Research: Mining in Burkina Faso
CASANOVA: As part of our research process, we're always traveling. We have a
number of trips planned this year and I know you just came back from Africa.
Can you tell us a bit about what you saw when you were there? Were there any
FOSTER: A big part of why we travel is to gauge the geopolitical risk in the
areas we're investing in. I just got back from West Africa, a country called
Burkina Faso. Most people probably don't know where it is, but it's a
landlocked country in West Africa. Part of the reason for going there was to
judge the geopolitical risks. We've been investing there for many years and
it’s been a great jurisdiction for gold mining. The permitting process and the
regulatory environment are very favorable for gold mining. But there is also an
election next year and there are some risks around this election. It's the
typical kind of African situation where you have somebody in power who is
reluctant to give up that power. There could be a bit of unrest around the
election, which comes later next year. A lot of our time was spent talking to
everybody we came in contact with at the mines, and local people in the area,
And really, to assess that geopolitical environment?
To get a variety of views on how they think this election is going to pan out.
We came back with a much better appreciation for what could happen moving
forward and what things we need to watch for as this process evolves and we get
closer to the election.
Many of the companies that you met with while in Burkina Faso were smaller
companies, juniors and mid-tiers. Could you tell us about
We invest across the spectrum, but in Burkina, it is mostly mid-tier and junior
companies that are active. Most Burkina’s gold deposits are moderate to
smaller-sized, so we find smaller companies there. Because of the favorable
operating environment, there are quite a few interesting opportunities. We
traveled all over the country with these companies and saw some operations and
prospective developments that have low cost, which in our view may become very
profitable mines and present nice opportunities for us.
And you learned quite a bit by actually being at the operations. Many people
ask this: why do you need to go and what is it that you get from actually being
on the ground?
When you can talk with the engineers and the geologists that are actually
running the projects, then you get some very valuable background on the
property and the management and what it takes to manage the project. And you're
there, on-site, looking at maps, going through the mines, seeing first-hand
what are the opportunities for growth and potentially finding more gold
mineralization in the area that can help the company grow the project. Yes, it
gives you an added dimension to the research process that's very
Of course, you can look at all those maps and cores and make sense of it, so
that's very helpful.
It helps to be a geologist, yes.
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