In a strategic move poised to reshape its trajectory, Oriole Resources, an AIM-listed gold exploration entity, has inked a non-binding Heads of Terms (HoT) agreement with Ghanaian mining and civil contracting heavyweight, BCM International Limited.
The collaboration focuses on the development of the Bibiani and Mbe projects, forming a cornerstone of Oriole’s extensive gold license portfolio in West Africa, notably in the under-explored mining jurisdiction of Cameroon.
Under the terms of the earn-in agreement, Oriole grants BCM the opportunity to earn up to 50% of its Bibiani gold project in Cameroon, a venture in which Oriole currently holds a 92.2% interest.
The agreement entails a $500,000 cash payment to Oriole by December 31, 2023, followed by a commitment from BCM to invest $4m in exploration expenditure, targeting resource-expansion drilling. The imminent drilling program, set to commence in the first quarter of 2024, will be overseen by Oriole.
The partnership extends beyond financial commitments, with BCM’s extensive industry experience and notable clientele, including AngloGold Ashanti and Tonkolili Iron Ore, enhancing the operational capabilities of the collaboration.
Subsequent Project Expenditure
Subsequent project expenditure will follow a ‘contribute or dilute’ model, with Oriole’s stake automatically converting into a 3% Net Smelter Royalty (NSR) on Bibiani’s future production if it falls below 5%.
Furthermore, the agreement includes success-based payments linked to the definition and expansion of the Bibiani Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) Resource. BCM commits to payments of $1m upon the release of a 1 million-ounce JORC Resource, an additional $1m for a 2 million-ounce resource, and another $1m for a 3 million-ounce JORC-classified resource.
In financial circles, this development marks a significant juncture for Oriole Resources, with the company now re-rated as a ‘buy.’ The infusion of substantial capital, coupled with the potential for exploration success at the Bibiani and Mbe projects, underscores a pivotal chapter in Oriole’s narrative.
The implied valuations of $9m for Bibiani and $10m for Mbe hint at the transformative nature of gaining BCM as an exploration partner. Oriole’s existing assets, including Senala and Muratdere, serve to fortify its financial position as the focus on Cameroonian gold development accelerates.
As Oriole’s flagship Bibiani asset takes center stage, this alliance with BCM signifies a transformative step forward. The financial injection and BCM’s robust support position Oriole to pursue expansive exploration and development initiatives, solidifying its ambition to establish a multi-pit mine operation.
The agreement not only bolsters Oriole’s balance sheet but also sets the stage for a substantial uptick in the company’s overall operational capacity and growth trajectory.
READ ALSO: Pork Farmgate Prices Surge 20%