Sunday, May 28, 2017

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Full Newsletter issue #5

MINING NEWS

IRONRIDGE RESOURCES TO ENGAGE IN AN IRON PROJECT IN GABON

The mining holding, Assore Ltd, has just acquired 29.8% of the shares of IronRidge Resources, a junior mining company, which has taken up three iron projects in Gabon

From now on, IronRidge Resources Ltd (Australia) counts among the body of shareholders of Assore Ltd, a mining holding which possesses 29.9% of its shares since last February 12. Assore Ltd, a company listed on Johannesburg’s Stock Exchange and specialising in manganese, iron and chrome mining, is also joining Sumitomo Corporation, a Japanese conglomerate which possesses 12% of the shares of the company. The board of directors and the management of IronRidge Resources Ltd possess nearly 7% of the company’s capital.

Nearly EUR9.7 million were raised by the Australian junior company for mapping and sampling operations as well as for drilling programmes in its iron projects in Gabon, namely Bélinga South, located in the province of Ogooué-Ivindo and Tchibanga and Tchibanga North, in the province of Nyanga.

These greenfield projects are located in areas known as strategic. On one hand, Bélinga South is in the vicinity of the railway Transgabonais which will allow hauling the production to the port of Owendo once the exploitation phase commences. On the other hand, Tchibanga and Tchibanga South projects are located in the region which is to host the deep-water port in Mayumba.

IronRidge Resources Ltd has been listed on London’s Stock Exchange since February 2012. The company possesses exploration licenses in Gabon (granted in 2013) and in Queensland, Australia.

APOLLO GABON SA IS GRANTED EXTENSION OF ITS MONTS DE CRISTAL’S IRON AND GOLD EXPLORATION LICENSES

The State granted Apollo Gabon SA, a junior mining company which is about to enter into an agreement with Zoradox, a three-year extension of the Monts de Cristal’s iron and gold exploration license.

The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Tourism granted the company Apollo Gabon SA a three-year extension of the Monts de Cristal’s iron and gold exploration licenses, in the province of Estuaire.

The license was granted in last February prior to the finalization of the agreements between the company and Zoradox, its strategic partners. Such finalization is scheduled for the next weeks. The discussions proved to be longer than expected as a result of the unavailability of the findings of the last field campaign conducted in 2014 and the sluggishness of the market marked by a fall of nearly 50% in the price of iron globally.

According to Mr. Ivan Ayo Barro, the CEO of Apollo Gabon SA, “This project is drawing the interest of investors because the preliminary data give grounds for further investment. The project Kango North iron and gold which derives from the Monts de Cristal’s iron and gold license is a promising project; and were are glad we managed to enter into this agreement which overcame the fall in the price of the commodity”.

Zoradox’s financial contribution to the project Kango North will allow developing the exploration programme, especially drilling and geochemistry. Apollo Gabon SA already completed the gravity, magnetometry, planimetry and geophysics operations intended to respectively determine and assess the potentially priority targets, localize the various magnetic anomalies with accuracy and obtain the 3D coordinates of the points collected beforehand in the priority sites identified by the aeromagnetic data (SYSMIN) and sampling.

INSTITUTIONAL NEWS

MINING INDABA 2015: GABON REPRESENTED AT THE MINISTERS’ SYMPOSIUM

Gabon’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Tourism attended the third ministers’ symposium of the Mining Indaba Conference last February with the intention of promoting Gabon’s mining potential.

On February 2014 In Cape Town, Gabon was represented at the third ministers’ symposium of Mining Indaba Conference by its Minister of Mines, Industry and tourism, Mr. Christophe Akagha Mba.

About twenty African ministers attended the meeting which focused on four (4) topics: “A win-win mining scenario and the collaboration between mining companies and the government for the development of new standards”, Public-private partnership with an emphasis on energy”, “Contribution of the mining companies to national economies”, Infrastructures and mining” and “Developing an industry and a continent”.

During his speech, the Minister gave an overview of mining in Gabon while bringing focus on the existence of a well supplied database which results from the country’s long-lasting experience in exploration. He also highlighted that many gold, manganese, diamond and iron prospecting licenses are available. 58 exploration projects are currently being developed in the national territory.

Moreover, the Minister advised the audience of the enactment of the new mining code while stressing on its role in the reorganising good governance and transparency in the management of mining activities.

The new mining Code, which is to be published in the Official Journal soon, includes innovations as regards the participation of the State in projects, the granting of mining titles and the corporate and environmental responsibility of the operators, to name only a few.

On the margin of the symposium, the Minister met mining operators interested in Gabon’s existing opportunities.

FIRST NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TAXATION IN GABON

The first edition of the national conference on taxation took place in Libreville for the purpose of defining a new fiscal framework capable of securing the revenues of the State and promoting private investment.

On last 26 and 27 March, The Ministry of Economy, Promotion of Investment and Future Planning organised the first national conference on taxation in Libreville. The event was intended to develop new facilities for the replenishment of the Public Treasury in a context marked by the fall in the price of the barrel of oil which accounts for 60% of the State’s budgetary revenues, that is to say USD1.5 billion.

In his inaugural speech, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba highlighted that “improving tax collection constitutes a major element in order to attain the diversification of the economy”.

This comment is inspired by the National Strategy for the Industrialisation which sets the achievement of equality between the levels of contribution of the mining sector and that of the oil sector by 2025 as an objective, that is to say 25% respectively.

According to the Director General of Taxes, Mr. Joel Ogouma, this involves, on a medium term, providing Gabon with a new fiscal framework capable of securing the revenues of the State while boosting private investment and the competitiveness of the companies.

The conference was organised around five workshops, namely “Taxation of companies”, Tax incentives and VAT”, Modernising the Tax department” “Financing local governments” and “Households’ taxation”.

These workshops were attended by many players including government institutions, agencies and national companies, SMEs, NGOs and tax professionals from countries of Central Africa, Western Africa, and Maghreb and France. Representatives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) also attended the event.

The workshops resulted in recommendations which will allow developing the new fiscal framework.

 

SEM’S NEWS

MINING INDABA 2015: SEM IS PROMOTING ITS PROJECTS

SEM took part in the Mining Indaba Conference in Cape Town last February with the intention of establishing contacts and promoting its promising gold and marble projects

Société Equatoriale des Mines took part in the Mining Indaba Conference which took place from 9 to 12 April in Cape Town, South Africa. SEM’s participation was intended to promote the development of its gold prospecting and marble mining projects, as well as to promote the mining sector in general.

For the first time, SEM had a stand which received a great number of visitors. Many participants including (multinational and junior) mining operators, technical services suppliers, donors and reserve certification firms showed interest in the activities of SEM and in Gabon’s mining sector.

The same keen interest was noted with the media which wanted to communicate regarding Gabon’s mining potential. SEM gave many interviews on mining issues to specialised media including Mining Review and Mining Weekly, the reference media in mining news and also to general-interest media including Reuters and CNBC Africa. So many interviews which gave SEM the opportunity to present its activities and introduce Gabon’s mining sector as well as its context marked by the enactment of a new mining Code which is to be published in the Official Journal soon as Mr. Christophe Akagha Mba, Gabon’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Tourism stated during his official speech.

The projects publicised include Lombo Bouenguidi gold projects (province of Ogooué-Lolo) and the Camp 6 project (province of Ogooué-Ivindo) as well as the Dousseoussou’s marble project.

The permit in Lombo Bouenguidi is very promising as regards primary and alluvial gold prospecting. It mainly includes a great number of gold washing sites and gold anomaly areas. As for Camp 6 gold prospect, two types of gold mineralisation were found during the campaign conducted in 2014: alluvial gold and BIF gold mineralisation.

As far as the Dousseoussou mining permit is concerned, the project consists in boosting the development of the marble quarry. The certification of the reserves is to commence in 2015 and the production of the quarry is to commence in 2016.

During the first phase of the project, the blocks of marble produced will be exported abroad. The second phase will consist in manufacturing finished products (marble tiles, ornamental marble and marble slabs) in the future cutting plant in Tchibanga in Nyanga. The production will be marketed locally and abroad.

SEM’s participation in the Mining Indaba Conference proved to be a success and we are planning to come back next year. As regards the promotion of our projects, we managed to establish promising contacts with reliable partners. Thus, many operators showed interest in Gabon’s mining sector. SEM brought focus on the enactment of the new mining code which marks the will of the authorities to provide investors with a framework favourable to mining operations and increase the contribution of the sector to the national economy”, Mr. Fabrice Nzé-Békalé, the CEO of Société Equatoriale des Mines stated.

SEM REPRESENTED AT LIBREVILLE’S WORKSHOP ON HUMAN RIGHTS

SEM participated in a workshop organized by Gabon’s National Committee on Human Rights for the purpose of better integrating the UN’s principles and matching their activities of gold collection with such principles.

SEM participated in the national workshop on human rights, conflict prevention and natural resources exploitation in Gabon organised in Libreville from 26 to 28 November 2014 by Gabon’s Committee on Human Rights.

The meeting was intended to draw up a statement of the position of human rights in the activities of the industries in relation to natural resources exploitation and develop good practices in accordance with the UN guiding principles on companies and Human Rights and the Resolution on good governance in extractive and forest industries.

SEM’s participation was justified by the will to integrate the principles on human rights with the aim of making its activities of gold collection with gold washers compliant to them.

During the meeting, SEM was represented by the CSR Project Manager of the Comptoir Gabonais de Collecte de l’Or (CGCO), its subsidiary operating in the collection and sale of gold. The CSR Project Manager presented CGCO’s activities while stressing on the collaboration between CGCO and the communities of gold washers throughout its shops located in the provinces.

The workshop resulted in many proposals including the creation of a forum on Human rights and extractive industries and the support from the technical consultant which will provide the participants with a remote supervision in order to enable them consolidate the knowledge acquired during the workshop.

The event mobilised many participants including representatives from ministries, NGOs, partners to development, UN-related agencies and members of local and indigenous communities.

DOSSIER SPECIAL

School of Mines and Metallurgy of Moanda

The School of Mines and Metallurgy of Moanda (E3M) is one the flagship projects in Gabon’s mining sector. This is a strategic project aiming at creating a local skilled workforce in order to meet the needs of the industries and boost the development of a high potential sector.

E3M, which will have its first students in September 2016, is progressing in many aspects

About E3M …

The principle for the creation of the School of Mines and Metallurgy of Moanda was agreed during the Council of Ministers on 15 September 2011. E3M is the result of a public-private partnership between the State of Gabon and the Compagnie Minière de l’Ogooué (COMILOG), a subsidiary of the French group, ERAMET.

Under the supervision of the Ministry of Mines, Industry and tourism, the school is to be operational in September 2016. It will cover forty (40) hectares with buildings dedicated to administrative and educational activities.

The cost of the project is estimated at 12 billion of CFA (US24 billion). The State and COMILOG are actively seeking additional financial partners for the development of the project.

The purpose of the E3M

As part of the National Strategy for Industrialisation (SNI) which is supporting the Strategic Plan for an Emerging Gabon (PSGE), the State plans to increase the contribution of the mining sector to the GDP in order to achieve, within twenty (20) years, the same level as that of the oil sector. These sectors account respectively for 6% and 44% of the GDP for the moment.

Achieving that objective is dependent on better geological knowledge and the development of a local skilled workforce to support the activities of the sector’s operators.

With E3M, the State plans to engage in prospecting, mining development and processing with the support of a local trained and skilled workforce.

The organizational framework …

E3M is the result of a public-private partnership between the State of Gabon and the company COMILOG where the State possesses 28.45% of shares through the Société Equatoriale des Mines.

E3M is organised around two entities: the Strategic Committee and the Steering Committee.

The Strategic Committee, which is coordinated by the Minister of Mines, is the decision-making body which is responsible for approving the procedures and making amendments for the purpose of developing the project.

The Steering Committee is the technical body responsible for the design, implementation and follow up of actions.

the Steering Committee created five (5) working groups, namely the “Educational contents and accreditation”, “Legal instruments”, “communication”, “Environmental Issues” and “Partnerships and Operating Costs”, for the purpose of better defining the terms of the technical aspects approved.

The training aspect …

The School of Mines and Metallurgy of Moanda will provide training for engineers (postgraduates) and advanced technicians (graduates) in the fields of mines and primary processing.

E3M will provide two (2) programmes for professional bachelor’s degrees and one (1) programme for engineers. Each of the three (3) fields will have ten (10) students.

The seminar for the approval of E3M’s educational contents which took place on 28 April in Libreville gave the opportunity to determine the training programmes. The programmes will focus on mineral exploration, ore mining and metallurgy specialising in pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy.

The development of educational contents called up affiliate French schools including the Ecole Supérieure Nationale of Nancy and the Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Industries Chimiques de France as well as the Université des Sciences et Techniques of Masuku (USTM), a Gabonese school.

Progress of the E3M …

The site which is to host the administrative buildings and living spaces (classrooms, students and teachers housings) is already serviced. As for energy supply, the site is equipped with a temporary transformer; and the conveyance of water from Moanda (Haut-Ogooué) to the site of the school is already effective. The installation of infrastructures providing access to the Internet is being studied.

Moreover, the decision of the Director General of the Environment as regards the choice between an environmental impact notice or an environmental impact study is still pending.