‘We're very happy with where the market is sitting. It’s a perfect time for us’
NEO Energy Metals is one of several resource development companies to open their doors in South Africa. The model is to find previously drilled resources with energy transition credentials, seed the company with starter capital, and list it in a liquid offshore market.
For Heathcote, the resource is Henkries, a uranium prospect 80km from Springbok in the Northern Cape. And the market is London which, curiously, doesn’t have another uranium development play, handing Neo Energy Metals some novelty cachet.It also has £5m in capital of which £3.5m has been supplied by Quinton van der Burgh, the billionaire resources entrepreneur. QvdB, as he is known, cut his teeth in cell-phone sales before, he claims, developing 47 mining projects over a 19-year career.
First stop for Heathcote post the UK listing is to update a feasibility study completed by Anglo American in the mid-1970s which was the start of some $30m in drilling history behind Henkries. The prospect is shallow and well served by infrastructure while its location near Namibia also provides some geological pedigree. But the real value catalyst, the je nais se quoi in this sugary compote, is a looming uranium supply deficit. Or so the experts say. According to the World Nuclear Association, global uranium demand is forecast to grow about a third by 2030 while supply falls 50%. That means a doubling in the development pipeline is needed, the association says.
LIFE OF SEAN
An extremely diverse career spanning 33 years and starting at BHP Billiton, Heathcote has worked in civil construction, resource software development, resource industry lobbying, security, traffic management and business consultancy. A major portion of this time has been in South Africa to which he now returns – but in truth, Heathcote’s CV shapes like that of a restlessly intellectual nomad. He is a metallurgist by trade, having earned his ticket to ride at London’s prestigious Imperial College, from which he received an “outstanding contribution” award in 1990.