Ghana is one of the most prolific gold mining jurisdictions in the world, top in African production and sixth globally behind the United States. Pelangio Exploration (TSXV:PX, OTC:PGXPF, Forum), a Canadian company with projects in Ghana and Canada, had been relatively quiet on the news front this year but is now on the move to explore its highly prospective Obuasi project next door to AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine. Pelangio’s CEO, Ingrid Hibbard, recently sat down with The Market Herald to expand on the opportunity ahead for the company and investors.
TMH: You recently announced that you are planning for the next phase of exploration on the Obuasi project in Ghana, consisting of four prospecting licenses totaling 284 kilometres. What excites you about this project?
Hibbard: Our Obuasi project sits immediately adjacent to AngloGold Ashanti’s legendary 60 Moz Obuasi Mine. Our property boundary lies only 3 km from the nearest headframe. The project hosts the strike extension of Obuasi Mine geology, and multiple splay structures from the main Obuasi fissure strike into Pelangio’s property. We believe the presence of an extensive gold system is illustrated by the fact that anomalous gold intercepts appear at nearly every prospect tested via drilling across the property. Our initial drilling returned encouraging results and we are eager to continue exploring next door to one of the world’s greatest gold mines.
TMH: What are the next steps for exploration on the property?
Hibbard: We believe the drilling and exploration programs completed on the Obuasi project have thus far just scratched the surface of the property’s geology. Our initial drilling returned high-grade intercepts of 24.5 g/t Au over 1 meter and 11.3 g/t Au over 2 meters, as well as broader widths of lower-grade mineralization, including 1.1 g/t Au over 14 meters.
When you consider the target model – a several million ounce high-grade lode sourced from the massive fluid system that deposited more than 60 Moz a few kilometres to the southwest – further exploration and drilling on the project is justified. Robust geological study over the course of Pelangio’s interest in the property concludes numerous D2 anastomosing splay structures emanate from the Obuasi Main Reef Fissure and strike north-easterly into Pelangio’s property. In addition, multiple north-northeast striking D5 structures comparable to the Obuasi Main Reef Fissure have been interpreted across Pelangio’s property. Any one of these structures has the potential to have channeled mineralized fluids from the Obuasi Mine property with the deposition of a sizeable lode of gold mineralization in a suitable structural trap on Pelangio’s ground.
TMH: For investors who may have bias and are wary of investing in Africa in general, how does Ghana fare as a place for business and infrastructure for gold?
Hibbard: Ghana is the second most attractive mining destination in Africa, according to the Fraser Institute. It is one of the largest gold producers in Africa and one of the top 10 gold producing countries in the world. The country has a rich mining history spanning centuries and is currently structured along the lines of English common law. Consequent to its mining history, there is easy access to strong in-country technical expertise and skilled labour, and a comparatively short project development timeline from discovery to production.
TMH: You also have an exploration program at the Manfo Project, located in Ghana as well. What are the highlights to date and what can investors expect on this project?
Hibbard: The positive drilling results from the southern ends of both Pokukrom East and West have extended the mineralization incrementally in those areas, warranting follow-up drilling that could add to the resource.
The recently completed diamond drilling program at Manfo is part of a larger planned program of 3,700 meters of diamond drilling designed to test for extensions to the known mineralization at Pokukrom plus exploration targets in the vicinity.
While the recent program eliminated two targets from the list (a soil plus auger anomaly on the northwestern flank of Pokukrom East and the northerly extension of Pokukrom West at shallow levels), several targets remain untested at Pokukrom and will be drilled in future programs. In addition, a 6,750 -meter exploration aircore drilling program is planned to assess compelling targets along the 9 kilometres of favourable structure on the Manfo property for additional discoveries, including follow-up at several prospects that have been lightly drill tested to date.
TMH: How do you see gold as an investment for the second half of the year?
Hibbard: The price of gold remains strong in Canadian dollars and, as a result, many gold miners are running highly profitable operations and paying good dividends to shareholders. Rising interest rates continue to “stress-test” economies and the resulting uncertainty of a potential recession hints toward a continued strong metal price. There’s also ongoing heightened geopolitical risk. History shows gold performs well in securing value during uncertain times. We believe gold has a critical function in the modern global economy and is an important part of a diversified investment portfolio. We have seen that because the gold sector is relatively small, when investor interest turns to gold the potential for returns can be life-changing and represent a tremendous opportunity to deliver value to our shareholders.
TMH: We shouldn’t ignore Canada, where you have four early stage projects. What are the prospects for exploration on these properties?
Hibbard: Our Canadian projects are focused on providing our investors with exposure to critical minerals through our Kenogaming Polymetallic and Gowan projects. Our Birch Lake project is currently under option to First Mining, which has proposed soil sampling, prospecting and mapping, and a drill program of up to 2,000 metres of drilling this winter. Finally, our Dome West project sits merely 800 metres from the Dome Mine.
TMH: As a message to investors, what is your main focus and why should they invest in Pelangio now?
Hibbard: Our focus is creating wealth through exploration success and collaboration. In Ghana our near-term plan is to assess the potential for expanding our resource at Manfo and return to exploration drilling at our flagship Obuasi project, adjacent to and on strike with the legendary 60 million ounce Obuasi mine. Our projects are along two of the most prolific gold belts in West Africa. There is considerable interest in investment and M&A in Ghanaian mining projects, with Newmont expanding the mill at the Ahafo mine by 50%, Asante purchasing the Bibiani and Chirano mine and AngloGold Ashanti investing $600 million in the redevelopment of their Obuasi mine.
TMH: What can we expect from the company over the next six months?
Hibbard: We’re excited to get back to exploration at our Obuasi project. It’s our flagship exploration project and its location makes it a compelling story for investors and potential collaborators. We’re looking forward to following up on our previous high-grade drill results. Those results are even more interesting considering the artisanal mining taking place in the area.
TMH: Is there anything else you’d like investors to know about Pelangio?
Hibbard: Our team has a proven track record of success with team members being involved in the founding of Detour Gold Corp., which attained a market capitalization in excess of $5 billion. As well, our technical team played a key role in planning and managing the drilling of Perseus’ Edikan and Sissingue resources.
At the Board and Advisory level, our governance is managed by a seasoned team including:
Pelangio Exploration’s management
Ingrid Hibbard – President and CEO
Ms. Hibbard is an experienced international mining CEO with more than 22 years of experience in six publicly traded Canadian mineral exploration companies. Notable achievements include negotiating the acquisition of the Detour gold mine property for Pelangio Larder Mines and participating in founding Detour Gold Corp., a Canadian gold-mining company that attained a market capitalization in excess of $5 billion.
Sabino Di Paola – CFO
Mr. Di Paola is a Chartered Professional Accountant, CPA, CA, and member of the Chartered Professional Accountants Ontario and Ordre des CPA du Québec.
Kevin Thomson, P.Geo – Vice President Exploration
Mr. Thomson is a senior mining professional with more than 29 years’ experience, including international technical, corporate and project management experience in West Africa and Canada. His experience ranges from project generation and grass-roots exploration to resource development, project assessment and due diligence. Kevin previously resided in Ghana for 12 years, during which time he served as Group Exploration Manager at Perseus Mining Ltd. and Regional Exploration Manager at Newmont Mining Corp.
Sam Torkornoo, P.Geo – Vice President Africa
Sam Torkornoo has more than 22 years of professional experience as a geologist and project manager for a number of multinational exploration companies. Sam has a BSc. in Geological Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, and an MBA in International Management of Resources and Environment from Technische Universität Bergakademie in Freiberg, Germany.
Pelangio Exploration’s Board of Directors
Al Gourley – Director
Al Gourley is the London Managing Partner of Fasken Martineau, an international law firm, where his practice focuses on finance and asset transactions in the natural resource industry. Mr. Gourley has served as a director of several TSX, TSX-V and AIM-listed mining and mineral exploration companies, including a company that discovered the Ahafo Mine in Ghana before being acquired by Newmont.
David Mosher – Director
Mr. Mosher is a geologist and director of Pancontinental Resources Corp., Roscan Minerals Corp., Harvest Gold Corp., and former President and CEO (1992-2008) and director (1988-2008) of High River Gold Mines Ltd.
JC St-Amour – Director
Mr. St-Amour is a bilingual investment banker and corporate executive with more than 20 years of experience in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and managing corporate relationships. J.C. is a Chartered Financial Analyst with strengths and expertise in capital markets, financial and investment analysis, asset valuation, due diligence and managing financing and M&A processes, particularly where they apply to the resource sector.
Pelangio Exploration’s Advisory Committee
Warren Bates – Senior Technical Advisor
Warren Bates joined Pelangio Mines in June 2007. During his tenure as senior VP exploration, Mr. Bates oversaw all Pelangio’s exploration activities in Canada and Ghana, including new project generation.
Tony Makuch – Advisory Committee
Mr. Makuch is a professional engineer with more than 35 years of significant industry and leadership experience and is well-positioned to support the Company’s strategy in his advisory committee role with Pelangio Exploration Inc. Mr. Makuch was most recently Chief Executive Officer of Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd., a leading senior global gold company with operations in Ontario and Australia.
Philip Olson – Advisory Committee
Mr. Olson is a geologist, and former director of Titan Uranium Inc. (formerly Ceduna Capital Corp.) from March 2005 to June 2009 (President and CEO from March 2005 to March 2007; Chairman and CEO from April 2007 to June 2009). Mr. Olson was Vice President Exploration/Corporate Development, Claude Resources Inc. from January 1997 to March 2005 and was a director of Mines/PDX from May 2000 to March 2009 and Detour from January 2007 to June 2010.
Laurie Clark – Advisory Committee
Laurie Clark is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully started, built and sold three companies. She has more than nine years of experience as an Independent Corporate Director; is qualified as a Certified Director International (CDI.D); and, is the Board Chair of a not-for-profit that has grown from a national to an international brand under her stewardship.
David Paxton – Advisory Committee
Mr. Paxton brings over 30 years of combined experience in the mining industry and capital markets. Mr. Paxton currently serves on the boards of two companies in the natural resource sector and has had extensive exposure to financial markets. David has recently held positions as Chief Executive Officer of Vatukoula Gold Mines, a publicly listed gold mining company with operations in Fiji, and Chief Executive Officer of Sumin Resources, a private gold exploration company operating in Suriname, South America.
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