Sovereign has strengthened its governance with the appointment of former Rio Tinto senior executive Nigel Jones as a non-executive director and chairman of its ESG Committee.

Jones was most recently the managing director of Rio Tinto’s Simandou iron ore project in Guinea and was responsible for all aspects of its development including its complex environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy.

He was also a member of the senior leadership team of the Energy and Minerals product group, which incorporated Rio Tinto’s titanium dioxide feedstock businesses in Canada and southern Africa.

Prior roles in Rio Tinto included Head of Business Development, Head of Business Evaluation and Managing Director of the group’s Marine operations.

Sovereign Metals (ASX:SVM) managing director Dr Julian Stephens said the company was delighted to welcome Jones to its board.

“To attract an individual of Nigel’s calibre is not only testament to the commercial potential of Kasiya, but also the very favourable ESG characteristics of the project, in which we strive to be best-in-class,” he added.

“Nigel’s input into our ESG strategy will significantly benefit our pursuit to ensure that sustainability, diversity and community are core in everything we do.”

“Sovereign has very quickly already demonstrated the huge potential of its Kasiya rutile discovery in Malawi as it continues to explore and develop this asset that will be of strategic importance to the titanium feedstock industry,” Jones noted.

A globally significant project

Kasiya is the largest undeveloped natural rutile deposit in the world with an overall resource of 605 million tonnes grading 0.98% rutile, half, or 304Mt at 1.02% rutile, of which is in the higher confidence Indicated category.

Under the scoping study, the project is expected to generate after-tax net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR) – both measures of profitability – of US$861m ($1.2bn) and 36% respectively, at a capital cost of just US$332m.

This is based on throughput of 12 million tonnes to produce 122,000t of rutile and 80,000t of graphite per annum at an operating cost of US$352 per tonne to generate annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$161m.




This article was developed in collaboration with Sovereign Metals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.