Photo: Freeport

Photo: Freeport

Reservoir Minerals: Rigs Turning at Timok

Issue 112, January 2015

Ever since Reservoir Minerals first reported drill results from its Timok copper-gold discovery in Serbia, the company has been seen as a takeover target for joint-venture partner Freeport.

Initial hits of 1.2 per cent copper equivalent over 266m soon swelled to 10.2 per cent over 160m, earning Timok the title of Europe’s largest base metals discovery for 40 years.

Freeport, the world’s largest listed copper miner, is though unlikely to be the only company eyeing Timok. One of Reservoir’s largest investors, China-based Xiangguang Copper, offers an alternative clue to Reservoir’s future.

Xiangguang is one of the world’s largest copper smelters, has contributed to Reservoir’s fundraisings and could provide off-take finance. The partnership indicates that Reservoir is readying itself to take its share of Timok into production and that the deposit’s high grade zone is expected to include direct shipping ore, greatly lowering capital costs by allowing ore to be processed offsite.

Hong Kong-based investor Jing Bao also holds shares in Reservoir, but rather than funding the company into production, Xiangguang and Jing Bao may play a more subtle role, bolstering Reservoir’s negotiating position by providing a counterweight to Freeport on the property.

One payoff could be that Reservoir retains a royalty on any sale, allowing it to continue its exploration business, which initially turned-up Timok, from a cast-iron financing position. It is an outcome that the royalty majors are likely to have also considered.

For all the takeover parlour games, what will determine Reservoir’s future is the deposit itself. 7 drill rigs are turning at Timok, including step-out drill holes 400m from existing mineralisation. Assuming a deposit thickness of 700m, based on drill results to date, each step-out adds around 300m tonnes to Timok’s porphyry footprint.

“You always hear lots of chatter,” says Reservoir’s chief executive, Simon Ingram. “We’re a lucky company, because we have a lot of options about how this project develops for us.”

Shares last traded at C$4.90. 

“You always hear lots of chatter.”

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