"If you go into more modernized jurisdictions you need to drill deeper and you need to look harder. In Africa overall, there is potential for easier opportunities and also much larger opportunities, which is why we focus on Africa."
Can you please introduce IronRidge Resources and highlight any recent milestones achieved by the company?
We are an AIM-listed minerals exploration company domiciled in Australia with a focus on Africa. We have both advanced and developed early stage projects with a diversified portfolio of gold, lithium, bauxite, titanium and iron ore. One critical milestone is the recent drill results from our advanced lithium projects in Ghana, which shows intersections over 100 meters that ranging from 1.2-1.35 percentage oxide. We believe this will be a world-class project partly due to its proximity to infrastructure. Our site is 90 km from Accra, less than a 100 km from the port of Takoradi and we have sealed roads to with 1 km of the site. We have also rediscovered an historical lithium resource, Egyasimanku Hill, which was drilled up in the 1970s and is about 1.5 mt at 1.66% lithium oxide.
What is your outlook on supply and demand fundamentals for lithium in the upcoming years?
It is hard to make a forecast on a revolutionary technology metal where there is no historical data, but I think that the lithium space will be huge. Although many lithium companies have dropped significantly in market capitalisation, there is a clear disconnect between share prices and the deals that are actually being hunted down in the marketplace. There is a lot of activity and everyone is talking about electric vehicles. However, IronRidge is a bit different as we focus on the stored energy space. Many countries in Africa lack electrification, which is due to transmission costs rather than the source of the generation. You can spend 600 million or a billion dollars on a coal power station or some other form of power generation, but to transmit that 500 km to a village of ten or twenty thousand people is costly. Chad for example, has a population of some 13 million people but only 4% electrification. The technological development in solar panels and stored energy, combined with LED lighting, has made it much more efficient and it will have a great impact on Africa. We have started a Lights of Africa initiative in Chad for this purpose.
Can you describe IronRidge’s approach to in-country partnerships?
The key to our joint ventures is that we give our partners a residual net smelter return, complimented with modest and progressive milestone payments as the projects are developed. We want our partners to be keenly involved in the project as their support in navigating our way through the politics and the bureaucracy in each jurisdiction is imperative to our success. Some examples of our partners in Ghana are Joy Transporters, which is a logistics specialist company, and Ben Mensa, who is a very influential Ghanaian who has helped us to get the greenlight for our projects across the board.
What are some advantages of having a lithium project in the West Africa region?
The long tradition of mining in Ghana definitely creates an advantage for us as they understand the mining sector. In Ghana particularly, mining is the a major source of revenue and the governance is willing to develop these industries in order to increase revenue and create more jobs. If you go into more modernized jurisdictions you need to drill deeper and you need to look harder. In Africa overall, there is potential for easier opportunities and also much larger opportunities, which is why we focus on Africa.
What final message would you share with investors about IronRidge?
IronRidge has like-minded and visionary shareholders who are fully supportive of the company's initiatives throughout Africa. We have already seen this with Ghana, Chad and Cote d’Ivoire. A significant point of difference is that we are generally approached by third parties with opportunities rather than sourcing them, but any decision will always be in the best interest of all shareholders. We do not need to raise money whenever we find a project, which is how we managed to secure seven joint ventures in Cote D'Ivoire in ten days. Today, we have 11 province scale projects across five jurisdictions and in Africa you need this type of diversity to maintain project development and shareholder growth.