Irwin Olian CEO, President and Chairman of African Queen Mines at Cambridge House Vancouver Resource Investment Conference
The phrase 'African Queen' evokes images of a romantic and mysterious country, reinforced by the Hollywood movie many years ago. In the case of African Queen Mines, however, it's an altogether more practical approach that aims to create shareholder value by discovering resources throughout Africa. The continent is relatively under-explored but is still reckoned to host some 30% of the world's mineral resources, including 40% of its gold, 60% cobalt and 90% of all PGM reserves, so there is plenty of scope to achieve the company’s aims.
African Queen Mines has its origins in the Pan African Mining Corporation, which went public in 2004 and assembled the largest portfolio of properties in Madagascar. That company also had properties in Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia. It was bought out in June 2008 by a large Asian group that was interested primarily in the Madagascar assets. As a result, that company was sold for $4.50 a share but the management was permitted to retain for the benefit of its Pan African shareholders all of the non-Madagascar assets, meaning the African continental assets. Those assets were spun out as shares in a new company called African Queen Mines, which was listed and started trading at ten cents a share.
“We had a nice run of success as we acquired some new and exciting projects and started making progress on the ground,” recounts the company's CEO, President and Chairman Irwin Olian. “The stock went up to 70-75 cents on several different occasions. But then we, like so many other juniors, were victimized last year by the collapse in the junior mining market share values and we went all the way down to 13-15 cents. We're now back on a positive track and heading higher. I think the stock closed at 19 cents recently.”
The reasons for this rise are partly the range of projects that the company has acquired and the progress it is making with them. One of these projects is the Noyem-Nyafoman project in Ghana, a country with a tremendous mining culture and plenty of success stories. The company recently announced it is to start drilling there after a period of inactivity on the property. Irwin says: “We are on the Ashanti belt, a property we acquired from Newmont. Essentially, Newmont had established a historic resource of 1.1 million ounces, graded 6.6 grammes per tonne. That's a pretty solid grade.
“We are now preparing to drill that property out with a view to first testing and confirming that historic resource and then expanding with step out drilling and some of the new targets that our team has identified. We've been on the project for the last two years. It should be noted there was a dispute with the local community, which had prevented Newmont from doing any serious work there for fifteen years. We have now resolved that dispute and we're off to the races, developing this project, and we think it's going to be a very good one, with a potential far exceeding the announced historic resource.”
The other major thrust for the coming months is the company's Rongo property in Kenya. That one was also embroiled in litigation for all of last year, which prevented any work being undertaken there. “We've now shelved that litigation,” comments Irwin. “We have a 97 square kilometer license. We're going to be drilling that and we've got some exciting targets there.
Drill mobilization currently underway, initial 2000 meter core drilling program set to commence on the Odundu Target in the near-future.
African Queen Mines Ltd.
Suite 1450, PO Box 11553
650 West Georgia Street
Tel: (604) 899-0100
Fax: (604) 899-0200