Australia-based Centaurus Metals has secured a binding call option to acquire a large-scale nickel sulphide project in the Carajas mineral province of Brazil from iron-ore major Vale, the company announced on Tuesday.
The miner, which is already developing the Jambreiro iron-ore project in Brazil, secured a 30-day call option over the Jaguar nickel sulphide project through a deal, which includes an asset swap arrangement on the Salobo West copper/gold project.
MD Darren Gordon said the transaction lifted Centaurus into the “much sought-after nickel sulphide development space”.
Jaguar has a resource of 40.4-million tonnes at 0.78% nickel for a total of 315 000 t of contained nickel, based on 55 000 m of diamond drilling.
“Nickel sulphide deposits like Jaguar are extremely rare globally and for Centaurus to be able to successfully acquire such an outstanding asset is a great result for the company and our shareholders,” said Gordon.
Centaurus would focus its initial efforts on the high-grade openpit potential of the project’s deposits, with the aim of progressing those zones towards production as rapidly as possible.
“This is an exceptional opportunity for Centaurus. Most of the premier mid-cap nickel sulphide mining and development companies on the ASX were born from assets divested by majors. Companies like IGO, Western Areas, Panoramic and Mincor were all built around assets that did not reach the threshold of the majors but were pivotal to building the valuations they have today and creating the foundations for quality midtier mining houses,” added Gordon.
The transaction will comprise an upfront cash payment of $250 000, the transfer of the Salobo West tenements to Vale, two deferred consideration payments totalling $6.75-million and a production royalty of 0.75%.
The transaction received a cool response from investors, with the company’s share price falling 22% to A$0.007 a share.