‘‘The deteriorating relationship between Niger and France will be a concern especially as Niger is Europe’s largest supplier of uranium oxide’
GOVIEX said in a November corporate presentation that its investment case was “gathering momentum”. That’s surely putting a brave face on a difficult and frustrating year for the uranium mine developer. The world changed for GoviEx in July last year when Niger suffered a coup – the latest in a series of African political crises stretching from Burkina Faso to Sudan – with the military junta stridently anti-West in outlook. The coup came just as Major was seeking offtake agreements for GoviEx’s $343m, 2.67-million-pounds-a-year Madaouela project in eastern Niger.The crisis sent GoviEx shares to a three-year low, an unhelpful development especially as a portion of the proposed finance is to be in equity.
Cruelly, uranium prices hit a 15-year high of more than $80/lb around the same time. It was a demonstration of supply-and-demand dynamics in uranium about which Major has been banging on since taking the helm at GoviEx. GoviEx continues to seek financing for Madaouela but it’s instructive that in September it made much of a tripling in measured and indicated resources of its other main project, Muntanga in Zambia, which it said highlighted its “global presence”.
The deteriorating relationship between Niger and former coloniser France will be a concern especially as Niger is Europe’s largest supplier of uranium oxide. Despite this, GoviEx has been able to capitalise itself with ‘bought’ deals in May (C$15m) and December (C$13.8m).
One other setback for Major was the failure of a proposed C$5.5m sale of its Falea project in Mali to African Energy Metals. The buyer failed to “complete its obligations for closing”, said GoviEx.
LIFE OF DANIEL
Major studied at Camborne School of Mines in Cornwall, once the capital of the UK’s mining industry. In his 30 years in mining, he’s worked at Rio Tinto’s Rössing uranium mine in Namibia and for Anglo American Platinum in South Africa. He then dipped out of the operational side of things and took up a role as a mining analyst with HSBC and then subsequently JP Morgan Chase. Since then, he’s held several roles in Russia, Canada and South America, and has been with GoviEx since 2012.