Oro Verde (ASX: OVL) has engaged the consulting arm of Singapore-based AirGuide International as its strategic advisor to help clinch commercial deals for the Makuutu rare earth elements project in Uganda.
The junior explorer today announced the appointment of AirGuide Advisory Pte Ltd, which will advise the company and facilitate a “broad strategic program geared towards securing value-adding commercial agreements” for the project.
According to Oro Verde, AirGuide has more than 20 years of experience in financial markets and the commodities sector, including a proven track record of advising ASX-listed technology minerals companies on business strategy, investment funding and offtake partnerships.
Oro Verde technical director Marc Steffens described the appointment as a “beneficial engagement” that will position the company for a “productive and exciting future”.
In July, Oro Verde announced its intention to acquire a 60% stake in the Makuutu rare earths project in Uganda from Rwenzori Metals.
By September, the company had acquired the first 20% interest and announced an exploration target at Makuutu of 530 million tonnes, grading 0.04-0.1% total rare earth oxides.
Oro Verde commenced diamond drilling later that month. The 38-hole program is designed to follow on from a 2,000m rotary air blast drilling campaign previously undertaken by Rwenzori.
In an update to the market last week, the company reported a total of 19 holes drilled so far with the first batch of core samples being prepared to be freighted to Australia for chemical analysis and metallurgical testing.
The drilling program is anticipated for completion by the end of October.
According to Oro Verde, the 132sq km Makuutu project is located in an area with “excellent” infrastructure including tarred roads, nearby rail, power, water and cell phone coverage.
Uganda is also considered a mining-friendly nation and Makuutu is one of the few ionic clay-hosted rare earth element projects outside of China, which currently dominates the industry.
In a statement today, AirGuide chief executive officer David Robinson said the Makuutu project “may go some way toward addressing geopolitical concerns and security of supply of critical rare earth elements”.
“With the ongoing work program focused on demonstrating the strategic significance of this project, we believe that further project value is still to be unlocked,” he added.
As strategic advisor, AirGuide will be issued 100 million performance rights, which will automatically vest into fully paid shares upon the satisfaction of certain conditions.