Australia’s Paladin Energy has announced plans to sell 24% of the Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia and up to 75% stake of its Manyingee project in Western Australia. The expected revenue from the sales is $200m. Paladin made net losses in 2014 and 2015 but became "cash-flow positive" in fiscal 2016, excluding one-off restructuring costs and capital management.
A non-binding terms sheet has been signed with a "major participant in the global nuclear industry" for the sale of a 24% interest in Langer Heinrich, while Australian company MGT Resources has signed a binding term sheet to acquire an initial 30% interest in Manyingee. MGT will then have an option to acquire a further 45% of the project.
Paladin currently owns 75% of Langer Heinrich, having sold a 25% joint venture equity stake in the mine for $190m to China National Nuclear Corporation's subsidiary CNNC Overseas Uranium Holding Limited in 2014. The name of the party negotiating to buy a 24% stake has not yet been announced, but The Australian newspaper reported that the company is CNNC. Paladin is aiming to formally close the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2016. On completion, Paladin will hold 51% of Langer Heinrich and will continue to be the operator of the open pit uranium mine, which has been in operation since 2006.
The binding term sheet signed with MGT Resources will see the company acquire an initial 30% interest in Manyingee, excluding Carley Bore, for $10 million in cash. On closing, MGT will form a joint venture (Manyingee JV) over the project with Paladin. MGT will then have an option to acquire a further 45% of Manyingee JV from Paladin for $20m in cash. The option will be exercisable for 12 months after the joint venture prepares a plan to conduct a field leach trial for uranium extraction by in-situ leach.
Sydney-based MGT Resources was founded in 2008 with the express purpose of searching for undervalued mining assets during the global financial crisis. It now owns a suite of tin and gold projects in Queensland and describes itself as Australia's second largest tin producer. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to pursue a new strategy of seeking opportunities in the uranium sector working with investor partners from China and elsewhere.
Manyingee was discovered in 1974 and purchased by Paladin in 1998. The company reactivated the project following the lifting of uranium mining restrictions in Western Australia after a change of state government in 2008, beginning resource drilling in August 2012. The project has JORC-compliant estimated total mineral resources of 11,740t U3O8 (9956 tU). Paladin purchased the Carley Bore tenements, a potential satellite operation to Manyingee, in 2015.