- Published Date
- Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa
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The Ministry of Mines and Energy has granted state-owned mining company, Epangelo 11 new Exclusive Prospecting Licences (EPLs) giving the mining upstart a total of 25 EPLs potentially, making it one of the biggest players in the local mining industry.
Epangelo MD Eliphas Hawala was naturally excited when he spoke to the Economist about the latest development. He said the mining company will now concentrate on desk top studies on the EPLs granted and was hopeful that the studies will lead to mapping and eventually to drilling on at least four of the EPLs before the end of the year.
2012 has been a particularly good year for Epangelo. The company which operates on a shoestring budget, recently signed an agreement to acquire 5% shareholding in the Etango Uranium project which currently has a mine life of at least 16 years. Epangelo has an option to acquire another 5% shareholding in the project which has the potential to produce between seven million pounds and nine million pounds a year of U3O8 uranium for the first five years, and then between six million pounds and eight million pounds annually according to the latest Definite Feasibility Study released earlier this week.
That output would rank Etango as one of the world’s top ten uranium-only projects.
The agreement with Bannerman includes an offer for the uranium explorer to assist in Epangelo’s capacity building programmes through secondments of Epangelo personnel to the Etango Project team and through education and training initiatives.
Said Hawala of the agreement: “The Epangelo management team is committed to building Epangelo into a diversified Namibian mining business and the decision to invest in the globally significant Etango Uranium Project is an important one for Epangelo’s development. We look forward to completing the initial investment shortly, and to developing a mutually beneficial business relationship.”
Epangelo also recently signed a JV agreement with commodities giant Vedanta to develop some of its EPLs. After the successful negotiations with Vedanta, Hawala said Epangelo was confident of securing other big partners to jointly develop some of the remaining EPLs.
The company is also in talks with DBN on possible funding for the stake in the Etango project and some of its other projects, although Hawala could not give details of the negotiations citing confidentiality.
The new EPLs granted last week are mostly for base metals while ten applications that are still outstanding are for various minerals including diamonds.
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