Altona Mining has ended its funding deal with Sichuan Railway Investment Group Co for the Cloncurry copper project, 95km north-east of Mount Isa.
Altona had granted an extension to July 21 for SRIG to obtain the necessary Chinese regulatory approvals for the joint venture agreement.
This came after a landslide in June, causing major loss of life in Sichuan Province, delayed the approval process.
The company said today it was advised that the regulator, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council of the Sichuan Province of the People’s Republic of China, had not completed its assessment of the transaction and therefore could not provide SRIG with the necessary approvals by the deadline.
“Altona has determined that it will not provide SRIG with a further extension to enable it to seek to the necessary approvals. Given this, the transaction under the Framework Agreement is now at an end, freeing Altona from its exclusivity with SRIG,” the company said in an announcement to the ASX.
The Australian Foreign Investment Review Board in May approved the deal for Chinese backing for the $200 million-plus copper project, which is expected to involve about 300 construction jobs and sustain about 280 new direct jobs in operation..
It would involve the development of a 7 million tonne per annum open-pit mine and flotation plant capable of producing 39,000 tonnes per annum copper and 17,000 ounces gold over an initial mine life of 11 years.
Altona plans to seek an alternative agreement with another party.
The company retains a cash balance of $36 million, has no debt, and retains 100 per cent ownership of the well-defined Cloncurry project and its associated exploration opportunities.