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OreCorp prepares to deliver Tanzania's next big gold mine

DFS imminent for 3.1Moz high-grade project

OreCorp
OreCorp prepares to deliver Tanzania's next big gold mine

Emerging developer OreCorp is building momentum as it focuses on delivering first gold in 2024 at its high-grade, 3.1 million ounce Nyanzaga gold project in Tanzania.

It's set to be the country's first large-scale gold mine in more than a decade and the first built under the new regulatory regime led by Her Excellency, President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who took on the top job following John Magufuli's sudden death in March 2021.

The leadership change has turned a tide of international investments worth billions towards Tanzania and OreCorp's tireless work over the past few years sees Nyanzaga well-placed for development.

In the past six months alone, OreCorp has made a final payment to conclude its agreement with Barrick Gold in regards to the acquisition of Nyanzaga, established Sotta Mining Corporation Limited - a joint venture company which provides the government a 16% free carried interest and signed the associated agreements, plus received the special mining licence (SML) and transferred the environmental certificate, effectively permitting the project.

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OreCorp chairman Craig Williams with CEO and MD Matthew Yates at Nyanzaga in Tanzania

CEO and managing director Matthew Yates said receiving the SML in December was a huge achievement for OreCorp and a pivotal milestone towards development.

"It was the first SML granted for gold under the new legislative regime and a testament to Her Excellency the President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her team," he said.

OreCorp started the year with A$50 million in the bank and is well funded to rapidly advance Nyanzaga towards construction.

A definitive feasibility study is due before mid-year to build on the 2017 prefeasibility study (PFS), which outlined a 12-year mine producing an average annual 213,000oz.

The PFS had put the preproduction capex at US$287 million and all-in sustaining costs at $838/oz, with the current higher gold price - above $1,900/oz - providing a significant upside opportunity.

Aside from the financial metrics, the sheer scale and further potential at Nyanzaga is what makes it a unique opportunity and "one of the best undeveloped gold projects, certainly in Africa, if not globally," Yates told RESOURCEStocks.

Nyanzaga's 3.1 million ounce resource grading 4.03g/t puts it ahead of other projects under development including Asante Gold's Bibiani mine in Ghana and Youanmi's total 3Moz at 3.78g/t in Western Australia.

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OreCorp's Nyanzaga gold project in Tanzania

In other terms, Nyanzaga is approaching 6Moz.

Using a 0.5g/t cut-off grade rather than 1.5g/t takes the project's resource to 5.4Moz - not including the Kilimani resource within the SML of 5.64Mt at 1.21g/t gold for 220,000oz.

A resource update for Kilimani is due this quarter.

Final assays from a recent drilling program at Kilimani included 30m at 1.94g/t gold from 11m.

Yates describes the deposit as a bonus.

"Kilimani is one of a raft of opportunities both within the existing mining licence and surrounding licences but Nyanzaga will more than stand on its own two feet, with or without them," he said.

"There's also immense potential at Nyanzaga at depth that, at this point in time, we have not even contemplated.

"But just 60km away at [Barrick's] Bulyanhulu mine, there's mineralisation down over 2km and I would see no reason why Nyanzaga couldn't continue for several 100m more."

Perth-based investment house Argonaut has also highlighted the project's potential.

"Nyanzaga is one of the best undeveloped gold projects in Africa, and with ongoing backing from the government we see reduced jurisdictional risk," Argonaut analyst Royce Haese said in a mid-December note.

"The granting of the SML and ongoing commentary from Tanzanian government officials provides comfort that Tanzania is ‘walking the talk' when it comes to incentivising foreign investment into mining."

Multibillion-dollar investment is underway in Tanzania and helping build OreCorp's confidence in securing project finance for Nyanzaga.

The change in political will is firming up the prospects of Shell and partners building a long-awaited $30 billion dollar liquified natural gas project.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline or EACOP as it's called, has been given the go-ahead - a $3.5 billion, 1,443km long piece of infrastructure to transport Uganda's oil to the Tanzanian coast for export.

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Mining giant BHP is investing up to $110 million to accelerate development of the Kabanga nickel project in Tanzania and progress Lifezone's low-carbon hydrometallurgical processing technology.

And Barrick has agreed to pay up to $51 million to Tembo Gold for six prospecting licences next to Bulyanhulu.

"I think it's a testament to Her Excellency the President in the way that she and her team have started focusing on getting Tanzania back on investors' maps after several years where that wasn't always a priority," Yates said.

"There's a real vibe back in the country and there's money flowing back."

Yates speaks with insight, having lived in Tanzania for five years - part of the board's combined 30 years' experience in-country.

It can also draw on a depth of mining experience on the continent and previous success in delivering returns to shareholders in excess of $8 billion.

OreCorp is chaired by Craig Williams, who co-founded Equinox Minerals which built the Lumwana copper mine in Zambia and Jabal Sayid in Saudi Arabia before Equinox was acquired by Barrick for A$7 billion in 2011.

Board members Michael Klessens and Robert Rigo also held key roles at Equinox, while Alastair Morrison was earlier resident exploration manager at North Mara in Tanzania.

Recently appointed COO Henk Diederichs was a key part of the team which developed Lumwana and was previously in Tanzania as part of the Geita gold mine development, then more recently at the Bonikro, Agbaou and Sadiola gold mines for Allied Gold.

Diederichs is keenly anticipating the next steps at Nyanzaga, starting with finalising the DFS.

"After that we'll commence with the FEED and detailed design process," he said.

"The aim is by first quarter next year to secure our project finance with a combination of debt and equity.

"Directly after project financing we'll commence with early site works, followed by the more detailed construction activities … and gold production by the end of 2024."

Meanwhile exploration will continue, along with the resettlement process and an assessment on project decarbonisation options to identify ways to reduce Nyanzaga's carbon footprint. In this regard, it is anticipated that 71% of power generated in Tanzania will be from hydro and the remainder using natural gas. Nyanzaga will therefore be powered by green power.

Elsewhere, OreCorp was in the process of demerging its earlier-stage Western Australian assets at the time of writing.

The move was overwhelmingly supported at a vote on April 7 by shareholders, who are set to receive one Solstice Minerals share for every 9.94 OreCorp share held.

Yates described the demerger as "a gift to shareholders" of essentially A2c a share in value, enabling OreCorp to focus on the path to production at Nyanzaga.

"It's been a long journey, but it's rapidly taking shape," he said.

He noted there would be pressures along the way such as the rising fuel price, finding labour and capital costs increasing.

"But we've weathered the past four years and we feel confident we'll deliver into the next three and develop a gold mine in the process," Yates said.

"You need the right timing, you need a bit of luck, you need the momentum in the market.

"You need a good project and you need a good management team and board, which is what we've got.

"We are very focused on Nyanzaga and delivering Tanzania its first large-scale gold mine in about 15 years."

ABOUT THIS COMPANY
OreCorp

HEAD OFFICE:

SOCIAL MEDIA:

DIRECTORS:

  • Craig Williams
  • Matthew Yates
  • Alastair Morrison
  • Mike Klessens
  • Robert Rigo

QUOTED SHARES ON ISSUE:

  • 397.8 million

MARKET CAP (at April 7, 2022):

  • A$302 million

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS:

  • Federation Mining 13%
  • Westoz 11%
  • Rollason 10%
  • Directors and associates 10%

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