22 Sep

Mining issues in Africa: Private sector stakeholders share their views

The Africa Mining Day, organised by the Singapore Mining Club, gathered six high profile figures to talk about mining exploration and production in Africa on 12 September 2017. The talk, mediated by Geoff McNamara, partner at natural resource-focused investment firm Medea Capital and director of the Singapore Mining Club, was split into two segments: producers and explorers. The attendees included professionals and investors interested in learning more about Africa’s natural resource potential.

Nic Limb, non-executive chairman at Mineral Deposits Limited (MDL), whose company explores and produces titanium, zircon and gold in Australia and in Senegal, commented on one of the problems mining companies face in Africa: “The legislation that underpins all your mining and O&G activities is often quite old.” MDL operates the Sabodala gold project and the Grande Côte Mineral Sands operation (GCO), both in Senegal, West Africa.

According to Limb, “Getting logistics right is very important. If you have to start talking about building a port, you are in trouble.” That is why GCO is a fully integrated, mine-to-ship, large-scale mineral sands operation. It primarily produces high-quality zircon and ilmenite (iron titanium oxide). “We produce around 7% of the global feedstock of titanium,” Limb said.

John Welborn, MD and CEO of Resolute Mining Limited, spoke about his gold business in Africa. “I’m very passionate about Africa. I like the fact that when people ask me what I do, I say I’m a gold miner. But it’s much more complicated than that; it’s about really complex assets.” Resolute has been operating in Africa for the past 21 years, having started in 1996, in Ghana, and expanded to a gold mining project in Tanzania in late 1990s. “We operated that asset successfully for 15 years. Now we are out of that jurisdiction because it became rather problematic.” In Africa, the company now focuses on Mali (Syama Gold Mine).

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