The owners of the US$4 billion Tujuh Bukit Gold-Copper Project in East Java plan an initial public offering (IPO) in Jakarta later this year, looking to raise up to $75 million and aiming for a market capitalization of at least $800 million on listing.
Provident Capital Partners, a major shareholder in the Tujuh Bukit holding company, which is led by two Indonesian coal tycoons, says work will initially focus on a zone that according to a 2012 report may hold at least 1.6 million ounces of gold and 60 million ounces of silver, generating cash before attention turns to what has long been recognized as one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper lodes.
“Basically it’s a very profitable project in its own right and allows us to generate cash flows and start to entrench ourselves in the area,” Provident Capital Partners’ spokesman Gavin Caudle told Reuters.
The plan is to start building the mine later this year with first gold production expected in 2016, ahead of the copper project, where construction would begin only in 2019. “The copper project’s still got a fair way to go ... It’s a massive project. The capex is in the billions,” Gavin Caudle told Reuters.
At one time considered by Vale, the mine was once seen as a company maker for Australian firm Intrepid Mines, which spent $100 million proving up a world-scale project that may hold 19 billion pounds of copper, nearly 29 million ounces of gold and 13 million ounces of silver. But Intrepid was kicked off the site in 2012 by its partner, who transferred the mining leases into a new company and brought billionaire Edwin Soeryadjaya and other investors into the project.
Intrepid went to court and arbitration to reclaim its rights to 80% of the project, but finally gave up and reached a settlement recently with Soeryadjaya and his partners. Under the deal, Intrepid received 22% in a new holding company, PT Merdeka Serasi Jaya, which it on-sold to Singapore-based fund Kendall Court for $80 million, a “good outcome” compared with protracted litigation, new managing director Scott Lowe told Reuters.
For Intrepid, it offered a clean exit from a two-year nightmare, which saw its market value crumble from Aus$1 billion to $140 million. For the new owners it offered a clear path towards developing Tujuh Bukit, with plans to seek a strategic partner with mining expertise to help develop the huge copper mine.