Ivory Coast the ‘go-to’ place in West Africa for explorers, African Gold says
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Cote d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast as it’s also known as, is way behind its neighbours in West Africa when it comes to mining.
It does, however, have some of the most prospective rocks and African Gold thinks it can tap into that.
“Cote d’Ivoire is one of the premier exploration and mining places in Africa to go to,” African Gold (ASX:A1G) executive director Steve Parsons told Stockhead at the RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle, WA.
“It’s one of the go-to places in West Africa right now.”
Traditionally known for its cocoa and coffee, the Ivory Coast wants to see if it can lure more miners to its shores.
The country is home to five major producing gold mines and a number of near-term development projects including Newcrest Mining’s (ASX:NCM) Bonikro mine and Perseus Mining’s (ASX:PRU) Yaoure and Sissingue projects.
Jersey-headquartered and London-listed producer Randgold Resources also has a large presence.
The company is currently involved in mining’s biggest ever merger – the $US18 billion ($25.1 billion) tie-up with Barrick Gold.
But despite these majors being active in the region, the Ivory Coast is a long way behind its neighbours, according to Mr Parsons.
“It’s a country that’s historically been an agricultural country, yet it’s all identical rocks to just over the border in Ghana, identical to Burkina Faso, identical to Senegal and Mali,” he explained.
Bridge Street Capital analyst Dr Chris Baker told Stockhead late last year that the whole of West Africa from Ghana all the way through to Mali and Senegal is very prospective for gold orebodies and there have been some very, very large orebodies found.
“In the last 20 years we’ve seen two or three big gold rushes in West Africa.”
Ghana is Africa’s second largest gold producer after South Africa and in 2017 produced 2.8 million ounces — 10.2 per cent more than the previous year.
“But Cote d’Ivoire has fallen behind because it’s been agriculture primarily, but it’s identical rocks, exactly the same, so the prospectivity is huge,” Mr Parsons said.
“So we think there’s a very high chance of finding something in Cote d’Ivoire.”
African Gold is exploring for gold at a project called “Agboville”.
The newly listed company now has “boots on the ground” in the Ivory Coast and is gearing up to start drilling at the project in early March.
African Gold was loved up on its entrance on the ASX on Valentine’s Day last week.
Although shares are no longer that high, they are still trading at 27.5 per cent premium to the IPO price.
It was only the second resources IPO for 2019.
“So maybe the market was excited for something new and gold,” Mr Parsons said.
“It certainly got off with a hiss and a roar and we’ll be hoping that carries on again for the rest of the year.”
The gold price hit another all-time high – shooting past $1870 on Wednesday.
“I think at the moment the investor sentiment is definitely very focused on gold without a doubt, and I think you’ll start to see money trickling down from the gold majors down into the more junior end,” Mr Parsons said.