Resolute’s Welborn expects to divest of Ghana mine Bibiani in 2020 despite COVID-19 delay

John Welborn, MD, Resolute Mining

RESOLUTE Mining intended to complete the sale of its Ghana mine Bibiani this year despite delays to a strategic review caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were intending to recommission the asset. In response to the inbound interest, we’ve been running what has publicly been called a strategic review,” said John Welborn, CEO of Resolute Mining in an interview.

“If we hadn’t have had the COVID-19 crisis we would probably have announced a conclusion to that strategic review and I’m still confident that during 2020 we will successfully divest that project.”

Welborn said he was “a believer” in the asset but with production of 80,000 to 100,000 ounces per year, it didn’t have the scale required by the company. The mine was currently on care and maintenance ahead of an investment decision.

Given the acquisition of Mako, a gold mine in Senegal, and the scale of its existing Syama mine in Mali “… we’re looking for a larger and more meaningful asset in our portfolio,” he said.

In mid-January, Resolute confirmed the sale of its 54,500 oz/year Ravenswood mine in Australia’s Queensland to a consortium led by EMR Capital for A$100m ($69m) of which half would be in cash and the balance in promissory notes.

Resolute bought Mako Gold Mine in West Africa’s Senegal from Toro Gold last year for $274m in cash and shares. The mine produced 42,186 ounces of gold in Resolute’s March quarter, about 38% of total production.

In April, Resolute maintained its previous full year production and cost guidance of 430,000 oz at an all-in sustaining cost of $980/oz.