Evolution Mining has entered a binding agreement to acquire an 80% interest in the Northparkes copper-gold mine from CMOC Group Ltd. for a total cash consideration of up to $475 million. The proposed transaction consists of an upfront cash consideration of $400 million; and a contingent consideration of up to $75 million.

Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corp. will retain its 20% interest in the Northparkes JV. Under the Transaction structure, Evolution will acquire all the shares in CMOC’s Australian subsidiary, CMOC Mining Pty Ltd., which will not trigger any pre­emptive rights. Evolution has also agreed to enter into an offtake agreement with IXM S.A.  under which IXM will purchase from Evolution copper concentrates produced from the Northparkes mine equal to Evolution’s 80% attributable interest over the life of mine’s existing ore reserves.

In addition, Evolution will assume the obligations of CMOC Ltd. as guarantor under the Triple Flag Metal Purchase and Sale Agreement, under which Evolution will deliver a percentage of its attributable gold and silver production from Northparkes to Triple Flag over the operation. Completion of the Transaction is expected to occur before the end of December 2023.

“The acquisition of Northparkes represents a unique opportunity to add another quality asset to our portfolio, strengthening our positioning as a business that prospers through the cycle,” said Evolution’s Executive Chair, Jake Klein. “Northparkes is a Day-1 cashflow producing asset with a ~30-year mine life, considerable upside and a well-established team that has a great track record and technical experience at the operation.

“CMOC has decided to exit the asset in pursuit of other strategic initiatives more aligned to CMOC’s objectives. Ultimately, this is a mutually beneficial outcome for both parties and an opportunity for Evolution to continue delivering on the successful track record of the operation,” Klein said.

Located in the Lachlan Fold Belt approximately 27 km northwest of Parkes, New South Wales, Northparkes has a long history of ore reserve replenishment and growth, increasing reserves by 49% since 1994, with a current ore reserve of 101 million metric tons (mt). In addition, the asset is favorably located close to well-capitalized infrastructure, featuring concentrated mining options with five deposits situated within a 2-km radius.

Northparkes was the first mine to use the block cave mining method in Australia. The asset’s underground mining operations are highly automated with E48 block cave achieving 100% mining automation in 2015. Mining production is currently sourced from the E48 block cave (which is nearing completion), the E26 lift 1 block cave and the E26 sub level cave supplemented by stockpile ore feed and open pit mining. The onsite processing plant at Northparkes produces a copper-gold-silver concentrate that is trucked and railed to the Port of Newcastle before being shipped to international clients.

As of December 31, 2022, reported mineral resources for Northparkes were estimated at 526.9 million mt grading 0.55% copper, 0.19g/mt gold and 1.87g/mt silver and ore reserves were estimated at 101.4 million mt grading 0.53% copper, 0.27g/mt gold and 1.87g/mt silver. Note: A competent person has not done sufficient work to classify CMOC’s estimates as mineral resources and ore reserves in accordance with the JORC Code 2012.