Stonewall Exec: “South Africa is back on the radar”
Finfeed caught up with Richie Yang this week to discuss the progress of Stonewall Resources’s flagship South African gold project – Theta Hill.
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FF: Hi Richie, thanks for joining us. Stonewall recently released an upgraded Global Resource Estimate of 5.15 million ounces. Is that the kind of figure you were expecting?
RY: We definitely outperformed what we indicated to the market. We told the market we wanted to hit the 5 million mark by years’ end — it’s only May now and we are already there.
The drilling happening right now at Theta Hill – we have two diamond rigs on site right now and a few RC rigs— is not accounted for in that number yet. Once this current program finishes we expect a further Resource upgrade and whatever is discovered will be added to the recent announcement.
FF: Theta Hill is your flagship target at the moment, isn’t it?
RY: Yes, largely because it is open-cut. It’s where we drilled most last year and this year and is definitely a focus. More broadly, our focus as a company is on all our open-cut opportunities. But the most promising is looking to be Theta Hill.
The new discovery we made two weeks ago at Vaalhoek will also be a strong focus. It is open-cut so it should be quite easy to prove up through drilling. It is the third open-cut discovery there, after Theta Hill and Columbia Hill, and it has increased the Maiden Resource at Vaalhoek by over 200%.
FF: Has Stonewall always intended to focus so much on South Africa?
RY: We only ever had one tenement in Australia which was never really a project; all of our current opportunities are in South Africa, so the answer to that question is yes.
It’s worth noting that the biggest ASX debut of the year happened two weeks ago with Jupiter Mines. It is the year’s biggest listing on the ASX and actually, the largest metals and mining listing since BHP Billiton launched its spin-off, South32 in 2015!
It should be noted here that Jupiter Mines along with SWJ are speculative stocks and investors should seek professional financial advice if considering this stocks for their portfolio.
Jupiter is a South African manganese mine. I think it’s safe to say that South Africa is back on the radar.
And there’s a link between Jupiter Mines and us. SWJ’s new director appointed a few weeks ago, Bill Guy, worked with Jupiter for five years as the Exploration Manager. He is one of several experts we have on our team.
FF: What has the company got planned outside of the current work at Theta Hill?
RY: We are targeting all of our open-cut areas at this time, in particular the Vaalhoek area and Colombia Hills. We’ve proven with drilling that they’re all there, and we’ve proven that the metallurgy was all as it should be, all in the mid-90s recovery. We just need to drill them out.
The company’s focus is all about proving up the open-cut minerals. Then, we’re hoping to be well placed to make a decision to mine by Q3. When that happens we’ll look to address funding for the first 12 months’ mining at the same time (with all our results and studies in hand) — it won’t be a big number, and I think the market will have a good understanding of what we’ve got by that stage.
FF: What’s the current plan for your Rietfontein project?
RY: We have a team underground doing a lot of sampling and access work. We are not drilling there at the moment, however the market expects us to drill it out first and get the Resource finalised before we make further decisions about Rietfontein.
There was a Scoping Study done last year with very good results. In terms of the drilling program we need to work out the accessing points as it is all underground.
While we’re keen to look into Rietfontein, our plan is to mine the open-cut opportunities first, from Theta Hill and Vaalhoek. Open-cut is cheaper, easier and more manageable. We intend to drill at Rietfontein but in terms of production and mining underground there, that’s a longer-term prospect.
FF: You have just announced an impressive A$5 million capital raise via a private placement. Is this a good example of market sentiment for SWJ?
RY: The recent cap raise is a very favourable sign for the company at this stage. Along with the recently released Resource Estimate at over 5 million ounces, we are all set to drill it out at Theta Hill and Vaalhoek, as well as complete feasibility studies. This puts us in a comfortable position, financially, and should see us through to ‘decision to mine’ stage.
We expect to release a second Resource upgrade in the next few months when we finish the latest drilling at Theta Hill.
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