TSX-listed diamond and metals company Tsodilo Resources has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with copper focused company First Quantum Minerals.The company revealed that under the terms of a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated April 17, 2013 entered into between the company, its wholly-owned subsidiary Gcwihaba Resources, First Quantum and First Quantum’s wholly-owned subsidiary Faloxia, First Quantum will make a strategic investment in Tsodilo by way of private placement of 2,272,727 units of the company. The units will be issued at a price of CA$1.10 per unit to raise gross proceeds of CA$2.5 million. Each Unit will consist of one common share and one purchase warrant, each such warrant entitling the holder to purchase one common share of the company at USD$1.21 for a period of 24 months from the date of issuance of the warrant. “We are absolutely delighted to announce First Quantum as our strategic partner. They are a world-class mining company with great financial strength and specific expertise in exploration for African Copperbelt type base metal targets gained from their mining operations in Zambia. The sequence of rocks in northwest Botswana that Tsodilo has identified in the past several years are identical in age and composition to those in the Central African Copperbelt. These rocks are in fact the southwesterly extension of the Zambian Copperbelt and clearly hold great potential for Copperbelt-style targets.
Having First Quantum’s experienced exploration team from Zambia moving exploration on our ground forward is as good as it gets. This joint venture will allow for aggressive exploration for world-class base metal deposits on our licensed areas. In addition, First Quantum’s equity investment will enable Tsodilo to accelerate the exploration and evaluation of our Xaudum iron formation project as well as continue our kimberlite exploration. First Quantum’s involvement will allow us to deliver results from our metals projects to the market sooner than we could have without the help of our new strategic partner,” said Tsodilos chairperson and CEO James Bruchs.Further, First Quantum will acquire the right to earn up to a 70% interest in metals prospecting licences in Botswana granted to Gcwihaba insofar as they cover base, precious and platinum group metals and rare earth minerals by meeting certain funding and other obligations. However, Tsodilo noted that the interests that may be earned by First Quantum specifically exclude any rights to iron held by Gcwihaba. completion of the transactions contemplated by the MOU is subject to regulatory approval and the execution of definitive agreements. “Several years ago, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, became an equity investor in Tsodilo. At the time we referred to IFC as our “partner of choice” as their participation, professionalism, guidance and expertise combined with the economic, political and social stability afforded by the government of Botswana, together with the assistance and support provided by the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources and the Department of Geological Survey, created a winning atmosphere for mineral exploration and development. Now, given our large metal license areas it was important for us to partner with a group who understands our rocks and who has a proven history of exploration and development success. There is no better strategic partner for us than First Quantum to further explore and develop these potential resources”, concluded Bruchs.