IT took a mere three years from securing finance for Peter Breese’s Asanko Gold to build the Asanko gold mine in Ghana. And while 2017 production came in at the lower end of guidance, there’s been an ominous sense of impending trouble ever since a massively damaging report by short seller, Muddy Waters, raised doubts over the firm’s ability to remain solvent. It said in June that Asanko had to spend $115m or go out of business – an accusation that enraged Breese. It was the second time a hedge fund had laid into his business plans and resulted in a 33% share dip that damaged the firm’s ability to raise cash for a $78m conveyor linking the Asanko mill to Esaase, the largest of 11 pits in the mining complex. Since then, the share has been on a downward spiral falling to its lowest ever level in November. This is all despite a good gold price environment and approval of a bankable feasibility study in June in which Breese will lift production to 230,000 oz through a $22m expansion. Plans to extend production to 460,000 oz/year from 2022 after spending $200m were also set down. Breese suspended the plans for the conveyor in order to conserve cash, which is expected to come in at $78m to $96m for the year. In September, Asanko bought the Miradani prospect neighbouring Asanko from AngloGold Ashanti.
LIFE OF PETER
Breese was the former CEO of Norilsk Africa following its $6bn takeover of LionOre, the South African firm of which he was COO. He was CEO of Mantra Resources before its $1bn acquisition by ARMZ. Breese, who holds a PMD from Harvard Business School, has operated in the uranium, nickel, platinum and chrome sectors throughout southern Africa.
- Web Address: www.asanko.com