BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, will reportedly decide on whether it will continue participating in the Mumbwa copper and gold project in Zambia by the middle of this year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source familiar with the mining industry.
The source said BHP has yet to make a decision. BHP (BHP) partners with Australia-based Blackthorn Resources on the project. Blackthorn owns 60% of the project and BHP owns the rest. BHP can increase its interest to 80% if it opts to fund feasibility studies.
If BHP doesn't progress the project to a feasibility study, it has the option to retain a 2% production royalty from any future mining or sell the 2% to a third party after having given Blackthorn the right of first refusal on it, the Journal reported.
Blackthorn said it remains optimistic in its view of Mumbwa regardless if BHP decides to continue in the venture.