Trigon Metals Inc, through its Namibian subsidiary, Manila Investments, holds an 80 per cent interest in five mining licenses in the Otavi Mountainlands, an area of Namibia particularly known for its high-grade copper deposits. Within these licenses are three past-producing mines including the company’s flagship property: the Kombat Mine.
Hannah Bernard: Hi, I’m Hannah Bernard. You’re watching Market One Minute and today I am here with Jed Richardson, president and CEO of Trigon Metals. Jed, thanks for being with us.
Jed Richardson: Thanks, Hannah.
Hannah Bernard: So, let’s talk a little bit about Trigon Metals and what makes you special.
Jed Richardson: As an investor, there are two ways to make money in mining. One is through exploration, where you’re creating new value with the drill bit. And the second is that transition, the transition from spending to making money as a mine comes into production. We’ve got the excitement of exploration at Silver Hill and in the near-term production from Kombat in Namibia. We’re in great places to be operating. Morocco and Namibia are fantastic jurisdictions, very helpful governments, very good geology. Places where the world can count on the supply to continue to be there.
Hannah Bernard: Let’s talk more about Morocco then, and the project that you have there, Silver Hill. Tell us why you wanted to add that to the portfolio.
Jed Richardson: So, Morocco is a place that’s been kind of close to my heart for a long time. I’ve been travelling to Morocco for the past six years. I built a strong relationship with a group of geologists down there, and they’ve been showing me projects. And this is the first one that we have, the Silver Hill project. It’s a 16-kilometre square. We have three structures on that property.
The top one is five kilometres long, right at the surface, showing grab samples of 200 grams per tonne silver up to 1,000 grams per tonne silver, 2 per cent copper, up to 12 per cent copper. This is high-grade material, and it’s abundant. And as we drill it, we’re expecting to find more of what we’ve been able to find at surface. So, this is I think, something that’s really going to get people’s attention as we produce those results.
Hannah Bernard: And let’s talk about where else you are operating in Namibia and the Kombat mine. So, what is it going to take to get the Kombat mine up and running again?
Jed Richardson: Sure. So, Kombat’s an interesting story. It’s a mine that closed really because of poor management. That’s special because generally when you’re talking about a mine being restarted, it’s being restarted because it’s a high-cost operation and it’s shut down because the copper price went down. That wasn’t the case here.
The mine operated for 45 years, produced twelve and a half million tonnes of ore at over 2.6 per cent copper. If it had been managed correctly, the mine would still be operating. It would be a low-cost producer. In essence, to restart the mine it takes money.
Right now, we have a study for recovering ore from an open pit, but we actually think we can do better than that. We’re working on a blended study that would start recovering some of the ore from underground. The underground ore is 3 per cent copper ore compared to the 1.1 per cent in the open pit. With grade, you have lower costs, you have higher profitability and a better return for our investors. So, we’re excited about what we’re doing at Kombat.
Hannah Bernard: So, let’s dig a little bit deeper into the two places that you are operating in Morocco and Namibia. What similarities have you found with them?
Jed Richardson: As we’re looking at copper supply around the world, Africa has to be where the copper comes from. Most of the supply projections are expecting that to come from places like Congo and Zambia, and I don’t think that those are places that the world should be relying on right now.
But Namibia and Morocco, I think, really stand out. They have the geology, but they also have great infrastructure, very helpful governments. And in those countries, we can comfortably go to our investors and know that they’re going to get a good return on what we do there, and we can go to the market and say we can reliably produce copper.
Hannah Bernard: So it’s obviously a very exciting time for Trigon Metals. Tell investors what they can expect coming from you this year.
Jed Richardson: Sure. 2020 is going to be a big year for Trigon. We’ve got a drill program planned for Silver Hill — and I’m expecting them to really catch people’s attention — and it’s all going to be really shallow. Stuff that could eventually come out of an open pit.
And then in Namibia, we’ve been working on our engineering. We’ve been working with Xinhai, a group in China, where we’re hoping to get an export credit facility so we can use debt to start the mine. And then we’re also going to be working on offtakes. That’s another way that we’re looking to generate the capital for the restart. This is pre-selling the concentrate from the mine.
Because it’s a short timeline, it could be six months for us to get this operating. There’s a lot of interest from offtaking groups. I’ll have a bit of a beauty pageant over the next little while and hopefully come to our shareholders with the best deal to get this mine started without diluting them.
Hannah Bernard: Thanks so much for joining us today, Jed.
Jed Richardson: Thanks, Hannah.
This story was provided by Market One Media Group for commercial purposes.