Five things to know about Evolution Mining and Ernest Henry gold mine
In light of the news that Australian gold mining company Evolution has acquired a major stake in Glencore’s Ernest Henry copper gold mine, we take a look at five things you should know about the deal.
1 – The award(s) goes to…
Evolution Mining, which owns and operates seven gold mines across Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. From its early inception in late 2011 and years of successfully achieving production and cash cost guidance, the company was recently announced as the winner of 2016 Dealer Award at Diggers and Dealers. It doesn’t stop there, the company was also awarded Best Asia-Pacific Mining Deal at Mines and Money Hong Kong and winner of the 8th Annual International M&A awards.
2016 – the year of the plaudit.
2 – CEO Jake Klein, the “accidental” miner, the fundamental businessman
The CEO of Evolution Mining is South African Jake Klein, the self professed "accidental" miner. In a 2015 interview with Barrons that when he left South Africa in 1990, he never thought he’d be a key player in the mining industry. In fact, it was a meal with billionaire Naguib Sawiris, who famously tried to buy an island from Greece or Italy for refugees fleeing the war in Syria, that was a crucial moment in the history of Evolution Mining. Through this meal, the Egyptian businessman agreed to sell the Australian assets of his La Mancha mining business to Evolution, with Sawiris taking a 31% cornerstone stake in the company and throw in an additional AUD100 million to help fund the miner’s growth plans. Prior to becoming CEO of Evolution in 2011, Jake had been the president of Sino Gold Mining, in which he oversaw the company becoming the largest foreign participant in the Chinese gold industry. He also saw Sino Gold Mining Ltd listed on the ASX in 2002, purchased for $2billion in 2009 and operate two award winning gold mines.
Not bad Jake, not bad at all.
3 – 100 percent of gold production, yours for $880 million
The deal between Glencore and Evolution will see Evolution pay $880 million for a 30 percent stake in the Ernest Henry copper gold mine. In return, Evolution is entitled to 100 percent of gold produced at the mine and 30 percent of all silver and copper production. Glencore are not completely out of the picture however, as the company will continue to operate the day to day operations of the mine and receive monthly cash contributions equal to 30 percent of production and capital costs from Evolution.
You scratch my back we’ll scratch yours. Always with an eye for the future, both companies have agreed to co-operate in potential exploration opportunities in the nearby region. A powerful partnership indeed.
4 – The importance of being Ernest
The Ernest Henry mine is located north east of north west Queensland Australia. The former open pit turned underground mine began life in 1998, before transitioning into an underground shaft mine in 2009 for a cool $589 million. A workforce of 500 strong, the mine produces a copper gold concentrate containing around 39 percent copper and 11 grams per tonne of gold. With a mine life (thanks to the underground transition) up to 2026, Ernest Henry has an estimated gold production of 70,000 ounces of gold per year.
When you look at it that way, the deal with Evolution looks to be quite the savvy investment.
5 – One out, one in
Just last week, Evolution announced that it is to sell its Pajingo gold mine to Chinese company Minjar Gold for $52 million. Jake Klein commented that that a key object of the company’s business strategy is to “improve the quality of its asset portfolio over time.” The goal of this asset portfolio? To create a “globally relevant, mid-tier Australian gold producer.” Mr Klein, ever the man for a sound business investment, believes the recent divestment of Pajingo, coupled with this acquisition is another key moment of Evolution’s history. “The addition of low cost gold production from Ernest Henry to our portfolio gives us exposure to another high quality, long life asset that further underpins the future success of our business.”
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.