Altona moves closer to realisation of Cloncurry Project value
· Sichuan Railway Investment Group (“SRIG”) have, subject to a number of conditions, agreed to form a joint venture to develop the Cloncurry Project by contributing US$214m for a 60% interest.
· The Cloncurry Project mine life will likely be extended by approximately two years to thirteen years by including the Turkey Creek discovery.
· Altona regained control of the Roseby South Project to the south of the Cloncurry Project which were subject to an earn in arrangement with a third party.
· Altona completed a tenement consolidation process, whereby 18 exploration tenements in Queensland have been combined to form 4 larger tenements.
Review and results of operations
Cloncurry Copper Project
Altona concluded a binding Framework Agreement with SRIG on 26 June 2015. The agreement is subject to certain conditions.
The parties have agreed to establish an incorporated joint venture holding Altona’s Cloncurry Project located in north-west Queensland, with SRIG to contribute cash of US$214.46 million and to have a 60% interest in the joint venture. Altona will retain a 40% interest in the joint venture and is to contribute the Cloncurry Project and cash of US$38 million
The cash to be contributed by the joint venture partners of US$252.46 million equates to A$355.6 million at an exchange rate of AUD:USD 0.71 and will exceed the estimated capital cost (A$294 million) for the Little Eva mine and provide a substantial allowance for working capital and overruns.
Altona will continue to husband its cash resources whilst seeking to finalise the conditions necessary to formalise the transaction with SRIG. It is anticipated that formal agreements will be executed in March of 2016, with completion of the transaction in August 2016.
Four new ‘consolidated’ Exploration Permits for Minerals (EPMs 25757, 25759, 25760 and 25761) were granted in November 2015. This consolidation of 18 pre-existing mature EPMs with four fresh tenements simplifies and reduces the management cost of Altona’s Cloncurry and Roseby South Projects and increases the life of the tenure.
The pre-existing overlaying EPMs were relinquished on grant of the new EPMs. The grant of these tenements was facilitated by the finalisation of a new Ancillary Agreement pertaining to the EPMs with the Kalkadoon Native Tile Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC in October 2015.
Roseby South Project
The Roseby South Project (“Roseby South”) is 100% owned by Altona, and operated by Altona.
Roseby South abuts Altona’s 100% owned Cloncurry Copper Project but is not included in the SRIG Framework Agreement.
Roseby South covers an area of 475km² and covers the extension of the prospective stratigraphy which hosts both Altona’s Cloncurry Copper Project and MMG Limited’s Dugald River Zinc mine immediately to the north.
A large mineralised system has been identified at Companion within Roseby South and offers a near-term prospect for resource definition. Highlights from previous drilling include the following:
26 metres at 0.68% copper, 0.25g/t gold from 63 metres; including 15 metres at 1.15% copper and 0.41g/t gold.
34 metres at 0.75% copper, 0.21g/t gold from 54 metres; including 4 metres at 1.86% copper and 0.21g/t gold.
The current period results reflect Altona’s status of having sold its Finland mining operations and therefore no operations. However the Finnish operations are reflected in the comparative period results.
During the current period, Altona expended funds to progress both the SRIG transaction and advance the Cloncurry Project. Under the arrangement with SRIG, funds expended ($1.3 million towards exploration and evaluation) towards the advancing the Cloncurry Project will be treated as a component of Altona’s funding obligation in relation to the development of the Cloncurry Project. However, as the SRIG transaction is incomplete at this point of time, these activities continue to be treated as exploration and evaluation expenses within the Consolidated Statement of Profit or Loss and contribute to Altona’s loss for the current period of $2.7 million.
Administrative expenses whilst having been significantly reduced for the period are inclusive of costs associated with the advancement of the SRIG transaction (eg. legal and travel)
Altona continues to have a strong balance sheet with no debt and $43.6 million of cash placing it in a strong financial position.
The names of the Company’s Directors in office during the financial period and until the date of this report are:
Mr Kevin Maloney Chairman
Dr Alistair Cowden Managing Director
Mr Peter Ingram Non-Executive Director (resigned 26 November 2015)
Mr Paul Hallam Non-Executive Director
Mr Steve Scudamore Non-Executive Director
The principal activities of the Company and its subsidiaries during the course of the half-year were exploration and evaluation of mineral resources.
Dividends paid or recommended
No dividends were paid or declared during the half-year.
Since the sale of its Finnish operations to Boliden in October 2014, the Company has sought to reduce corporate overheads where possible. This has resulted in the Company retaining 8 employees at the date of this report.
Significant changes in state of affairs
In the opinion of the directors there are no significant changes in the state of affairs of the Company that occurred during the half-year ended 31 December 2015 that are not disclosed elsewhere in this report, the financial statements or the attached notes.
Significant events after balance date
There have been no significant events since the 31 December 2015 to the date of this report.
Under the option available to the Company under ASIC CO 98/0100, the amounts contained in this report and in the financial report have been rounded to the nearest $1,000.
Auditor’s independence declaration
Section 307 of the Corporations Act 2001 requires the auditor to the Group, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, to provide the directors of Altona Mining Limited with an Independence Declaration in relation to the review of this Half-Year Financial Report. The Auditor’s Independence Declaration on page 15 forms part of the Directors’ Report for the period ended 31 December 2015.
Signed in accordance with a resolution of the Directors made pursuant to Section 306(3) of the Corporations Act 2001
On behalf of the Directors.
Perth, Western Australia
Dated this 24th day of February 2016.