LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – The following is a transcript of SolGold (TSX: SOLG; LON: SOLG) CEO Nicholas Mather’s remarks at The Northern Miner’s Canadian Mining Symposium at Canada House in London, U.K., as he accepted in person his Northern Miner “Mining Person of the Year” Award for 2018, first announced in March 2019.
Thank you to The Northern Miner and Her Excellency, the High Commissioner of Canada to the United Kingdom. Thank you very much for this almost embarrassing award. I say embarrassing because you hear lots of mineral operators say, you know, they found a deposit. Well, I’m here to tell you that no one person can ever lay claim to the discovery of a deposit or even a chain of them such as we have in SolGold and the fabulous country of Ecuador.
It takes a team of fantastically dedicated and highly professional geoscientists, lawyers, accountants, financiers.
Most importantly, the support of a myriad number of shareholders who invest all levels of money, all of which has the same trait in that it’s very important to them. So we treat all investors as sacrosanct. The capital of SolGold is the most important thing to us.
We like to look after Ecuador. We’re a guest in the nation of Ecuador, and we want to help them to help us.
So we’re taking the notion of social license to operate to a new level through an entire country. And people say to me, “Oh, where is your project?” I say, “Oh, it’s Ecuador.” And they say, “I know it’s in Ecuador but what is the project?” I say, “No, you didn’t hear me. It’s Ecuador.”
Our project is to build a copper producer that reaches major proportions, and do it in a nation and build a company that is important to the nation of Ecuador as BHP was to Australia.
We’re doing this in a metal that has an unprecedented demand profile over the next 20 years as the world electrifies, and we’re doing it with the support of a nation that has maturely recognized that they need a mining industry to grow their economy and improve the lives of all Ecuadorians.
That’s no easy task. We hope that we’re helping them achieve that by taking a responsible attitude towards community liaison and the design of an industry.
So we did release our preliminary economic assessment on the project yesterday. It pleasingly shows a net present value of some US$4.2 billion with an internal rate of return of 26%. These are fantastic numbers.
But I want you to think of Alpala as just one single outcrop in all of our project which covers the 700-kilometre strike length of three mineralized belts.
We have 12 different targets. We own 100% of them in four wholly owned subsidiaries, and it underwrites the future of the emergence of SolGold as one of the world’s copper-producing majors.
We have the potential to turn Ecuador into the second greatest copper-producing nation on earth.
That’s not going to be an easy task, and it will be completed unfortunately long after I’m dead — not that I plan to die in the next 20 or 30 years anyway. But it is a long task.
We have modeled 9 lives that extend from somewhere between 50 to 60 years on one deposit, and it’s still getting bigger.
These are indeed world-class Tier 1 assets and there’s lots of them in this nation that has hardly been explored at all.
So I want to return to where I started this speech and that is thanking people.
I want to thank my right-hand lieutenant, Jason Ward, of 20 years he’s been working with me. Jason is otherwise known as Rambo or remote operations specialist. There has been no task either social or physical that’s been too hard for him to attack and conquer. And he has built with our support the Cascabel project.
The technical services manager, Benn Whistler, has been in charge of the collection, storage, and utilization of data over 180,000 metres of drilling.
Eduardo Valenzuela is our study manager and promises to go on with the company and become, ultimately, the manager of the feasibility study.
Anna Legge in charge of our PR and investor relations and manager of London markets has been in charge not only of the local market situation but our market in Ecuador, our market with our stakeholders, the person who has overseen how we manage our most important stakeholder, which is the government and the people of Ecuador.
I want to thank my board, my chairman, everybody on it, Craig Jones, Rob Weinberg, James Clare from Toronto who’s also here and helps us keep safe from the claws of the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Ontario Securities Commission. Thank you, James.
And there’s too many people in SolGold to mention them all. We have 450 Ecuadorian employees. We try to employ Ecuadorians, endorse their nation so that they can endorse our presence and our custody of this great resource, which is Ecuador.
Thank you very much for this award, and I’m very honored and humbled to receive it.
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This story first appeared in The Northern Miner on June 4, 2019.