Select Page

Growing demand and price spur Australian cobalt explorer to seek NSX dual listing

Growing demand and price spur Australian cobalt explorer to seek NSX dual listing

Demand pressure by the battery industry has driven the price of cobalt from US$20,000 per tonne in 2012 to US$91,000 per tonne earlier this year. This four and a half fold increase in the price of the commodity has spurred a flurry of exploration and market activity. The first of it to hit Namibia arrived this week in the form of a dual-listing of Australian explorer, Celsius Resources Ltd.

Timed to coincide with the Mining Expo, Celsius Resources dual-listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) on Tuesday, a day ahead of the conference. The company’s primary listing is on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Celsius Resources is working with its local partner, Gecko Mining, on a surface cobalt copper mineralisation discovered in 2012 by Dr Rainer Ellmies. This ridge has similarities to cobalt copper deposits in the Zambian copper belt. All the local exploration work is done by Gecko.

Known as the Opuwo project for its proximity to the administrative capital of the Kunene Region, momentum for the dual-listing picked up earlier this month when Celsius Resources announced a maiden JORC-compliant mineral resource after assaying the results of 128 holes drilled during last year. The resource modelling and estimation has been done by independent consultants, DMT Kai Batla.

Celsius said it has spent roughly N$50 million in exploration costs to date, an investment which bagged the company 95% of the Opuwo Project. The other 5% is held by the Robben Island Political Prisoners Trust. The largest shareholder in the Australian entity is local exploration partner, Gecko Namibia with 8.4% or just over 50 million shares.

Last week Celsius announced it will finalise its first scoping study by the end of June this year. “A significant amount of metallurgical test work has been done on the ore from the Opuwo Cobalt Project and further optimisation work is ongoing as part of the scoping study. Additionally, work has commenced on evaluating mine design options to establish the best mining methods for this deposit. The intention is to commence with a pre-feasibility study by mid-2018. During this period, infill drilling and intense metallurgical test work will enhance the mineral resource,” stated Celsius when announcing their dual-listing on the NSX.

“Cobalt has a diverse range of metallurgical and chemical uses ranging from aircraft engines to rechargeable batteries. Strong demand for rechargeable batteries has been the biggest growth driver for cobalt consumption, and demand is forecast to continue to increase as batteries are increasingly adopted in households and vehicles,” stated Celsius.

“Furthermore, automotive related demand for cobalt containing battery materials is expected to rapidly increase in coming years with increasing sales of plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles,” the company said.

Commodities analysts estimate that the cobalt market first registered a deficit in 2016, and that demand will continue to grow. “As a result of the industrial importance of cobalt and the concentration of supply, cobalt is classed as a strategic mineral by the US Geological Survey and as a critical raw material by the EU.”

On the prospects for cobalt mining at Opuwo, Celsius stated that the mineralisation appears within a low-grade metamorphic siltstone-shale-carbonate succession within the upper Ombombo Formation of the Neoproterozoic Damaran group. It was traced at surface over a strike length of about 32 km.” The highest grade ore has been found in a four to six metre zone in a 15 km section in the central part of the ridge.

“The cobalt copper zinc mineralisation at the Opuwo project contains three main ore minerals: linnaeite (Co3S4), chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) and sphalerite (ZnS). This simple mineralogy is very favourable for conventional processing techniques,” Celsius said adding that ultimately, it wants to produce cobalt sulphate and copper metal in Namibia.

A month ago, Reuters reported that Celsius Resources wants it Opuwo cobalt mine up and producing by 2020.


 

All cobalt exploration in the Kunene Region is carried out on behalf of Celsius Resources by Gecko Namibia. Gecko is also the largest shareholders in the Australian-listed minor.

About The Author

Daniel Steinmann

Brief CV of Daniel Steinmann. Born 24 February 1961, Johannesburg. Educated at the University of Pretoria: BA, BA(hons), BD. Postgraduate degrees are in Philosophy and Divinity. Editor of the Namibia Economist since 1991. Daniel Steinmann has steered the Economist as editor for the past 29 years. The Economist started as a monthly free-sheet, then moved to a weekly paper edition (1996 to 2016), and on 01 December 2016 to a daily digital newspaper at www.economist.com.na. It is the first Namibian newspaper to go fully digital. Daniel Steinmann is an authority on macro-economics having established a sound record of budget analysis, strategic planning and assessing the impact of policy formulation. For eight years, he hosted a weekly talk-show on NBC Radio, explaining complex economic concepts to a lay audience in a relaxed, conversational manner. He was a founding member of the Editors' Forum of Namibia. Over the years, he has mentored hundreds of journalism students as interns and as young professional jourlists. He regularly helps economics students, both graduate and post-graduate, to prepare for examinations and moderator reviews. He is the Namibian respondent for the World Economic Survey conducted every quarter for the Ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys at the University of Munich in Germany. He is frequently consulted by NGOs and international analysts on local economic trends and developments. Send comments to daniel@economist.com.na

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.