The Mineral Income Investment Fund (MIIF) is upbeat about the long-term prospects of its recent equity investments in Toronto and Frankfurt-listed Asante Gold Corporation.
MIIF purchased over fourteen million shares representing 4.65% of the company following a private placement in February 2022.
Following a familiarisation visit to the 100% owned subsidiary of Asante – Mensin Gold Bibiani Limited – by the Chief Executive Officer, Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng, and his executive team, Mr. Koranteng expressed delight at the pace of development and enhanced prospects of the mine.
“The visit is to familiarise ourselves with current operations and be apprised first hand on ongoing mining development plans against operational timelines, which has first gold pour scheduled for quarter-three 2022.”
Douglas MacQuarrie, Asante’s founder and now Chairman, told the MIIF team: “Our agenda to make Asante’s Mensin Gold Mine an African and Ghanaian success story and a flagship mine remains unchanged. We have assembled some of the best industry experts in the world with many years of experience to deliver this project. With our near-term gold production and the incredible current price upside in the world gold and commodities markets, we believe Asante Gold Corporation’s market capitalisation could grow higher than the US$2billion level in just a few years”.
MacQuarrie’s optimism is founded on the quality of ore at the Bibiani Mine, currently estimated at around 2.5 million ounces at 2.7 grammes per tonne on average from its four pits: namely the Strauss, the South Strauss, the Walsh and its Main Open Pit. They have also recently made a new high-grade discovery at their South Russel prospect just 3.8 km from the process plant.
The current Open Pit Mine Plan is estimated at 8 years. Based on previous underground working and mining that has taken place for over 100 years, the company expects an underground potential could extend mine life to well over 20 years.
Kwamina Ackun Wood, the Exploration Manager at Mensin Gold Bibiani Mine, had this to say: “We have seen very exciting formations in the stockwork and the tonalite veins which make us extremely positive about the potential of the ore and resources.
“The integrated engineering, procurement and operational process of the mine is on schedule for first gold in Q3 2022 according to Walter Agbey, the mine’s Metallurgical Manager. Even more refreshing is the fact that we are putting new circuits into place aimed at recovering up to 92% of the gold from the ore. PW mining is on site and on course with all earth-moving mine equipment and installations on schedule, with 85% of work processes completed.
“Ghanaians are fully engaged at all levels, and some of the new additions to the process plant were exclusively designed by Ghanaians and are being built and will be installed by Ghanaians,” Walter Agbey said.
Dean Bertram, Managing Director of Mensin Gold Bibiani Mine, emphasised that: “Ghana is about to see the true potential of this mine. Over its 100-year history, Bibiani has seen production of near 5 Moz of Gold. With the right team in place, the balance sheet and cutting-edge technology, Mensin Gold Bibiani Mine will live up to its expected potential”.
MIIF strategically took part in a private placement order in February 2022, when it paid US$20million for 14,514,286 common shares amounting to 4.65% of Asante Gold Corporation, the operator of the Mensin Gold Bibiani Mine and Kubi Gold Mine, as well as exploration activities at its Betenase, Fahiakoba and Keyhole concessions.
“We settled on Asante Gold Corporation as our first foray into the global capital markets after extensive due diligence and technical analysis of the long-term prospects of Bibiani Mine and other exploratory activities of Asante,” said Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng. “We are even more bullish about the potential of this company and the mine following our tour of the operations, the new discoveries and the quick-paced mining development.
“It is obvious that Asante will pour first-gold before the envisaged August 2022, and the initial reserves on which we made our decision are quite conservative – making this even more exciting. Our primary objective is to build a world-class Sovereign Minerals Fund with US$500million Assets Under Management (AUM) by 2025. We are investing for the future wealth of Ghana, and we see ventures like Asante Gold as part of our most desirable asset classes. We have no doubt that Asante is a world-class asset by all standards,” concluded Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng.
MIIF is Ghana’s sovereign minerals fund mandated by the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act 2018, (Act 978) as amended, to maximise the value of dividend and royalties’ income accruing to the Republic of Ghana in a beneficial, accountable and sustainable manner; and to monetise Ghana’s mineral wealth in a manner that would bring long-term value to Ghana.
MIIF also has 100% ownership of Agyapa Royalties Company, the only state-owned gold royalties company in Africa. MIIF has plans to list Agyapa on the London Stock Exchange and the Ghana Stock Exchange later in 2022.