Aureus Mining (LON:AUE, TSE:AUE) has now metamorphosised into Avesoro Resources Inc.
It comes days after the junior miner confirmed its equity fundraise to bring in around US$76mln, as part of a refinancing, had been completed.
The fundraise was made up of a subscription from major shareholder and Turkish conglomerate MNG to the tune of US$60mln. The remainder came from a placing and broker option.
Aureus is also now an owner-operator model at its flagship New Liberty mine in Liberia, which, as previously reported, was a strategic move to reduce ongoing costs.
The group has had a tough initiation since it opened the New Liberty gold mine in Liberia last year.
Having already dealt with the problems of a bitter civil war and a deadly Ebola outbreak, it then ran into teething problems at the newly commissioned mine followed by a tailings failure.
It put heavy financial pressure on a junior that in a grim market had done exceptionally well to raise the US$100mln required to build New Liberty.
So much so that in June this year it agreed to sell 55% of the company to Turkish conglomerate MNG through a US$30mln share subscription.
Chief executive David Reading also stood down, with a new management team from MNG appointed comprising Serhan Umurhan as chief executive and Geoff Eyre as chief financial officer.
Then in October this year it emerged MNG would refinance the Liberia—based gold miner through a substantial share issue with a name change to Avesoro Resources.
MNG subscribed US$60mln in new equity at 1.5p per share with up to a further US$12mln to come from a placing with institutional investors.
Serhan Umurhan, who is general manager of MNG Gold, has said: “New Liberty is an attractive opportunity to add high quality ounces to our West African mining portfolio.
"We see significant growth potential for New Liberty, supported by our strong financial position, global mining expertise and synergies with our other Liberian operation.
MNG Gold owns the Youga gold mine in Burkina Faso, the Kokoya gold project in Liberia and exploration assets.
MNG Gold has exploration, development and production assets in Turkey, Burkina Faso and Liberia and is owned by Mehmet Nazif Gűnal, who will join the Aureus board as non-executive chairman.
The Turkish group also has interests in construction and contracting, tourism, freight, finance and energy.
New Liberty continuing to rebuild
In November this year, third quarter results showed revenues of US$18.8 mln on sales of more than 14,000 ounces of gold.
Following the injection of new funds and a change in management, efforts are well underway to steady the ship. Debt repayments have been deferred and major modifications to the plant have begun. The aim is to try to improve recoveries and to get costs down.
New Liberty has weathered many storms
The deal underlined the value of the New Liberty operation.
“One thing we have is grade,” Reading said last year.
New Liberty was built within the space of a couple of years in some of the toughest market conditions the gold mining industry has known for more than a decade.
“We’re the first new mine to be built in West Africa in two-and-a-half years,” said Reading a year ago and one of only a handful of miners that few companies to have gone all the way from grass roots exploration right into production.
Aureus has owned prospect for ten years
New Liberty was acquired in 1996 by Aureus’s direct corporate forerunner, Mano River Resources, which was active on the ground for many years before finally splitting into two companies right at the end of the mining boom in 2009.
Early exploration work was interrupted by the Liberian Civil War, which ranged from 2000-2005.
It recommenced in 2006 and really gathered steam in 2009 with the delineation of a two kilometre mineralised strike length.
By 2010 the project boasted a resource of over 1.5mln ounces and was now under the stewardship of Reading, a man with much West African mining experience from time spent at Randgold.
Grade is key
At 3.4 grams per tonne gold, the 924,000 ounce reserve at New Liberty looks economic, even allowing for the current volatility in the gold market.
According to the definitive feasibility study, the project’s break-even all-in costs per ounce including capital repayment will ring in at US$1,050 per ounce.
The focus now will be to ramp up plant performance and production levels towards the design capacity of 119,000 ounces annually.