Tuesday, June 27, 2017
John Clarke

John Clarke

Banro Corporation

JOHN Clarke could not have expected the restoration of Banro Corporation to be so painfully lengthy, but after three years steadying the ship, he may be just about winning. The company, which operates two mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Twangiza and Namoya - is not profit-making yet, but production is improving. Output for 2016 was 8% higher at 197,691 ounces, and in terms of a three point medium-term strategy, Clarke is starting to look at possible growth with underground development at both mines under consideration. A short-term 240,000 oz/year production base is being contemplated which will run in parallel with cost-lowering initiatives of which the adoption of hydroelectric power instead of diesel is one innovation. Regional consolidation is also envisaged whilst Banro may also explore its Lugushwa and Kamituga gold prospects which could yield an additional 200,000 oz/year in gold production. The first crucial step in this journey, however, was a $67.5m stream financing deal with Chinese-backed firm Baiyin Stream Partnership. The Chinese firm, which also agreed a $10m gold doré supply agreement from both Twangiza and Namoya, is now a 16% shareholder in Banro. This is all a far cry from events in 2014 in which Clarke fought a rearguard action to keep Liberty Street Capital Corporation from reconstituting the Banro board.

LIFE OF JOHN

Previously CEO of Nevsun Resources, Clarke stepped into the breach at Banro at its darkest hour following the surprise resignation of its CEO in 2013. Before Nevsun, his other major mining executive role was at Ashanti Goldfields Corporation where he established its exploration programme in Ghana. He has a PhD from Cambridge University and an MBA from the University of Middlesex.

“We have a base for continued organic growth.”