London and Toronto-listed Anglo Pacific, who collect royalties from mining projects in Australia and other locations, announced yesterday that they still have the right to a 1% royalty on gross revenue for the Isua iron mine in Greenland, even after its transfer to General Nice (俊安集团).
They also say they “intend to waive” their right to claim the $30m they paid London Mining for the royalty back in 2011. The royalty agreement stipulated that Anglo Pacific could have their money back in certain circumstances, such as London Mining not getting an exploitation license for the mine by the end of 2013. London Mining did get their permit on time and it’s not clear if any other circumstances triggering a money-back clause have come about. London Mining has gone into administration anyway, so you’d guess those repayment rights were becoming abstract enough for Anglo Pacific to magnanimously give up on them.
If we are to believe the consensus among Chinese analysts and industry voices channeled by business media, the Isua mine is not terribly likely to produce a revenue to get royalties from, at least in the short term. Those views, summarised in my ‘silly-melon‘ post from nine days ago, suggest that General Nice is more likely to sit on the Isua license waiting for it to become worth more, rather than develop it any soon.
‘Silly melon’ is a literal translation of shagua 傻瓜, a Chinese way of saying ‘silly’, often affectionately. The quote in the title (‘we haven’t got gourds for heads’), which employs the same metaphor as the Chinese word, is from Apuleius (Metamorphoseon I.15) and sounds like what General Nice could conceivably if you asked them if they want to invest $2.5bn in developing the Isua mine given current iron ore prices.