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Report and accounts for the year ended 31 March 2012

21 August 2012

 

West African Minerals Corporation (“the Company”)

Formerly Emerging Metals Corporation

 

Report and accounts for the year ended 31 March 2012

West African Minerals Corporation (LSE: WAFM), formerly Emerging Metals Limited, the mining and exploration group with a portfolio of assets in West Africa, presents its final audited results for the year ended 31 March 2012.

The 2012 Audited Annual Report and Accounts will be posted to shareholders shortly and will be available from the Company's website www.westafricanminerals.com.

Operational Highlights

  • Ferrum Resources Limited acquisition completed bringing six exclusive exploration permits over 6,000 square kilometres of the Republic of Cameroon
  • Indications are that the Cameroon permits could provide high tonnage, haematite-rich mineralisation
  • Cameroon drilling program currently underway
  • Cameroon government has confirmed commitment to provide infrastructure support to mining operations
  • Total Assets increased from £10 million to £26.4 million
  • Following placements, cash still remains over £10 million
  • Operational expenses rigorously controlled at all levels

 

Contacts:

 

West African Minerals Corporation

Denham Eke                                                                               +44 (0) 1624 639396

Chief Financial Officer

Donna Yoshimatsu                                                                     +1 (416) 722-2456

Investor Relations and Corporate Secretary

 

Beaumont Cornish Limited (Nominated Adviser)                +44 (0)20 7628 3396

Roland Cornish
Michael Cornish

 

Investec Bank PLC (Joint Broker)                                       +44 (0)20 7597 5970

Neil Elliot

 

GTH Communications                                                               +44 (0) 20 3103

Toby Hall

Suzanne Johnson Walsh

 

 

 

 

Chairmen’s statement

 

On the fast track to growth

The year end to March 2012 could not have been more eventful in firmly positioning West African Minerals Corporation to deliver on its goal to provide exciting opportunities for growth, principally through the exploration of high potential West African iron ore deposits in the Republic of Cameroon and the Republic of Sierra Leone.

Following the exercise of the Ferrum Option to acquire Ferrum Resources Limited (“Ferrum”), involving a reverse takeover (under AIM regulations), name change, share consolidation and fund raising approved by shareholders at the beginning of January 2012, the Company continued to strengthen its interests in West Africa by completing the acquisition of CMC Guernsey Limited (“CMC Guernsey”) during March 2012. CMC Guernsey, through its 95 per cent. owned subsidiary Compagnie Minière du Cameroun SA, owns six exploration permits for the exclusive rights to explore for iron ore and associated minerals in areas referred to as Djadom, Dja, Lélé, Minko, Sanaga and Binga in Cameroon covering a total area of approximately 6,000 square kilometres.

As part of the Acquisition Agreement, Bradford Mills was proposed as Executive Vice Chairman and Anton Mauve as Managing Director of the Company. Bradford Mills, Anton Mauve, Gerard Holden (Non-executive) and Gualtiero Giori (Non-executive) were subsequently appointed to the board on 23 April 2012.

March 2012 Year End Results

During the financial year under review, the Company’s Shareholder Equity grew to £25,821,978 (2011: £9,963,996) as a result of the Company’s acquisition of Ferrum as well as Ferrum’s acquisition of CMC Guernsey. The Ferrum acquisition was completed through exercise of an existing option and settled by way of conversion of convertible loan worth £0.47 million, a cash payment of £4.34 million and the issue of new shares worth £8.70 million. The CMC Guernsey acquisition was settled by way of cash payment of £8.08 million and issue of new shares worth £13.95 million. In accordance with IFRS, the acquisition of Ferrum and CMC Guernsey and its underlying subsidiaries resulted in the recognition of intangible assets representing the exploration permits at fair value on acquisition of £11.80 million, as well as deferred mining expenses of £2.48 million and goodwill of £0.86 million.

The cash impact of this activity meant that Cash Reserves marginally increased to £10,639,862 (2011: £10,000,643) including £5.25 million placement proceeds. It is worth remembering that at the point of listing in 2008 as Emerging Metals Limited, the Company had raised £16.16 million in aggregate.

Subsequent trading activities allowed the Company to pay a Special Dividend of £25.35 million to our shareholders in May 2010.

Total number of shares issued increased from 71.11 million to 258.95 million (allowing for the share consolidation) resulting in an increase in Share Premium to £43,838,819 (2011: £15,804,554). Total shares issued during the year comprised of 0.92 million shares issued in lieu of directors’ fees, 52.50 million shares raising £5.25 million placements, 63.31 million shares issued on acquisition of the Ferrum outstanding interest and 71.10 million shares issued on acquisition of CMC minority interest.

In accordance with the Group’s accounting policy, total costs directly attributable to exploratory activities in Cameroon and Sierra Leone are capitalised to Deferred Mine Exploration costs. As at 31 March 2012, total costs capitalised amounted to £2.48 million (2011: £0) of which £1.58 million is attributable to Cameroon and £0.90 million is attributable to Sierra Leone.

The total comprehensive loss for the year ended 31 March 2012 is £3,209,058 (2011: £1,006,037) of which professional fees of £1.6 million were payable, primarily as a result of the Ferrum acquisition.

West Africa

Our strategic focus is Africa, and in particular West Africa, which is rapidly gaining recognition as the next major iron ore province evidenced by significant investment and acquisition activity over the last two years by diverse international entities.

Acquisition of CMC Guernsey – Cameroon DSO licences

The acquisition of CMC Guernsey Limited which, through its 95 per cent owned subsidiary Compagnie Minière du Cameroun SA, presented the Company with the exclusive right to explore for iron ore and associated minerals over six exploration permits in Cameroon covering approximately 6,000 square kilometres. Historical aeromagnetic data indicated a continuation of the total magnetic intensity signature eastwards from WAFM’s Binga concession (70 kilometres from the coast), some 650 kilometres to the eastern most concessions of WAFM, namely Djadom and Dja which are adjacent to Sundance’s Mbalam project. The Mbalam significant Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) discovery is the subject of a bid from the Chinese group Hanlong for a cash consideration of US $1.3 billion.

Early indications are that the Cameroon permits could provide high tonnage, hematite-rich mineralisation (60-65% Fe) regionally known to occur as a cap overlying, and derived from weathering and oxidation of underlying banded iron formations (BIF). This is distinctive of the majority of explorer-developers in Africa that target magnetite or BIF ore which requires capital intensive processing to be suitable for use in blast furnaces in steel manufacture.

The acquisition also strengthened our senior operations team with the appointment of Bradford Mills as Executive Vice Chairman (former Chief Executive Officer of Lonmin plc and President of BHP Billiton's Base Metals Division) and Anton Mauve as Managing Director, both of whom are principals of Plinian Capital Limited which had previously acted as operator of CMC Guernsey.

The Republic of Cameroon has confirmed its commitment to providing the necessary infrastructure to support all mining in the country, and ensuring the Company will have access to the infrastructure, including a proposed harbour and railway system.

Cameroon has the largest and most diversified economy of the six-nation Central African Economic and Monetary Community, and is one of the most favoured among these countries for investment due to democratic reforms, conservative economic policies, and an industrious population. The country is instituting new reforms and improvements to its economy through privatization, diversification and the attraction of foreign investment through progressive and transparent development policies.

Positive results from Aeromagnetic Survey

The potential for high tonnage hematite DSO was further confirmed by the Company’s own 27,000 line kilometre aeromagnetic survey in April of this year. No less than 30 discrete demagnetised zones covering over 100 square kilometres in area were identified with high tonnage potential for 60% to 65% Fe. Importantly, ten of these targets are on the near coastal concession of Binga in proximity to a planned deep water port at Kribi which would reduce significantly the time to, and cost of, processing and production of high grade iron.

The remaining 20 potential DSO targets are located on the Company’s south-eastern permits - two of the largest anomalies on the Djadom and Lélé concessions which are interpreted as being demagnetised and therefore potentially hematite-rich areas, overlying the hinge zones of large banded iron formations. Seven of the anomalies have geophysical signatures similar to that of the Mbarga Deposit on the adjacent Mbalam exploration permit held by Sundance Resources.

Large scale drilling program ahead

The Company has recently announced a large scale drilling program which is currently underway comprising 400 to 500 shallow holes for an estimated 18,000 to 22,500 metres in total of Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling to verify the Phase 1 geophysical results and test for haematite-DSO with high tonnage potential. Drilling will begin at the near-coastal Binga permit and will be followed by a third phase resource definition diamond core and RC drilling towards defining a maiden resource estimate by year end.

The drilling program is designed to leverage the Company’s success on two levels – to capture the near term potential of the Binga coastal permit and identify a resource that can be brought into production in relatively short time, while drilling to the east will target the large scale potential of Lélé and Djadom located adjacent to other known deposits. Based on the encouraging results of the Phase 1 program, the Company’s management believes that its multiple DSO targets have the potential to host a regionally significant discovery.

Sierra Leone licenses

At Sierra Leone, where the Company is targeting enriched haematite schists of 40-50% Fe content, an airborne magnetic and radiometric survey was conducted over the licenses in 2011. These schists, typical of the Marampa Group, underlie the majority of the licence areas and have been shown by nearby operators to be potentially upgradeable to a fines product of 65% Fe. Field activities have been completed at the Madina project for which a technical report is planned once all the results have been received.

Through these series of strategic investments in West Africa, the Company commenced trading on AIM on 9 January 2012, following a 10p placing, and since readmission has been one of the best performing mining stocks for 2012. The Company opened the year trading at 14p with a market capitalization of £26.3 million, rising to a high of 92.25p in early July with a market capitalization of £248.5 million.

The changing face of iron ore

As we enter this new chapter in the Company’s growth, structural and dynamic changes in the global iron ore marketplace have been at work, driven primarily by China which accounts for over 60 per cent of the global market. In an effort to exert more influence over pricing and future resource requirements, China is reportedly planning to diversify its iron ore imports and increase the ratio from foreign independent miners to 50%, thereby reducing its dependence on the major global players, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Vale. It has also stated its intention to own half of all foreign iron ore resources that it imports by 2015. We believe these changing currents will have a positive impact on explorer-developers, and in particular the Company with large DSO exploration targets and access to coastal infrastructure.

The Company’s management believes that the long-term structural fundamentals for iron ore markets are positive as steepening costs associated with proposed expansions in the traditional iron ore producing centres in Australia and Brazil and the high cost of Chinese domestic production will drive demand and investment towards high grade, undervalued supply sources such as those to be found in the emerging iron ore frontier of West Africa.

Stephen Dattels                                                                          Jim Mellon

Executive Co-Chairman & CEO                                                        Non-Executive Co-Chairman

20 August 2012                                                                                20 August 2012