Legal aspects, presented by Kouamé Klemet-N’Guessan, Partner at KSK Avocats
The legislation has stayed very stable, the mining industry being guided by the same Mining Code of 2014. However, there are a few issues that are pending resolution:
We have noted an increase in the number of litigation cases over the level of compensation that mining companies should pay to the communities living close to mining sites. Local communities feel that the compensation is insufficient and go to court to make their claims. Mining companies, on the other hand, believe the compensation requirements are not proportionate to the reality on the ground. The Supreme Court decided that a special committee under the Ministry of Mines be assigned to deal with these compensation cases before either of the parties go to the court, but the Courts continue to hear these cases disregarding the role of the special committee. This is a serious issue of legal insecurity threatening the mining industry.
The second problem is around the interpretation of legal provisions. Mining operators, the administration, the courts and the population interpret the law differently, so more cohesion in this sense is necessary. This issue becomes apparent with mining agreements signed between the government and miners. The tax administration considers that mining agreements cannot derogate from the law, but mining agreements contain provisions that need to be legally validated to be valid. The government is quite passive in enforcing the provisions stipulated in mining agreements.
Ivory Coast holds the largest share of the Birimian Greenstone Belt and remains one of the least explored countries in the region. In recent years, the country has attracted many juniors from Australia, Canada, and the UK.
UPDATES FROM THE GROUND BY THE COUNTRY’S MAIN JUNIORS
Mako Gold, developing the Napié Gold Project
“Reflecting on our vision – to make a high-grade, world-class discovery – we decided to keep drilling, expand our focus to include both Tchaga and Gogbala, and ultimately put a larger maiden resource out. This is why we decided to extend the date for our maiden mineral resource. Ivory Coast is the destination of choice in the region thanks to a very stable, pro-mining government, which, ever since 2011 when the political troubles ended, adopted a diversified economic strategy, encouraging mining investment to diversify from the agricultural focus. Moreover, it is a very safe jurisdiction. Ivory Coast has excellent infrastructure and a skilled local workforce. We are very proud to say we only have local people on the ground, while 20-25 years ago there was a confluence of expats typically taking these roles.”
Peter Ledwidge, Founder and MD, Mako Gold
Tietto Minerals, developing the Abujar Gold Project
“The upside potential of our Abujar project is immense. We only explored 10% of our 1,114 km2 land area, including 70 km strike length gold corridor across our tenements. Within 10 km of Abujar we have identified at least 20 other prospects.
Entering Ivory Coast just at the end of its domestic crisis, I started a long and beautiful exploration journey in a country that I still consider to be one of the best in terms of exploration and project development.”
Caigen Wang, Founder and CEO, Tietto Minerals
Awalé Resources, developing Bondoukou and Odienné projects
“We believe in good, underexplored regions. Ultimately we are not trying to find a small deposit, but a regional district play, with lots of blue skies, where we can build a mine. We have three district-scale greenfield project areas, all in Cote D’Ivoire. In the northeast of the country, Bondoukou is a 1,200 km2 land package that has seen intense artisanal work along productive structures, but it has never been drilled before. Odienné is found in the northwest and consists of 800 km2 permit applications, which used to be owned by Randgold in the 1990s.”
Glen Parsons, CEO, Awalé Resources
Montage Gold, developing the Koné Gold Project
“In many ways Koné is a classic shear zone hosted gold deposit, however it is uncommonly wide for this part of the world, exceeding 200 m width over the main part of the ore body compared to the region’s average of 10-50 m. While it has relatively low grade at 0.65 g/t Au, its width, and the fact that it dips at 45 degrees, make Koné amenable to a very large-scale, low-cost operation, with an easy-to-mine and easy-to-process ore body.
Once we have a large-scale, low-cost operation running, we do not need to find another million oz deposit: the value of smaller, higher-grade satellite deposits becomes immense for the overall cash flow. For instance, the Petit Yao Central target is located only 8 km east of Koné and has higher grades in the range of 2 g/t. While this would not make for a sizeable deposit on its own, it has the potential to become the first satellite deposit for Koné.”
Hugh Stuart, CEO, Montage Gold
Sama Resources, developing the Samapleu Nickel-Copper project
“After conducting airborne surveys in 2013 and in 2018, we discovered we are looking at an intrusive complex of 2 billion years, the same age with the Pyrenean Greenstone belts. The erosion had brought this very pristine, never altered or metamorphosed mineralization, to the surface.
The issue with the Samapleu Nickel-Copper project in Ivory Coast is that we expect to be looking at massive high-grade sulfides accumulated in a or several reservoir(s) at depth along the 50 km strike length of the Yacouba intrusive system. Near surface, have already a resource of 40-50 million tonnes for open-pit operation, but we think this has much greater roots. In 2018, Ivanhoe Electric joined in with a financing of US$25 million. We strongly believe in the geological model and today we are testing for targets at 800-1,000 matters, so it is a tedious process, which does not yield regular news flow.”
Marc-Antoine Audet, CEO, Sama Resources