‘It’s an exciting and busy time at Asante, with several near-term catalysts on the horizon, most notably the completion of high-return capital projects that are expected to transform the production and cost profile at both of our operations’
DAVID Anthony’s ambition to register a 400,000 ounce run rate at West African gold miner Asante by December didn’t go quite to plan. Actual gold production is expected to be no more than 245,000 oz, while the targeted run-rate is unlikely, even in the medium term. According to an update late last year, the firm’s Bibiani and Chirano operations, both in Ghana, ought to be at 360,000 oz by about end-2024. While this represents impressive production growth, especially from Asante’s standing start a few years ago, the market hates missed guidance. Funding seems to be at heart of Asante’s issues at present.
In September it said it was open to “discussions and potentially interested parties regarding strategic alternatives”. This openness to new business didn’t extend to 11.43% shareholder Fujairah Holding, however, which in April made an unsolicited offer for Asante. Anthony rejected it out of hand because Fujairah imposed a condition that he suspend its then equity and debt discussions with third parties. Unsettling as this must have been for shareholders, Asante has ploughed on nonetheless, extending the life of its Grasshopper pit at Bibiani mine as part of an accelerated resource definition, and signing a two-year, 90,000 oz hedging agreement in return for $40m in funds.
Clearly, Anthony is not the type of miner to hang around: in 2021, Asante bought Bibiani from Resolute Mining for $90m which it quickly followed months later with the $225m cash and shares acquisition of Chirano from Kinross Gold Corp. We wait on the firm’s next update with bated breath because whatever course it takes, Asante will be in a big hurry.
LIFE OF DAVID
Prior to Asante Gold, Anthony was head of operations for African Barrick, subsequently renamed Acacia Mining, which ran the Bulyanhulu and North Mara mines in Tanzania. He was also COO for West African gold exploration firm Cardinal Resources, which developed the Namdini mine. The company eventually attracted a $500m buyout by China’s Shandong. Anthony also has experience in South America working in Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. He is a mining engineer with a BSc from Queen’s University in Ontario.