Besides the significant lure of Namibia’s mineral-rich geology, the country’s various attributes make it a more attractive investment destination for exploration and development companies than other mining jurisdictions, says Canadian strategic minerals-focused company Broadway Gold Mining executive chairperson Duane Parnham.
The TSX-V-listed company acquired an 85% interest in an extensive copper/vanadium land package in Namibia last month. Fifteen per cent carried interest will be held by Broadway’s local business partners, all privately held.
The Namibian exclusive prospecting licences (EPLs) will be bought from King Frans Indongo – the son of former politician turned business tycoon Frans Indongo – and his associates, using cash and the issuance of common shares in Broadway.
Namibia appeals to investors through its steady political landscape, stable economy and use of Roman-Dutch law, as well as the easily administrable Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act of 1992 and investment-friendly tax policies, says Parnham.
While the country does not have black economic-empowerment legislation, there is an unwritten rule that local partners need to be involved in projects, he says, noting that Broadway has a solid network of local partners in Namibia’s private sector.
Government, with which Parnham says Broadway enjoys a good relationship, has also been proactive in conducting airborne geophysical surveys throughout Namibia to provide credible data for explorers.
Mining companies, such as Canada’s B2Gold and Dundee Precious Metals, Teck Resources and Trevali Mining, as well as Canadian juniors, such as Trigon Metals, have also been successfully operating in the country for years.
“Over the years, Namibia has grown into an excellent, development-friendly jurisdiction, and we look forward to establishing a strong exploration presence,” Parnham highlights.
Supported by Parnham’s 19 years’ experience in working in Namibia, and the knowledge of the Namibian landscape held by Broadway’s qualified person, geophysicist Robert Middleton, P Eng, and director Dr Roger Laine, Broadway decided to invest in four EPLs, 30 km west of the historical copper mining town of Tsumeb, in Namibia. Subsequently, the EPLs have access to power, road and rail to the Port of Walvis Bay.
“This was a fairly easy acquisition,” Parnham explains, as it fits Broadway’s business model, which has thus far focused on copper and gold.
Broadway’s primary focus involves the development of its 100%-owned Madison copper/gold project in the Butte-Anaconda mining region of Montana, in the US.
Middleton notes that copper plays a critical role in the production of electric vehicles (EVs). The metal is used in EVs, charging stations and supporting infrastructure because of its durability, high conductivity and efficiency, according to the Copper Development Association – the market development, engineering and information services arm of the copper industry.
The Namibian land package is known for hosting large, high-grade polymetallic deposits and stratabound copper/silver/cobalt deposits, which form part of the Zambian Copperbelt and the Kalahari Copperbelt. It also hosts deposits of gold, vanadium, germanium and uranium.
Within these licences, which cover 56.3 km2, there are ten former vanadium mines and prospects, five of which produced unknown amounts of vanadium in the early half of the twentieth century, as well as three former copper mines.
“All the past-producing mines and prospects on the EPLs are hosted in the Tsumeb supergroup and include the Alt Bobos, Bobosberg North and South, Torassen, Uris, Karavatu, Tsumeb West, Tsumeb and Freisenberg mines,” explained Broadway in a June press statement.
The main project on which Broadway is focused, Tsumeb West, has been mined previously over a short period using openpit mining methods, providing Broadway with access to previous workings.
Further, the Dundee smelter is also in the vicinity of the EPLs and presents opportunity for future copper production, says Parnham.
“Dundee is very interested in producing sulphuric acid through an electrowinning process for the future recovery of copper from Broadway’s Namibian EPLs. Producing sulphuric acid for Aim-listed copper mining company Weatherly’s Tschudi copper mine and the uranium industry, Dundee has access to sulphuric acid for projects like ours,” notes Middleton.
Parnham emphasises that having access to all this infrastructure is not common.
Broadway also benefits from the significant amount of historical geological data available on the Tsumeb region, with airborne geophysical surveys having already been conducted by the Namibian government at 200 m spacings, says Middleton.
Before undertaking a drilling programme, the company intends to use historical soil geochemistry data and geological data, as well as extend existing ground geophysical and soil geophysical surveys, to guide exploration.
“It has been a very difficult mining sector in general over the past ten years or more,” says Parnham.
However, he is confident in the company’s ability to raise funds for exploration, owing to its past record, and is just starting the capital-raising process for its Namibian project.
To take the project to development stage, Broadway intends to attract a major partner, as it did with Kennecott Exploration, a division of global mining group Rio Tinto, for its Madison copper project.
In future, Broadway’s acquisitions will focus not only on copper but also other strategic metals such as gold, uranium, vanadium and lithium.
“We have a mandate to look for projects that meet the objectives of the company, which is to deliver shareholder value,” Parnham concludes.