Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR)) Chief Executive Officer Michael McNeilly caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their recent Kalahari Metals exploration update.
Q1: Exciting news this morning with Kalahari Metals where drilling operations have now been approved and shares are on the up. Michael, can you remind us of your investment size in Kalahari Metals and what you see as the real value drivers here?
A1: Yes, very exciting news this morning, Kalahari Metals which is a metals company which Metal Tiger own 50% of currently, this is the news we’ve been waiting for.
We’ve met our farm-in requirements, we own 51% of Triprop but obviously, more to the point, we’re embarking on a 2,100 metre drilling campaign at the Ngami Copper project where we just received our environmental permit drill and Kalahari have engaged drillers who will hopefully be starting in early June. They’re looking to drill all three of the dome targets there.
Once that’s completed, we should be looking to drill the Okavango project which is to the north-east and along strike from Cupric’s ground in a lot of Cupric’s deposits. That is of course still subject to that project receiving its EMP’s, they are currently being vetted and we anticipate that we should receive those in the next couple of week.
So, very very encouraging and of course, it’s worth noting that we are also progressing the EMP’s for the Kitlanya ground where Kalahari acquired 100% of the Kitlanya ground subject to change of control approvals. Of course, the 51% is all subject to the change of control approvals by the Botswanan government.
Q2: What sort of scale could Kalahari Metals deliver if the drills go well?
A2: Well, obviously, there’s a huge amount of ground to cover, we’re only targeting the dome targets so we’re not targeting the traditional targets here so we are going after these domes. Each dome has several kilometres in strike and, obviously, we’ll know more about the scale and potential once they’ve drilled it.
It’s certainly from the modelling, each target on its own could be quite substantial of the three at the Ngami project and then there’s one dome target at the Okavango project which looked particularly compelling. Of course, in all these, we’ve done a lot of geophysical modelling, the team at Kalahari has done a lot of geophysical modelling, done a lot of targeting with soils; a reinterpretation of previous soils, but there’s nothing like drilling something.
This drilling campaign really is being done to support further drilling campaigns should we get a better understanding of the potential from the first drill hole so we will be looking to drill each and every dome. Of course, if the first one pulls out exceptional looking core, that may change but the intention here is to really put a few holes into each of these dome targets at Ngami and then eventually at Okavango and then interpret that information and do further drilling as required.
Of course, we’ll be looking to delineate further targets on the Kitlanya ground, some of the scale of the actual land packages is immense and I think it’s of strategic importance on the scale of the Kalahari copper belt. Certainly, when taken in conjunction with MTR’s exposure to joint venture with MOD as well as its large ownership in MOD, we’ve got exposure directly or indirectly to almost 21,000 square kilometres, which is the size of a small European nation.
Q3: The Government of Botswana seems to be highly supportive of the drilling in the Kalahari Copper Belt, what does that mean for the development of the company’s interests in the belt?
A3: I think what you’re going to find is there’s currently four players really, there are several other smaller private groups which we have spoken to but they’ve maybe got land packages that are interspersed between the four main players.
You’ve got Cupric who I believe have actually started flying some AM again which shows that they’re obviously going to be trying to delineate some targets on their ground, potentially for further exploration. You’ve obviously got MOD, you’ve got Kopore and then you’ve got Kalahari Metals.
The government of Botswana seems to be very supportive but in particular, they’re very supportive of companies that come in and go about things the right. So, obviously we have imediately on making the investment, one of the first criteria was to ask the non-MTR directors of Kalahari and the operators of the company to focus on getting these EMP’s in and go about things in a respectful manner.
So, we’ve done that and obviously the government has signed off on that and we expect we’ll get more support from them. Obviously, Kopore had their EMP’s in place over a large portion of ground for some time and the people that we’re working with, that Kalahari is working with, contractors, they’ve worked the belt, they know a lot of the farmers and they have a very good reputation.
I think what you’ll find is that the drilling will be quite aggressive in terms of if it’s a single drill rig, it’ll probably be going 24 hours a day with multiple shifts so we’ll be able to over a lot more ground.
Q4: What other developments are going on in the Metal Tiger portfolio?
A4: Well, obviously, the largest single investment in our portfolio is MOD Resources Ltd (LON:MOD)and they’ve just come out with their DFS recently and I’ll leave to investors who probably follow the story to read up on MOD. There’s lots of discussions going on in terms of the approach access to financing and the potential to develop the T3 project as well as ongoing exploration.
In terms of the other equity portfolio, looking at Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) for example, I’m quite shocked that the market hasn’t had a more positive reaction to their rather strategic holding at Pilot Mountain given the recent developments with rare earths and China and the trade war. Hopefully the market wakes up to that, we are still a very large holder in Thor and anticipate that there should be some value creation there in the short term.
Privately, we’ve got an investment is a Thai lithium company that’s started drilling and we anticipate hopefully that we’ll be getting some results back from that drilling imminently.
There’s many many to cover but I think that covers some of the main ones at this point.