Len Kolff: "Investment Battlefield is a great platform to get your project noticed"

We caught up with the 2021 Investment Battlefield champion Ironridge Resources

Throughout March, the Investment Battlefield went virtual for 2021. It's the platform famed for pitching Africa's hottest junior mining companies against each other that took place as part of the Virtual Investment Programme

In the final battle, Len Kolff, COO of Ironridge Resources impressed the judges with their entry: lithium pegmatite discovery project in Ghana and emerged as the ultimate 2021 champion. We caught up with Len a few months later to discuss the winning project.

Can you tell us more about your winning project?

Our Ewoyaa Lithium Project is a new hard rock spodumene pegmatite discovery – the 1st in Ghana – that has very robust fundamentals – good geology, simple mineralogy, and fantastic infrastructure support all in the pro-mining jurisdiction of Ghana.

Our deposit which we are currently drilling to grow the resource, has a defined resource of 14.5Mt at 1.31% Li2O and is characterised by very simple mineralogy – with the vast majority of lithium associated with the mineral spodumene, the preferred feedstock for downstream processing to battery grade chemicals. Because of this simple mineralogy and coarseness, we are able to beneficiate a premium spodumene concentrate through a simple gravity process flow sheet without the need for floatation. Mineralogy is one of the key value drivers for pegmatite projects; it really can separate challenging projects from robust projects and in our case keeps the capital costs low and the operating costs low. Infrastructure support is another key value driver for any mining project, and I am pleased to say that our location; the deposit is within 1km of a bitumen highway, 110km to the Takoradi deep-sea port, adjacent to grid power and with direct access to well trained and experienced work force, really places our project apart from our peers. Our Ewoyaa project is an exciting discovery within a Tier 1 location and the potential to significantly grow the resource base with only 12km2 drill tested to date of the 684km2 portfolio.      

Many judges cited your access to infrastructure, particularly green energy, as a key component for success going forward. Can you provide some insight how this will provide a competitive advantage in terms of operating costs?

We really believe our Project has a strong story to tell around ESG; with one important component being our proximity to grid power, importantly hydro power from the 1,000MW Akosombo Dam and 40MW solar farm. Our ability to tap into this renewable energy source, in addition to our low power consumption through simple processing and short trucking distance will reduce our carbon footprint and associated operating costs, which bolsters our ESG credentials. We are looking at other initiatives to further reduce our carbon footprint, support the community and stakeholders, and improve sustainability of the project as we advance the studies.

What made you decide to enter the Investment Battlefield?

Mining Indaba is a key annual event within our diary, and critical for any mining related business operating within Africa – bringing together all the people we need to see to advance our projects. Investment Battlefield is a great platform to get your project noticed within the investment community as well as networking with likeminded professionals, critical in the life journey of any junior mining company. Unfortunately, COVID has taken some of these opportunities away from us over the medium term, so the opportunity to partake in the online Investment Battlefield with a robust project like Ewoyaa was a win-win.  

Do you feel like the increased exposure to investors as a result of winning the Investment Battlefield will help you achieve your promotional and capital-raising goals going forward?

Winning the 2021 Investment Battlefield was exceptionally well timed for us; coinciding with a significant improvement in lithium sentiment and the stored energy revolution. The increased exposure has certainly generated a lot of interest with multiple parties expressing interest to understand the project better. 

What was the most challenging part in preparing your pitch for the competition?

The most significant work is the many years of hard work and perseverance the field teams have put into the project to advance it to where it is now – including through the lithium crash of the last 2 years; for that I am truly grateful. From my part it is about simplifying the story and delivering the key messages in a logical and engaging way. Being able to pitch in front of a live audience, although can be daunting, is much more engaging and helps energise the delivery of your story. So being online this year, was definitely more challenging I would say. 

What advice do you have for future investment battlefield participants?

Make sure you know your project inside out, focus on what sets you apart from your peers to deliver a knockout pitch.

Lastly, what’s next for your lithium projects in West Africa and for IronRidge Resources in general?

We currently have multiple drill rigs on site growing our Ghana lithium resource and we are forging ahead with studies towards mine permitting. We recently announced the planned de-merger of our gold assets in Côte d’Ivoire and Chad to simplify and focus our portfolio for existing shareholders and investors. It is going to be a busy year ahead of resource upgrades and studies in Ghana, along with drilling to expand our gold discoveries in Côte d’Ivoire and Chad.

For more information on the Investment Battlefield, please click here.

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