LAOS-focused copper and gold miner PanAust has signed a $US45 million ($50m) deal with Chile’s state-owned mining giant Codelco to take an operating stake in the Inca de Oro copper deposit in the country’s north.
Shares in the Brisbane-based miner went into a trading halt on Friday pending announcement of an acquisition, and PanAust is expected to announce the deal before the market opens today.
Codelco announced over the weekend it would sell PanAust a 66 per cent stake. It is believed another party, not mentioned by Codelco, is involved.
Studies show Inca de Oro could support a mine producing about 50,000 tonnes a year of copper and 40,000 ounces a year of gold. The proposed mill would take about 12 million tonnes of ore a year, making it roughly the same size as PanAust’s Phu Kham mill in Laos.
Initial resource estimates at Inca de Oro are of a 250 million tonne deposit with a grading of 0.46 per cent copper.
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A pre-feasibility study for the project is expected to be finished this half, followed by a feasibility study expected to take between 12 and 18 months.
If the studies are successful, construction should take about two years, indicating a 2014 start date is possible.