Euro Sun Mining (TSX: ESM) has become the first non-state-owned entity to receive a ratified mining licensce for its Rovina Valley copper-gold project in Romania, signaling that the East European nation is open for business, the company says.
The mining company will now embark on an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), and continue its work on a feasibility study on the project, which Euro Sun describes as one of the largest mineral deposits in the European Union.
Rovina consists of three porphyry deposits, two at surface (Colnic and Rovina), and one underground (Ciresta).
Measured and indicated resources stand at 406 million tonnes grading 0.55 gram gold per tonne and 0.16% copper for 7.2 million ounces of contained gold and 1.4 billion pounds of copper. The resource estimate was completed in July 2012.
A 2010 preliminary economic assessment estimated average gold production of 196,000 ounces of gold and 49.4 million pounds of copper each year over a 19-year mine.
The company says a feasibility study will evaluate a scaleable, phased approach targeting higher grade zones of the deposits.
“The importance of the ratification cannot be underestimated,” Mike Kozak of Cantor Fitzgerald commented in a research note. “This is the single largest de-risking even in the company’s history.”
Euro Sun’s shares were up 50% to $1.05 in mid-morning trading.
Kozak has a one-year target price of $2.10.
“Rovina Valley, when up and running, will be Europe’s largest gold and copper mine in terms of resources,” he noted.
The mining analyst estimated that the ESIA will take about 18 months.
Kozak also pointed out that Rovina is not at all like Gabriel Resources’ (TSX: GBU) troubled Rosia Montana project, which has been stalled for years due to local opposition.
To associate the two projects is “unequivocally incorrect,” Kozak wrote. “Absolutely none of the many issues that have plagued the latter, apply to the former.”
“Permit now in hand, Rovina Valley is a project that can be built.”
Kozak estimates the mine could produce about 150,000 ounces of gold and 50 million pounds of copper a year over a multi-decade mine life.
He also argues that the project could attract a joint-venture partner and/or M&A interest.
“Rovina Valley has the size, scale, and grades that are attractive to large-tier and mid-tier gold and copper miners,” he stated. “It has the potential to be advanced in a joint-venture structure (similar to last year’s Caspiche-Cerro Casale deal) or, should the valuation disparity persist, Euro Sun could represent an excellent takeover candidate.”
Romania borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest and Moldova to the east.