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The Eloise copper mine is set to change hands in a $27 million deal between AIC Mines and owner FMR Investments.

The underground mine, 60km south-east of Cloncurry, is producing at an annual rate of 11,500 tonnes of copper and 7000oz of gold in concentrate.

“This is a tremendous development for AIC,” managing director Aaron Colleran said:

“Our acquisition strategy has been to target late-stage Australian gold and copper projects where we can add value through exploration and development.

“We are confident that we can add significant value at Eloise as we ramp-up exploration and extend the mine life.

“Eloise is an excellent first acquisition for AIC as it provides immediate positive cashflow and entry into a prolific base-metals region that is ripe for consolidation.”

AIC intends to undertake an equity capital raising to raise a minimum of $30 million and up to $35 million to fund the transaction.

The deal involves a payment of $5 million in cash and $20 million in AIC shares payable on completion; and a contingent payment of $2 million in cash payable six months after completion if certain production milestones are achieved.

On completion, FMR will hold approximately 28-30 per cent of the issued capital of AIC.

The Eloise mine was commissioned in 1996 and has since mined approximately 12.5Mt of ore grading 2.8 per cent copper and 0.8g/t gold to produce 339,000t copper and 167,000oz gold in concentrate.

Processing is via conventional crushing, grinding and sulphide flotation with capacity to treat 750,000tpa.

Infrastructure included in the acquisition includes the copper concentrator, offices, warehouse, mobile plant, 220 room accommodation village for FIFO workforce, bore-field and diesel generators with 12MW total generating capacity.

AIC said the exploration potential of the Eloise tenement holding was one of the main features that attracted it to the acquisition.

It said exploration expenditure had been constrained over the past three to five years.

“AIC plans to reinvigorate the exploration effort at Eloise and is very confident that it will be able to increase the resource and reserve base,” the company stated.