Jan Nelson
Rainmakers & Potstirrers

Jan Nelson

CEO: Copper 360


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‘We are now putting in a generator farm so that we can overcome the effects of loadshedding’

JAN Nelson – and partner Shirley Hayes – finally listed their junior miner Copper 360 on the JSE in May and, overall, things have gone pretty well for the new company. The listing revealed a key new backer for the fledgling copper producer in the Northern Cape in the form of the Ekapa Consortium which now owns and operates all the former De Beers diamond mines and surface recovery plants around Kimberley. Ekapa will become a 15% shareholder in Copper 360 and Nelson put his head on the block to secure Ekapa’s participation.

He struck a private agreement to sell Ekapa 10 million of his own Copper 360 shares at a price of 1 cent each if Copper 360 does not meet a guaranteed copper metal production target by end-February 2025. Nelson remains confident he will not have to stump up his shares despite delaying the commissioning date of the new modular flotation plant (MFP1) which had been previously set for end-November. But he is clearly under a lot of pressure to deliver operationally on his forecasts. The MFP1 plant will process sulphide ore from the nearby Rietberg Mine which is the first of several deposits to be mined by Copper 360. Expected production from Rietberg has been increased because of higher grades at the deposit while Copper 360 has also bought the nearby Nama Copper operation for R200m.

This gives not only additional copper tailings resources and surface rights, but also a fully operational copper concentrate plant with the capacity to treat 20,000 tons a month of copper sulphide ore. The end result of this – along with unbudgeted capital costs and slower-than-expected cash flow generation from the existing plant treating dump material – was a R274m debt and equity cash raise in December.


A geologist by profession, Nelson is one of the more colourful characters in South African mining. He came to prominence while running Pan African Resources which he developed from a ‘wild cat’ exploration outfit into a respectable junior gold miner. Reportedly forced out by BEE partner Shanduka Resources, Nelson took a year off to go surfing, during which he bought a surf shop in Strand. His voicemail message at that time was: “I’m surfing. I will call you back between sets.” He got back into junior mining via Colin Bird’s Xtract Resources but the two fell out and Nelson eventually found his calling in the Northern Cape.

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