Eric Kondo, Managing Partner, Mining Services and Consulting

Mining Service and Consulting, based in Abidjan, is growing apace with the influx of investments into mining in Cote d’Ivoire and expanding its services across the francophone region.

Could you provide a brief introduction to Mining Services and Consulting (MS&C) and your current clients?

Mining Services and Consulting provides legal and tax services for mining, exploration and service companies across West Africa. We are the sole one-stop-shop in these services for Cote d’Ivoire and, as far as I am aware, there is not another consulting firm regionally that offers such a breadth of assistance for mining companies. We also provide customs, accounting, financial and business management services, with a growing team of experts based in our main office in Abidjan. As managing partner, I am a lawyer specializing in mining and tax law, and have negotiated four mining conventions. As president of the legal, tax and custom commission of the Chamber of Mines, I worked with the Ministry of Industry and Mines to write the mining code to develop Cote d’Ivoire into a top mining investment destination.

What are your opinions on the government’s support to develop the mining sector in 2017, and what should the Ministry of Mines in Cote d’Ivoire’s strategy be for 2018? Continue reading

Alexander Zotov, Managing Partner, Eurasian Resources

Eurasian Resources speaks to GBR about its bauxite operations in Guinea.

Eurasian Resources first arrived in Guinea in 2010 and currently has preliminary offtake agreements for 5 million tonnes of bauxite. Can you provide a brief overview of the project’s history?

The project is divided into four stages. The first stage is the exploration. It was completed in 2012. 130,000 meters were drilled in accordance with the license that covered 2,000 square kilometers — the size of some small countries. The exploration was done under the supervision of SRK Consulting – the company with strong expertise in bauxite. It took two years to finalize the exploration, and once Eurasian Resources received the resource report, it became clear that the resources base consisted of 5 billion tonnes of bauxite with a grade of 40% and 2 billion tonnes with an average grade of 44% Al2O3 and 2% SiO2. The second stage is the initiation of a pre-feasibility study to begin the construction of an alumina plant. However, after two years of work, the Company decided to put the project on hold due to the alumina price drop that was considered to be a challenge to find funding for the refinery. The third stage is DSO and final stage is the infrastructure.

Given that your project is remotely located, how have you overcome challenges in infrastructure and logistics? Continue reading

John Kalala Kabamba, Managing Partner, J&R Cabinet d’advocats

GBR meets with Lubumbashi law firm J&R Cabinet d’avocats.

Can you please provide us with an overview of the firm’s history here in Lubumbashi?

The company’s name is J&R, which stands for our two founding partners, John and Raymond. We are both bar-certified lawyers of Lubumbashi, and we started practicing in 1990 after studying in the University of Lubumbashi as trainees in law firms. I personally began in the law firm of the master Mbuyou, who is today the advisor to the head of state. Raymond was a trainee in the law firm of Ntoto that was at that time president of the bar. In 1995, after our training, we decided to create our own law firm, beginning with a team of four people working in all sectors.

What is the importance of the mining industry to your practice as clients? Continue reading

Bernie Pryor, CEO, Alufer

MACIG Connect Series

Alufer is developing its new Bel Air bauxite project in Guinea and describes the company’s progress there.

Can you provide a brief company history of Alufer’s presence in Guinea and highlight its strategy going forward into 2018?

Alufer has been involved in exploring for bauxite in Guinea for over eight years. The company initially identified the Labé project, which is in the plateau hills in the north of the country and is a very large, high-quality bauxite deposit. This deposit is circa 350 km inland however, which is more economically challenging and so the company focused on finding a bauxite resource closer to the coast. Our exploration efforts led us to discover the Bel Air project which is 15 km from the sea and easily accessible from Conakry. Finding a new deposit which we could develop all the way from being a greenfield site through to production was a very exciting and unique situation for us.  We closed our construction financing for US$205 million at the end of last year with a consortium of large mining houses, and that money is being used to build the Bel Air mine. We are now halfway through the construction phase and first ore ship is scheduled for Q3 2018.

Amco Drilling removed their operations from Guinea because of the difficulties in the business environment. What risks do your investors see in the Guinean market? Continue reading

Vincent Mascolo, Managing Director and CEO, IronRidge Resources

MACIG Connect Series

IronRidge Resources has made a grand entry into Cote d’Ivoire, including acquiring companies and projects as well as joint-venturing, and the project generator has spent US$1.5 billion there over the past 10 months.

Could you briefly outline IronRidge Resources’ recent milestones and explain the strategy behind moving into Cote d’Ivoire for lithium?

Ironridge Resources limited is a project generator listed on the AIM, working to discover world-class and globally demanded commodities. We have projects in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Gabon, Chad and Australia. We recently completed acquisition of 100% of Tekton Minerals to own our gold exploration portfolio in Chad. In Gabon, we acquired Assore Limited, an iron ore mining holding company, who is a 29% shareholder. Then we have Sumitomo Corporation, an integrated trading company, as 11% shareholder and DGR Global as 25. %. We do not sit on investors’ money but use it to move forward.

We already had the Cape Coast Lithium project with Egyasimanku Lithium Resource in Ghana, which was developing quite nicely and moved into Cote d’Ivoire as part of our lithium growth strategy. We saw opportunities in Cote d’Ivoire and within weeks moved in, it was easy to establish ourselves. Amongst the opportunities presented to us, we managed to secure a very interesting project under joint venture and made some applications on our own.

What has been the most recent project developments in Cote d’Ivoire? Continue reading

Benoît de Carbonnieres, Regional Manager, Rawbank

MACIG Connect Series

Rawbank has grown rapidly since it began business in 2002 to become one of the largest banks in DRC and has an active participation with the mining sector.

Rawbank is celebrating its 15th year since it began in DRC in 2002. Can you give me a brief history of Rawbank, including any recent milestones the company has achieved?

We have been operating in the Grand Katanga (formerly Katanga zone) for 10 years and have since become the largest bank in terms of market share operating in DRC with a balance sheet of over $1 billion. The bank started by developing in three main markets: retail, corporate and private banking. The level of banking among the population was very low so Rawbank was interested to develop the retail and corporate market to increase the entrepreneurial spirit of the people and develop the economy. Due to the development of these two markets the private banking market also increased as a different economical class of people was created that wanted a banking product that effectively represented their standard of life. Foreign investments are also important in DRC, so Rawbank has developed the profiles of our employees to include English and Chinese speaking staff to target the clients currently investing in the country. Going forward, the growth strategy of Rawbank is to become the main bank responsible for international investments in DRC.

How important is the mining sector as a client to Rawbank and what role do you see the company playing in the sector in the future? Continue reading

Louis Watum, Managing Director, Ivanhoe Mines DRC Operations

MACIG Connect Series

Ivanhoe Mines describe the challenges and opportunities facing international investors in the DRC.

Could you please give us some insight into Ivanhoe Minesstrategy for success in DRC and what we should expect from the company in 2018?

Ivanhoe Mines has been in DRC for over 10 years now, and exploration has been a main activity. Thanks to an exceptionally talented and disciplined team of geologists the Kamoa copper deposit was discovered by Ivanhoe Mines in 2008. Later in early 2016, Ivanhoe Mines discovered the Kakula deposit approximately 10 km south-west of the Kamoa deposit, making the combined discoveries together to be ranked the world’s largest, undeveloped, high-grade copper discovery ever made. We are now exploring Kakula West, which is also very promising in terms of its near-surface source of high-grade copper mineralization that could be incorporated into the early years of the Kamoa-Kakula mine plan.

We remain focused in expediting the development of the initial Kakula mine whilst unlocking the full potential of the Kamoa-Kakula copper district. We have already sank twin declines to reach the ore at Kansoko mine at our initial Kamoa copper discovery and are now fast tracking the development of Kakula mine with sinking of twin declines currently underway, pre-feasibility study in progress, and surface infrastructure construction due to start in 2018.

How does Ivanhoe Mines mitigate the risks of exploring in a country with a risk profile like the DRC to find something as successful as Kamoa? Continue reading

Another encouraging year for mining in West Africa

Investors and miners are increasingly comfortable mining gold in West Africa beyond the traditional mining regions.

IMAGE: Roxgold

West Africa has been at the heart of the African transformation. Over the past decade, this region has achieved remarkable economic growth, outperforming other regions in the continent and emerging as a darling for investors worldwide. Although growth has gradually slowed, West Africa houses some of the continent’s stellar economic performers, namely Ivory Coast, Senegal and Burkina Faso, while being home to Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, Nigeria. Sound macroeconomic policies, ameliorating political conditions and major infrastructure developments have contributed to noteworthy investments in the mining sector of West Africa. From Ghana’s world-renowned gold deposits to Burkina Faso’s unexplored wealth, West Africa will certainly host some of the most attractive projects for the industry across the continent.

Continue reading

Isabeau Vilandre, Director of the SUMM Project, CIRDI

MACIG Connect Series

The Canadian International Resource and Development Institute (CIRDI) explains how it is working with the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines to develop the country’s mining sector.

CIRDI is an organization created with the support of the federal government of Canada that has projects in Latin America, Asia and in Africa. What is the organization’s mandate and how does the SUMM project help to achieve that objective?

CIRDI is an expression of Canada’s evolving role in developing countries through the sharing of Canadian expertise and experience to governments that request support for global and systematic reforms of their natural resource sector to result in sustainable natural resource management. CIRDI’s mission is to exchange knowledge and expertise with developing countries that enables leading-practice natural resource governance, environmental stewardship, gender equality and ultimately, poverty reduction.

Our projects are designed and delivered collaboratively to meet the needs of our developing country partners in alignment with the following three focus areas: Continue reading

Simon Njovu, President, Small Scale Miners Association of Zambia

MACIG Connect Series

The President of Zambia’s Small Scale Miners Association explains the efforts to help more Zambians benefit from the mining industry.

Can you explain SSMAZ’s role in the Zambian mining sector and highlight its priorities for the sector?

Education, training, demonstration and monitoring are the key elements of any program for artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in Zambia and improving occupational safety and health in ASM. Fair-trade initiatives for giving small-scale producers in developing countries the opportunity to trade their products under better selling terms and conditions should be developed wherever possible. Encouragement and support for the formation of cooperatives, associations or enterprises to support communication, cooperation and coordination between miners should also be provided as opportunities for networking between miners to share information and coordinate activities are often productive.

From the small-scale miner’s perspective, what is the greatest challenge facing the Zambian mining sector? Continue reading