Apollo Minerals is acquiring the Belgrade copper project in Serbia, which has excellent potential to host world-class sedimentary-hosted copper deposits.
Belgrade’s Studena, Donja Mutnica and Kopajska Reka prospects were originally part of Reservoir Minerals’ Serbian assets prior to its US$365 million takeover by Nevsun Resources in 2016, and subsequent US$1.4 billion takeover by Zijin Mining in 2018.
However, Reservoir had relegated the assets to the back of the portfolio after discovering the 20Mt Cukaru Peki copper deposits at Bor, also in Serbia.
Cukaru Peki, now an ultra large, long-life copper mine, produced 111,000t copper and 152,000oz gold in 2022. It has possible peak output of 135,000tpa copper and 215,000ozpa gold.
Apollo Minerals believes the potential for a similar tier 1 discovery exists at the region around Belgrade.
“The Belgrade copper project has a compelling exploration thesis which the team are extremely excited to test,” Apollo managing director Neil Inwood says.
“Reservoir Minerals, who put the project together, discovered the 20 million tonne Cukaru Peki copper deposits at Bor and consequently did not focus on the highly prospective ground we have acquired.
“Serbia is currently Europe’s second-largest copper producer and I am convinced there are world class sedimentary-hosted copper discoveries to be made in the region.”
World class copper targets
The 202km2 project consists of four licences — Studena, Donja Mutnica, Lisa and Kopajska Reka — in the prolific Carpatho-Balkanian Metallogenic Province (CBMP) which also hosts the Bor and Cukaru Peki deposits.
Apollo says there is excellent potential for major discoveries of world class sedimentary-hosted copper mineralisation like the ‘Kupferschiefer style’ in Poland, Europe’s largest copper producer.
According to this study, Kupferschiefer-type sediment-hosted deposits average ~34 Mt with a median grade of 1.5% copper, but can get much larger.
This will be the initial focus, Apollo says.
Belgrade has more than 70km of untested prospective contacts with historical surface rock chip samples returning exceptional values of up to 20% copper and 1,540 parts per million (ppm) silver.
Recent rock chip sampling by Apollo also returned up to 6.5% copper and 155ppm silver.
And while Reservoir punched in six reconnaissance-level diamond drill holes in 2018 — five at Studena and one at Donja Mutnica – they were “sub-optimally located” not targeting the proposed contact horizons, and accordingly no significant intersections resulted.
Thus, exploration at Belgrade is still in its early stages, despite its obvious prospectivity and proximity to tier 1 mines.
The company is acquiring Edelweiss Mineral Exploration, which holds the Belgrade project, for 30 million AON shares, 10 million unlisted options exercisable at 5c that expire three years from issue and a further 10 million unlisted options exercisable at 7.5c that expire three years from issue.
Apollo will also issue a further 20 million AON shares should it define a JORC-compliant resource of 12Mt grading 2% copper or its equivalent within five years from the completion of the acquisition.
The vendor will also be granted a 2% net smelter royalty on future production from Edelweiss over the licences and licence applications.
As part of the acquisition, the company also picked up the Lisa licence application which is prospective for gold and antimony mineralisation.
Apollo’s future work programs at the Belgrade copper project will seek to develop drill ready targets.
Planned activities include detailed soils to cover the main Permian red-bed/limestone contact regions and over red-bed sandstone units, trenching over identified anomaly regions, airborne magnetic surveys, target generation and — subject to the results from aforementioned activities — drilling.
“We have already been on the ground and were impressed with the modern infrastructure, local mining knowledge, and highly skilled local workforce,” Inwood says.
“This acquisition complements our existing zinc-lead base metals focus in Gabon, while presenting a positive diversification into copper.
“With minimal dilution to existing shareholders and a compelling copper prospect in a favorable jurisdiction, the proposed Edelweiss acquisition demonstrates our focus on value creation through acquisition, exploration, and discovery.”