Ortac’s change of name to Arc Minerals Ltd (LON:OTC) represents the culmination of a significant chapter in the company’s development, that was first heralded by the appointment of Nick von Schirnding to the board in January of 2017.
Von Schirnding was subsequently elevated to the position of executive chairman in October, and along the way has brought with him new board appointments and a new focus on Africa.
Ortac’s old Slovakian project, which came with a heavy legacy of social issues, will now be divested, while the Misisi gold project in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Kalaba copper-cobalt project in Zambia move to centre stage.
Arc Minerals is currently in the final stages of acquiring the vehicle that controls Misisi, Casa Mining, and one of von Schirnding’s most recent moves has been to appoint Casa founder Jonathan de Thierry to the Arc board early in January.
He joins recent appointee, Brian McMaster, a long-time colleague of von Schirnding at Garrison Capital, the well-known incubator behind junior miners such as Harvest Minerals (LON:HMI) and Jangada Mines (LON:JAN).
Together, they will form formidable team to take Arc forward to the next stage.
As it stands, the company already owns nearly 90% of the Casa shares, and Casa in turn controls a resource already known to contain at least 1.5 mln ounces of gold at the Akyanga deposit on Misisi.
The most recent drilling from Akyanga has continued to provide encouragement, delivering amongst others, intercepts of 4.55 metres grading 3.15 grams per tonne gold and 6.70 metres grading 2.01 grams.
What’s more, von Schirnding has been able to bring new and significant money to the table to take the African assets forward, in total around £3.7 mln. What’s more, the most recent placing was over-subscribed.
Whereas during the mining bear market, it sometimes seemed as though Ortac was running on fumes, and raising tiny scraps of cash here and there, von Schirding has brought a whole new dynamic, helped along the way by better markets.
So, the money’s in. The new board’s in place. Progress at Misisi is ongoing, and the appetite is there to kick-start activity in Zambia again, and get the cobalt and copper story really moving again too.
The market capitalisation is currently just under £6mln. But with this new momentum, that’s likely to change pretty fast now. After all, how many companies out there that boast an existing 1.5mln ounce gold resource, as well as significant cobalt potential.
In these interesting times, that just could be the winning combination that investors will flock to.