Metal Tiger have a significant interest in prospecting and mining activities in Thailand.
The signing of the JV for the Song Toh and Boh Yai mines being a significant milestone for the business.
To date the significance of this development has not been reflected in the Metal Tiger share price.
This blog makes some observations and addresses some of the concerns investors have raised regarding the Thailand operation.
Difficulties Western mining operators have working in Thailand.
The case of the Australian gold miner Kingsgate Consolidated is often mentioned to indicate why Thailand is a difficult place to do business.
Due to the Government refusing to extend Kingsgate’s licence their mine is due to stop operations in December 2016.
Kingsgate’s issues, directly associated with operating in Thailand are believed to be;
a) Not having access to the decision makers in Government.
To operate successfully in Thailand you need to have the appropriate contacts and to respect the Thai culture. Building up a business working relationship can take years.
Any negative comments about the country will almost certainly stop any chance of building good relationships with the Thai and could possibly even lead to legal action.
This is exactly what has happened with Kingsgate. Unfortunately Kingsgates main man died and with him the relationship and link they had with key people in Thailand.
Kingsgate have gone from a successful operator in Thailand to the point of having their operating licence terminated. You can’t adopt a Western business culture in Thailand if you want to succeed.
The belief that if Kingsgate had done things differently they would still be a successful business is underlined by the fact that Northern Gulf Petroleum have offered 4.2 cents per share for a 50.1 per cent stake in Kingsgate. This values the business at $9.4 million.
Northern Gulf is run by a Thai national who clearly sees value in the business and believes he has the contacts, expertise and know how to cut through Thai red tape and get the mine permit extended.
b) Arsenic, manganese and cyanide contamination of local environment and associated health issues for local population (disputed by Kingsgate).
Lack of respect for Thailand is a big issue for the Thai. Even if issues have no foundation, if not addressed taking into account Thailand and Thai culture the implications for a business can be detrimental.
Saving face is key. Kingsgate adopted an aggressive stance when dealing with local environmental issues. A more appropriate approach would have been one that enabled both sides to save face.
So why do Metal Tiger believe they have the skills and expertise to manage the above issues and operate in Thailand successfully?
Metal Tiger via their RNS’s and Twitter account have mentioned on several occasions the importance of:
- Respecting Thai culture. Hence the Merit ceremony that has taken place to celebrate the formal opening of the Company’s head office.
- The environmental / social issues. Hence the appointment of a CSR Manager.
- Employment opportunities for Thai nationals. MTR are employing Thai nationals.
- Local knowledge / contacts. Key members of the Metal Tiger team including its Chairman have lived in Thailand for many years.
It’s how you do business that will dictate success or failure.
Metal Tiger Thailand Risks
1. Granting of permits
If permits are not granted this is a significant risk.
Metal Tiger have employed an experienced permitting team who have commenced the permitting process with applications in place for Special Prospecting Licence Applications in multiple provinces.
This is a link to the RNS providing the details of the licence applications.
Why would Northern Gulf Petroleum offer a significant sum for part of the Kingsgate mine if didn’t believe could obtain the necessary permits?
Why would MTR offer a significant sum for a stake in the Song Toh and Boh Yai mine if didn’t believe could obtain the necessary permits?
With costs associated with the Song Toh and Boh YAi mines,Thai nationals being recruited, new office opened and permit applications pursued questions have been asked about how being financed.
Currently this is being financed by Metal Tiger (London) but MTR have stated that Asian finance will increasingly play a part in financing Metal Tiger Thailand (MTT).
I would expect we will hear news about Asian or possibly Saudi finance news soon. Saudi link being mentioned in a recent RNS.
Would MTR invest so much time, finance and resource in Thailand if they had any doubt about the ventures successful outcome? IMHO they wouldn’t, MTR would concentrate on their other ventures.
3. Thailand political instability.
The military coup is a risk as whilst the country is reasonably stable now, the future is unknown.
For many this is seen as an acceptable risk that is manageable, providing the business acts in a manner that supports Thailand and its people.
Metal Tiger Thailand invests in prospecting opportunities and is therefore a high risk high reward investment.
MTT is also part of a JV in the once successful Song Toh and Boh Yai mine. The only risk with this mine is if permit not granted.
If Thailand doesn’t deliver, investors in MTR will still have their investment underpinned by Botswanna, Spain, Asset trading division, etc, etc.
The value of the Thailand asset will at some stage be reflected in the MTR share price. If not now one of the following milestones will deliver.
- Finance partner announced.
- Permit progress / granted.
- Song Toh and Boh Yai back in operation.
- prospecting results.
It is worth reminding ourselves that the recent Dowgate brokers note released in October, indicated an NPV of $75.4m for the Song Toh and Boh Yai mine. MTR paid $6.8m.
Thailand has the potential to become the cash cow of the business and as such those that are invested now will have the potential to make the greatest returns.
Response to some of the less informed questions raised on social media:
- Question – 24km of tunnel doesn’t make a good mine. Response – makes for a far more economical mine than would be the case if had to dig the tunnel.
- Question – mine is empty. Response – look at the RNS’s, clearly indicate that significant mine life.
- Question – Cashflow is the issue. Response – RNS’s clearly indicate net assets £5m+.