RGN Vol 8 Iss 2

Page 1

RESOURCE Volume 8, Issue 2


Mining, renewable energy and oil & gas worldwide

WEST AFRICA’S GOLD MINERS KEEP DRILLING The companies poised for growth ahead of another gold price wave:

Hummingbird Resources Roscan Gold Capital Ltd





Assessing the gold market after a distinctly unpredictable 12 months


hen RGN published its most recent goldfocused issue in July 2020, the gold price had risen to US$1,780 per ounce on the back of the unprecedented economic uncertainty caused by COVID-related lockdowns around the world, following a rapid escalation of the health crisis last March.

Jacob Ambrose Willson Editor

Executive Team Editor Jacob Ambrose Willson Content Director (APAC and Americas) David Hunter Creative Director Hugo Currie ICT Director Stuart Clark Managing Director Simon Curran Contributors Jeff Geipel (Mining Shared Value) John Mulligan (World Gold Council) RGN is published by Anderson Murray Media: a diverse media and information services company focused on creating and distributing engaging content to business leaders across the globe. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy the publisher and editor cannot be held responsible for any inaccurate information supplied and/or published. Copyright: The copyright for all material published in this magazine is strictly reserved.

Anderson Murray Media Fulham Green, 69-79 Fulham High Street, Main Reception, Bedford House, London SW6 3JW | Tel. +44 (0)207 148 5630

What followed over the last 12 months was a series of stop-start lockdowns ordained by governments to quell the virus, the authorisation of huge monetary fiscal packages to prevent total economic ruin and – crucially – the conception, manufacture and rollout of effective COVID-19 vaccines on an international scale. So, as we come to focus on the ‘barbarous relic’ once again in April 2021 with the gold price back down at around $1,729 per ounce (from the intoxicating highs of over $2,000 per ounce last August), gold bulls and players from the mining sector can reflect on the unruly - and at times baffling – journey that gold has taken in the last year, and speculate on where it might be heading in the future. Despite the ongoing volatile conditions across capital markets, gold mining companies – especially those in production – have thrived in this period, with many reporting record annual profits, increased dividends and healthy-looking balance sheets, all things considered.

In this issue, we look at a number of companies focusing on exploration, development and production of gold resources in West Africa, which has grown to become Africa’s leading region for gold production and one of the most attractive gold extraction hubs on the face of the earth. It’s not always been plain sailing for the likes of Roscan Gold and Hummingbird Resources in West Africa. Like many gold explorers and producers around the world, they have shared pain and pleasure during their exploits, but both now have incredible growth pipelines in Mali, Liberia and Guinea; three of a cluster of nations straddling West Africa’s prolific Birimian greenstone belt. Our West African gold focus is also tied to this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba, which - like all other industry gatherings during this period – took place on a fully virtual basis for the first time in its 27-year history. Nonetheless, Mining Indaba Virtual provided the same high-level content and investment opportunities we’ve come to expect to a record number of international delegates. The obvious downside was the lack of Cape Town sunshine from RGN’s WFH stations in wintry London. If you missed the live events, you can read RGN’s detailed reviews of Mining Indaba Virtual and the subsequent Virtual Investment Programme in this issue. There is also an exclusive Q&A between myself and Mining Indaba’s head of content Tom Quinn to get stuck into, plus the usual assortment of news and upcoming events. Thanks for reading.

Jacob Ambrose Willson jacob@resourceglobalnetwork.com

a j r





6 Global resources news Our selection of mining, oil & gas and renewable energy stories from the last month

MINING INDABA 2021 12 Mining Indaba Virtual preview RGN interviews Tom Quinn before the first ever virtual Mining Indaba 24 Mining Indaba Virtual review Resilience and regrowth: adopting the new mindset for African mining MINING INDABA VIRTUAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME REVIEW


34 Mining Indaba Virtual Investment Programme review Gold sector heavyweights assemble on Nedbank panel and Investment Battlefield winner announced




46 Jeff Geipel (Mining Shared Value) Jeff Geipel calls for more public reporting of local procurement in the African mining sector 56 John Mulligan (World Gold Council) Making the case for gold mining as a catalyst for socioeconomic development



68 Roscan Gold 346.8 km² of highly prospective ground in the heart of Mali’s prolific gold region


82 Hummingbird Resources Hummingbird emerges from a challenging period with organic growth pipeline in West Africa 96 Capital Ltd Renowned drilling company broadens its range of services to the African mining market 110 Altus Strategies A unique hybrid ‘royalty generator’ model in the African mining space



124 Barton Gold Scalable and synergistic gold assets in South Australia

EVENTS 136 Events Our pick of the top mining, oil & gas and renewable energy events happening around the world in the months to come





The latest Annual Survey of Mining Companies conducted by the Fraser Institute has ranked Nevada as the most attractive region in the world for mining investors. The gold and silver-rich US state leapfrogged Western Australia in the 2020 survey and returned to the top position it held last in 2018. The popular ranking was based on answers from 276 participants covering 77 jurisdictions. Final rankings were based on a combination of two indexes — Best Practices Mineral Potential, which rated regions based on their geologic attractiveness, and the Policy Perception Index, which measured the effects of government policy on attitudes toward exploration investment.

Another US state – Arizona – moved up seven places to second in the 2020 survey. The Canadian state of Saskatchewan, Western Australia and Alaska closed out the top five, with Quebec, South Australia Newfoundland & Labrador, Idaho and Finland following in the top 10. “The Fraser Institute’s mining survey is the most comprehensive report on government policies that either attract or discourage mining investors,” said co-author of the report Elmira Aliakbari. The least attractive jurisdiction for investment was Venezuela, followed by Chubut (Argentina), Tanzania, Indonesia, La Rioja (Argentina), Bolivia, Mendoza (Argentina), Zimbabwe, Spain and Michigan. 6


Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy news from around the world MINING M&A TO RAMP UP AS COVID-19 CRISIS DIMINISHES: BMO CAPITAL MARKETS

The level of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the mining sector will soon pick up as the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 crisis and miners benefit from a growing commodities boom, according to investment bank BMO Capital Markets. Mining companies will seek to expand through M&A once lingering uncertainties from the pandemic dissipate and while they find themselves cashed up after resurgent demand and supply shortfalls have pushed metals prices and company earnings to levels not seen for a decade. “History has shown that when there’s positive momentum in commodity prices that tends to

drive M&A activity,” BMO’s global metals and mining group co-head Ilan Bahar said in an interview ahead of BMO’s 30th annual Global Metals and Mining Conference. “As the world opens up – if the commodity price remains strong – we expect M&A to follow,” he added. “It [the market] feels pretty busy,” said Bahar’s fellow co-head Jamie Rogers. “There’s still that stumbling block of boards and directors trying to get over the hurdle of ‘how can I step out and make a big acquisition without putting boots on the ground?’” COVID-19 travel restrictions have prevented miners from performing on-site due diligence at prospective acquisitions, but the start of vaccine programmes around the world have improved prospects for M&A deals. 7



Over the last year, 34 countries saw a significant increase in mineral resource nationalism, according to research compiled in Verisk Maplecroft’s Resource Nationalism Index (RNI). The global risk and consultancy firm warned that the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic could contribute to a rising appetite for governments to seek greater control over revenues from mining companies. Verisk’s RNI identified 18 mineral and hydrocarbon dependent countries where threats to the bottom line of natural resource operators will expand further over the next two years.

Mining houses in Latin America and Africa were highlighted as being most susceptible to rising instruments of resource nationalism, including state interventionism, expropriation and indigenisation policies. “The countries to watch closest are the mining jurisdictions characterised by both a painful COVID-related economic contraction and a rise in these less explicit forms of resource nationalism,” said Verisk’s head of Americas research Jimena Blanco. “These governments are becoming willing to intervene in the economy, use indirect expropriation, or demand increases in local content requirements – opening the door to a more sophisticated resource nationalism path.” 8


Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy news from around the world SIBANYE BOSS FRONEMAN PROPOSES THREE-WAY MERGER WITH TOP SA MINERS

The chief executive of Sibanye-Stillwater has floated the idea of South Africa’s biggest mining companies merging to rival the world’s largest gold producers Newmont and Barrick Gold. Neal Froneman said he believed that combining Sibanye with fellow JSE-listed miners Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti would be in South Africa’s national interest, according to South African newspaper Business Day. Sibanye was formed via a spin out of Goldfields’ oldest South African mines in 2013, and became the world’s largest platinum miner in 2017 following a US$2.2 billion merger with US platinum producer Stillwater Mining.

More recently, the company has turned to growing its gold footprint and publicly stated its intention to target miners with annual output over one million ounces. In addition, Sibanye confirmed its entry into the battery metals space after striking an investment agreement with finish lithium miner Keliber Oy in March. Froneman said in January his ultimate goal is to double the size of the company, which reinstated its dividend in 2020 for the first time since 2017, before he retires in two to three years’ time.




Tom Quinn provides a preview of t





the Indaba’s first ever virtual event


There may have been some wishful thinkers within the global mining community hoping that the 27th annual Investing in African Mining Indaba would go ahead as normal in sunny Cape Town this year, particularly after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was suppressed in South Africa and other countries around the world. But even before the onset of the dreaded second wave, the Indaba organisers made the difficult – but ultimately correct – decision to postpone the physical event for the first time in its history. The iconic conference has connected the African mining sector with leading international investors on a face-to-face basis for over two-and-a-half decades, but despite not being able to gather the industry in the ‘Mother City’ in 2021, the Indaba team was resolute in its belief that the show must go on. Like many companies in the mining sector have over the past year, Indaba embraced digital solutions to the problems posed by the pandemic, with Mining Indaba Virtual taking place on February 2-3. A few weeks prior, RGN’s editor interviewed Indaba’s head of content Tom Quinn to find out what delegates could expect from the first ever virtual Indaba. The conversation, reproduced below, also covers some of the key trends and positive stories that emerged in the African mining sector during an acutely challenging 2020.


Jacob Ambrose Willson: Tom,

agrees that the appetite for

for the first time in Mining

Indaba hasn’t diminished,

Indaba’s 27-year history, the

and there’s no real substitute

industry won’t be gathering in

for face-to-face gatherings,

Cape Town in 2021. How will

so hopefully in time and with

Mining Indaba Virtual seek

the vaccine rollout that will

to replicate the experience of

become more of a reality. But

the renowned event from the

we’ve set up Mining Indaba

safety of each delegate’s home?

Virtual on February 2-3 using a professional platform and

Tom Quinn: It’s certainly been

recording team, so it will be

a very unique year for all of

more like a television studio

us globally, and with Indaba

experience rather than the

having an African focus but

regular webinar experience

with a global audience, we’ve

that many of us have seen

had to come up with the best

throughout the year. We wanted

solution that we can. Everyone

to maintain those premium


brand values that people

to communicating using

and we’re looking forward to

expect from Indaba.

digital technology. The Young

hosting it.

Leaders and students typically Sadly we won’t get the

find it challenging to travel to

JAW: The COVID-19 pandemic

opportunity to meet in Cape

Indaba with the expense and

threw up huge challenges

Town, especially if you are

time involved. This is a great

for African governments,

like me in London; we look

way for us to bring in that

healthcare systems and

forward to the sunshine and

next generation audience, as

mining companies. How did

good weather out there. But

well as investors in China and

all three work in tandem to

looking at the positives of

other parts of Asia and people

mitigate the impact of the

what we’re able to do with

way out in North America, in

pandemic in 2020?

a digital platform, it’s really

East coast US and West coast

democratised the Indaba

Canada, who usually might

TQ: This is a very good

outreach in a way, particularly

find it tricky to get to Indaba.

question and one I’ve been

with our Young Leaders who

We’re very excited about what

talking to many stakeholders

are very tech savvy and used

we’ve been able to achieve

about in the past few



is a number of instances where mining companies have been able to step up quickly and respond very proactively to the situation on the ground. In many particularly remote communities in Africa, supply chains are dependent on mining companies and the help they can provide. So when it came to local or national governments not being able to respond in some cases, mining companies have been converting their healthcare facilities into field hospitals to help with COVID-19 patients, and that’s not just restricted to mine employees, whole communities have been able to access this. YOUNG LEADERS DAY AT 2020 MINING INDABA

Miners have distributed PPE, months, not least from our

experience overwhelmingly

again not just to the men and

own experience. We were

positive when speaking to

women working at mine sites

in constant communication

mining companies and indeed

but to the wider community.

with the authorities in Cape

government ministries about

And very importantly, many

Town, the President’s office

2020, despite the pandemic

mining companies have

in South Africa and with the

which has caused havoc in

been in a strong position to

DMRE [Department of Mineral

terms of people’s lives.

guarantee employment in this

Resources] to find a way to


very precarious time, which

make it possible to get to

What I’m hearing, for example

is a big relief to many mining

Indaba in February. I found the

from our friends at the ICMM,

employees and the economy


as a whole. What I’m hearing from several ministries and groups like the Minerals Council of South Africa is that governments have been impressed with the way that miners have responded and are looking to implement this in the way they work together going forward, which I think is a huge outcome. JAW: Metals prices almost across the board actually enjoyed strong growth throughout 2020. How important is it for miners to continue reinvesting revenues into the communities and countries that have yielded their wealth across Africa?


TQ: At a fundamental level,

copper and even iron ore, with

I think this is a really key

without that resource there

the resurgence of building

point in terms of the ESG

would be no resource business

in China, is breaking a few

responsibilities that mining

and no spikes in terms of

records. Very importantly, the

companies have to local

precious and base metals

platinum group metals sector

communities. Not just many

prices as we’ve seen. The

has enjoyed a good year on

of the building blocks or

gold price has had a very

the back of ongoing work into

decarbonisation are involved

strong year stemming from

electric vehicles (EVs) and the

in mining, but also the deep

uncertainty created by the

energy transition.

roots that mining companies

pandemic, but also silver,

have within local and national


economies. We’re seeing a

President Joe Biden’s metals-

internationally, not least by

lot of re-investment into the

intensive ‘$2 trillion green

Africa. From what I’ve heard

regions in which mining

infrastructure’ plan for the

from our partners in the

companies operate, and that

recovery of the US economy.

state department of the US in

hasn’t been a difficult choice to

How important will mining

recent weeks, the investment

make for those companies. As

be to the rebooting of African

and support policies towards

I’ve mentioned, they’ve been

economies, as well as in the

Africa are not going to change

only too happy to step up and


significantly, in fact the US

help their local communities weather the storm of the

TQ: It’s very positive to see

on the good work that the


the new US administration

Prosper Africa initiative has

re-engaging not least with the

been doing the past few years.

JAW: It’s interesting you


Government is looking to build

World Health Organization,

mention the energy transition, but also with the Paris

When it comes to the Green

as much has been made of

Agreement, which has been

New Deal, the decarbonisation

overwhelming received

story is happening in mining


companies globally, but

resources in Africa. We’re

also renewables and energy

particularly in Africa. Africa

seeing companies like

storage. I think that’s a really

is at the cusp of a great

Ivanhoe Mining, run by

exciting one to watch in the

opportunity in terms of battery

Robert Friedland - an Indaba

next couple of years.

metals and green metals,

regular, significantly increase

by which I mean copper but

investment in copper-cobalt

All the materials for the

also the PGMs, nickel and

mining in the DRC. Just

energy transition are there in

rhodium, which has been an

recently a UK company

Africa. It’s significant that the

extraordinary recent story

has signed a deal with the

US wants to maintain its key

– the rhodium price has

Tanzanian government in

relationships in Africa and

increased by something like

terms of nickel production.

Indaba is one of the ways in

3,000% in the past year.

A really good story is coming

which they aim to do that with

out, not just from EVs and

dialogue from the ministers,

Many of the fundamental

the impact that can have

heads of state and the various

building blocks of the green

on decarbonisation, but

departments in the US.

economy exist in natural


JAW: Mining Indaba has

Our organisation is one very

transformation that is going

embraced digital solutions

good example of this, with the

on. A great example is Resolute

to challenges posed by the

ability to take Indaba online

Mining, the Australian-listed

pandemic. What other lessons

and therefore create access

gold mining company who

can be learned by the mining

to many different parts of the

have built a mining operation

sector, broadening out to


which is fully automated in

things like automation and

Mali. In a COVID context, it

remote operation of mine

For a number of years,

is able to run pretty much


mining companies have

unhindered whilst other

been embracing the ‘Fourth

mining operations have had to

TQ: Much like many

Industrial Revolution’, along

take the health and safety of

businesses, last year was a

with digital transformation

their employees as the number

challenging time for mining

and automation. We run a

one priority.

firms, but also a year that

dedicated content stream

provided an opportunity to

at Indaba – Mining 2050 –

Many people I’ve been

accelerate digital programmes.

which addresses the digital

speaking with in the past year from mining operations



Spotlight on


typically were in a work from home environment and they’ve responded positively. They say necessity is the mother of invention, which has been very true for most of us in the past year. So the operational functions have found a way to adapt to what is going on. We’ve also seen many nonmining companies becoming much more involved in

Tom Quinn is the Head of Content for Mining Indaba and Africa Oil Week at Hyve Group plc based in London, UK. He has nearly two decades of experience in producing content for the natural resources and energy sectors, from leading print media titles including Petroleum Economist and EY’s World Oil & Gas Technologies, to heading conference content production for World Trade Group’s natural resources portfolio. Tom spent six years based in Toronto, working with many TSX-listed natural resource and energy companies on premium industry conferences and multiple content formats including digital webinars and bespoke workshops. On returning to the UK, Tom became senior conference producer and event director for DMG Events (part of DMGT plc) focused on specialist energy events including EAGC, Canada Gas & LNG and CEE Gas. He was also part of the production team for Gastech, the world’s largest natural gas & LNG event. At Hyve Group, Tom works with pan-African and global stakeholders from across the mining value chain to ensure governments, major operators, junior miners, investors and financial institutions, service companies, and industry associations are given a voice on the world’s largest mining investor platform.

Indaba and the African mining sector, like Siemens for example and the big tech


guys Google and Apple. We’ve

with our contingency plan

lot of tech opportunities for

even been hearing recently

and I’m excited by the fact

example, in terms of reducing

from ROV [remotely operated

that we can reach many new

Scope 3 emissions, which is

underwater vehicle] and

people who perhaps haven’t

critical to a number of the big

drone operators, who’ve been

been able to travel to Indaba

mining operators. I think it’s

very interested in ways to get

before, particularly the Young

a really exciting opportunity

involved in the Indaba as they

Leaders. The future of the

for a young audience to get

see the opportunities created

industry is in their hands and

involved with Indaba.

in mining, with perhaps an

we’re seeing a return in many

accelerated viewpoint from

cases to graduates looking at

We have four heads of state,

what’s been going on with the

mining as an opportunity to

which is incredible and


become involved in the values

underscores the importance

that they hold dear.

of Indaba to many African

JAW: Finally, what elements of

nations, not just South Africa

the virtual event will Mining

The perception of mining in

Indaba look to build on and

recent years has often not been Town. We’re looking forward

integrate into future shows

great in terms of its ESG lens.

to welcoming President Cyril

(hopefully back in Cape Town

People like Mark Cutifani of

Ramaphosa and the presidents

in the not-too-distant future)?

Anglo American have talked

of the DRC, Sierra Leone

about the problem that mining

and Botswana. We’re excited

TQ: It was a very big decision

has had with its ability to

to hear their views on how

to have to cancel the face-to-

engage with a next generation

mining can help reboot the

face Indaba this February and

audience. But the sector’s ESG

economies of their countries.

not one that we took lightly.

emphasis is getting much

But we immediately responded

better and is presenting a

and the fact that we’re in Cape

I am also excited to be hosting so many important names within the industry.

“The transition to Indaba Virtual has really democratised the Indaba outreach, particularly with our Young Leaders who are very tech savvy and have previously found it challenging to travel to Indaba. This is a great way for us to bring in that next generation audience” Tom Quinn, Mining Indaba head of content


We have Bold Bataar from Rio Tinto and Bady Baldé from the EITI [Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative] to name two. We have representatives from Standard Bank, the ICMM


RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Mining Indaba head of content Tom Quinn, January 22, 2021 and in particular I am very

announced our long-term

more digital and hopefully

excited to welcome Natascha

partnership with them, so

hybrid opportunities coming

Viljoen, the recently ordained

that we can make sure we are

up throughout the year.

CEO of Anglo Platinum.

responding to the needs of the

It’s great to have people on

operators, stakeholders and

board like Natascha, who is

the wider communities within

a great advocate for Women

South African mining and that

in Mining, one of our key

they have a greater voice in


what we are doing. Although we won’t get the opportunity to

One final thing is, we have

meet face-to-face in February,

spent a lot of time and

there’s a huge amount to look

dialogue with the Minerals

forward to with Virtual, and

Council of South Africa and

we’ve also got an investors day

I’m pleased to say we recently

at the end of March and many








e and regrowth: adopting the new mindset for African mining


Setting aside the disappointment felt by the international mining community in terms of not being able to converge in Cape Town for the 27th annual Investing in African Mining Indaba, its head of content Tom Quinn promised to deliver a virtual event with the same high-level content and thoughtprovoking discussions between some of the industry’s leading lights, just minus the South African sunshine. The event organisers, now part of the Hyve Group, made sure not to disappoint anyone with the first 100% digital event in its history, attracting thousands to a slick ‘television studio’ style experience that felt markedly different to other digital conferences and webinars that had preceded it, with additional interactive features proving a big hit with attendees. This year, the wellentrenched early February ‘Mining Indaba week’ was truncated into a two-day event which took place on February 2-3, but the CPD-certified Mining Indaba Virtual still managed to provide three sitting African presidential addresses and a series of multistakeholder discussions on the most pertinent topics facing the African mining industry, including the clean energy transition, ESG investing and the Fourth Industrial Revolution – all under the overarching theme of resilience and regrowth in the COVIDimpacted global economy.



Three times a president

South Africa’s president

After delivering a rousing

Indaba as one that will help to

presidential speech to a packed

position mining as a catalytic,

audience during the 25th year

transformative, innovative

anniversary event in 2019,

and developmental industry

Cyril Ramaphosa returned

in the midst of the COVID-19

with another headline address

pandemic. He praised the

to Mining Indaba’s online

South African mining sector

audience on day one.

for its resilience during a

hailed this year’s Mining

uniquely challenging period of disruption to mining activity


and volatile commodities and

he said. “Mining companies

support mining developments,

currency prices.

are well-trained to support the

Bio asked for a certain type

vaccine programme.”

of investor in Sierra Leone’s

Ramaphosa asked for the

mining sector.

mining sector to assist in

Following suit was Sierra

vaccinating employees

Leone’s president Julius

“We want trusted, worthy,

against COVID-19. “As we

Maada Bio, who thanked the

credible and patient investors.

embark on a COVID-19

mining industry for chipping

Investors who value fair and

vaccination programme that

in with PPE and medical

ethical business principles

is unprecedented in scale and

support during the ongoing

and practices. Investors who

reach, we must work together

pandemic. After noting that

are interested in a long-term

to ensure that workers who

the country would invest

sustainable relationship with

need the vaccine receive it,”

heavily in infrastructure to

our country,” he said.




The third and final presidential

geological information

Anglo American chief

speaker at this year’s Indaba

in an effort to encourage

executive Mark Cutifani

was Mokgweetsi Masisi of

prospecting for non-diamond

advised that the sector should

Botswana. In the prime-time

materials in Botswana.”

better communicate the

slot of day two, Masisi told

importance of mining to wider

from the diamond sector,

ESG investing & technological disruption

which was severely impacted

ESG investing in the post-

conversation about our role

by COVID-19 last year.

COVID world was a recurring

in the world. To support nine

theme during Mining Indaba

billion people, you need

“An overdependence on

Virtual, with a series of panels

mining. For example, without

diamonds has more than ever

comprising some of the

mining we could only feed half

made it imperative for us to

biggest names in the African

of the planet.”

urgently expand our revenue

mining sector tasked with

base to other minerals such as

discussing the growing ESG

In the same panel discussion,

coal and base metals,” he said.

trend in mining.

Lord Charles Vivian of

delegates that Botswana needs to diversify its economy away

“We are digitising important



society. Discussing the ‘S’ in ESG, he said: “We have to engage people with a different

Tavistock talked about the






influx of younger generalist

Executive vice-president of

houses are now looking at

investors driving ESG in the

South African mining giant

more innovative technology

mining space. “Doing the

Gold Fields Alfred Baku said

solutions from health

right thing will not only help

that the company believes

and safety to productivity

your share price, but also help

zero harm is possible with

improvement. It is re-

the moral reputation of the

automation. “There is also an

imagining every facet of our

business,” he said.

opportunity to reduce mining


costs using automation. But Following the ESG panel on

the potential to implement

day one, six of the industry’s

automation will vary from

most innovative minds were

operation to operation,” he

Green metals and the energy transition

gathered to discuss the Fourth


Perhaps one positive impact

Industrial Revolution. The

of the COVID-19 pandemic

panel set about answering the

On a broader note, CGC

has been the opportunity

question: how can African

Consulting CEO Clive

it has provided to ‘reset’

mining harness technology

Govender said: “COVID-19

attitudes towards high carbon-

and automation in a pandemic

has slowed the world but

emitting elements of the global

to help grow economies?

accelerated change. Mining

economy, as the climate crisis continues to intensify.


The concept of a worldwide

The final panel of Mining

Dr Kwasi Ampofo,

clean energy transition

Indaba Virtual focused on

battery metals analyst at

was given fresh impetus by

green metals, PGMs and global

BloombergNEF, neatly

President Joe Biden’s decision

decarbonisation, with leaders

summarised the collective

to return the US to the terms

from BloombergNEF, RBPlat

thoughts of the panel by

of the Paris agreement, while

and Anglo American Platinum

proclaiming that Africa holds

other governments around

among the guests to grace the

the keys to the decarbonisation

the world continue to lay out

virtual stage.

of the global economy.

ambitious decarbonisation plans.




“I am really proud of all the

future is going to pass

Delivering a digital Indaba

through a mine, and mines in

Overall, the first ever virtual

Indaba team has put into

Africa will be instrumental.

Mining Indaba didn’t fail

Mining Indaba Virtual

The energy transition will

to disappoint, with more

this year to make it a huge

be supported by mines in

presidential addresses than

success,” Quinn told RGN

Madagascar, the DRC, South

ever before and the usual high

after the event. “True, this

Africa, Morocco, Zimbabwe

calibre of panel discussions

year we definitely missed the

and more,” he concluded.

delivered via a uniquely

buzz of a live Indaba Main

interactive digital platform.

Stage audience and the ability

“The road to our net-zero

hard work that the Mining

to walk the exhibition halls



And the content didn’t stop there either. Mining Indaba hosted the Virtual Investment Programme on March 3031, which brought together an elite network of mining executives, investors and financiers. Plus, the highly anticipated Investment Battlefield final took place, after a series of competitive qualification rounds in the weeks leading up to the supplementary two-day event. You can read the following pages of this issue for a full review of the Virtual Investment Programme.

of the CTICC [Cape Town International Convention Centre] or relax at one of the famous Indaba social events in Cape Town, but we have been overwhelmed with positive feedback on the two days of content we streamed both from speakers and the global audience we were able to reach.”


“We were honoured by the direct engagement of three African heads of state which really underlined the importance of Mining Indaba as a platform to drive investment in Africa’s metals and minerals industries. We had 6,304 individual delegates pre-registered with us to attend MI Virtual which is a phenomenal achievement considering the saturation of online events out there right now during this pandemic. Over 3,800 of these were ‘new’ to Mining Indaba, many of them stating that they hadn’t attended the physical Indaba before” Tom Quinn, Mining Indaba head of content



Gold sect and Inves 34



tor heavyweights assemble on Nedbank panel stment Battlefield winner announced 35

Following the hugely successful virtual conference at the beginning of February, Investing in African Mining Indaba delivered the second part of its 2021 online-only experience on March 3031. The Virtual Investment Programme aimed to provide an exclusive digital space for deal making in lieu of the various meeting rooms and coffee stalls inside the Cape Town International Convention Centre, where investors usually connect and strike deals in ‘normal’ years gone by when the Indaba has rolled into town. Ahead of the specially curated event, Mining Indaba’s team of investor relations experts made sure to match projects and investors that fulfilled the criteria of both parties, citing a motivation to ‘connect you to the right people’. In addition to these investment opportunities, the event also provided access to two CPD-certified analyst-led roundtables with Nedbank CIB and Investec CIB as well as the famous Investment Battlefield final, following a series of competitive qualification rounds in the weeks leading up to the Virtual Investment Programme.






On March 31, Nedbank CIB’s

AngloGold Ashanti and Perseus

lead analyst Arnold Van Graan

Mining managing director and

moderated an exclusive gold

CEO Jeff Quartermaine.

roundtable discussion featuring four of the biggest names in the

The heavily South African

African mining sector: Barrick

weighted panel were asked to

Gold president and CEO Mark

discuss the recent downward

Bristow, Sibanye Stillwater

movement in the gold price,

boss Neal Froneman, Christine

after the turbulence and

Ramon – interim CEO of

uncertainty of 2020 saw gold exceeding US$2,000 an ounce






for the first time in its history.

Mark Bristow made a defiant

difference with today is that

response to the prospect of a

the money being printed

But as COVID-19 vaccines have

bear market for gold. “I don’t

is going into the hands of

started to rollout at varying

see a bear scenario unfolding,”

Joe Bloggs, but back then

speeds across the world, the

he told the panel. “Gold shares

it was going into banking

gold price stooped as low as

are still underperforming


$1,684 per ounce in March,

relative to their underlying

despite ongoing monetary


stimulus checks being pumped

Linking the conversation back to the gold market, the

into economies around the

“The last year has been like the

ever straight-talking Bristow

world on an unprecedented

global financial crisis (GFC)

referenced the generalist trend


period on steroids. But the big

towards what he described



as ‘investment fads’. The

2019. “We were becoming

Carrying on this thread, Jeff

latest rise in cryptocurrency

irrelevant as an investment

Quartermaine discussed

investment has been suggested

class,” he admitted. “That was

the growth strategy behind

as one of the reasons for

the biggest driver of the deal.

Perseus’ portfolio of three

the sluggish gold price, with


open pit gold operations across

Bitcoin supposedly eating into

“The other driver is, if you

West Africa. “We’re based in

gold’s appeal as an alternative

want to be a world class

several countries, so we’ve

form of currency.

public business, you have to

been able to spread risk across

be global. We have that now

the region,” he said.

In the face of increasing digital

with Barrick. We’ve followed

investment options, Bristow

a much more conservative

Perseus poured first gold from

reiterated the importance

approach and invested

its third mine – the Yaouré

of Barrick becoming more

in improving our assets

project in Côte d’Ivoire – in

relevant to investors following


December 2020. The ASX-listed

the $18 billion merger with

miner expects annual gold

Randgold Resources in January

production to increase to more


than 500,000 ounces per year

seriously since it started

strategy. “Climate change

by 2020.

building mines in Africa

is a key priority at all levels

nearly two decades ago. “We

of company,” she said. “We

“The task of growing should

are guests in other people’s

actually exceeded our 2008

not be difficult providing

countries, Quartermaine

target of cutting our emissions

we remain disciplined,”

continued. “If we can’t be

by 30% over 15 years.”

Quartermaine said. “Our

responsible then we have very

explorationists have been busy

little to offer and don’t deserve

In fact, the overall emissions

identifying targets and now we

to be there, frankly.”

of AngloGold’s portfolio

can put our money where our

decreased by almost 50%

mouth is. Very soon the fruits

These thoughts were echoed

over the 15-year period –

of our endeavours will come to

by AngloGold’s Christine

an impressive feat given


Ramon, who delved deeper

emissions reductions targets

into the global mining giant’s

were not commonplace at the

long-term decarbonisation

time it was set.

The principles of ‘ESG’ are something Perseus has taken




The precious metals

On the battery and energy

up to the Virtual

exploration round was

materials side of the

Investment Programme,

clinched by Antler Gold VP

competition, IronRidge

12 representatives from

of operations Christopher

Resources COO Len Kolff made

African exploration and

Drysdale. A few days later

it through a closely fought

development mining

in the precious metals

contest in the exploration

companies went head-to-

development round, Cora

heat, while Gratomic Inc CEO

head in four qualification

Gold CEO Bert Monro also

and president Arno Brand

heats to determine the

impressed the judges enough

succeeded with a strong pitch

finalists of Mining Indaba’s

to earn a place in the final on

in the development stage

2021 Virtual Investment

March 31.





RTUAL INVESTMENT ELD FINAL From there, the four winning

In the end, IronRidge’s Len

ultimately sold on IronRidge’s

participants reconvened to

Kolff produced another

exposure to the growing

pitch their projects once

winning pitch on the AIM-

green economy through its

again to a panel of esteemed

listed junior’s Ewoyaa lithium

high-grade lithium project.

judges in the Investment

pegmatite discovery in Ghana.

Congratulations to Len and all

Battlefield final, which took

It was a close-run contest,

entrants in this year’s virtual

place in front of a live virtual

with Antler Gold’s Christopher

Investment Battlefield!

audience of global investors

Drysdale finishing as runner-

and financiers.

up based on the company’s gold prospects in Namibia. However, the judges were



“We achieved this by selling

remaining projects. After the

Changing tack slightly,

off high greenhouse gas (GHG)

sale of some South African

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal

emitting assets and improving

assets last year, we will take

Froneman discussed the

the energy efficiency of our

another significant step

importance of diversification

towards reducing our GHG

in the African mining space,

emissions,” she said.

seeing recent gold companies



moving into copper and other

there are more material gold

inflation. I remain bullish on

battery metals as analogous to

transactions than battery

gold and firmly believe it will

previous diversification trends

metals at the moment.

be in a very good place in a few

from gold into platinum group

years time,” he concluded.

metals (PGMs), chiefly in South Coming full circle in the Africa.

conversation, Froneman spoke on the global economic

“When you recognise the role

recovery from COVID-19 and

that electrification will play

how it might affect the gold

in the future of the global

sector long term. “It looks like

economy, it becomes clear

we might be moving into more

how important battery metals

stable economic times, albeit

and PGMs are going to be,” he

with very significant stimulus

said. “However, gold remains

packages which won’t be felt

a commodity of interest and

for several years, in terms of





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- Jonathan Goodman

African countries pushin need to be informed by da

Jeff Geipel calls for more public reporting of lo



ng for local procurement ata and public monitoring

ocal procurement in the African mining sector


In 2020, new regulations requiring or incentivising mining companies to buy goods and services from host country suppliers were implemented in Mali and Ghana. Now in 2021, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Niger and Senegal are all in the process of finalising their own rules, in what is only the latest surge in a trend going back over a decade of African host country governments seeking to create more backward linkages from mining activity. This movement now seems only likely to accelerate even further as the coronavirus pandemic has exposed how dangerously reliant many economies are on goods and services from abroad – especially Africa and its dependence on imported Chinese goods. This has actually given African governments a unique window of opportunity. Not only is there a wider political understanding of the need for domestic production



Jeff Geipel Jeff Geipel is the founder and managing director for the Mining Shared Value initiative at Engineers Without Borders Canada. This initiative works to improve the development impacts of mineral extraction in host countries through increasing local procurement by the global mining industry. Through this work, Jeff is also the community manager for the World Bank’s Extractives-led Local Economic Diversification Community of Practice. Originally from Vancouver, Jeff holds a master’s degree in international development from the London School of Economics in the UK. Jeff’s work and articles have been featured by the Guardian, Devex, the Globe and Mail, National Post



A breakdown of spending by Senegalese mining companies between national and international suppliers, Rapport ITIE 2019, p. 84.



In its 2019 Sustainability Report using the Mining LPRM, Teranga Gold provided a detailed breakdown of spending across different types of suppliers, as well as across multiple broad categories of goods and services. Such detailed data helps inform suppliers and governments in their attempts to target procurement opportunities. Teranga Gold, 2019 Sustainability Report, p. 61.

of goods and services for all

development programmes, we

making a stand-alone

sectors, mining companies

have very little measurement

announcement, such as Ghana

themselves faced supply chain

of what is actually working.

recently stating that their

disruptions in 2020 and now

regulations in place since

better recognise the business

Most countries to have

2014 have been successful in

interest in having reliable

implemented local

increasing local procurement

suppliers in country.

procurement regulations

from US$148.24 million in 2014

for the mining sector do not

to $394.09 million in 2018.

However, despite over a

have any kind of publicly

decade of these new rules

available data showing how

What is measured is managed,

being put in by governments,

procurement from national

and it is time government

as well as mining company

suppliers has changed year-

and industry strategies for

voluntary initiatives and

on-year. The most we have

increased local procurement

donor-funded supplier

is governments occasionally

in mining incorporate robust


measurement systems, and public reporting of progress. One exception to this lack of data and a country showing leadership is Senegal. Senegal is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and is now collecting and reporting data on the percentage of mining company procurement going to national versus international suppliers as part of its process, as well as for the oil and gas industry. Then, some companies are also showing leadership and are voluntarily providing data on where their procurement spending is going, and what policies, processes and programmes they have in place. Three companies in Africa used the Mining Local Procurement Reporting Mechanism (LPRM) to structure public reporting on local procurement for 2020: Ivanhoe Mines, Golden Star Resources and Teranga Gold.


Ivanhoe Mines was the first company in the world to report in accordance with th information requested by the LPRM’s disclosures helped inform Ivanhoe’s approa 2019 Sustainability Report, p. 49.


he Mining LPRM, for its three sites in the DRC and South Africa. Providing ach to its local procurement strategy. Ivanhoe Mines,

The Mining LPRM is a publicly available reporting and transparency framework that we created in partnership with GIZ, with support from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In addition to the three companies operating in Africa mentioned above, Lundin Gold in Ecuador also used the LPRM to report on 2019, and Solaris Resources just announced it will become the first company to report in accordance with the LPRM for an exploration project - its Warintza project in Ecuador. In addition to providing quantitative data on local procurement spending, using the LPRM also entails providing key practical information for suppliers on the procurement process, and what standards suppliers must meet. This information also helps empower suppliers, host country governments and other partners to understand how to target supplying opportunities.



We also know that increasing

of goods and services by the

during extractive industry

reporting and transparency in

mining sector is a potential

procurement were recently

procurement processes drives

corruption hotspot. With

analysed in the Natural

performance by companies in

a typical mine spending

Resource Governance Institute

their own efforts. In order to

hundreds of millions of

report, Beneath the Surface:

provide the information in the

dollars each year, opaque

The Case for Oversight of

LPRM’s required disclosures,

procurement processes can

Extractive Industry Suppliers.

most companies will have

lead to problems, and the

In the report, authors Robert

to implement or refine their

LPRM also requires countries

Pitman and Kaisa Toroskainen

processes, improving their

to explain their supply chain

explain the negative impacts

performance and also helping

due diligence processes and

caused by corruption

their social licence to operate

means of preventing corrupt

in extractive industry

at the same time.

practices during procurement.

procurement and argue for increased transparency.


It is also vitally important to

The risks for corruption and

understand that procurement

other problematic practices


In addition to it being a

in host country suppliers

As such, African governments

negative phenomenon in

improving their capacity so

are right to be trying to

itself, corruption during

they no longer need these

increase linkages from

procurement processes

legal protections, and so

mining activity to their

undermines host countries’

deterring corruption through

wider economies, but we

goals of improving the

transparency is essential.

need data and transparency

capacity of its suppliers.

to ensure transparency and

When suppliers connected to

Also, when mining companies

accountability. We hope that

political elites are given special

have to overpay for goods and

others will follow the lead

treatment, it undermines

services due to corrupt local

of countries like Senegal,

competition and takes the

procurement regulations,

as well as companies like

pressure off businesses to

it means their profits are

Ivanhoe, Golden Star and

improve their own capacity.

lowered and in turn, the

Teranga, in making mining

Regulations requiring mining

amount of corporate taxes they

sector procurement more

sector local procurement

pay is lowered too. There is a


need to ultimately result

huge opportunity cost at play.


Gold as a driver of change - l

Making the case for gold mining as a catalyst for socio-econo



little things and big impacts

omic development - By John Mulligan (World Gold Council)


While I was busy pulling together our recent research report on gold mining’s potential ability to decarbonise, I also participated in a number of online events and discussions with climate-conscious investors regarding gold’s credentials as a responsible and sustainable asset. Or perhaps I should rephrase that; I participated in a number of online events with climateconscious investors during which I sought to introduce gold’s credentials as a responsible and sustainable asset into the discussion, to the surprise of most other participants.



asset. And, historically, there may be rational reasons for that. Not only do many institutional investors regard gold as an opaque, volatile and ‘emotional’ asset, illsuited to modern portfolio management, but lingering in their minds are often images of gold mining rooted in the colonial past or reflecting artisanal mining activities, where conditions are very far removed from those of modern corporate gold production. One advisor recently commented to me that most of her institutional investment contacts in Europe simply won’t look at the ‘extractives sector’ given its ‘problematic reputation’ For those of us in the gold

and ‘negative environmental

market, such engagement


offers us an important reality check; we need to face the

But it can be argued that,

simple fact that the vast

as things stand today, such

majority of professional

positions might not only

and institutional investors,

be a little blinkered and, in

when surveying the current

many regards, out-dated and

ESG investment landscape,

inaccurate, but also a missed

do not consider gold as an

opportunity if those investors

appropriate or relevant

are interested in their funds

John Mulligan

John is director of market relations and climate change lead at the World Gold Council, leading its climate change research programme and its associated engagement activity with stakeholder organisations. Additionally, he contributes to the organisation’s wider insight and communication outputs to improve understanding of the whole gold supply chain. John has written extensively and comments regularly on gold market dynamics, investment strategy and sustainability issues. John joined the World Gold Council in early 2005, working initially on investment research and investor outreach. He has worked in or around the financial markets for over 25 years, including senior roles in business development, product management, trading systems and market analysis. Additionally, John has previously consulted on research, business analysis and knowledge management projects for a range of clients, from SMEs to supranational organisations. John has degrees from the University of Sussex and Birkbeck College, University of London.



being directed towards assets that will deliver a more stable, secure and sustainable future. I won’t reiterate here my longheld position (backed by a chunky body of research1) that institutional investors could benefit from adopting a broader perspective on portfolio diversification and from looking more closely at gold’s ability to contribute to the optimal performance of portfolios. Also, it is not my intention to defend the whole mining sector, or to underestimate the challenges faced by the sector in its ongoing transformation to become cleaner, safer and more sensitive to all its stakeholders. But I do think it is important to remind

targets, we will, as the World

absolutely a pre-requisite to

investors and stakeholders that

Bank has repeatedly reminded

progress. Without it, the world

the sector will be absolutely

us (including via its Climate-

cannot be confident it will

vital in delivering the

Smart Mining initiative),

be able to mitigate climate

applications, technology and

inevitably need more mining,

risks while also being able to

infrastructure needed to move

not less. Therefore, funding

achieve development goals.

towards a cleaner, safer world.

an efficient and accountable mining industry that is focused

Ah, but gold is far from a ‘vital

If, for example, we are to

on delivering strategically vital

material’, the argument then

commit to Paris-aligned

materials is, it can be argued,

often goes. It mostly just sits

carbon reduction and climate



means of safeguarding their wealth and savings. Not to mention the gold that helps wire the internet and keeps your smart phones and laptops working. Simply put, more people in more countries now own more gold for more reasons than at any other time in history. But my aim here is not to revisit that argument. Rather, I wish to comment on another aspect of gold that is often missed by those that dismiss it prematurely or look at it from a very one-dimensional perspective – that is, I wish to point out that gold’s diverse functions and uses often have an even more diverse range of significant impacts, in vaults doing nothing – it

religion, medicine, trade

albeit many of them may

is, basically, useless. In such

and money across different

be indirect and, therefore,

discussions and debates – and

countries, civilisations and


there have been many during

epochs. And gold still has

my time at the WGC! – I have

meaning in the everyday lives

This is true on many levels,

strived to point out that this

of millions of people. Private

including, for example,

is, at best, a very partial and

individuals and families

the role of gold mining as

largely ‘Western’ view that

currently own more gold

a catalyst for wider socio-

neglects gold’s historical and

than banks and governments

economic development. While,

cultural significance and its

do2 and, for many, it remains

historically, local gold mining

role in the evolution of art,

the most secure and trusted


may have emerged in ways that were (very!) far removed from the responsible business practices we expect today, it has clearly been a key factor in the eventual development of local vibrant economies and in triggering more extensive progress. The Australian gold rush of the 1850s, for example, led to rapid social change and economic growth. With an expanding population and an influx of educated workers, alongside rapid wealth creation from the gold sector, came a burst in the growth of schools, churches, learned societies, libraries and art galleries, and Australia’s first railway and telegraph. This is not an isolated case either – a similar story can be told of gold’s defining role in the shaping of modern California. More recently we have seen evidence that, in developing economies where gold mining’s contribution to national GDP has grown in a relatively substantial and sustainable manner, there is very often a concurrent



improvement in wider income levels and indicators of social progress and wellbeing3. What may seem to some a small industry, producing small volumes of yellow metal, can catalyse substantial wider changes and, ultimately, have major development impacts. More recently, this aspect of gold has proved true in an entirely different way, as gold has emerged as a key component in the advancement of technological innovations based on nanotechnology. The miniscule amounts of gold used in nano-based applications may not excite gold dealers, as these uses are unlikely to represent a substantial source of new demand in volume terms. But gold market players may view these applications with far greater enthusiasm when they consider how gold’s role, in enabling these new technologies, has the potential power to deliver


transformative solutions to

When considering gold’s role

Given the relatively small

improve the lives of a great

in potentially driving such

volumes of gold, and the

many people. This has already

innovative technologies,

potential size of the prize,

been proven in some of

it is only fair that I also

it would therefore be a

gold’s medical and diagnostic

acknowledge that its high

pity - and possibly another

uses but is also true of gold’s

value can often discourage

major missed opportunity!

potential role in supporting

its wider use as an input in

- if scientists and research

decarbonising technologies

the commercial development

institutions were dissuaded

to support climate risk

of such technologies. But

from utilising gold by its price

mitigation. For example, one

this should not detract from

and therefore failed to fully

application currently being

the simple fact that gold is

explore its potential, at least

explored (as touched upon

often the best material for

as an ‘enabling’ material in

in our 2018 ‘Gold and climate

some of these technologies

early-stage innovation. Indeed,

change: an introduction’

and, because of this, is often

this might be another area

report) is gold’s potential

vital in enabling their early

that investors examine more

use as an efficient catalyst in

development and establishing

closely if they are considering

‘CO2 conversion’ – potentially

their efficacy.

their support for solutions

transforming CO2 into a useful synthetic fuel.


to enhance our efforts to


decarbonise the economy.

other metals from electronic

As I’ve been writing this,

Certainly, it is at least another

goods (e-waste). The small

further examples of the

reminder that gold is not

amounts of gold that can be

potential indirect beneficial

simply a shiny metal that just

profitably recovered from

impacts of an evolving and

sits in a vault!

mobile phones, laptops and

increasingly climate-smart

such has consequently enabled

gold industry have come to

And, while the relative high

the recovery of other metals

mind. But I shall save them

value of a material like gold

from electronics, expanding

for now, to perhaps surprise

might deter its commercial

the scope of this segment of

the next set of investors I

deployment at scale, there

the circular economy. In this

encounter who are unfamiliar

are other cases when gold’s

instance, a vibrant market and

with gold’s credentials as a

value acts as an ‘enabler’ of

a buoyant price was needed

responsible and sustainable

market development and

to allow gold to stimulate and

asset – there are still a fair few

wider positive impacts. A good

support adjacent activities

out there!

example of this is that the

with wider beneficial impacts.

sustained value of gold and its long-term growth trajectory has facilitated the recycling of 1. Including the WGC’s own research on gold as a strategic portfolio asset – see, for example, www.gold.org/goldhub/research/relevance-of-gold-as-a-strategicasset-2020 2. Above-ground gold stocks (2019): Jewellery - 47.0%; Private investment - 21.6%; Official sector holdings - 17.2% 3. For more, see www.gold.org/download/file/8371/the-social-and-economic-impacts-of-gold-mining.pdf and, more broadly, www.gold.org/about-gold/goldsupply/responsible-gold/gold-minings-contributions-sdgs






346.8 km² of highly prospective ground in the heart of Mali’s prolific gold




d region


Roscan Gold Corp CEO and president Nana Sangmuah describes the TSXV-listed company’s land package in West Mali as one of the most prospective exploration grounds within West Africa’s sprawling Birimian greenstone belt. “We are right smack bang in the middle of about eight producing mines within an 80 km radius and we’ve added more ground this year that brings our total land package to about 346.8 km²,” says the experienced mining executive. The TSXV-listed explorer has already made four discoveries that together comprise the Kandiolé Project, which Roscan is rapidly advancing towards the resource delineation phase. “This is a first order structure, preliminary geophysics have been completed on the ground and they are pointing to some deeprooted structures here. We are very excited to have this land package and we are very confident that this could become a multimillion-ounce camp,” Sangmuah proclaims.







Trust in Mali

its weight and has virtually

and security is of prime

Mali’s credentials as an

taken the reins of government,

importance to us and you can

established, high quality

applied the new mining code,

see that by the fact that we’ve

mining jurisdiction are

continued with the issuance of

had virtually no safety or

underlined by the proliferation

permits and it’s been business

security issues since we started

of commercial gold mines in

as usual.

with one target, which has now

the Southwest of the country.

grown to five targets and over

In fact, Mali produced 65.2

Roscan continued to operate

150 people employed.

tonnes of gold in 2020 - making

drill rigs at its camp as the

it the fifth largest producer

political situation played

“It should also be highlighted

in Africa - with the formal

out in August, and the same

that there are 86 gold mining

industrial sector generating

‘keep calm and carry on’

and exploration companies

huge government revenues

mindset was applied when the

operating in country and

and vital employment for the

COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier

there has not been a single

wider population.

in 2020.

day of operational disruption due to conflicts or terror

However, concerns were raised Mali’s investment status is

related activities. Some of

by investors last year after the

also often unfairly dented

these companies have been

incumbent government was

by the presence of Jihadist

operating for over 20 years in

removed in a military coup.

terror activity, which is

Mali since 1996 without any

Sangmuah quickly allays fears

mostly concentrated in the

major interruptions, in the

relating to Mali’s political

Northeastern part of the

case of Randgold Resources

instability: “I think it was one

country – over 1,000 km from

(now Barrick Gold).”

of the most peaceful coups

the cluster of operating gold

I’ve seen, where the will of the

mines within Roscan’s radius.

Regional expertise

“We have never felt threatened

Successfully navigating the

“The democratically elected

while getting on with our

challenges associated with

government was ushered out

business there. But we also

developing gold projects in

and a transitional government

don’t leave anything to chance

West Africa requires strong

was brought in without any

and make sure that staff are

leadership with extensive

loss of life. The transitional

well protected when they

regional experience, and

government is punching above

are in the bushes. Safety

Roscan has this in buckets.

people was respected,” he says.


Chairman Sir Samuel Jonah is

the company in February

a serial mine developer best

2021 as an independent

known for growing Ghana-

non-executive director,

based Ashanti Goldfields into

bringing with him unrivalled

a 10-mine conglomerate.

experience in transitioning

He later became president

junior exploration plays into

of AngloGold Ashanti after

producing gold companies in

the 2004 merger created the


world’s second largest gold producer at the time.

Roscan’s land package was put together by another

Former AngloGold CEO

serial explorationist and

Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan

prospector Greg Isenor. The

(or Mr Venkat as he’s known

executive vice-chairman

in the industry) also joined

has been responsible for the development of several


gold projects in Africa and has a great nose for picking out ground, according to Sangmuah. “That leadership strength provides a lot of guidance to what we are doing and

STOCK TICKER TSXV:ROS, FSE:2OJ MARKET CAPITALISATION C$135.49 million (as of March 31, 2021) aj


a strong platform to work from. I wouldn’t put growth beyond this platform out of the question and we continue to evaluate several opportunities, but having that leadership helps a lot,” says Sangmuah.


Striking gold Towards the end of last year, Roscan bolstered the Kandiolé Project with three new discoveries (Kandiole North, Walia and Moussala North) from an AC drilling campaign which confirmed the geochemical anomalies that Roscan had previously detected. “These discoveries are clear surface expressions of good mineralisation that will be followed up with more AC before we dig deeper with RC and DD to figure out the roots. We’ve also done an extensive geophysical survey that helps us with the deeper targeting and that’s been processed to generate 3D targets.” And after adding two significant land packages to the project in the first quarter of 2021, Roscan announced the Mankouke West discovery in March, a new high-grade zone 150 metres West of the initial Mankouke South discovery, which provided a signature hit






of 4.78 g/t over 24 metres at

The acquisition of the 42

feed into a central processing


km² Segondo West permit in

hub once the company reaches

February resembled another

the production phase.

“Following the Mankouke

crucial addition to the

West discovery, we’re going

Kandiolé Project, after Roscan

to be doing some exploration

had followed geophysical

Protecting stakeholders

chasing additional resources

extensions of the Walia and

Good corporate stewardship

as we build towards the North.

Moussala discoveries to the

is an important part of any

This discovery consolidates


company’s licence to operate

about 22 km of the magnetic



in West Africa, but Roscan

structure we have identified

Roscan is currently waiting

has gone above and beyond

in the land package. We like

on 3D interpretation and

in its commitments to the

the exploration upside that

geophysics results in order to

local communities since the

we can tap into here and

complete its prioritisation of

COVID-19 crisis, which has

the potential to eventually

key targets within the Segondo

thrown up unprecedented

translate mineralisation into

West permit, but Sangmuah

public health challenges.

a bigger ounce profile for

emphasises that the great

the company,” Sangmuah

thing about picking up extra

Roscan and its drilling


ground in the vicinity is that

contractor moved quickly

all additional resources will

to implement strict on-site



RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Roscan Gold president and CEO Nana Sangmuah, March 29, 2021 protocols to prevent the

clinics in the region. This

has put us on a good pedestal

spread of the virus. As a

gesture was much appreciated

with the government. They

result of these double-lock

by the community and the

know we are proactive and will

protocols, there have been

Mayor, Sangmuah recalls.

put the assets that we acquire

no reported incidences of

“Through the COVID-19

into good use, providing

the virus on-site as of March

situation, some companies

employment and also

2021, but Sangmuah assures

have been pulling back and not supporting the surrounding

the company is not letting its

doing a lot of work; we never

communities, which we

guard down and will continue

stopped. So, we became a good

continue to do despite the

to apply stringent protocol to

source of local employment

fact that we’re just a small

all individuals visiting the site.

when other work has been

exploration company.”

hard to come by. After acquiring PPE for its own


Roscan’s supply chain is also

employees, Roscan donated

“We were also active during

distinctly local. The firm’s

excess PPE to several health

the political transition and that

in-country strategic partner


is Touba Mining SARL,

Sangmuah responds by

“However, if there ever

which provides exploration

underlining the company’s

comes a point when an offer

services, including personnel

ultimate goal: To maximise

looks too good to refuse, and

and equipment, to Roscan.

value to shareholders.

shareholders want that as an

In addition, the company

Whether this is achieved

exit route, then it’s something

gives first priority to local

via mine development or an

we will definitely consider.”

businesses for a range of

acquisition by a larger player

goods and services – from

remains to be seen.

food supplies to transportation

Sangmuah also doesn’t rule out the possibility of expansion

and geological lab support –

Roscan’s market cap has risen

into the sub-region, where

helping to keep money in the

from $15 million in December

Roscan’s leadership can use

local economy.

2019 to around $135 million

its contact base to source

today, after reaching the

out and enhance value for

discovery phase sweet spot

shareholders. With West

After bringing in C$15

in Western Mali with not just

Africa ranking as the top-

million via an oversubscribed

one but multiple discoveries,

ranking region globally for

overnight public offering in

where each could become a

new discoveries, Roscan is

March, Roscan is fully funded

company maker in their own

perfectly placed to grow into a

for its 2021 drilling campaign

right, according to Sangmuah.

world-leading gold exploration

A bright future

at the Kandiolé Project,


which will focus on advanced

“Our ground is highly

targets such as Kabaya and

prospective and you can see

Mankouke South, with a view

that projects that have been

to announcing a maiden

put into development in that

reserve in Q4. The firm has

area are trading North of

also completed an extensive

$1-2 billion, compared to our

geophysical survey which will

market value heading towards

inform further drill testing

$150 million. So, there’s a value

across the land package.

proposition to be had if you go up the value curve. Thankfully,

When asked about Roscan’s

we’ve got a team that can do it.

long-term ambitions for the Kandiolé Project and beyond,



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Hummingbird emerges from a challenging perio




od with an organic growth pipeline in West Africa


“Despite the headline numbers of a lower production than we would’ve liked, I actually think Yanfolila’s come a long way in terms of us overcoming operational challenges and setting up the mine for a better place in the future,” Hummingbird Resources CEO Dan Betts tells RGN after an unpredictably challenging 2020, not just for the West Africa-based gold producer but for all companies around the world. Having said that, logistical issues across Africa heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic were felt acutely by Hummingbird (particularly in the second quarter of 2020), on top of the impact of the worldwide public health crisis. Hummingbird also watched a military coup unfold in Mali – the host country of its flagship Yanfolila Gold Project. Thankfully, the political transition brought no disruption to Yanfolila’s gold output, but it served as a reminder of the jurisdictional risk involved with operating in Africa. But, it was the border closure issues associated with COVID-19 that were more detrimental to Hummingbird’s production profile last year (2020 output totalled 101,069 ounces of gold, compared to the forecasted 110-125,000 ounces at the start of the year), with various supply chain holdups necessitating changes to the mine plan at Yanfolila. YANFOLILA MINE CAMP, MALI



In spite of all these impediments to growth last year, long-term CEO Betts points to significant developments made by the company outside of the Yanfolila mine, namely the acquisition of the Kouroussa Gold Project in Guinea from junior explorer Cassidy Gold Corp in June 2020, and the advancement of the Dugbe Gold Project in Liberia, following an earn-in arrangement with TSXV-listed Pasofino Gold. “Those developments, coupled with the aggressive exploration we completed at Yanfolila to extend the mine life and move it towards underground mining, demonstrate that there are a lot of exciting things happening, and a lot of growth and value to be unlocked from here,” he says.

Extending Yanfolila At the end of March 2021, Hummingbird announced the ARIAL SHOTS OF DUGBE CAMP IN LIBERIA

discovery of new resources at



Yanfolila following exploration

which haven’t been mined yet

“The Sanioumale East deposit

drilling work in 2020, which

called Sanioumale East and

is now over 200,000 ounces

was the first year that the

Sanioumale West.

and open in every direction

company had committed to a sustained exploration

At Sanioumale West, the infill

intersections. We’re drilling

campaign at the mine.

drilling added 26,200 ounces

there now aggressively, and I

of gold to the total mineral

think that could prove to be a

The US$5 million drill

resource estimate of 164,200

very exciting source of future

campaign focused on three

ounces, a moderate increase

feed for the mine.”

main targets: Resource growth

by all accounts. However, the

at the underground section

big upside came at Sanioumale

Meanwhile, the Komana East

of Komana East – which has

East, where over 150,000

Underground development is

provided the main open pits

ounces were discovered during

being dubbed as the long-term

for the mine to date – and

the drill programme.

future mine life of Yanfolila,

two deposits further North


with some really stunning

after the drilling provided


Hummingbird is to finalise the mining licence with the government before it can start in earnest on the ground. Having said that, the firm has started detailed FEED and trade-off studies for the flowsheet modelling of the proposed operation. “All that detailed work is being locked down as we speak: the footprint for the mine, the land acquisition plans, social engagement projects and the exploration. For me, exploration is most important because this project has evidence that the main pit

“When you get into

stunning grades and I think

remains open at depth.

underground mining, you’re

we can build a relatively cheap

Hummingbird is currently

not going to have a 10-year

and effective plant based on

working through all economic

mine life, you’re going to prove

our experience at Yanfolila.”

valuations and optimisation

it up as you go. But I think

studies for the underground

these orebodies should go

Kouroussa and Yanfolila


on and on and sustain a base

share several similarities in

load feed for the mill for many

terms of the scale of both

years to come.”

projects, the metallurgical

“As the Komana East pit gets deeper, narrower and the strip increasingly certain that the

Preparing Kouroussa

continued orebodies will

Shifting over to Guinea

sustain underground mining,”

and the Kouroussa project,

Betts says. “So it’s now about

the immediate priority for

ratio goes up, it’s becoming

flowsheets and process plant design, while Hummingbird can extract synergies in maintenance services and

optimising how we do that.


product component supply given that Guinea and Mali share a malleable trading border. Exploration planning has also commenced on several high priority targets at Kouroussa in order to increase the current resource base of 1.18 million ounces at over 3 g/t. “If we start the exploration now and build on that story as we’re developing the project to extend the mine life, all we’re really doing is creating value,” Betts reiterates.


STOCK TICKER: AIM:HUM MARKET CAPITALISATION: £77 million (as of April 01, 2021) aj




Partnering with Pasofino Over at the Dugbe Gold Project in Liberia – Hummingbird’s original West African asset – Betts is suitably impressed with the work being completed by partner Pasofino Gold, who acquired Hummingbird’s former partner, ARX Resources, on the project in September 2020. Pasofino agreed to continue the terms of the existing earnin agreement, which will see the company undertake a mutually agreed exploration programme at Dugbe and complete a definitive feasibility study for a 49% interest in the project, with Hummingbird maintaining the 51% controlling stake. During the first six months of the partnership, Pasofino has


focused on organising logistics around the Dugbe project in order to get exploration up and running. This has involved rebuilding roads, bridges and the mining camps.


“The Dugbe project is in a remote area of Eastern Liberia, albeit very close to a port as the crow flies. That logistical work has been completed and they’ve now got four rigs at site and are motoring away with exploration work and getting good results which are starting to come out to the market. “I think everyone wrote Dugbe off, and it’s obviously got a place in our heart given that is where we started. The guys at Pasofino are very professional, competent and

“The plan was always to find a gold project, build a gold project and use the cash flow from the gold project to build a gold company. It’s never a straight road, there’s always going to be hiccups and we’ve got the scars to prove it now” – Dan Betts, Hummingbird Resources CEO



across the Yanfolila site, which involved the rehabilitation of over 8,000 trees. However, Betts believes the biggest success story in the community is the market gardens project. “We have overseen the employment of over 800 women in self-sustaining work at these market gardens where they are selling produce to us and into the communities. These individuals now see this as a way of earning a livelihood that can endure long after the mine is finished.”


Betts is also keen to highlight Hummingbird’s pioneering

have a great track record of

centres on the altruistic work

Single Mine Origin (SMO) gold

building value in assets, either

it accomplishes in the local

initiative. SMO provides a way

through developing or selling

environment and communities

of tracing gold from source

them. I think there’s a real

in the Sikasso region where

at a responsible mine that

opportunity for Hummingbird

Yanfolila is located. In 2020,

complies with international

shareholders to attain some

the company threw itself

best practice principles – such

value here that’s not seen in

into COVID-related relief and

as the World Gold Council’s

the share price.”

assistance measures while

RGMPs or IFC Performance

maintaining its regular ESG-

Standards – all the way

focused work programmes.

through to refinery and the

ESG excellence Another source of constant pride at Hummingbird

manufacturing process into Hummingbird commenced

the jewellery industry.

a new tree planting initiative



He explains how the consumer

because the sector is awesome

where the mine is. I

of SMO-certified gold will be

in the ESG work it does in

fundamentally believe mining

able to scan a QR code on the

remote communities, yet often

can do that in a way no other

product which details the exact

hides its credentials under a

industry can. Hopefully with

journey the gold has taken

bushel because people like to

SMO gold we can showcase

from the Yanfolila mine all the

slam mining.

that to the retail world and

way to their finger, in the case of a ring.

it then becomes a retail-led “Mining is not sustainable, you dig a resource out the

“If we can help roll that out,

ground and it’s gone, but it’s

Bright horizons

I think it can help promote

how you do this in a way that

Despite seeing a weaker gold

the whole mining industry,

improves the livelihoods of the

price so far in 2021, and hence

communities and environment





a lower share price in line with

straight road, there’s always

Strategically, Hummingbird

the market correction, Betts

going to be hiccups and we’ve

has never been in a better

has plenty of reasons to be

got the scars to prove it now.

place, Betts proclaims. The

optimistic given Hummingbird

company will pay off all

is on track with regards to

“But I think we are getting

outstanding debt later this year

building a multi-asset gold

better and better and that gives

and it has made exploration

company in West Africa.

us the platform to grow. We’ve

progress at Yanfolila, while

got the second project and an

making solid advances at its

“The plan was always to find

organic growth pipeline in the

other gold projects in Guinea

a gold project, build a gold

region, which has tremendous

and Liberia.

project and use the cash flow

opportunities; lots of gold, lots

from the gold project to build

of discoveries.”

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Renowned drilling company broadens its ran




nge of services to the African mining market


In June 2020, Capital Drilling announced it would be rebranding to Capital Limited, after building a reputation for providing a range of exploration and production drilling services to Tier 1 mining operations predominantly across Africa and the Middle East over the last 17 years. Capital’s business development director – West Africa Chris Hall explains that the shortened name better resembles the company’s expanding suite of mining services, which now includes load and haul work at operating mine sites, as well as maintenance and geochemical analysis laboratories under the LSElisted company’s different brands. Nonetheless, with nearly two decades of experience operating drill rigs at mineral projects across Africa, Hall stresses that drilling will remain a large part of Capital’s offering to the mining market on the continent and the rebrand simply promotes the broader reach of the firm’s services in recent years.

Under the Capital Drilling

mine services. We had some

moniker, Capital developed

smaller contracts in place, but

relationships with some of the

this is our first major one,” he

biggest players in the mid and


major tiers of the global mining sector, including the likes of

“It’s all part and parcel of the

AngloGold Ashanti, Barrick

extension of our offering. We

Gold and Centamin. As a result

have successfully attached

of its quality of service delivery,

other strings to our bow since

Capital has provided drilling

our company’s inception

services to Centamin’s Sukari

and now we’ve moved into

Gold Mine in Egypt since 2005

the mining world. We have

and AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita

recruited a high calibre team

Gold Mine since 2006.

with extensive experience in

Transformative Sukari contracts

the field to manage this part of our business. It’s a big deal for the company.”

In December 2020, Capital revealed it had secured a

The transformative contracts

renewal of the drilling contract

at Sukari, which commenced

at the global Tier 1 Sukari

in Q1 of 2021, are expected to

mine that would extend the

deliver US$235-$260 million in

relationship to one year shy of

incremental revenues over the

20 years. But more significantly,

four-year term, with the 120

the company announced it had

million tonnes waste stripping

also entered into a conditional

contract the largest award

open pit waste mining services

since Capital’s inception. It is

contract with Centamin,

also symbolic of the company’s

which Hall describes as a

evolution into a full-service

‘transformational contract’.

mining contractor.

“A year or so ago, we made the

In addition to the drilling

decision to expand into broader

and mining segments of the business, Capital also offers





lab and mine maintenance

supplier,” Hall says. “It’s a

successful execution of this

services through the MSALABS

huge fillip to the company for

large-scale project.

and Mine Site Maintenance

Centamin to put their trust in

(MSM) brands, as well as Well

us as a mine services provider

“We’ll be able to go to tenders

Force International – Capital’s

to such a great extent. We

with other customers in Africa

tool business.

know the asset very well and

with real experience from a

have an established team and

large mining operation that

“We are evolving into a

infrastructure on site and we

will clearly demonstrate our

complete mining services

expect this to contribute to the



Wooing West Africa

2020 review estimated that

The lion’s share of this total

more than $3.7 billion of new

investment sum in West

Hall’s area of focus is West

mine and expansion projects

African mining is focused

Africa, which has grown

are currently in build mode,

on gold exploration and

to become the busiest sub-

approved or awaiting final

production along the Birimian

region on the continent for

development and financing

Greenstone Belt – a world-

exploration and mining


class geological formation

over the last decade. In fact,

that extends through Ghana,

Mining Journal’s West Africa

Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso.


Throughout the last yearand-a-half, gold exploration companies and producers in West Africa have been helped by sustained high gold prices, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented disruption and uncertainty in the global economy in 2020, when the gold price reached its zenith in August at around $2,068 per ounce.



STOCK TICKER: LSE:CAPD MARKET CAPITALISATION: US$156.1 million (as of February 22, 2020) aj

10 2




1 04

“Our customers’ business

“But they need to take

deliver quality samples to meet

benefit from a strong gold

advantage of the wave, and

their timelines.”

price. When they experience

that’s when we as suppliers

the positive phase of the price

of drilling services need to be

True to Hall’s word, Capital

cycle, they attract investors

quick off the mark for them

has made sure to position

themselves and are able to

so they can get their drilling

itself front and centre in

ramp up exploration and

results into the market when

West Africa’s burgeoning


things are going well. We have

mining sector during the

proven over the years that we

high gold price environment,

can mobilise rigs quickly and

as evidenced by recent


control drilling, while at Firefinch’s Morila Gold Mine in Mali, it is fulfilling delineation drilling and exploration, grade control and blast hole drilling, together with equipment, maintenance and management services at Allied Gold Corp’s Bonikro Gold Mine in Côte d’Ivoire. “In the last few years, we’ve focused on West Africa and invested heavily in equipment and infrastructure in the region. There are a number of new machines arriving into West Africa in this first quarter of 2021 and there are a lot of customers in the region who need rigs at the moment, which we can provide.” mobilisation of rigs at ASX-

exploration, delineation

listed Marvel Gold’s Tabakorole

and underground drilling

COVID-19 challenges

Gold Project in Mali and fellow

at Resolute Mining’s Syama

While the company has

ASX-listed explorer Predictive

Gold Mine in Mali and

certainly benefitted from high

Discovery’s Bankan Project in

Hummingbird’s Yanfolila Gold

metals prices – not just in gold

Guinea in Q1 of 2021.

Mine in Mali.

but also base metals, including copper and nickel – in 2020,

Other ongoing contractual

At Kinross Gold’s Tasiat Gold

Hall reflects on the challenges

work being fulfilled by Capital

Mine in Mauritania, Capital

that came about from the

in West Africa includes

is undertaking maintenance,

COVID-19 pandemic, not least

laboratory services and grade

the health risks facing its employees on the ground. 105

RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Capital Ltd business development manager – West Africa Chris Hall, January 19, 2021

“We have successfully attached other strings to our bow since our company’s inception and now we’ve moved into the mining world. We have recruited a high calibre team with extensive experience in the field to manage this part of our business.” - Chris Hall, Capital Ltd business development director – West Africa

1 06

“Many of our field guys did

As well as the entirely

very long stints last year as

unforeseen challenges facing

the first wave descended. Our

staff, the company also had

customers did a superb job of

to deal with disrupted supply

managing the implementation

chains across Africa and the

of health protocols required,

rest of the world. However,

while our team’s compliance

logistical issues were largely

with all new COVID-safe

resolved by the end of the first

procedures to prevent the

wave and Hall believes the

spread of the virus on-site and

industry has grown another

in the regions surrounding

layer of resilience in the wake

operations proved very

of the pandemic.

effective in minimising rates of infection.

The business development director also relays the


satisfaction felt by senior management after Capital financial results in midJanuary. The trading update

interesting take home from the

Diluted earnings per share: 17.8 cents (130.6% increase on 2019) Final dividend per share: 1.3 cents (85.7% increase on 2019) Total full-year dividend: 2.2 cents (57.1% increase on 2019) Net cash balance: US$5 million (13.1% increase on 2019)


But perhaps the most

Net profit after tax: US$24.8 million (138.6% increase on 2019)


2019 to $135 million.

EBITDA: US$33.8 million (24% increase in 2019)


in 2020 had increased 18% on

Revenue: US$135 million (17.5% increase on 2019)


revealed that full-year revenue

Capex: US$48.7 million (145.7% increase on 2019)

^^ ^

published strong full-year

C A P I TA L LT D F U L L-Y E A R 2 0 2 0 F I N A N C I A L R E S U LT S

results was that non-drilling revenue contributed 16% to

continue to have confidence in

in the coming years, especially

total revenue in Q4, compared

the industry as can be seen by

as we continue to grow in West

with 12% in Q3. This 4%

the investment in Sukari.”

Africa. “We’re all about delivering

to further broaden its scope to

Advancing the evolution

full life-of-mine services.

Finally, Hall outlines Capital’s

services and we’ll continue

strategic priorities for the

to grow our own brands;

“We are gradually growing

rest of 2021: To bed in the


our services offering. We like

full-service mining division,

Force International,” he

to grow slowly so that we can

to hit the ground running at


continue to provide quality

Sukari and use that significant

services and not make the

waste stripping contract as

mistake of rushing into new

a stepping-stone to other

things and therefore not being

projects with existing and

able to do the job properly,”

new customers across the

Hall explains.


“Overall, we had a positive

“While we do that, we’re not

year notwithstanding COVID.

going to forget our exploration

We managed to weather the

drilling customers that need

storm extremely well and we

our service to further develop

quarterly increase is a sign of things to come as Capital looks

quality drilling and mining

1 07

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A unique hybrid ‘royalty generator’




’ model in the African mining space


“We’re neither a pure play royalty company nor a pure explorer,” explains chief executive and co-founder of Altus Strategies Steve Poulton. “We believe we are positioning our shareholders at the epicentre of the sweet spot in the resources sector. On the exploration side, tremendous returns on capital can be generated by making an economic discovery, while at the mining stage a royalty can deliver an almost perpetual revenue stream off the underlying asset, without assuming the project’s operational risks. That’s what we do at Altus.” The London and Toronto-listed junior stakes ground across the African continent, makes mineral discoveries, partners with leading project developers and gets paid along the way, all while retaining future royalty interest. “We exit the asset, monetise it for our shareholders and retain the royalty interest at the back end. This keeps us nimble and constantly growing,” Poulton says. “It takes a while to develop a portfolio via this model, but the value creation and optionality can be huge. It requires certain skills from management to simultaneously advance and monetise multiple projects in different jurisdictions, as well as shareholders who understand that we are not looking to make a ‘quick buck’. Over time, we believe our model will generate superior returns for our shareholders, for considerably less risk.”

11 2

Altus’ high quality shareholder

in Altus and appointed their

base provides a strong

CEO Karim Nasr to the board

endorsement of its unique

as a non-executive director

hybrid business model. First

with the right to appoint

and foremost, the board owns a

another non-executive should

combined 20% of the company.

they wish. Altus has also been

This inside ownership has

backed by Sprott since 2012 and

imbued an additional layer of

has several other high profile

confidence in the management

institutional and high net worth

team among institutional

investors which, together with


the board, own close to 80% of

Enter La Mancha

the share register.

In February 2020, world-

“Why did La Mancha take

renowned resources investor La

that strategic position in

Mancha acquired a 35% stake

our company? Because their


investment strategy dovetails

exposure to a growing,

partnerships and new royalty

elegantly with our business

diversified and gold-weighted


model. They are exceptionally

portfolio of discovery stage

strong believers in the African

assets in Africa. Our royalty

Altus chooses to focus

mining sector, having large

portfolio is now also growing

on African opportunities

equity positions in TSX-listed

as we are monetising our

primarily due to the sheer

gold producers Endeavour

assets. It really is a perfect

size of the continent and

Mining and Golden Star

meeting of minds.”

its underexplored nature


compared to other established The chief executive declares

mining jurisdictions.

“They are also keen to have

that with La Mancha’s blessing,

Related to its size and lack of

exposure to the discovery

Altus has plans to expand its

exploration, average depths

phase, as well as royalty

portfolio into new jurisdictions

of discovery are a key factor

opportunities,” Poulton

on the African continent

for the company. Whereas in

asserts. “Altus provides

with new projects, new

Canada, average discovery


1 14


depths are down at 200 metres,

project portfolio contained

in Africa they average just

up to 10 royalty transactions

nine metres (outside of South

and Poulton expects to see the

Africa), according to Poulton.

organic royalty portfolio grow dramatically in the next two to

“All the discoveries Altus has

three years as the cycle of the

made on the continent have

market continues to turn for

been at surface. That means

the better.

we can move quickly from concept to discovery and - if

In addition, the company is

the asset is of merit - on to

expecting to add to the organic


royalties portfolio with some non-organic transactions,

“Of course, sometimes along

which would either be

the way it doesn’t work and

acquired from third parties

you have to make a decision

or Altus could provide capital

to cut your losses in order to

to companies to create new

not waste your shareholders

royalty agreements.

money. This feature of being able to fold and walk away at

“Taking a longer-term view

the earliest opportunity, is a

over four to five years, I’d be

real strength of our model.”

very surprised if our royalty

Cash generating royalties

portfolio was not substantially larger, was not substantially cash paying and was not more

Since striking its first royalty

than 50% backed in value by

deal almost a decade ago, Altus

royalties that we’d acquired

has been growing its portfolio

versus those we’d written.”

of royalties and milestone payment agreements for

By the same token, Altus

discoveries made by the

will look to maintain an

company across Africa. At

approximate 50:50 split

the end of Q4 2020, Altus’

between royalties and


discoveries on its project portfolio by remaining focused in the African exploration space over the coming years. The company also intends to continue to have an approximate 70% weighting of its portfolio towards gold, in order to offer maximum exposure to the thriving precious metals sector. “While the royalty companies do quite well and get a good mark up on their prices based on their revenue streams, they simply don’t have exposure to a drill bit discovery that can turn




MARKET CAPITALISATION US$53.5 million (as of December 22, 2020)


1 16



1 17

a relatively low value asset into

20,000 metres of drilling taking

“Tabakorole already has

a quarter of a billion dollar

place at the assets within a

approximately 1 million

one. That is the interesting

three-month period.

ounces (Moz) in resource and

part of the Altus model that the royalty companies do not

Two of the Malian assets,

underway. Meanwhile,

share,” Poulton explains.

named Lakanfla and

Lakanfla is located just five

Tabakorole, are being

or six km from the pits of the

developed in conjunction

Sadiola gold mine, which has

with the firm’s ASX-listed joint

historically produced well over

venture (JV) partner Marvel

10 Moz of gold. Drilling has

Diving deeper into the

Gold, while the third project is

been completed at Lakanfla

exploration side of the

called Diba and is 100% owned

and we are awaiting assay

business, Altus is currently

by Altus.


Current exploration programmes

advancing three gold projects in Mali, with approximately

11 8

further drilling is already


In addition, the company is undertaking up to 10,000 metres of drilling at the Diba project, with around two thirds focusing on targets within the wider licence area and a third within the existing resource, which currently hosts 400,000 ounces of gold. Altus announced an updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the Diba project in November. Using a gold price of US$1,800 per ounce, the PEA proposes that Diba will deliver around $140 million in NPV after tax using a 10% discount rate. This figure is approximately three times the company’s current market cap. “We have sold two gold projects in Mali to TSXV-listed Desert Gold and two gold projects in Côte d’Ivoire to TSXV-listed Stellar Africa. We also have a JV with Resolute Mining in Mali,” says Poulton.



Steve Poulton, Altus Strategies chief executive

“Taking a longerterm view over four to five years, I’d be very surprised if our portfolio was not substantially larger, was not substantially cash paying and was not more than 50% backed by royalties in number that we’d acquired versus that we’d written” Steve Poulton, Altus Strategies chief executive


Elsewhere on the continent,

10 million shares to Altus

Altus has 100%-owned gold

in respect of its former

and copper discoveries in

bauxite JV in Cameroon.

Northern Ethiopia and copper

Canyon is rapidly advancing

and silver discoveries in

Cameroon’s world-class Minim

central Morocco, amongst

Martap bauxite deposit.

other projects and royalty

Poulton describes the firm’s

agreements in the likes

management of multiple

of Liberia and Cameroon,

assets, partners and royalty

where the company has made

transactions in multiple

bauxite, gold and iron ore

jurisdictions across Africa


as ‘a distinct blend of art and science’.

Shareholders of ASX-listed Canyon Resources recently

“We are going to grow our

agreed the issue of a further

portfolio in Africa into new


countries with a primary focus gs-007 Half Page ad final artwork.indd 1

which includes some 02/12/2020 of


in commodities like copper.

The best of both worlds

Having diversification is a real

With a rapidly expanding

space. “In particular, with

value add to our shareholders.

portfolio in the most

La Mancha’s backing we

Geopolitical and commodity

prospective region in the world have the opportunity to do

risks are a real and present

for new discoveries and a self-

more far-reaching deals and

threat to all companies active

sustaining royalty generator

projects. That is all part and

in the resources sector, so it’s

model, Altus is demonstrating

parcel of our current decision

good to know that with Altus,

that it can successfully

making process, in terms

you’re not exposed too heavily

combine the two sweet spots

of our allocation of human

to any one country or any one

in the mining sector.

and financial resources to

on the gold sector, but also


the biggest institutional investors in the mining

take Altus to the next level,” Further validation of this

Poulton concludes.

model is provided by Altus’ high quality share registry,


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Scalable and synergistic gol




ld assets in South Australia


After witnessing global economic growth tumble to a projected -4.9% in a COVID-dominated 2020, Alexander Scanlon, managing director of private Australian gold developer Barton Gold, casts his mind back to the global financial crisis of 2007-08, after which governments authorised colossal monetary stimulus to support the teetering global economy. Back then, the substantial economic crisis justified the subsequent programmes of mass money printing, however Scanlon believes that the long-term problem lies in his assertion that those money presses never turned off, even in the post-2012 period of economic stabilisation. “People just stopped paying attention to the global debt-fuelled wealth bubble that had formed,” he tells RGN. “Then we arrive in early 2020, where we have a real unforeseen problem. In essence, the analogy I would use is that from 2012-20, major governments around the world had already fired all of their monetary policy arrows at an invisible enemy.”

Barton is based in the

standard and basically rebuilt

habitually overlooked mining

the platform from the project

jurisdiction of South Australia


and Tunkillia assets, while

Leading from the front

It soon transpired that the real invisible enemy was COVID-19 – a highly contagious and often deadly virus that drove governments to lock down entire populations, effectively bringing the global economy to a juddering halt. Governments were left with no option but to double down on fiscal stimulus on an unprecedented scale that is illustrated by the fact that more money was printed in the past year than existed in the entire US monetary supply pre-2005. Now, with the inflated global monetary system at risk of overflowing with multiple decades worth of debt, Scanlon believes all the conditions are in place for a long-term structural gold bull market, and is positioning Barton Gold to capitalise on the positive outlook for the ‘safe haven’ metal.

curating an experienced

On the corporate side, Barton

corporate team to undertake

has made a number of high-

the elevation of the firm

quality additions to the

towards a rumoured imminent

management team, including


the likes of Richard Crookes

(SA), where it owns three major ‘value foundations’ in a

The company’s total resource

key gold trend of the central

base currently sits at 1.1 million

Gawler Craton: the open pit

ounces (Moz), with significant

Tarcoola mine, the district scale

upside potential currently being

Tunkillia project and a 650,000

explored at both Tarcoola and

tonnes per annum mill adjacent

Tunkillia that can be buttressed

to the historic Challenger

with further exploration across

underground mine.

Barton’s 4,735 km² tenement and joint venture gold rights

Since 2019, Barton has spent

package in the increasingly

extensive time in the field

active region.

developing its technical understanding of the Tarcoola

and Christian Paech as non“We spent about 18 months

executive directors. Both are

combing through, reorganising

well known in the Australian

and validating data we had

resources sector, as is Mark

acquired on the assets,” Scanlon

Connelly; Barton’s non-

says. “We focused on resetting

executive chairman.

our technical understanding and from there building out the

Connelly is chairman of

assets. We have converted all

a number of other junior

of the resources to JORC 2012

and mid-tier Australian gold explorers, including




Oklo, Calidus and Chesser

in Shannon Coates and an

Resources, and gained

experienced chief financial

significant recognition

officer in Rebecca Broughton.

for his role in leading two major merger deals: Adamus

“We also have a technical

Resources with Endeavour

alliance with Mining Plus,

Mining (2011) and Papillon

which allows us to fill out our

Resources with B2Gold (2014).

execution capability on the project management side, so

Barton has also brought in an

we can get the most out of the

excellent company secretary

skills and time of our people

DEVELOPING A NEW SOUTH AUSTRALIAN GOLD DISTRICT Two fully-permitted mines, large scale growth projects and the region’s only gold mill provide Barton Gold three major ‘value foundations’: 1) Tarcoola: Camp-scale project with significant exploration potential and de-risked production option using Barton’s wholly-owned mill

2) Tunkillia: Advanced district-scale project on ~50 km Shear zones with a cornerstone JORC resource of 965,000 oz of gold, and open for extension 3) Infrastructure: 650,000 tonnes per annum mill with legacy ~1.2Moz underground mine; option to leverage for own mineralisation and for regional consolidation

on the corporate side. That relationship gives us a lot of flexibility, firepower and experience.” Scanlon reveals that Barton was attracted to its current suite of assets because they are proven production projects

1 28



situated within close proximity

“This is one of the most richly

Nonetheless, there is an

to each other (Tarcoola

mineralised regions in SA. If

increasing number of

and Tunkillia are only

you were in Western Australia,

companies making noise

approximately 80 km apart

there would probably be

in the vicinity of Barton’s

with potential to operate as a

hundreds of mines within 200

assets, particularly around the

cost-efficient ‘hub’), in an area

km of our mill, whereas in this

Northern Infrastructure Hub,

that has been largely ignored

case, there are only two mines

which contains the company’s

and under-invested in for the

and we own both of them.”

mill. Notably, Marmota’s

last 25 years.

Aurora Tank Gold project is 50


the Tarcoola Basin – what

Resources is mobilising

Re-evaluating the resources

drilling at one of its advanced

At Tarcoola, Barton has

genesis of Tarcoola’s high-

targets between 50-80 km East

completed a significant

grade mineralisation.

of Tarcoola.

degree of back-to-basics

km Northeast, while Indiana

Barton suspects to be the

work aimed at reinterpreting

“What was really exciting was

“Things are starting to

the pre-existing geological

that we identified a number

happen and I think the focus

understanding of the asset,

of areas that are geophysical

is returning more to SA. As

which hosts the Perseverance

lookalikes for where the

people start to see the results

open pit mine – a historic

Perseverance open pit was

or our work and the work of

operation that produced gold

focused,” Scanlon exclaims.

other explorers, you might get

between 2017-18, including at

“These areas correspond

a focus similar to that of the

grades exceeding 4 g/t during

with relatively limited but


2018 – but was underworked

high grade shallow historical

outside of the main target area. drilling in the area. The 2D seismic then correlated



“We looked at Tarcoola and

perfectly with what we saw in

recognised that the geology

the geophysical programmes.

was far more interesting than

We’re very excited to go out

the story that had been told

and test those areas.”

publicly. We did some very Barton has also completed a

aero magnetics and geophysics

5,300 metre drill programme

programmes, as well as a 2D

adjacent to the Perseverance

seismic programme over that

open pit, discovering a new


200 metre long shallow gold zone in the process which has


Thanks to this geophysical

been named ‘Perseverance

baseline work, the firm was


IPO DATE: Not yet announced

able to identify some large


13 0

high resolution, low altitude

structural features that extend

The drilling also further

down to a crustal scale fault

validated an existing 500 metre

and interact extensively with

long gold target known as

intrusives pressing up against

‘Deliverance’, and the results



1 31

“This is one of the most richly mineralised regions in South Australia. If you were in Western Australia, there would probably be hundreds of mines within 200 km of our mill, whereas in this case, there are only two mines and we own both of them” Alexander Scanlon, Barton Gold managing director



correlate with historic drilling data on the area that has been obtained by the company. “It’s still a relatively small resource, but now we have that in JORC 2012 standard we can continue to do more technical work and drilling to tie this area together. We have demonstrated that, rather than being a single open pit with potential extensions, we’ve got a 14 km long target zone on our tenements, which look like they are amenable to repeats of that open pit.” Meanwhile, Barton has conducted a full teardown at the Tunkillia project – ostensibly one of the largest undeveloped gold projects in SA – in order to build a better understanding of the resource, much like it has done at Tarcoola. The geological remodelling work focused on more specifically sub-domaining the project’s mineralisation and sharpening up the boundaries of the resource by removing

1 33

RGN editor Jacob Ambrose Willson interviews Barton Gold managing director Alexander Scanlon, January 19, 2021

“It makes most sense to develop the Tarcoola and Tunkillia assets as a Southern Hub because the Northern mill is approximately 180 km away from Tarcoola, but Tarcoola and Tunkillia are only 80 km apart, so there’s much greater potential for logistics efficiency”

a lot of extraneous low-grade

infill and extensional drilling

mineralisation. This allowed

to close gaps in the Tunkillia

Barton to identify multiple

resource and create further

high-grade ore zones and


define a more continuous and reliable resource model

“The mineralisation that hosts

with significantly increased

that deposit is known to extend

resource ounces and greater

another 7 km to the North

development optionality.

and to the South. We’ve got a very strong and continuous

In October 2020, the firm

body of mineralisation and

announced that the JORC 2012

we have high hopes to extend

resource had grown to 965,000

the existing resource while

ounces at the 223 Deposit,

also replicating that resource

and confirmed targets had

within some of the nearby

been identified for follow-on

target areas in the vicinity of the 223 Deposit.”

1 34


A Southern Hub

The opportunity remains for a

“The more you improve each

The potential district scale

‘Stage 1’ Tarcoola production

one, the more valuable each

of Tunkillia combined with

option using the existing mill,

asset becomes to the next,”

the higher grade ore from

and the construction of a

he says. “You can look to play

the Tarcoola resource has

second plant in the Southern

each asset off the other, you

contributed to a prevailing

Hub would provide capability

can divide them and you can

belief that a ‘Southern Hub’

for regional consolidation

combine them.”

would provide the most logical

around the Northern

development pathway for

Infrastructure Hub.

Barton’s current assets.

In the next 12 months, expect more drilling and

“It is the only mill in the region

resource growth at Tarcoola

“It makes most sense

so it does give us the ability to

and Tunkillia and an eagerly

to develop the Tarcoola

look to monetise that asset on

anticipated IPO on the ASX for

and Tunkillia assets as a

the basis that we’re the only

Barton, as it looks to capitalise

hub because the mill is

outfit there that could start

on continuing favourable

approximately 180 km distance

an operation without having

macro-economic conditions

away from Tarcoola, but

to build a new mill. That

for the gold market, despite

Tarcoola and Tunkillia are only

also represents value for our

seeing the gold price falter in

80 km apart, so there’s much

neighbours who have some

recent months while leading

greater potential for logistics

very interesting land packages

economists continue to

efficiency with a Southern

and are doing some interesting

digest the ongoing impacts

Hub,” Scanlon declares.

work in the region.”

of COVID-19 on the global financial system.

Considering that Tunkillia

Whichever way you look at it,

looks like a larger volume,

Barton possesses a very strong

lower grade operation,

hand with two scalable gold

the company could build a

resources and the only pre-

centralised mill adjacent to

existing mill in the region,

a Tunkillia mine and instead

which is gradually becoming

of trucking Tarcoola ore to

a hive of gold exploration. But

the Northern mill, it could

for Scanlon, the best thing

simply direct the ore South to

about Barton’s assets is the

Tunkillia for a ~ 50-60% saving

growing synergies between

on haulage costs.


1 35

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