Australia-based gold miner Perseus Mining has increased its stake in mineral development and exploration company OreCorp to 19.9%.

This comes after Perseus Mining acquired an interest of 15.03% in OreCorp shares as a strategic equity investment.

Perseus Mining plans to oppose Silvercorp Metals’ bid to take over OreCorp for A$260m.

OreCorp owns an 84% stake in the Nyanzaga gold project located in the Archaean Greenstones of the Lake Victoria Goldfields of northwest Tanzania.

According to the results of a definitive feasibility study announced in August 2022, the gold project is estimated to deliver 2.5 million ounces of gold over a mine life of 10.7 years.

The Nyanzaga project is anticipated to produce the first gold in the second half of 2025.

Perseus Mining said that it will engage with OreCorp to explore an optimal and expedited pathway forward for the development of the Nyanzaga project.

Perseus Mining executive chairman Jeff Quartermaine said: “Perseus continues to assess and, where considered commercially appropriate, deploy its reserves of cash, bullion and undrawn debt facilities totalling approximately $900m, to pursue opportunities that complement its existing asset portfolio and our organic growth programme.

“Acquiring the 15.03% interest in OreCorp via this share acquisition is a strategic investment for Perseus. It provides an investment in an attractive African gold project located in a jurisdiction that has a long and successful history of gold mining.

“Perseus has the ability, should the opportunity arise, to deploy its engineering, development and operating expertise and balance sheet to meaningfully contribute to the successful development and operation of this project.”

In August this year, Canadian precious metals company Silvercorp Metals signed a binding scheme implementation deed to acquire OreCorp in a deal worth A$240m.

Silvercorp Metals sweetened the deed to an increased price of A$260m last week.

Under the amended deed, the Canadian precious metals company will buy all shares of OreCorp that are previously not owned by it or its affiliates for A$0.19 in cash and 0.0967 of a new Silvercorp Metals’ common share.

Perseus Mining said that it intends to vote against the Silvercorp Metals’ scheme at an upcoming meeting of OreCorp’s shareholders to be held early next month.