Epangelo targets assets worth N$5 billion
State-owned mining facilitator, Epangelo says it has set a target of acquiring five assets worth a combined N$5 billion by 2015, a move that effectively transforms it from a mining company to a financial investment concern.
An upbeat Eliphas Hawala, the Managing Director of the mining startup, told The Economist this week that Epangelo was on course to achieving its target after successfully negotiating for a 10% stake in the N$12 billion Husab project, the third-largest uranium-only deposit in the world.
Epangelo also recently signed an agreement with the diversified natural resources group, Vedanta giving the mining company an opportunity for joint exploration on its EPLs. In another move, Epangelo Mining has signed an agreement with Manila which gives the company a 10% stake in the Kombat mine which is set for re-opening before the end of 2012 or early 2013.
The company is also locked in negotiations with other mining companies for various stakes in various projects. Hawala said, without giving details, Epangelo will soon make a major acquisition announcement.
He said: “We are continuously scanning all over the environment and when we come across somebody who is of interest to us, we will definitely approach them. So we are still scanning the different areas, we are talking to different people, we are negotiating for different stakes but we cannot announce all of them until they are done or before we have put pen to paper.”
Epangelo, which currently sits on 29 exploration licences for various minerals, has already finished work on four desktop studies, and the company says early indications on the mineralisation of the EPLs are promising.
Philip Pendukeni, Epangelo’s General Manager for Mineral Resources Extraction says they are aiming to complete at least eight desktop studies before the end of the year in partnership with some unnamed international strategic partners
Epangelo was recently in the news after “failing” to acquire a 5% stake in Bannerman’s 80% owned Etango Uranium project. However, the company denies the media speculation on the fallout with Bannerman.
Said Pendukeni: “I am surprised when headlines say Epangelo loses out. We didn’t lose, we pulled out. We merely exercised our rights to say ok right now we will not be financially involved.”
Hawala said of the Bannerman deal: “We signed a couple of MOUs but you know a MOU is a MOU, it’s not a final agreement. It’s basically an agreement to say we are going to have this type of framework and these are the terms of the framework.
“That is why you give yourself room to do due diligence and any due diligence exercise has two outcomes; either you decide to go ahead, based on your findings, or you decide not to go ahead. The story with Bannerman has nothing to do with the price or value of the project, it’s just that we could not agree on the whole terms . The issue of the price is pure speculation.”
Hawala, who last week celebrated two years at the helm of Epangelo, said it was important for people to understand that they did not approach Bannerman for involvement in the Etango Project.
“We didn’t go to Bannerman, that should be made clear. It was a strategic move from their side to approach us. Our focus is still on our EPLs but if something strategic comes up which belongs to somebody else, we will definitely approach them and ask them what we can do to get involved. If we don’t see benefits for ourselves we may simply support that project to go on, on its own without us.”