INVESTORS on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) will get a rare thing in October – a copper production company when former gold executive Jan Nelson lists his Northern Cape mine called ‘Copper360′.
The assets will be listed on the JSE’s AltX but only once Nelson has completed the reverse takeover of his Big Tree Copper by SHiP, a company owned by Shirley Hayes who has been prospecting the region for about 20 years.
The combined unit – which is aiming for annual production of 10,000 tons in two years – will be renamed Copper360 as it presents the operators’ “view of the world including its environment and mineral potential”, said Nelson in an interview.
Hayes will be executive chairman of Copper360 while Nelson will be the CEO. The firm will retain “the tree” logo of Big Tree Copper, said Nelson.
“Copper360 will have eight times the reserves of Big Tree Copper and five times the annual production. It has 50 prospects over some 24,000 hectares under mining licence.
Copper360 has mining rights to properties that were once worked by Newmont Mining and Gold Fields before they were abandoned. It will process extant rock piles to produce copper cathode as well as re-treat slag for a copper concentrate product.
Nelson said Copper360 planned to raise about R300m on listing but the capital requirements for production as well as expansion were relatively light. “We plan to push production from 2,000 tons a year to 6,000 tons in the first year but alot of the infrastructure is already in place,” he said.
Copper360 will also have the benefit of investment by Coronation Asset Management which has a 6% stake in Big Tree Copper – a stake it took on condition Nelson went public.
The market for copper is strong currently despite a Covid-19 lockdown in China which is likely to impact on the country’s economic growth and an increase in Russian exports, said Goldman Sachs in a recent report.
“As we move towards an environment again of stronger China imports and falling LME [London Metal Exchange] inventories, this should offer a stronger offset to the macro pressures on the copper price,” the bank said.
Said Nelson: “There is some pressure at the moment as China is locking down but even if there is a cut in the production of electric vehicles, there still isn’t enough future production of the metal.”