Ariana to acquire up to 50pc of Cyprus-focussed Venus Minerals
Exploration and development company Ariana Resources announced the acquisition, through an earn-in agreement, of up to 50% of UK-registered Venus Minerals, on Monday.
The AIM-traded firm explained that Venus is focussed on the exploration and development of copper and gold assets in Cyprus.
It said the acquisition would develop its strategy to create a portfolio of interests in the eastern Europe region, and across its broad target area of the Tethyan Metallogenic Belt.
Ariana said it also recognised the “significance” of copper as the “most important technology-metal required” for the “global green-energy transition”.
It explained that it would acquire up to 50% of Venus through an earn-in agreement, having already acquired rights to 6% on prior expenditure of €0.6m and the commitment of up to a further €2.4m Euro over the next three years.
Venus’ Magellan Project contained a total historical resource of around 9.5 million tonnes at 0.6% copper.
It said the best copper-gold intercepts from drilling included 53 metres at 2.05% copper, 64 metres at 0.97% copper, and 85 metres at 0.68% copper at the Kokkinoyia site.
At the Kilrou site, it highlighted 36 metres at 2.58% copper, 50 metres at 1.65% copper, 47 metres at 1.63% copper, and 48 metres at 1.15 grams of gold per tonne, 36 metres at 0.60 grams of gold per tonne, and eight metres at 1.72 grams of gold per tonne.
Open-pit optimisations and metallurgical data for the Magellan Project demonstrated the potential for economic extraction, with recoveries of up to 75% for copper and 79% for zinc demonstrated from samples, Ariana claimed.
It said the resources were open in several directions, and particularly down-plunge, and showed “significant potential” for the identification of gold-rich zones overlooked by previous exploration.
Highly prospective exploration ground was held under the licence, it added, reportedly containing a pipeline of prospects ranging from “drill-ready” targets to “exciting” new copper-in-soil discoveries.
Venus had a long-standing in-country track record and relationships, Ariana said, as well as an “invaluable and exclusive” database covering nearly all previous work across Cyprus.
“We are exceptionally pleased to expand our interests within the Tethyan Metallogenic Belt and to do so in the operationally-friendly jurisdiction of Cyprus represents the fulfilment of a well elucidated long-term diversification strategy of the company,” said Ariana Resources managing director Kerim Sener.
“Cyprus holds a global reputation for high-quality copper deposits, which tend to occur in distinct clusters; many of which remain significantly underexplored.
“We are also pleased to be working alongside a first-rate in-country team, committed to the development of the Cypriot mining industry, including [exploration manager] Dr Nicos Adamides, who has over 40 years [of] experience working on Cypriot copper exploration and production.”
Dr Sener said Ariana was making “full use” of its regional exploration and development expertise.
“After two years of careful due diligence and relationship building in Cyprus, Ariana is committed to the successful development of Venus Minerals.
“We are also taking advantage of our geographic proximity to get maximum cost-time benefit from our existing team and infrastructure.
“In Venus, we now what we believe to be an exceptional investment opportunity which we look forward to supporting for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Peter van der Borgh, managing director of Venus Minerals, added that his company was focussed on the exploration and development of copper and gold on the island of Cyprus and, with Ariana's input, would be able to scale-up its activities “significantly”.
“Cyprus represents an environment in which exciting exploration opportunities were effectively frozen-in-time since the early 1970s.
“This creates a significant opportunity; one which our combined Cypriot and international team is fully capable of unlocking.”
Van der Borgh said that, to Venus’ “unique” advantage, it held a proprietary exploration database containing records of nearly all prior exploration across Cyprus.
“We have already put this to good effect in securing a range of stand-out projects in the most prospective regions of the island.”
At 1228 GMT, shares in Ariana Resources were up 0.95% at 2.4p.