using pressure oxidation to oxidize the sulphide minerals so that all of the contained copper could be leached and electro-won on site to produce copper cathode only.
Weatherly had intended to pursue a two-phase development approach focused initially on a Phase 1 development zone of higher-confidence and higher-grade mineralisation within the overall resource at Kitumba.
The underground mine plan was also going be revised to focus on this Phase 1 development area, with capital expenditure reduced to suit a Phase 1 mining production rate of 0.75 to 1.0 Mtpa of ore.
Further, Weatherly intended to evaluate a lower risk and lower cost processing route utilising a combination of flotation and atmospheric leaching plus solvent-extraction and electro-winning to produce a concentrate containing the sulphide minerals for sale to local smelters, plus producing refined copper cathode from the oxide minerals within the resource.