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Dave Anthony, President and CEO, Asante Gold Corporation (CSE: ASE, FRANKFURT:1A9, U.S.OTC: ASGOF) Discusses Becoming Ghana’s Next Big Gold Producer

on 4/13/2022
We spoke with Dave Anthony, who has recently been appointed the President and CEO of Asante Gold Corporation (CSE: ASE, FRANKFURT:1A9, U.S.OTC: ASGOF). Asante is a gold operating, exploration, and development Company, with a high-quality portfolio of projects in Ghana, Africa’s largest and most reliable gold producer. Asante is focused on developing and operating gold projects, including the Bibiani and Kubi Gold mines, located on the prolific Bibiani and Ashanti Gold Belts. At Bibiani, US $80.6M funding, was raised through private placement, in February 2022. The first gold pour is planned for Q3 2022.

Asante Gold Corporation

Dr. Allen Alper: This is Dr. Allen Alper, Editor-in-Chief of Metals News, talking with Dave Anthony, who is President and CEO of Asante Gold Corporation. David, I wonder if you could give us an overview of your Company? Since you have recently taken on new responsibilities and are now the President and CEO of the Company, I'd like you to fill our readers/investors in on your very great background.

In looking at your background, I can see how you’re taking Asante Gold Corporation forward and increasing mining production. I see recently you’ve raised $100 million or so. Would like you to talk about how that is going to be used?

Dave Anthony: Kubi has been around since about 2012. It’s a principal asset for us. We are continuing to move along the Kubi Deposit. We've just issued a 43-101 to update the status of that asset and we've kicked off a study to see what it's going to take to put in some underground workings, so we can proceed, with underground exploration. However, where we are right now and what's exciting people, is the Bibiani Project. We acquired the Bibiani asset from Resolute, back in August last year.

We kicked off the refurbishment of the process plant, and development of an open pit mining plan. We managed a tender process and selected a mining contractor in December. That mining contractor mobilized to site in January, and we started refurbishing all the mine workings in early February. We moved ore onto the ROM Pad at the end of February, which is a pretty nice milestone for us. We're about six weeks ahead of schedule in the mine. We're right on schedule in the process plant. We're planning to pour gold in Q3 of this year.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's great. That's very rapid development and it's great to see you’re doing things even ahead of planning.

Dave Anthony: We've met or exceeded every commitment that we made, to our shareholders and stakeholders, back in August, when we made the acquisition. It's been a great process, and I've got to tell you something, the Team that I'm working with, you can't be prouder of what those guys have achieved. I mean, you hire seasoned people, you hire capable people, and you say, OK, guys, we have a tough job in front of us. Then they go right past all the starting blocks, they go right past all the milestones and just keep moving. It's just been a thrill.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's excellent! That's great to have a strong Team that carries out projects, even ahead of schedule. That's fantastic! That makes your shareholders and stakeholders very happy.

Dave Anthony: Yeah, this is March the 15th, so at about this time last year, our share price was 8 cents and on Friday, last week we closed at about $1.89. We've been on a pretty nice ride, but it's been backed up by fundamentals. We're bringing ounces to market and with gold at $2,000 an ounce, it's a good time to be in the gold business.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's right. Definitely! There are people who are projecting even much higher prices, as inflation takes off and the dollar might be in trouble.

Dave Anthony: Yeah, well. I don't know that the dollar is in trouble. I think currencies are being questioned around the world, what's real, what's not real? I'll tell you what's real is an ounce of gold.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's right. Could you tell our readers/investors a little bit about your background and your experience? From what I understand, you have a great background, and that experience will be very useful in developing and increasing the production and efficiency of your mine.

Dave Anthony: My career goes beyond 40 years. I graduated from Queen's University in Mining and Process Metallurgy. I spent the first 20 years working across Canada; designing, building, and operating process plants and mines. Then I had the opportunity to do some consulting on the project development side. Subsequently, I went to Africa with Barrick, I went there, actually for two weeks, and stayed for 10 years. I was running the process plant at Bulyanhulu, then I built the Tulawaka and Buzwagi Mines, as the Project Director and GM and then was promoted to COO of African Barrick Gold when we did the IPO.

Subsequently I came home to Canada, had the opportunity to work in Ecuador, with Kinross. I worked in Brazil to put together a gold mine there. Then along the way, I did retire. I've had several friends call me over a period of about seven or eight years and saying, can you help me with this and help me with that? I reckon if it’s fun and I can work with good people, I’ll take it on. I ended up working with Cardinal on the Namdini Project, in northern Ghana. When Namdini was sold for about $500 million U.S., some of the people there said, hey Dave, we're putting together another thing with Asante Gold. Can you give us some help? That led to joining as COO last July and subsequently just recently as CEO.

This will be the seventh, “first gold pour” for me. It'll be the fifteenth process plant or mine start up. It'll also be the seventh or eighth mine that I've been in charge of running, somehow. I've had a very fulfilling career, with a lot of challenges. But ultimately, I have had had the opportunity to have an impact on the positive and progressive development of a lot of people. For me, it's what I love to do. It's just been a very rewarding career!

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds fantastic, that's something to be very proud of. A career of accomplishments and to see your efforts pay off, and production and creating value for your shareholders and stakeholders. So that's excellent! David, could you tell our readers/investors a little bit about your goals for 2022?

Dave Anthony: We're building a brand-new Company. About a year ago, we had four or five employees from Asante. Today we have about 120 direct employees and about another 1,000 contractors, somehow reporting to the business. The Company obviously is growing significantly. What I found, across working with many companies, over my career, is that mining companies that have the benefit of great technical leadership, generally do very, very well. Financial integrity is important, governance is important. And of course, building a sustainable Company, in terms of CSR, environmental management and safety is important.

This is the kind of Company I want to build. One of our principal core values is integrity, and another one is hard work. Anybody that works, with me, knows that hard work comes with it. I don't have an awful lot of patience for those who can't be straight shooters. I like working with honest and diligent people and if mistakes get made, I want to know about it, so that we can do something about it. I don't have an awful lot of patience for cover ups and hiding from challenges. Let's get to it and let's figure out what needs to be done, and let's be honest about how we're going to get there.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent. That's a great business methodology and characteristics, so that's excellent! It's good for people to know what is expected of them and to be straight with them, and you expect the same thing.

Dave Anthony: Well, I also expect it of myself. You know what is sometimes said of me, that nobody ever wonders what we expect of each other. No one ever wonders whether or not we're doing a good job or whether or not we have to change our approach. I've always found that if you give the people the message, hopefully in a very nice way, they will outperform, and they'll exceed their own expectations.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's excellent! Could you tell us a little bit about some of the other members of your Team and Board?

David Anthony: Let’s start with Eben Swanepoel, who is our Project Director. This is a solid guy, very deep level of experience, very high level of integrity and incredible organizer. I have Eben working on probably six or seven different projects through qualified people and Teams, and he seems to be able to stay on top of all of them. He maps out, at the start of every week, where he's going to be and where he expects people to be. So that people know, and they can deliver their own objectives.

Dean Bertram is our MD at Bibiani. He's been there now for about four or five years. He came to us, with the acquisition. This is a guy who took on a care and maintenance mine that had a terrible relationship, with the community, to the point where nobody was talking to anybody, nobody was supporting anybody. Dean was challenged, with trying to make things right because of some legacy issues, he’s been very successful with that. He's put together a great Team, through care and maintenance, and he's prepared that Team to be ready to take us into operations.

When we got to site last August and when we mobilized in September, it was the fastest startup project that I've ever seen. Because everything worked, everybody supported everybody. There were no games being played and Dean's Team in terms of HR and finance, administration, safety, all of it, security, they were fully up to speed and fully ready to carry the project, and they've just done a great job.

I have a couple of people coming on board that I can't talk about, but I can tell you that, on the “country side” of our business, we have some exceptional talent in legal, in sustainability, government relations and so on. So that side of the business is covered. We have excellent people also, in investor relations. Alec Rowlands is a guy that I've worked with, on two or three different other sites and projects. We have some great people on the Team.

Walter Agbey is our Process Manager, he has about 27 years’ experience. He's worked in four or five of the principal processing plants across Ghana, a very capable guy. Johan Vorster is the guy that put together the mine plan in absolute record time. I mean, here's a guy that comes to the site in September and we say, hey, Johan, you normally get a mine plan together, through a PEA, PFS and then a FS project. This would take you maybe two years. Do you think you can get one together for us in about two months, so that we can go to tender and get a mining Team on site? And that's exactly what he did. I mean, he worked with his Team night and day, weekends and everything. This is one of the principal reasons we're on track. There hasn't been a single star across the group. They've all been great.

Dr. Allen Alper: Fantastic! It's great to have a group that performs well and knows how to work with each other and gets the job done.

Dave Anthony: Yes, I have to tell you, in my role, sometimes it's almost like I'm a spectator, but I really do enjoy seeing these guys work.

Dr. Allen Alper: That’s excellent! David, I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about your share and capital structure.

Dave Anthony: When we came out last March, the share price was pretty low, it was 8 cents. We had a vision that we wanted to build, there were opportunities in Ghana, we wanted to build a Company that had a large ownership in Ghana. We did a raise in Ghana, exclusively, and this brought the share capital, in the Company to about 40%. We did a subsequent raise in August, and most of that money came from offshore. But we maintained the share ownership, in Ghana, at about 37% That means that we have highly interested, highly motivated people, across the Ghanaian investor space, and they are able to support the growth and development of the Company.

The $100 million raise that we just did at C$1.75 was almost exclusively in Ghana, I think it was probably around 70% in Ghana. And now the Ghanaian shareholding is pretty close to 50%. The Ghanaian shareholding means that when you need to get permits in place, you have to go through all the steps and complete the process. But you have high-net-worth Ghanaians saying, gee, it'd be nice if we could actually stay within the published guidelines, for how long the process should take.

You don't find getting extended to be an issue. When we did the purchase of Bibiani last year, we got government approval of the transaction, on the same day that we announced the transaction. This is because the government is a 10% shareholder of the asset. We had the government involved in the discussions all the way through, from start to finish. So, when it was time to ratify, they said, sure, go ahead and the deal was done.

With many other companies, the multinationals will present the government with a fait accompli and basically ignore a principal partner, and say, well, this is what we're doing next with the business. That approach doesn't work all that well here. Because we are basically Ghanaian, because we understand the culture and how things work, we're able to move things along in a predictable manner and we're able to keep everybody within the time limits that are prescribed, in the government guidelines.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's excellent! It's great to have a close relationship, with the community and with the government, where you're working. Ghana has a history of being a mining country for hundreds of years.

Dave Anthony: Ghana is the largest producer of gold in Africa. It’s the sixth largest producer of gold in the world. Bibiani is the mine, and the mine is in Bibiani, 50,000 people live there. When we were getting the EIA process advanced, we had a public meeting, which is prescribed. We had more than 30,000 people show up to support the public meeting. There was almost zero dissension. There were a couple of questions asked around monitoring for dust and noise, and all of these things are prescribed by law. But basically, it was 30,000 - 40,000 people, showing up to show support for the mine development.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's fantastic. I think that's almost unheard of. That's really great to have that kind of support!

Dave Anthony: It's great to sit back and say we're bringing jobs and we're bringing economy and we're bringing all of this and that. But when the community shows up and says, we want this and we want to know what we need to do to support this, it gives it a whole other dimension.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's fantastic. David, could you tell our readers/investors the primary reasons they should consider investing in Asante Gold Corporation?

Dave Anthony: If you take a look at our track record; we surprised everybody, when we came out of the woodwork, with all these assets. Then we said, we’re going to have gold being poured, within nine months. We are going to make that objective. We've done everything that we said we would do. But, beyond that, we are driven to grow. And I think if you watch this space, you're going to find that we are busy looking at opportunities right now.

We are motivated to find and make another opportunity come to pass. And we're working to ensure this Company is not just a one mine company. We want to become a two or three or even more mine company. Within six months of being a 250,000 ounce a year producer, we see that profile increasing. If you want to look at a news story, if you want to look at a story that is fueled by highly capable and highly competent people that seem to work really well as a Team, then this is a good place to look. We're in a tier one country, relative to being in a mining country and, you know, this is a significant competitive advantage. The ability to operate, the logistic support that we get here makes Ghana probably one of the best mining countries in Africa.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's really fantastic! Extremely compelling reasons for our readers/investors to consider investing in Asante Gold! You have a great Team, great financial background, you have community support and a huge mine coming on stream, and you're working to be a Tier 1 producer at some point. And you have other mines and properties in mind. It sounds like an excellent growth situation and a profitable business situation.

Dave Anthony: I guess that's our story and we’re sticking to it!

Dr. Allen Alper: Well, that's a great story to tell. We’ll publish your press releases as they come out, so our readers/investors can follow your progress.

David Anthony, President & CEO
+1 647-382-4215 +233 558 799 3309

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