EMX’s royalty portfolio in Serbia initially resulted from prospect generation and organic royalty growth via the 2006 sale of its properties, including Brestovac West, for uncapped NSR royalties of 2% for gold and silver and 1% for all other metals. In 2013, EMX acquired 0.5% NSR royalty interests covering the Brestovac and Durlan Potok properties, which along with Brestovac West, are included in the Timok Project, which is now controlled by Zijin Mining Group Co., Ltd. (“Zijin”).
Zijin has steadily advanced the Timok Project since acquiring 100% control in 2019 through the acquisition of previous owner Nevsun Resources Ltd. (“Nevsun”), as well as the purchase of the remaining Lower Zone minority interest from Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Zijin’s work since the acquisition has included mine development and executing a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Government of the Republic of Serbia that provides a framework for advancing the Upper Zone project to production.
The Timok Project’s Cukaru Peki deposit, which is covered by the Brestovac NSR royalty, includes the Upper Zone underground development project which consists of high-grade, epithermal-style copper-gold mineralization, and the Lower Zone project which consists of a deeper body of porphyry-style copper-gold mineralization. According to Zijin’s latest public disclosures on the “Timok Copper and Gold Mine”, commercial production is expected to commence in the second quarter of 20211. This is consistent with previous Zijin disclosures, and the project appears to be advancing on schedule.
In addition to the original agreement covering EMX’s royalty interest in the Timok Project’s Brestovac license, which has already been filed by EMX on SEDAR (see EMX News Release dated October 5, 2020), EMX has also filed on SEDAR a technical report, “NI 43-101 Technical Report - Timok Copper-Gold Project Royalty, Serbia” dated February 26, 2021 by Mineral Resource Management LLC.
The commencement of production at Timok will represent an important milestone for EMX which purchased its key 0.5% NSR royalty on the Timok Project in 2013, shortly after the discovery of the Cukaru Peki copper-gold deposit (see EMX News Release dated February 4, 2014). This acquisition serves as an example of how EMX leveraged its in-country expertise through early recognition of the potential value of the Cukaru Peki discovery, but also through the understanding of where key royalty interests were held by third parties that could be available for acquisition.
Timok Royalty Property, Bor Mining District, Serbia. Zijin has pursued aggressive, fast-track development of the Timok Project. In late 2020, Zijin provided notification that its underground development work had entered the initial mining area at the Timok Project’s Upper Zone of the Cukaru Peki copper-gold deposit. Zijin has projected that over 79,000 tonnes of copper will be produced per annum from the Upper Zone project once it reaches its full capacity, “with a designed throughput of 3.3 million tonnes per annum” for the milling facility (Ibid1).
In addition to the Timok Upper Zone Copper and Gold Mine royalty at Cukaru Peki, the Company’s uncapped 0.5% Brestovac NSR royalty also covers the Cukaru Peki Lower Zone porphyry copper-gold exploration project. Additional Timok Magmatic Complex exploration upside and project optionality is provided by EMX royalties covering adjacent projects and other properties in the region, including:
Brestovac West, which is covered by NSR royalties of 2% for gold and silver and 1% for all other metals. The Brestovac West royalty was organically generated by EMX and contains the Corridor Zone gold prospect. It is situated directly west of Brestovac and the Cukaru Peki deposit.
Durlan Potok, which is covered by a 0.5% NSR royalty defined under the same royalty agreement as Brestovac, and is located in the Timok Magmatic Belt approximately 20 kilometers north of Brestovac and Cukaru Peki.
EMX congratulates Zijin on its rapid progress in developing the Timok Project, and looks forward to new advancements as the work programs progress.
EMX notes that: a) the original Brestovac and Brestovac West permits are now covered by the Brestovac Metonivca and Brestovac Zapad permits, and b) portions of a reconfigured Durlan Potok permit (e.g., expanded in some areas and reduced in other areas) are not covered by the EMX royalty.