Harry Anagnostaras-Adams , Managing Director of EMED Mining, talks to AZoMining about their exciting project at the Rio Tinto mines in Spain and the Detva gold project in Slovakia.
Could you please provide a brief introduction to EMED and the sector which it works within?
The company was formed 7 years ago to examine copper and gold resources in Europe. The company is mainly involved in the exploration and development of copper and gold deposits in and around Europe. Copper and gold have been lucrative sectors and in the last couple of years Europe has turned on for mining. So we are very happy with our mission. Currently, our main focus is the restart of the copper deposits in Spain at the Rio Tinto mines.
EMED is currently focussed on the Rio Tinto Copper Mine in Spain-could you please provide a brief history of this mine and its place in the industry?
The Rio Tinto mines are iconic in the industry. There has been mining in this area for thousands of years and it was in fact one of the sources of copper for the bronze age, so there is no shortage of history there! It is best known as the birth place of the company Rio Tinto which formed in the late 19th century. They moved on from the site about 20 years ago, and we bought it around 3 years ago. Now we’re are reopening and restarting its production.
How is EMED currently involved in the Rio Tinto Copper Mine, what studies are being undertaken and when do you hope to start production?
Currently there are 4 main areas that we want to have completed by the end of this year.
Firstly, we require government permitting of the restart, which hopefully will be complete around the end of the third quarter. A lot of hard work is going towards achieving this, so it certainly should be finished by the end of the year.
The second part is the engineering side of the project, and we have mobilised the construction management contractors to finalise the engineering estimates and schedules as soon as permitting conditions are formalised by the regulatory authorities. This is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.
The third area is financing-we’ve agreed the terms and conditions for the financiers and they have commenced preparing the detailed documentation. This means it should be ready for execution around the last quarter of this year, once engineering can finish.
Lastly, some areas of land acquired by the project are owned by third party land holders and we have been working hard to reach agreements with them so we have all the land that we require. That seems to be going pretty well, and will hopefully be completely sorted by the end of this year as well. If not, it will add 6 months.
So there are four concurrent sets of activities which are ongoing, which will then lead to the commencement of commissioning and product deliveries 12 months later at the end of 2013 plus or minus 6 months, depending mainly on the details of permitting conditions and the timing of land access.
The famous Rio Tinto Mines,Spain. Image Source: EMED Mining.
EMED is also focussed on the Detva gold project in Slovakia-what is the background to this site and how did EMED become involved?
The gold project in Slovakia was discovered three years ago and it is a virgin discovery, without mining infrastructure in place like that at the Rio Tinto mines. So it has to be developed from scratch and the infrastructure has to be installed from scratch. So it about three years behind the Rio Tinto project and is in the early stages of community consultation and project definition work.
How is the company represented in Cyprus?
In Cyprus we have the corporate office, which includes the corporate governance, treasury and product marketing departments. It is the style of EMED Mining to have all personnel living at the project site other than the corporate people who are located in Cyprus.; There are no fly-in, fly-out employees.
Could you tell us a bit more about EMED’s relationship with KEFI Minerals and how they operate?
We took some of our key exploration people and some specific holdings in other countries and created KEFI minerals. KEFI is a very early stage exploration company which is focussed in Saudi Arabia. In fact, it is the first exploration company in 3 years to be granted exploration licenses in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia as an official policy has decided to make minerals it ‘third pillar’, along with oil and hydrocarbon processing. KEFI was invited in by a very large Saudi conglomerate to be the technical operating partner of a joint venture. This is still in the first stages and will be a much longer process than that at Rio Tinto or Slovakia.
Are there any KEFI sites currently operational in Saudi Arabia?
We have targets and the first drilling at these is set to start this month. There are ancient mining sites in Saudi Arabia and after looking around these we have found those which are prospective using modern technology.
In your opinion, how healthy is the current outlook for the mining industry in Spain and Slovakia?
The irony from our point of view in Spain is that while there is a great history of mining in the area, there is still great exploration potential. For example, the Rio Tinto site dates back 1000’s of years and not just to the industrial revolution when the English went there and took large industrial machinery and infrastructure. However, the English installed haulage systems just 250 metres below the surface so the project hasn’t had much exploration below there and has no drilling in the last 20 years when the mining industry has taken off again. So the project, which is renowned as the world’s largest VMS system, hasn’t actually been explored to normal modern mining depths, which means it is a wonderful exploration project for a geologist even though it has been mined for so long.
In central Slovakia, there was 800 years of metal mining, but until we came along nobody had applied particular exploration techniques, which are common in the Pacific Rim, especially for bulk minable epithermal-related systems. We have now applied these techniques in Slovakia and made a quick discovery.
Does EMED have any plans to expand operations into other nations?
All our planning and permitting is currently focussed on the Rio Tinto project and Detva Gold in Slovakia, but we do have a built-in portfolio of 100%-owned other mineral deposits inside the company especially at Rio Tinto in Spain. So our main exploration focuses are already within the group, meaning we don’t really have to go looking-we just need to get the show on the road with the current project and then start working through the rest of them!
How do you see the mining industry in general progressing over the next 10 years?
I think the world underinvested in mining for well over a generation and now it is playing catch up. Many people have written about the shortage of copper and the structural deficits because of this underinvestment. Much of that problem is currently being addressed by more investment, including now Europe has opened up and is now putting more emphasis on the sector to generate employment.
Image Source: EMED Mining.
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