The arrival of Caerus Mineral Resources on the Standard segment of the LSE, is evidence of a renewed interest in the copper deposits of Cyprus due to a combination of supply shortfall created by the electric vehicle revolution, higher copper prices, a shortage of new production capacity and improvements in mining technology.
The island of Cyprus is so closely associated with copper, that the name “copper” is actually derived from the Greek name for the island, Kupros. Cypriots first used copper to make tools around 4000 BC. Through the Roman Era Cyprus was the main supplier of copper to the world. After the fall of the Roman Empire, there was a hiatus in copper mining activity until the 1800s, when chalcopyrite was mined, until the confrontation between Greek and Turkish Cypriot military forces in 1974 when the mines of the main producer were closed due to being divided by the cease-fire demarcation line across the island.
Now, the arrival of Caerus Mineral Resources shows renewed interest in the country’s copper deposits exploiting the stable EU status of ‘Greek’ Cyprus today. Caerus has 14 advanced brownfield exploration properties that also encompass remnant ore deposits and cover 32km2 in the former prolific mining districts of Kalavasos, Kambia, and Vrechia. The profiles of the Board of Directors and their mission statement suggest a junior company with ambition : ‘low-cost, de-risked redevelopment of former copper-gold mines hosting significant residual mineralisation, strike extensions and new targets underpinned by low-technology reprocessing of oxide ores and dumps for early cash flow to fund future growth.
The company strategy revolves around identifying multiple sources of ore to provide scope for incremental growth but also to de-risk their drilling and exploration programmes by focusing on brown field sites with historic mines. In the short term, Caerus is focused on a rapid and low-cost generation of JORC (2012) compliant mineral resources and a parallel feasibility study to verify (acid) leach pad recovery of residual copper from tailings and marginal ore stockpiles.
Caerus is not just another high-risk ‘greenfield’ exploration company but a new entrant determined to be different. It aims to pursue near-term cashflow opportunities in parallel with the more conventional targeting of substantial copper-gold orebodies for long-term growth. Shareholders will be hoping that they can marry the sentimental past linkage between Cyprus and copper with a new future for the mining sector of this ‘island jewel of the Mediterranean’.