Huge hurdles are stacked against gold juniors in the quest to become a mine, says Abitibi Royalties’ CEO Ian Ball.
Ball, who spoke to MINING.com in March at PDAC in Toronto, was former President of McEwen Mining before moving onto Abitibi Royalties four years ago. During Ball’s tenure as CEO, the company’s stock has increased 3.1 times in value going from $3.27 per share to $10.44.
Ball sees a lot of headwinds in the industry. He does not see a significant gold price moves to the upside. Average gold grade is declining, which requires larger plants and more capital to move ore. Regulations are becoming more stringent. Productivity improvements are still lagging.
“As much talk as there has been about technology, we have not seen a game-changing technology since the 80s such as heap leach or autoclave,” says Ball. Autoclave is pressurized ore processing to liberate more gold from ore.
“For now, to become successful in mining the odds are stacked against you like they never have been before.” Ball’s company, Abitibi Royalties, is focusing its efforts on one of Canada’s largest gold mines, which is located 25 kilometres west of Val d’Or in Quebec’s Abitibi region.
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