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OZ takes Renaissance scrip for cash

OZ Minerals has emerged with 16 per cent of Cambodia-focused Renaissance Minerals after agreeing to push back a deal that could have forced the gold explorer to stump up a $10 million payment on its Okvau deposit in the South-East Asian nation.

Renaissance's purchase of the project from OZ in May last year included agreement for a milestone payment of $10 million once the explorer defined a 1.25 million ounce resource at Okvau.

Renaissance was hovering close to that level after a March upgrade that took the resource to 1.2 million ounces and, despite raising $3.9 million in a 5� placement and share purchase plan recently, was carrying only $5 million in the bank.

Yesterday, Renaissance said OZ had agreed to push back the milestone payment until the company made a firm decision to build a mine at Okvau. The decision frees the company from the looming $10 million payment and allows Renaissance to get back to the business of drilling out the deposit when Cambodia's wet season ends in the new few months.

In exchange for the extension, Renaissance said it would issue OZ 15.3 million shares, worth about $1.1 million at yesterday's 7¢ closing price.

The share issue pushes up OZ's total holding in Renaissance to about 16 per cent, the company said, from the 12.6 per cent stake it previously held.

Although the OZ holding risks being a substantial overhang for Renaissance, the Australian copper miner has previously proved to be a patient and supportive holder in juniors.

OZ has also been a long-term major shareholder in Toro Energy, holding as much as 39.4 per cent of the uranium explorer until being diluted recently.

Renaissance closed up 0.4¢ to 7¢ yesterday.