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Event Summary: Financing Critical Minerals Projects

“Of all those expensive and uncertain projects, however, which bring bankruptcy upon the greater part of the people who engage in them, there is none perhaps more perfectly ruinous than the search after new […] mines.” – Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

As nations seek to move away from fossil fuel-based to green economies, the demand for critical minerals is expected to outstrip supply, leaving a problematic time lag. Without significant capital injection, from private investors, institutions, and governments, into projects along the supply chain, from early-stage exploration to downstream processing, this gap will only continue to widen.

Two centuries ago, Adam Smith recognised that investment in exploration was a risky venture. Today, searching for new mines can yield one mine out of every 1000 projects. The risk continues to be high, but the alternative, of not creating a healthy pipeline of mines coming on stream, creates economic and geopolitical risk. Without critical minerals, there is no energy transition or the possibility of meeting the Paris Accord objectives.

The modern finance sector has been driving responsible critical minerals, and their extraction and processing. Many investors now see evidence of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) best-practice as a de-risking factor. Investors have the opportunity to be the stewards of ESG and encourage best practice across their portfolios, driving forwards a just transition to a greener economy.

Bringing together financiers, explorers, miners, processors, refiners, traders, and manufacturers is essential to tackle the challenge of creating robust, secure and responsible critical mineral supply chains.

On 5th July, the Critical Minerals Association (CMA) hosted the ‘Financing Critical Minerals Projects’ event at The Geological Society of London. We were delighted to be joined by fantastic speakers and panellists from Endeavour Financial, Tembo Capital Management, ARCH Emerging Markets Partners, Mayer Brown, Satarla, Digbee, and many more!

Programme and Speakers

Skip to the times indicated for specific presentations.

[00:07:00] Keynote Presentation: Financing Critical Raw Materials and the Changing Landscape

David Rhodes, Managing Director, Endeavour

David’s finance career has spanned over thirty years. Before joining Endeavour seventeen years ago, he was at Standard Bank London Limited and Barclays Capital, where he sourced, structured, and syndicated finance for mining Projects and companies globally (including derivative products). David has extensive experience of the North/South American, European, CIS, and African markets, having arranged over US$10 billion of funding for mining companies. David is also the Chairman of Altaley Mining and Executive Chairman of Empress Royalty.

[00:31:00] Case Study: Challenges of Financing a Battery Metals Development Project

Robin Birchall, Chief Executive Officer, Giyani Metals

Robin has 18 years of experience in the investment banking, management and development of resource companies, his roles involve Executive Chairman of Silver Bear Resources; NED of Helium One Global Limited, VP Investment and Corporate Banking at BMO Capital Markets, VP Corporate Finance at Canaccord.

[00:50:15] Case Study: A Case for Grants

Marco Keersemaker, Mining and Validation Manager, Norge Mining

From exploration to closure, Marco Keersemaker has more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of mining, spanning a huge range of commodities. With responsibility for resource modelling, mine planning and design, operations, cost/ NPV modelling and benchmarking, the hands-on experience Marco brings to Norge Mining as Mine and Techno-Economic Modelling Manager is impressive. A former site and mine manager, he’s in tune with world-class standards in Health and Safety and operations.

[01:03:10] Case Study: Araguaia Financing

Guy De Freitas, Head of Business Development, Horizonte Minerals

Guy is an experienced mining finance professional, with an extensive track record in private equity and investment banking, and has over US$2.0 billion of completed transaction experience across IPOs, follow-ons, M&A, project financing and principal investments, across a range of commodities and geographies. Prior to joining Horizonte, Guy worked for Appian Capital Advisory LLP and Macquarie Capital. Guy has significant experience in Brazil having played a lead role while at Appian in managing the firm’s Brazilian portfolio, which included the successful development of the Serrote copper-gold mine. Guy holds a Masters in Finance from INSEAD and a Bachelor of Business Science (Finance) from the University of Cape Town.

[01:19:30] Case Study: A Sustainable ESG-Based Approach to Financing Critical Minerals

Zama Dadan, Director, ARCH Emerging Markets Partners

Zama has over 10 years of experience in both Metals & Mining finance and process

engineering. Prior to joining ARCH, she successfully executed more than 20 Metals & Mining deals across various commodities in Sub-Saharan Africa and North America.

[01:28:55] Panel Discussion: Responsible Investment

Ian Coles, Partner, Mayer Brown

Ian Coles heads Mayer Brown's Africa and Mining practices and co-heads the Global Projects practice. He concentrates his practice on all aspects of bank and debt finance, ranging from projects and other structured finance to commodities financing and restructuring. He represents banks and other financial institutions, sponsors, and other participants in finance transactions throughout the world.

Jamie Strauss, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Digbee

Over 25 years building and leading three mining finance teams at boutique and global banks as well as a seasoned independent director of listed mining companies. This extensive experience has inspired Jamie to discover software solutions, through the launch of Digbee, to improve the outcome and perception of mining projects through access to right-sized ESG disclosure and cost-effective, plain language and objective technical analysis.

Sarah Gordon, Satarla

Sarah has worked in a number of fields including risk and assurance, safety, sustainability, R&D, business divestment, mine and exploration geology. These roles have allowed her to live and work all over the world including North and South America, Australasia, Africa, and Europe.

Carl Noack, Investment Director, Tembo Capital

Carl is a mining engineer by background with strong experience as a senior investment professional. His unique set of skills were established through investment, corporate and technical roles covering over 17 years in the industry

Event summary by Olimpia Pilch, Business Development & Communications Associate, CMA

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