Sipa Resources intends to fly a couple of investors to its Akelikongo nickel sulphide discovery in the Kitgum-Pader area after Uganda lifts its lockdown as the Australian company looks for new partners after the exit of Rio Tinto.
On April 30, Rio Tinto wrote off $4.2 million – pocket change for a company with a market capitalization of $30 billion – that it had spent in exploration costs at the Akelikongo project as it exited a partnership that was in place since 2018.
Rio Tinto’s exit means that its planned investment of $57 million over five years as it sought to own 75 per cent of the Akelikongo project had collapsed.
Mining officials had seen Rio Tinto’s re-entry into Uganda – the company, one of the largest in the world in terms of its asset base, once operated in the country just over a decade ago – as a vote of confidence in the mining sector.
Now, with the whole shareholding of the project fully reverting to Sipa, the company says it will embark on getting a new partner for what it defines as “one of the most extensive discoveries of nickel sulphide mineralisation in recent years.”
Sipa said a planned site visit to the area, which was slated for April, was called off due to Uganda being under lockdown.