Noronex builds stake in Kalahari Copper Belt ground 

Copper hopeful Noronex (ASX:NRX) has grown its interest in the Witvlei Joint Venture in the Kalahari Copper Belt in Namibia to 95% with the acquisition of a further 25% stake.

The scrip and cash deal involves the issue of 5.5 million shares in Noronex subsidiary Larchmont Investments to Thunder Gold and a deferred payment of US$1 million, to be paid at the finalisation of a Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS).

The JV company, Aloe Investments Two Hundred Thirty Seven, wholly owns Noronex’s key licences covering the Witvlei and Dordabis projects. The Witvlei project currently hosts 10 million tonnes at 1.3% copper in defined resources.

“The increase in our JV interest to 95% significantly consolidates Noronex’s position on the belt and provides improved optionality for the further development of our Kalahari Copper Belt projects,” Executive Director James Thompson says. 

“The streamlined ownership structure for potential incoming investors or joint venture partners makes our significant Kalahari Copper Belt Holding in Namibia more attractive and should result in a simplified shareholding, reporting and operational structure for the exploration and development of the assets moving forward.”

The increase in stake cancels all the terms of the previous JV agreement.

The Kalahari Copper Belt, which runs from central Namibia into northern Botswana, has witnessed significant exploration and development in recent years.

The belt hosts the 60,000-tonne-per-annum Zone 5 mine in Botswana, which came online in 2019 and was sold for US$1.8 billion ($2.8 billion) in mid-2023. 

Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR), which has a $4.1 billion market capitalisation, also has mining operations in the Kalahari Copper Belt in Botswana including the Motheo Project, which the company acquired for $167 million in 2019 and started mining in 2023 and currently produces 30,000tpa. 

The company’s announcement comes as amid copper’s rally, prices notching fresh months-long highs with stocks at record lows and major operations facing disruptions.

As reported by Mining.com.au today (12 April 2024), earlier this week, the copper price surged to its highest point since late-January 2023, when it tipped over US$9,400 ($14,404) per tonne. This week it climbed to US$9,450 per tonne.

While it has come back slightly, several industry watchers see further gains on the horizon. 

Noronex’s Namibian portfolio spans 800,000 hectares. The company discovered a new area of mineralisation at the Daheim prospect, part of the Witvlei project, following drilling that hit up to 27m @ 1.6% copper.

The junior explorer is in the process of selling its Dordabis project, and as part of the deal to increase its interest in the Witvlei project, if the sale is finalised within six months of signing, Thunder Gold will receive 25% of the net proceeds. 

Write to Angela East at Mining.com.au

Images: Noronex
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Written By Angela East
Managing Editor Angela East is an experienced business journalist and editor with over 15 years spent covering the resources and construction sectors and more recently working as a communications specialist handling media relations for junior resources companies.