Galane Gold sets aside $7.8 m exploration kitty to prolong Mupane mine life
by Kabo Mokgoabone
Galane Gold, the Australian quoted mining outfit that listed on the BSE on Wednesday, said its focus is to improve efficiencies and step up exploration activities at Mupane open-pit mine in a bid to extend the life of the mine and make the operation profitable.
The Francistown-based company acquired Gallery Gold assets from Iamgold last year and it will concentrate resources on ‘the neglected child’ to make it a world class mine.
Galane CEO, Philip Condon told Sunday Standard they acquired the Mupane assets from previous owners who believed the mine was not a sort after asset, but to them it is a big opportunity to make the business profitable.
“We have extensive properties to extend out life and we are moving into more efficient gold production,” Condon said. “We are putting more resources into exploration and we have put aside a budget of $ 7.8 million into the programme from next year.”
Mupane mine life is projected to last up to 2016, but Condon wants to see that prolonged by additional 5 years and many more years. Mupane Gold Mine currently produces about 50, 000 ounces of gold per year.
The company holds prospecting and mining licenses covering the entire prospective area around the Tati Greenstone Belt.
Mining is currently concentrated at Signal Hill pit and mining operations in the next years will include push-backs at the previously mined Tholo pit and the Golden Eagle deposit where pre-stripping has been concluded.
Galane is inheriting exploration data from Gallery Gold and Northside and it is reviewing the data using the modern technology.
In a bid to extend proven reserves and resources, the company will focus on drilling extensions of known and in some cases previously mined deposits and through exploration drilling at sites with existing compelling drill data or that are otherwise highly prospective on the basis of other existing exploration data, including soil analysis and aero-magnetic surveys.
“It is the view of the management that this approach is far likely to be successful than greenfields exploration and with existing production infrastructure in place, the cost and risk of putting new discoveries into production is minimal,” the company stated.
Condon said the modern technology will allow them to confirm that the established priority targets are valid through accurate interpretation of the data.
Galane Gold listed this week on the BSE in what Condon said will provide both retail and institutional investors the opportunity to invest in Botswana’s only gold mine.
The company has created 290 direct employment with additional 300 workers for contractors for blasting and mining systems.
“We have a big task ahead to get things where they need to be, but we think we have the right people to do that”.
Condon revealed they bought Gallery Gold assets after studying many projects for the past four years. He said the idea was to acquire sound assets in safe jurisdiction.
“For us, it is a great opportunity to get the neglected child into operation.”
Iamgold, the Toronto-based company with market capitalisation of $5 billion sold Mupane Gold Mine after realising it did not meet its requirements.
“We saw great opportunity to make this business profitable,” Condon said.
Unlike many overseas based companies that operate in the country, Galane does not have an office in Toronto and it is building its headquarters in Francistown.
The BSE Chief Executive Officer, Hiran Mendis, said the exchange is slowly making the country and investment destination through listings but bemoaned lack of liquidity in market.
“We basically want to make Botswana the Toronto of Africa. Many companies in the resources sector are listing here, unfortunately liquidity is small,” he said. Galane started trading its shares at 735 thebe with a total market capitalisation of about P 354 million.