"Our objective is to reach an economic resource at our first location and leverage that success to validate broader exploration across our properties."
What have been Compass Gold’s developments over the last year?
Our corporate objective this year was to narrow down our 850 km2 Sikasso property to the highest priority targets, with the ultimate goal of arriving at a commercial resource, and I am pleased to say our team has done an outstanding job. Out of the three mineralized trends stretching 7 km across our existing permits, we identified along the Tarabala structural trend three strongly mineralized zones with good intersections and good widths and grades. The Tarabala Zone is our most advanced one, over 1 km long and starting just 40-50 m deep, which is hinting at an open pit resource, the most economic type of mineralization. These results encourage us to drill deeper to 100 m or more below the mineralization to get more precise answers about the orientation of the veins and the structure of the rock at depth.
Could you share the highlights of your most recent drilling campaign?
Drilling different sections of the Tarabala trend, we found mineralized intersections more than 15-20 m wide with grades around 0.5 g/t, which are sufficient to sustain a commercial open-pit operation, given that open pit grades in this part of Mali are relatively low compared to other parts of the world. For the purpose of this year’s exploration program, we wanted to select the zone with the highest combination of grades, widths, and continuity, but in the future, multiple lower-level holes will help us fill the last piece of the puzzle, which is to establish continuity at depth.
Could you tell more about your shareholder base?
The management, board and our top 25 shareholders represent close to 70% of our shares, which makes for a sophisticated and supportive shareholder base that has backed us with every raise. Among them, we count corporate shareholders like Endeavour Mining, whose operations are adjacent to ours, but we also added new institutional components like multibillion dollar resource funds U.S. Global Investors. Their investment is another indication that we are on the right track. Having institutional and large corporate shareholders on top of our industry insiders gives us the confidence that, as long as we put the right results on the table, we will get the support we need to move to the next stage. Also, the fact that our shareholders understand well what we are doing and what the timelines should look like is a very strong advantage and it means we do not have to search for additional investors each time we raise money. As a small junior, it is difficult to be a trading vehicle for all retail investors, because our story is being measured in quarters rather than months, weeks, or days, so that daily trading volume does not translate. We execute our exploration plan over a year and then we plan for the next; to see the value developed over this time, our investors need to analyze concrete, measurable resources rather than assessing notional value.
Is the turbulent security situation in Mali affecting your operations?
Our tenements are located in southern Mali, an area populated with various mining operations and with a well-developed infrastructure, as well as being far from the violent hotspots of the Sahel. Therefore, our day-to-day operations are not impacted. Like other countries in the region, Mali struggles with security challenges, and the government is working to contain the infiltration of extremist groups. Ethnic differences and economic distress, compounded by the pandemic, have been the harbingers of the recent political disruption. It is not surprising that the transition to democratic elections is a bumpy one, but I believe the people of Mali are committed to a democratic free state. In that context, mining is and has been for the past 30 years a pivotal component to the economy and society.
What would be your main objective for the next one to two years?
Fundamentally, our objective is to reach an economic resource at our first location and leverage that success to validate broader exploration across our properties. The drilling results will be “telling the tale” in terms of how to best bring value for our shareholders. We are taking into account the possibility of a JV with one of our neighbors, as well as bringing the property into production through one of the existing operations, but also potentially turning the asset into a standalone mine.