PETER Breese ticked a major box in April last year when his firm’s Askano gold mine in Ghana reached commercial production. Given that financing for the project was only raised in 2014, that represents short work. Guidance for 2017 is between 230,000 to 240,000 ounces at an all-in sustaining cost of between $810 to $840/oz. But the item that puts Asanko on the map is a proposed $210m to $220m expansion of its mine to 470,000 oz/year by developing the nearby Esaase pit. This will firmly position Asanko among Africa’s mid-tier gold producers and make the Asanko mine Ghana’s second largest. Commissioning couldn’t have come at a better time for Breese given the lift in the gold price which has boosted cash flows, helped by the relatively smooth ramp-up programme. As of September, cash was $57.5m while long term debt repayments with shareholder Red Kite are not due until July 2018. This will allow Asanko to build a cash buffer and position it to fund Esaase. One hiccough though was a super critical report by hedge fund K2 & Associates which said Asanko had exaggerated its current 7.9 million oz in measured and indicated resources by a factor of two – an allegation robustly denied by Breese.
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.
“Asanko gold mine will be the centrepiece in our vision to become a mid-tier gold producer.”
- Web Address: www.asanko.com