"Sandwiched between two of the largest producing assets in West Africa and with our six discoveries made already, we hope to join the league of tier-one mines."
What have been the key developments at Kandiolé in Mali?
We had a very rapid evolution since last year. Increasing our land package from 250km2 to just over 400km2, we have secured a prolific area to build significant oz for a standalone operation. The amazing drilling results delivered to date, including 65 m @ 5.16 g/t from 93.2 m; 62.0 m @ 4.84 g/t Au; 46.5 m @ 6.15 g/t from 118.5 m and 25 m @ 2.02 g/t from 329.3 m at Mankouke South – offer a snapshot of the discoveries made so far. Kandiolé already counts six discoveries with exceptional progress at Mankouke South. As we speak, we work towards delivering a maiden resource. On top of these, we have just initiated an additional 16,000 m drilling campaign and we still have a 15,000 m drilling backload at the lab to be received. Once we complete the resource update, we will publish some economic parameters to put the resource into context.
What are the met tests results indicating at your flagship Mankouke South target?
Our detailed metallurgy tests came with 97.6% recovery for the oxides and 92.9% recovery in fresh rock. We were pleasantly surprised to also identify silver by-product from the relatively lower-grade Kabaya deposit. Overall, the metallurgy is a solid stamp of approval to push the project into a mine. The next question will be to decide whether we should set up a processing plant or synergize with our neighbors’ facilities.
How does the recent acquisition of Bantanko fit into your exploration strategy?
As a strategy, we look for land connected to the main ground so that any additional findings can be fed into a central processing facility. Bantanko fit the bill. The Bantanko permit is oriented west of the inferred position of the Senegal-Mali-Shear-Zone, right between the SMSZ and our Siribaya Mankouke Seko (SMC) corridor, so we can tap into both. We have already noted some splays coming from the main SMC into Bantanko, and we are waiting for the first sample results.
How do you note investment sentiment in the gold space?
Sentiment has not been favorable for the most part of this year, the market seeing many redemptions and names trading at their 52-weeks lows, which clearly indicates that investors are on the sidelines. There has been a significant infusion of capital in the global economy, with record surges of inflation and oil prices going through the roof. While there might be other competing investments, there is only one type of investment with rising market multiples.
Producers have stayed very disciplined, retaining commensurate cash flows and witnessing better yields than many alternative investments, despite trading at a discount. At the same time, they need to replenish depleting reserves, which will trigger the next M&A cycle. I’m confident there will be a turn in the market in the next couple of months.
How is Roscan Gold mitigating real risk and perceived risk associated with operating in Mali?
None of the producers in Mali have announced a cease at their operations during periods of instability. While producers continue their activities, Malian juniors have seen good financing – for instance, Firefinch received Chinese capital to develop its lithium asset, while we were backed by Asante Gold, a Ghanaian junior with no business in Mali. This is strong evidence that capital is coming to Mali.
Of course, we can never relax on security. We are happy to see more international bodies coming in to help stabilize the country. Most recently, Russians have sent troops to fight the insurgence.
In terms of the broader market perceived risks, risk appetite has a spectrum, but we are confident that as long as we continue to deliver exceptional results as we have so far, we should be able to attract both marginal investors and investors who are looking to take advantage of price depressions and get married to stories of assets that will become mines.
Do you have a final message?
We are confident we have a very prospective land package that can deliver sufficient resources to become a mine. Sandwiched between two of the largest producing assets in West Africa, the Luolo-Guonkoto complex to the north and the Fekola mine to the south, and with our six discoveries made already, we hope to join that league of tier-one mines.