Jan Nelson to list copper firm on ZAR X in new boost to Northern Cape’s mineral profile

Jan Nelson, CEO, Xtract Resources

JAN Nelson, the former CEO of Pan African Resources, is to bring a new copper play to South Africa’s ZAR X exchange, said BusinessLive.

Nelson’s company Cape Copper Oxide Company will list on the bourse in about three months as Big Tree Copper following the acquisition of copper dumps attached to Okiep Copper Company in the Northern Cape province.

According to BusinessLive, Big Tree Copper plans to mine 500 million tons a month of copper tailings through a plant expansion using R30m raised in capital from the listing.

“Our intention is to halve that 30 years to 15 years,” said Nelson referring to the 30 years of resources the company acquired. “We’ve got one plant we’re expanding and we’re going to build a second,” Nelson told BusinessLive.

Big Tree’s first R64m copper plant will be commissioned in July, producing 100 tonnes of copper a month by September, building up to 160 tonnes by November.

The first plant can be easily expanded to about 250 tons a month and the 10-month construction phase of the second plant of a similar size will start towards the end of 2021. The expansion and new plant will cost R85m.

Big Tree Copper will list on the ZAR X exchange. Nelson told BusinessLive that the choice of ZAR X ahead of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange was because it was a cheaper and quicker way into a listing. Initially, there would be a small free float of shares available for investors, he said.

“This is one of the few opportunities to have pure exposure to a listed copper company. We won’t be mining because we are just processing dumps, so we also come with strong green credentials of environmental rehabilitation, filling in old excavations in the area with our own tailings and restoring the area to natural vegetation,” he said.

The success of Big Tree Copper will further build out the reputation of the Northern Cape as a potential new copper producing district.

Orion Minerals has an option to buy Okiep Copper Company’s (OCC) mine which it intends to return to historic production levels of 40,000 tons a year.

Orion Minerals is currently seeking finance for the development of its A$432m (R4.95bn) Prieska Copper-Zinc Project which is located about 450 kilometres east of OCC, but still in the Northern Cape province.

Based on an optimised feasibility study completed last year, the Prieska Copper-Zinc Project is scoped to produce 20,000 tons of copper a year, and 70,000 tons of zinc a year. OCC could be redeveloped initially to produce 25,000 to 35,000 tons a year of metal production, rising to 40,000 tons annually after further development.

Last year, Smart said the Northern Cape could become a major mining province for South Africa. “Geologically, I can tell you, having gone around the world and looked at terrains, the Northern Cape is an absolute dripping roast,” said Smart.