Aureus and MNG Gold agree $30million financing to restart New Liberty Mine
Aurues Mining has announced that an agreement has been reached with MNG Gold Jersey Ltd for $30million in equity financing to help fund the restarting of operations at the New Liberty Gold Mine in Liberia.
The agreement will see MNG Gold become a 55% shareholder in Aureus, with the equity funding to be used to enable the restart of operations at the high grade gold deposit.
MNG Gold has exploration, development and production assets in Turkey, Burkina Faso and Liberia.
David Netherway, Chairman of Aureus Mining, has welcomed the agreement following a difficult few years for the company.
“Within five years, the Aureus team has overseen the exploration, development and commissioning of New Liberty, Liberia’s first ever commercial gold mine,”
“During this time, the Company has faced the significant challenges of the tragic Ebola virus and the financial constraints of the global mining downturn. More recently, there have been operational challenges that, while not unusual at the early stages of commissioning and operations, reduced anticipated cash flows. The recent plant suspension has added to financial pressures faced by the Company,” he added.
“This transaction will recapitalise the Company and places it in a much stronger position to move forward.”
Serhan Umurhan, General Manager of MNG Gold, has praised the investment in Aurues, marking it as a representation of MNG Gold’s strong West African portfolio.
“New Liberty is an attractive opportunity to add high quality ounces to our West African mining portfolio,” he said.
“We see significant growth potential for New Liberty, supported by our strong financial position, global mining expertise and synergies with our other Liberian operation. MNG Gold is committed to responsible and sustainable mining and to creating long lasting benefits to the community.” He added.
Operations are expected to resume from mid-June 2016.
Read the May 2016 issue of Mining Global magazine
British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars
The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change.
It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.
British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad.
Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe
After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company.
“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”
Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector.
Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial.
Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production
“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”
The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction.
Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably.
“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.
“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”
Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK.
“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”
Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.