Cheyenne, Wyo. • A global alternative investment management firm based in New York announced Wednesday that it bought about 5 million acres of land and mineral rights in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.
Orion Mine Finance will now acquire land with rich deposits of trona in a $1.3 billion deal, halting a bid by the state of Wyoming to invest in itself amid declining mineral revenues and slowing returns, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
“Acquiring high-quality producing royalties is a core component of our investment strategy and we are thrilled to be partnering with Occidental in this transaction,” Orion Chief Investment Officer Oskar Lewnowski said. “This transaction offers significant royalty cash flow from the trona mines and has strong potential for mineral development.”
Under the deal, owners Occidental Petroleum will retain all cash flow from currently producing oil and gas properties on the position. No other terms of the deal were released.
The total land area involved in the sale is bigger than Connecticut. About 20% of the land includes surface rights that could be leased for grazing or wind and solar energy projects. The other 80% involves only mineral rights — ownership of trona, oil and natural gas reserves that could be leased for mining and drilling.
Orion currently manages $6.2 billion in assets around the world and specializes in institutional metals and mining investment strategies on several continents.
Republican Gov. Mark Gordon expressed his disappointment in a written statement Wednesday.
“I thank Occidental Petroleum for the forthright way they communicated,” he said.