"Our strategy to concurrently diversify commodities and jurisdictions means that we always have something moving along; advancing projects, adding value and delivering a positive news flow is paramount."
IronRidge Resources is a diversified explorer and developer with projects in both gold and lithium in different jurisdictions. Could you elaborate on this business logic?
The rationale behind it is quite simple: we seek to immunise our business against commodity cycles and external forces beyond our control. We source projects from an early stage and de-risk them, which provides us with the optionality on how to monetize these down the line. For instance, two years ago we were primarily valued on our lithium project, but this market later declined. Strategically, we also geared ourselves towards gold, which is prospering. Today, I believe the commodities markets for IronRidge are in a perfect alignment: gold is booming, the lithium market is resurging, which validates IronRidge’s model.
Our business model is designed for multiple discoveries of globally demanded commodities; that’s where we see first wave of value accretion for shareholders. Our strategy to concurrently diversify commodities and jurisdictions means that we always have something moving along; advancing projects, adding value and delivering a positive news flow is paramount.
IronRidge has a significant tenure position in Ivory Coast. What drew you to this country?
We went to Ivory Coast almost coincidently, while we were pursuing lithium, but once in the country, we witnessed the preliminary phases of a gold rush. Seizing this opportunity, we ended up with the several JVs we currently hold, and Ivory Coast became a major part of our diversification strategy. We currently have a tenure position of approximately 3,600 km2 where we identified three key areas: our flagship Zaranou, as well as Vavoua in the west, and Kineta to the north-east.
Iron Ridge's project in Ghana is the first discovery of lithium in the country. Could you share with us the latest updates and the vision for this project?
Ghana's lithium project is our most advanced project. What makes the project very robust and commercially viable is its exceptional geology, metallurgy and proximity to operational infrastructure, including adjacent multiple high-voltage power lines, and being located one km away from the national highway, and only 110 km away from the deep sea port of Takoradi.
What can you comment on the opportunities you see in the lithium space?
Covid-19 has amplified the concept of a better and cleaner environment and we see the stored energy sector as the main growth driver for the lithium industry. Power transmission costs are even higher than the costs of producing power so we are now seeing remote villages utilising stored energy on a smaller scale with stand-alone self-contained power poles. We believe the stored energy sector will have a profound effect throughout African countries with low electrification rates.
As a first mover in Chad’s mining sector, what challenges have you faced?
The first mover advantage provides the potential to make globally recognised discoveries in largely underexplored frontier regions. However, it does take more time to develop these assets in the first instance and time for the investment communities to appreciate the opportunity.
The main focus across the portfolio in Chad has fallen on the Dorothe gold discovery, which has extensive artisanal workings with visible gold nuggets at surface over a 3 km x 1 km footprint.
So far, IronRidge has completed 14,564 m of trenching at Dorothe, plus regional air magnetics and soil sampling. We believe it could rival some of the largest open pit gold mines in the world today.
What is your final message?
Today, we have seven province scale projects across multiple jurisdictions in Africa and have already made significant discoveries in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Chad.
Iron Ridge Resources is hugely undervalued and there will be a lot of news flow coming. We offer a de-risked investment opportunity across multiple jurisdictions in two commodities: gold, which benefits in a global scenario of economic uncertainties, and lithium, with an exponential growth curve.