Orion’s $407m takeover bid for Dalradian Okd

Dual-listed Canadian miner Dalradian Resources (TSX:DNA) (LON:DALR), which is developing a large untapped gold deposit in a remote part of Northern Ireland, will be acquired by private equity group Orion Mine Finance after a Canadian court approved the deal on Tuesday.

The acquisition, proposed two months ago and that closed this week, values Dalradian at Cdn$537 million (roughly $407 million) — a 62% premium to the explorer’s share price at close on June 20, a day before it was announced.

Dalradian acquired mineral rights in 2009 to more than 80,000 hectares of land in Northern Ireland, including the Curraghinalt deposit outside Gortin, identified as one of the top ten undeveloped gold deposits by grade in the world.

Deal gives Orion access to mineral rights for more than 80,000 hectares of land in Northern Ireland, which includes one of the world's top ten undeveloped gold deposits by grade.

Since then, it has carried out exploratory drilling at the asset and compiled a planning application running to 10,000 pages, which it expects to take about two years to process, including a public enquiry.

In May, the company said it planned to operate the proposed gold mine for an initial 20 years, though it noted that Curraghinalt had the potential to remain in production longer than that.

The project, for which Dalradian has yet to secure the permits needed to build it, is estimated to hold 3.1 million ounces of gold reserves — worth about $3.7 billion at today’s prices.

Previous efforts to bring Curraghinalt into production have failed, in part because of difficulties getting an explosives licence during the so-called Troubles in the 1980s. Currently, the project faces some opposition from those against the company’s planned use cyanide to extract gold at the site.

Dalradian believes Curraghinalt could transform one of the poorest regions in the UK, boosting investment and creating jobs. The company already employs 100 people on the project and the number would rise to 350 workers once the mine is operating, plus hundreds more indirect jobs.

Northern Ireland has the seventh richest undeveloped seam of gold in the world, but political violence kept most investors away for about three decades.