Orea Mining (TSX: OREA) has initiated negotiations with Russia's Nordgold to obtain its majority (55.01%) interest in the Montagne d'Or joint venture in French Guiana, France.
Montagne d'Or is an open-pit gold development project with potential to increase its reserves through infill and expansion drilling. Orea (formerly Columbus Gold) has been exploring the property since 2012 and subsequently partnered with Nordgold.
To date, the Montagne d'Or deposit is estimated to host measured resources of 10.3 million tonnes at 1.80 g/t gold (600,000 oz.), indicated resources of 74.8 million tonnes at 1.35 g/t gold (3.25 million oz.) and additional inferred resources of 20.2 million tonnes at 1.48 g/t gold (960,000 oz.).
A bankable feasibility study on the project released in 2017 showed an after-tax net present value of US$370 million and an 18.7% internal rate of return. Over a 12-year life, the Montagne d'Or mine would produce 2.57 million oz. of gold, at a rate of 237,000 oz. per year.
The prospect of owning 100% of the Montagne d'Or gold deposit is an immense opportunity for Orea and its shareholders, hence Orea is prioritizing its financial resources to that objective, Orea said in a statement.
In addition to a private placement of up to $1 million, which is presently underway, Orea says it is also significantly cutting costs with overhead reductions, and the termination of the Maripa project option and acquisition agreements.
In June, Nordgold was sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and Orea is uncertain of the impacts this would have on Nordgold and its ability to carry out its responsibilities as operator of the JV. The OFAC later authorized Orea to wind down its JV with Nordgold by July 1, 2022.
In response to the sanctions, the company initiated an action plan and retained a specialized legal team. Following a formal request to the OFAC, Orea succeeded in extending the wind-down deadline to August 31, 2022.
Orea is currently awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court of France regarding the renewal of the Montagne d'Or mining titles.