Mali Lithium reaps benefits of today with gold, prepares for the future with lithium
As gold continues to shine in an otherwise turbulent and uncertain global economic storm, it would not be surprising to see those miners and explorers that are exposed to this climate looking for ways to diversify their portfolios.
Fortunately for Mali Lithium (ASX: MLL), it already has the best of both worlds; the Perth-based fledging miner is making solid progress on its Goulamina lithium project in Mali with a mining permit granted late last month and offtake negotiations well underway, but just next door to its flagship project lies its existing portfolio of gold assets which are already generating revenue for the business.
Mali Lithium holds a mining joint venture agreement with Barrick Gold Corporation over its African gold assets; a deal which has netted Mali Lithium about $4.5 million over the past 12 months.
It puts Mali Lithium in an opportune position; on one hand it is actively developing its Goulamina lithium project which will cater to the future needs of the renewable technology sector, while on the other it is generating revenue from existing gold operations during a period of record price highs for the precious metal.
Now, the company has completed a review of these assets and is looking to commence a drilling exploration later this year.
Managing director Chris Evans said the company was taking the opportunity to drive more value from its gold portfolio in parallel with development of the flagship lithium project.
“The Mali Lithium board and management team remain focused on completing the definitive feasibility study in the first quarter of 2020 for the development of Goulamina but the current gold price has created an opportunity to consider options to further unlock the potential in our gold portfolio,” Mr Evans said.
“Our joint venture with Barrick Gold Corporation, one of the largest gold miners in the world, has already successfully produced 64,000 ounces of gold from our tenements in the last 12 months, and the $4.46 million in royalties we have received has been a welcome inflow of revenue.
“The elevated gold price has resulted in higher than anticipated revenues from the Barrick joint venture.
“Now that we have identified highly prospective drill targets in the review of our gold portfolio, it is an ideal time to capitalise on these high prices.”
Mr Evans said the company had already planned to have a drill rig operating in Mali to undertake work at Goulamina later in the year, so it made sense - given the close proximity - to transport the rig to its gold assets when that work is complete.
“We will have a drill rig in Mali to generate technical information, infill and extend resources and reserves to enhance the Goulamina DFS later this year,” he said.
“The fact that we have previously mined and produced gold from some of these tenements with Barrick gives us confidence that there is more value to be realised.”
Mali Lithium shares had a stellar run this week, gaining 15 per cent in value at peak. On Friday, its shares were worth 11 cents each.