What Aussie Africans want in 2014 …

THE year 2013 probably won’t go down in the memory of explorers and miners as the greatest – but being the optimistic industry that it is, African Angle asked a few Australian operators working there for their wishes for next year. By Barry Avery
What Aussie Africans want in 2014 … What Aussie Africans want in 2014 … What Aussie Africans want in 2014 … What Aussie Africans want in 2014 … What Aussie Africans want in 2014 …


Staff Reporter

This is what they said they wanted:

Peter Sullivan, CEO of Resolute Mining, a company with gold projects in Mali, Tanzania and Australia

Rather unusually, Sullivan has suggested “paying more tax” to his list. As he points out: “It would be driven by an improving gold price, easing costs across the sector and ultimately higher company profits, which all stakeholders always welcome.”

Sullivan adds that “continued diligence and safe work choices among our team members are also essentials on any wish list”

Bruce McFadzean, CEO of Mawson West, a mining and exploration company with copper projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo

McFadzean said he would like to see commodity prices to stabilise around the current levels, which would “assist in removing some of the volatility in the copper market; market recognition for the significant turnaround at Mawson West in 2013 where we have over $US50 million in the bank with debt reduced by $27 million to $8 million by year end; and continued growth of the DRC investment case into 2014.

“We have seen injections of capital into the DRC by majors and juniors like Glencore, MMG, Freeport, Lundin, ENRC, Tiger and Robert Friedland’s Ivanplats. This had had the effect of changing perceptions about DRC investment,” said McFadzean.

Frazer Tabeart, managing director of African Energy Resources, a company with coal projects in Botswana and Zambia

Tabeart’s wish is “to hear the clatter of thousands of little wheels passing by carrying the first of many trainloads of our coal on its way to market”.

He added that he would also like to see the lights going on in the investment community, which should remember that “lights going off is an opportunity, not a threat!”

Jeff Quartermaine, MD of Perseus Mining, a company with gold operations and exploration projects in Ghana and Ivory Coast in West Africa

Quartermaine would like to see an end to fiscal creep and nationalism by stealth on the part of governments of countries that host mining projects.

“I would prefer to see competent host governments that understand and accept that mining companies do not invest in mining projects for the sole benefit of our host governments and host communities, but rather we invest with the aim of generating returns for our shareholders after sharing a reasonable proportion of the benefits with the traditional owners and current stewards of the mineral resources.”

Quartermaine would like to see a change to the governance rules of Australian equity capital markets, in particular, the banning of short selling, programme trading and other forms of “value-destructive gaming”

“It does appear that the concept of equity capital markets providing a forum for the matching of ideas and execution capability with capital has been long been superseded by the apparent desire of regulators to provide platforms for clever financial gamers whose objective is to make a quick buck at the expense of legitimate investors,” said Quartermaine.

Mark Connelly, CEO of Papillion Resources, a company with projects in West Africa

“My wish is for the people of Mali, where Papillon Resources is a key stakeholder and partner and where we are developing our Fekola gold project; it is simply that they may have peace, good health and an opportunity for a brighter future for their kids – in other words, some of the things we all take for granted as Australians.”

Scott Sullivan, MD of Minbos Resources, a company with phosphate projects in Angola and the DRC

“Minbos is eagerly awaiting the renewal of its exploration licences in the Cabinda province in Angola. The licences are secure, but bureaucracy around the implementation of Angola’s new mining code has effectively delayed all licence renewals in the country. Minbos has been awaiting the renewals since the start of the year and hope that they come through in the coming weeks.”

Graeme Robertson, executive chairman of Intra Energy, a company with coal projects in Tanzania, Malawi, Laos, Vietnam and Australia

“Industrial coal production from Tancoal in Tanzania reaching 500,000tpa and Malcoal in Malawi reaching 150,000 tpa; and power purchase agreements signed with Malawi and Tanzania for 120 and 200MW power stations … and calm, non-politicised operating environments.”

Bill Turner, chairman of the Australia-Africa Mining Industry Group, a peak industry body representing the collective interests of Australian mining and service companies in Africa

“My aspiration for the mining industry from Australia which is active in Africa, is that the governments of African host countries and the international community begin to view Australia as a source of people who want to do well, but also want to do good.

“That the senior people leading these companies in Africa are developing corporate cultures that have an appropriate focus on ESG issues (environment, social and governance) that influence their capacity to employ and retain the best people. After all, such a focus is basic good business as it creates value, protects value and enhances the capacity to grow and sustain business activity.”