Perseus signs gold project cooperation deal with Saudi Arabia

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PERSEUS Mining has entered into a cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia to seek out late stage projects in Africa and exploration ventures.

The agreement is with Ajlan & Bros Mining & Metals Company (ABM), a mining division of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The partners will look at relatively under-explored regions of Africa including Algeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan at projects with a published feasibility study that can be advanced in the medium term. But “consideration would also be given” to exploration in Saudi Arabia, the Australian miner said.

Saudi Arabia is on a major push to advance its mining industry. This is in terms of its 2030 vision aimed at diversifying its economy, and earning carbon offsets by investing in critical minerals. A conference in January in Riyadh, Future Minerals Forum, attracted an estimated 16,000 delegates including executives from Vale and Barrick Gold, among others.

In December, Toronto-listed Platinum Group Metals signed a cooperation agreement with ABM to explore construction of platinum group metals smelter and base metals refinery in Saudi Arabia rather than South Africa.

Jeff Quartermaine, CEO of Perseus said the agreement with ABM opened up “a new area of endeavour in some of the most prolific, under-explored mineral provinces in the world.” Previously the company has replaced mineral reserves and grown production by extending into nearby regions in West Africa.

“To be gaining access to these areas in partnership with a Saudi based company gives us a high level of confidence that we will be well equipped to manage the culturally different settings that we may encounter and to navigate the challenges that arise in these jurisdictions from time to time,” said Quartermaine.

Perseus has already embarked on a step-out strategy. In February 2022 it announced the A$230m purchase of shares in Orca Mining, a Toronto-listed gold exploration firm that had developed the Meyas Sand gold project in Sudan. Unfortunately, civil war broke out in the country’s capital Khartoum just over a year later which resulted in Perseus delaying an investment decision on the project.

But in January this year it unveiled plans to move into East Africa with an all-cash offer for Orecorp which has the Nyanzaga Gold Project in Tanzania.

Quartermaine said at the time that if the acquisition of Orecorp was completed, Perseus would have three operating mines producing gold at a rate of over 535,000 ounces per year in the 2023 financial year, as well as two projects in development.