We take a look at what’s been happening over the past week in the African mining industry, focusing on some of the most interesting news highlights from the sector. Mining and commodities in South Africa, Egypt, and Guinea all made headlines in the week.

Gold is bold in the news; there have been six exploration licences awarded in Egypt, an acquisition by Gold Fields, a discovery in Egypt, and billions in funding for a project in Guinea. Stories on exploration in South Africa, West Wits Mining, and lithium mines for China also caught our attention.

News highlights from the African mining sector

2 June – Minerals Council SA: Underspending on mineral exploration in South Africa could harm the economy

The CEO of South Africa’s Minerals Council states that the nation is not investing sufficiently in mineral exploration to ensure mineral production in the future – and the safety of its economy. He says that this is because South Africa is not currently expanding its mineral sources due to the lack of exploration, which has not been happening due to insufficient investment.

Inadequate investment in mineral exploration in the country is in part because there have been long delays in the issuing of exploration licences as well as an uncertain national mining policy.

It is well known that the DMRE has a massive backlog of permit and licence applications and it will undoubtedly be an uphill bureaucratic battle to get back on track.

2 June – West Wits Mining Ltd to expand its ownership in Witwatersrand Basin Project (WBP)

Australian mining firm West Wits Mining (WWI) has announced it will be increasing its ownership in shares in its South Africa-based Witwatersrand Basin Project (WBP) from 66.6% to 74%. This increase comes at a cost of 96 million fully paid ordinary shares and a $50,000 cash payment.

According to a scoping study on WBP performed by West Wits recently, WBP proves to be a gold producer that will have sustained productivity and long-term profitability. It has been estimated through the study that the project’s average steady annual run-of-mine production is 65,000 ounces for 25 years.

1 June – Egypt awards eight licences for gold and metal mining exploration

As part of its larger efforts to draw $40 billion from private investors within the next four years and tap into its vast unlocked mineral resources, Egypt has awarded eight gold and metal exploration licenses to four foreign investors. The six-year licences allow for exploration in the country’s Eastern Desert region.

The four mining producers won the licences in an auction after submitting the ‘best bids’, according to an official at the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority. The companies that succeeded in winning their bids for the licences were Marine Logistics Gold Mining, Ankh Resources, Lotus Gold, and Akh Gold Limited.

1 June – China’s BYD is in talks to buy six lithium mines in Africa to fuel its EV production

The Chinese manufacturing conglomerate BYD is the holder of BYD Auto, the world’s fourth-biggest battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) firm. As the producer of the components needed for its electric vehicles, BYD Auto must secure long-term access to the raw materials required for these parts. The company is now set on buying six lithium mines in Africa in order to do this. It is soon to reach a deal on the purchases.

The African mines combined can yield over 25 million tonnes of lithium oxide, which is enough to produce batteries for approximately 27.78 million BEVs and ensures BYD will have enough supply to last an estimated ten years.

This story was originally reported by The Paper, a Shanghai government-supported media outlet, but it has not yet been verified by other news sources to have published it, such as Reuters. The lithium mines and their locations are not named in the article.

1 June – Gold Fields to acquire Canada-based Yamana, become the fourth-biggest gold producer on Earth

South African mining giant Gold Fields Ltd is acquiring Canada-based producer Yamana Gold Inc. in a $6.7 billion deal with the Canadian firm. The two have entered into a definitive agreement and Gold Fields will receive all of Yamana’s outstanding common shares.

This means that combined with Yamana, Gold Fields will now have a diversified asset portfolio of 14 mines and will make it the world’s fourth-largest gold producer. As a combined company, its capacity as a producer is strengthened, as is its ability to increase the value of its portfolio of long-life assets and maximise its asset potential.

Should all necessary prerequisites be met for the deal to go ahead, it is expected to be concluded by the second half of 2022. Gold Fields’ headquarters will not be moving from its current location in Johannesburg, South Africa.

31 May – Altus Strategies discovers numerous high-grade gold prospects in all of its Egypt projects

UK mineral exploration firm Altus Strategies Plc has struck gold, announcing multiple discoveries of high-grade gold across all of its projects in Egypt. The gold prospects were discovered through reconnaissance sampling in the four mines that found the potential for multiple prospective structures several kilometres in length. Grades up to 100 g/t gold (Au) were found in over 100 hard rock gold workings.

In addition, Altus Strategies has also been awarded two new gold exploration licences worth a combined area of 349 km2 of exploration land. With this, the company’s total land holdings in Egypt, all situated in the Eastern Desert, will grow to 1,914 km2.

30 May – Predictive Discovery to raise $39.3m to help fund gold project in Guinea

Australian exploration and development firm Predictive Discovery has announced it will be raising $39.37 million for the funding of the Bankan gold project. The project has the capacity to possibly become Guinea’s largest gold mine, with production on it planned to begin in 2025.

The proceeds from the fundraising will finance the Bankan project’s 60,000m diamond and reverse cycle drilling programme, environmental studies including a programme in biodiversity management best practices, and various other studies and exploration projects Bankan has in the pipeline.

Predictive Discovery plans to raise the capital through a two-tranche share placing to institutional investors, with 206,195,748 shares worth about $37.1m in the first tranche, which ends on 6 June 2022.

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