Panthera Resources PLC (LON:PAT), the gold exploration and development company with assets in India and West Africa, has today provided a summary of the Company’s audited financial results for the year ended March 31, 2019.
Highlights of the Year
The Bhukia Joint Venture (JV) project in Rajasthan, India is targeted for a +6.0Moz resource drill-out
• A high value partnership has been established with Galactic Gold Mining Pvt Ltd (Galaxy) that is designed to align Indian capital with the success of the JV and bring increased Indian business and operational capabilities to advance Panthera’s Indian capabilities.
• A JORC-Inferred Mineral Resource of 1.74Moz exists, with a planned exploration programme that targets increasing this to over 6.0Moz.
• The JV’s Prospecting Licence Application (PLA) was rejected by the Government of Rajasthan (“GoR”) in August 2018 on various spurious grounds, forcing the JV to challenge the rejection order in court to protect its legal rights and the interests of its shareholders.
• The Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan passed an interim Stay Order protecting the legal rights of the JV by restraining the GoR from granting third party rights within the entire area of the PLA. Court proceedings are ongoing and the JV is confident of getting a favourable judgment once all pleadings are complete.
• Following the Rajasthan State and Indian General Elections, the JV has reopened negotiations with the GoR towards the grant of the PL over the Bhukia Gold Project.
• The new National Mineral Policy 2019 declared by the Government of India, aims to revive the exploration and mining industry by bringing in necessary reforms to attract private participation and investments.
High potential West Africa gold exploration portfolio with drill-ready targets
• The Company has acquired rights to the Labola gold project in southern Burkina Faso, West Africa. Historically, combined resources of over 600,000oz averaging about 1.2g/t Au were estimated and quoted under JORC and NI43-101 guidelines and Panthera’s priority exploration will focus on confirming and expanding these known zones of mineralisation.
• At the Naton JV project in southern Burkina Faso, West Africa the Company completed its first drill testing programme with encouraging results which demonstrated ore grade gold mineralisation on four out of five structures tested. Follow up geological mapping and geochemical sampling has further refined existing targets and identified additional high tenor gold anomalies for drill testing.
• At the Kalaka JV project in southern Mali, West Africa, a new (replacement) tenement was granted to Panthera at the end of December 2018. The new title can be renewed for a period of up to 7 years and will enable systematic exploration of the targets generated by its technical team, including the potential extension identified by the Company’s geophysical survey of the known mineralisation at the K1A prospect.
• Geological mapping and sampling at the Bassala JV has identified an extensive and highly encouraging gold in soil anomaly that clearly requires drill testing. Further infill work is underway to aid drill targeting.
A US$1.25 million funding package was negotiated
• A strategic alliance and staged financing partnership was agreed with Galaxy, an Indian company with a strategic objective to become a premier listed Indian gold mining and investment company.
• Tranche one of US$250,000 was drawn down in January 2019 and tranche two of US$250,000 was received in May 2019. The final tranche of US$750,000 is due prior to the successful grant of the Bhukia Gold Project PL.
Operating loss and cash flow reflect ongoing status as an exploration company
· The consolidated loss of the Group for the financial period after providing for income tax and eliminating non-controlling interests amounted to US$1,553,396 (2018: US$2,479,305).
· The group incurred a net loss of US$1,580,720 and incurred operating cash outflows of US$1,443,125.
· The group had cash of US$188,376 as at 31 March 2019. Subsequent to this the tranche two payment was received from Galaxy and most recently the financing package with Republic Investment Management (RIM) was restructured, such that payment of £500,000 was accelerated and due shortly.
· Management indicate that on current expenditure levels, all current cash held will be used prior to the 12 months subsequent of the signing of the financial statements. As with many exploration companies our auditors have highlighted that the group’s ability to continue as a going concern is dependent upon raising additional capital. A key factor affecting this is the granting of the PL and necessary environmental and forestry permits which triggers an additional US$750,000 from Galaxy and £1m from RIM. The Company will keep the market updated on progress with the PL grant and its funding requirements.
The Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2019, along with an explanatory note for shareholders, will be available shortly to view and download from Panthera’s website (www.pantheraresources.com) in accordance with rule 26 of the AIM Rules for Companies along with a notice of Annual General Meeting and form of Proxy. The AGM is scheduled to take place at 11:00AM on 13 September 2019 at 2 Duke Street, Manchester Square London W1U 3EH.
Geoff Stanley, CEO Commented:
“I am delighted to be able to report results for our second year and first whole year since listing on the AIM market in December 2017.
An exciting partnership was negotiated with Galaxy that is designed to provide strategically timed capital injections to Panthera while advancing our Bhukia JV Project in India by aligning Indian capital, technical skills and business capabilities with the success of the project.
While the GoR spuriously rejected the JV’s rightful claim to a prospecting licence, the Honourable High Court of Rajasthan passed an interim Stay Order protecting our rights over the entire area of the PL application. The strength of our case has allowed us to recommence negotiations with the GoR giving the Company another avenue to a potential successful outcome in parallel with the Court process. The next Court hearing is currently scheduled for 18 October 2019.
On the west African front, the Company’s management was able to further leverage its depth and breadth of experience, its network of connections, and its technical capabilities to significantly upgrade its portfolio with the addition of the Labola property. Labola sits on an exciting 9km long gold mineralised structure and has been the subject of a previously reported 600koz gold resource which we will be working diligently to confirm and expand. In addition, targets at the three existing properties were further upgraded and await drill testing.
Subsequent to the 30 March balance date we successfully restructured the Republic Investment Management Tranche 3 investment which now allows for a near term capital injection of £500,000 to support the Company in advance of the Bhukia JV Project PL grant. This financing is an excellent example of the success that can be achieved with supportive shareholders who share the Company’s vision for value creation”
I am delighted to present the 2018-2019 Annual Report for Panthera Resources PLC. We have had a good year and have meaningfully advanced many of our key strategic and corporate objectives. We remain dedicated to creating a successful exploration and development Group and consistently enhancing value for stakeholders.
Panthera aims to create a mid-tier mining company by building a strong portfolio of high quality, low cost gold assets in India and West Africa.
In light of this vision, the Company has worked tirelessly to maintain mineral rights for the JV over the highly prospective Bhukia Gold Project in India together with our JV partner, the Indian private company Metal Mining India Pvt Ltd (MMI). Together we are actively pursuing our rights through the Rajasthan High Court. In addition, the Company has formed a strategic alliance to advance the project with Galaxy, an Indian company with international management with over 15 years’ experience in the gold exploration and mining industry in India. Furthermore, Panthera aims to explore and grow the value of its prospective West African gold portfolio. In its wider property portfolio, it will nurture and eventually harvest other non-core exploration and development assets.
In India, the GoR rejected the JV’s PLA over the Bhukia Gold Project, but Panthera remains extremely confident in its legal right over the PL area by means of a Court Stay Order. The partnership with Galaxy has bought Indian capital to support the development of Bhukia and it also provides key corporate, bureaucratic, technical and administrative capabilities in India, which are necessary to advance the project.
The change of Government in the State of Rajasthan (State Elections, December 2018) and the General Elections (May 2019) necessitated a hiatus in negotiations with the Government. With elections behind us and with the support of Galaxy, negotiations have reopened with the new administration in Rajasthan and we are optimistic of soon arriving at an agreement that will see the grant of the PL and allow exploration to recommence.
The long overdue New National Mineral Policy 2019 promises to address some of the major issues faced by the mining and exploration industry in India. While auctioning remains the preferred choice for granting tenements, the policies, if implemented, aim to attract private investment in exploration by providing seamless transition between tenements, allowing merger and acquisitions of mining entities and transfer of tenements.
The Company has also met with considerable success in West Africa. Work progressed on the three initial projects, these being the Naton project in southern Burkina Faso and the Kalaka and Bassala projects in southern Mali. The Company has now expanded its footprint with the inclusion of the Labola project in southern Burkina Faso.
A successful cooperation and funding agreement negotiated with Galaxy provides a total investment of US$1.25m, allowing Galaxy to purchase a 10% stake in Panthera’s India focussed subsidiary, Indo Gold, and to earn additional equity by providing ongoing support and services to advance the Bhukia Gold Project. An initial tranche of US$250,000 was received in January 2019, and a second tranche of US$250,000 was received in May 2019, completing the purchase of Galaxy’s first 5% holding in Indo Gold. The final tranche of US$750,000 is scheduled for payment prior to the successful grant of the Bhukia Gold Project PL.
The protracted PLA process continues in India. The rejection of the JV’s PLA over the Bhukia Gold Project (August 2018), forced the JV to seek legal recourses and approached the High Court of Rajasthan by means of a writ petition. The Hon’ble High Court passed an interim Stay Order in the JV’s favour, preventing the GoR from granting third party rights over the area applied for by the JV under the PLA. The indefinite Stay Order reaffirms the legal right of the Company and we are confident of securing a favourable judgement once all pleadings in court are complete and the matter is put up for final hearing.
With the support of Galaxy, we have commenced a parallel path of negotiations with the newly elected government in Rajasthan. We are optimistic that the new Government will recognize the duplicitous stand taken by the previous government in respect to our application where our Court endorsed legal rights were completely disregarded. Initial engagement with the new Government has been encouraging and discussions are ongoing with the objective of reaching an out of court settlement that will allow the JV to commence the resource drill-out.
Activities in West Africa have advanced well over the last year with the establishment of highly capable technical teams and the creation of 100% owned subsidiary operating companies in both Burkina Faso and Mali.
Initial drill testing at the Naton Project (Burkina Faso) returned positive results with successful upgrading of the Kaga Vein, Bido Vein and Somika East targets, with these all requiring additional drill testing to ascertain size potential.
The acquisition of the Labola project (Burkina Faso) gives Panthera an advanced, drill ready, property with a very large footprint over a gold system that demonstrates potential for a large, low grade deposit or series of deposits amenable to open pit mining. Substantial work is justified to more systematically define the limits of the system.
In Mali, geophysical work at the Kalaka Project has identified potential extensions to the known mineralisation at the K1A prospect. Recognition of similar mineralisation to the K1A style at the Southern Artisanal Prospect is encouraging. It is now considered a high priority target with potential for higher grade mineralisation than K1A, based on the higher tenor chargeability anomaly and structural considerations.
At the Bassala Project (Mali) first phase mapping and geochemistry by Panthera has identified lateritic, alluvial, eluvial and some hard rock artisanal gold workings occurring in a large, roughly NNE trending zone over about 8km strike. Exploration work is continuing.
The Company’s strategic approach of maintaining a vigorous exploration effort to leverage its exploration expertise is paying dividends, as our staged, systematic work has upgraded all three properties and facilitated the acquisition of a fourth advanced project in West Africa. Delays in India and muted capital market conditions for mineral exploration companies, necessitates a more prudent follow-up of the exciting drill targets defined in West Africa than we might otherwise like. Nevertheless, with additional financing now secured, increasingly attractive exploration targets and ore grade intersections to follow up, the Board is confident that 2020 provides an opportunity for great success.
In India, the Board is confident that the Courts of India, which have always provided the JV with successful outcomes because of its rightful and legally sound claims, will again rule favourably and order the grant of the long overdue PL over the Bhukia Gold Project. This confidence is strongly supported by the Stay Order granted by the High Court protecting the JV’s rights over the relevant area.
On behalf of Panthera’s executive and management team, I would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to all of our employees for their efforts, sacrifices and hard work during the past year.
On behalf of the Board I would like to extend our immense gratitude to Chris Rashleigh and Peter Carroll, two Directors who did not stand for re-election at the Company’s AGM. Chris was a co-founder of the Group and Peter joined in 2005. They served the Group tirelessly since its inception and their professionalism and wise counsel will be missed. Succession planning in anticipation of Chris and Peter’s retirement saw the appointment to the Board of Catherine Apthorpe. Ms Apthorpe, who was previously selected as one of the Top 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining, adds important capabilities, knowledge and independence to Panthera’s Board of Directors.
16 August 2019