Angkor Resources plans to raise as much as $3.13 million in the next few months to fund its projects, according to Chief Executive Officer Delayne Weeks. It is also looking into the possibility of extracting hydrogen from its Block VIII onshore oil and gas concession as Cambodia makes the transition to sustainable energy sources. Along with fossil fuel exploration in the country, the Canadian company has been looking at the feasibility of extracting Rare Earth Elements, gold and copper from Andong Meas in Ratanakiri province. Weeks updated Khmer Times Deputy Business Editor Michael Firn on Angkor’s progress.
KT: You’ve been exploring Rare Earth Elements in Gossan Hills. What are the assays showing and which REEs are present?
Delayne Weeks: There are 17 REEs so it’s definitely a work in progress. We’ll do some more testing on the prospect but we can’t confirm commercial quantity at this point. It’s going to take more sampling and gridwork and assays before we’re able to determine exactly where we’re at.
Normally our assays go to Laos but because rare earths require more analysis these will end up going to Australia. We’re at least three or four months away from coming up with anything that would guide closure and that won’t be the final determination unless it comes out with spectacular numbers, which I don’t anticipate.
KT: You’ve also looking for gold at Wild Boar in Andong Meas. How promising does the site look?
Delayne Weeks: We’ve been really happy with the indications at Wild Boar and there’s also gold in Canada Wall. There are even lower amounts at Gossan Hills and further south at South Creek. When we’re sampling, we continue to look for sample elements that would go with gold. We’re keeping our eyes open for precious metals, base metals and rare earths. Once we drill a prospect if the assay results of the drill core are extremely favourable the next step would be ‘What’s necessary to process it?’ You can have the motherlode but if you don’t have the right process in place to extract it appropriately you’ve got issues. If you’ve got high-grade veins it’s a very different process that would lead to an open pit. Renaissance has a lower grade and a big open pit so they’ve got lots of it. They’ve done an amazing job. We have to wait until we have those drill results and say ‘how do we properly extract this if it’s commercially viable?
KT: Renaissance exports its gold to Australia for refining. How viable would it be to refine the gold in Cambodia?
Big yellow nugget: Gold from Angkor Resources. Angkor Resources Corp
Delayne Weeks: There would have to be a series of producing mines creating the Dore Bar, where you still have gold but it’s not pure before you’d have demand for a refinery. You need economies of scale to do it and because there are other countries that will do it it’s an investment decision. Cambodia’s just getting rolling with this on the production side so I would guess it’s going to be a little while before there’s a refinery here.
The Cambodian government has been investing a lot in infrastructure. Do you feel it’s sufficient if Renaissance were to move to commercial production?
The improvement in the roads has been tremendous. It changed everything because the costs of transport in Cambodia are still quite significant. The other issue is access to power. There’s so much pressure globally with the transition from traditional to renewable energy. I think that infrastructure is coming along as well but, if we’re in a remote area and we have to put diesel generators in place to process and mineralise projects in any rural area, there are those that will criticise that. Cambodia’s done a tremendous job in the past 15 years and they are still criticised by the outside world that they haven’t done enough. Even in developed countries, we’re still struggling to transition from traditional sources of energy to something that is greener and more renewable. I’m not worried about roads but I think there will have to be adjustments to sources of power in due course.
KT: In 2020, the company received approval and initiated negotiations on Production Sharing Contract terms for Block VIII. What’s the status of the onshore oil and gas concession?
Delayne Weeks: We’re really keen on Block VIII. We did a survey of all the licenses across the country and we believe there’s a foreland basin in Block VIII and there could be significant reservoirs there. The only way of knowing that is, we need to be able to go and do the work when the government completes the final production sharing. I know the government has been working through some other areas of energy including offshore to get that back on track. As soon as we have permission to do so we want very much to move forward on that.
The other thing we’ve researched is, because Cambodia doesn’t have a platform for energy from hydrocarbons and imports it, we’ve looked at what it takes to take the reservoir and create hydrogen as energy rather than gas. Companies in Canada are doing that with abandoned reservoirs. They go downhole and have a special filter that leaves the carbon down the hole and pulls the hydrogen out and converts that to energy. It’s cleaner, it’s greener, it’s more acceptable but we’re still in a developing area in Asia. Our first priority is, let’s get the country its own source of energy.
KT: Your shares are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange and also trade on the US OTCBQ Venture Market. What are Angkor’s fundraising plans and how will you use the money?
Delayne Weeks: We’ve done quite a corporate shift in the last few months with the company and as part of that, we put some other revenue streams in place. We’ve done a carbon capture in Canada. I would expect in the next three or four months we would be doing a fundraise. I would hope that’s between 2 and 4 million Canadian [US$1.57-3.13 million] and we have a variety of areas where we will put those for what we hope is a maximum return.
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