Power Metal Resources may consider separate listings for Botswana projects, CEO says

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Wednesday, 13 April 2022 06:00

A electric car charging station is pictured in a parking lot in Shanghai
Electric cars need nickel, copper wiring and rare earths. REUTERS/Aly Song

Power Metal Resources (PMR) may consider separate stock-market listings for its African mining projects, CEO Paul Johnson tells The Africa Report.

The company, shares of which trade on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), is currently working on separate listings for projects in the US and Australia. It may later follow suit with assets in Botswana. “There would be a lot of interest in London in Botswana mining projects,” Johnson says.

The company is exploring in Botswana for minerals including nickel, copper, gold, platinum and rare earths. “There is a lot of love of African projects in London,” especially for Botswana, Johnson says. The regulatory framework makes Botswana a “very good place” for a junior miner to do business.

The model of listing projects allows them to generate their own capital and turns the company from project owner into shareholder. PMR aims to complete the initial public offer (IPOs) for its gold project in Nevada in the US in the second quarter, and for uranium and rare earths in Australia in the third quarter.

Johnson is confident that Botswana can contribute minerals for global energy transition. Nickel is used in the lithium-ion batteries needed for electric cars, which also have heavy copper wiring needs. Solar panels and wind turbines need copper wiring and rare earths, while platinum is used for vehicle emissions control devices.

The Russia-Ukraine war has prompted a surge in prices for metals such as nickel, and highlighted the need to build new supply chains.

  • “The problem over the last 20 years is that the world has not developed the necessary pipeline,” Johnson says. The result is that the planet “has great green ambitions but doesn’t have the metals to do it.”
  • Junior miners, which deploy capital into the ground to look for green minerals, are more likely to fill the gap than multinationals such as Rio Tinto, which have failed to build the resource pipeline, Johnson says.
  • PMR’s projects also have job-creation potential in Botswana, he adds.

Underexplored

Molopo in southern Botswana is potentially PMR’s largest-scale project in Africa, says Johnson, who made purchases of the company’s shares in September 2021 and in January this year. The project, in which PMR has an economic interest of about 53%, is targeting nickel sulphides, copper and platinum group elements.

The company has an exploration programme underway at the South Ghanzi project which forms part of the Kalahari copper belt. The belt stretches 1,000 km from northern Botswana to central Namibia and is seen by the company as under-explored.

  • At the start of April, PMR said that drilling at its Tati project in Botswana had returned near surface gold, and that the site is “a major target for gold discoveries.”
  • PMR also has a 50% stake in the early-stage Ditau rare-earths project in Botswana.
  • Ditau is at a very early stage and it is too soon to know if rare earths are present, Johnson says.
  • A drill rig has arrived at Ditau and will start drilling imminently, Johnson says.
  • Kavango Resources holds the other 50% of the project.

Bottom line

PMR is confident that Botswana’s green metals needed for energy transition can pull in project investors.

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