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Having just closed a Can $20 million financing has allowed Panoro
Minerals Ltd. to acquire Cordillera de las Minas, a company with a portfolio of 13
projects in Peru that has the potential of containing some world-class copper and
Panoro Minerals Ltd.
Suite 900, 510 West Hastings Street
Vancouver BC Canada V6B 1L8
Helmut H. Wober, P.Eng.
President, CEO and Director
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published August 17, 2007
Helmut H. Wober, P.Eng.
President, CEO and Director
Mr. Wober received a multidisciplinary education in mining engineering and economic
geology. He has held senior positions in exploration, company administration, mine
production geology, engineering and development. In 1975, Mr. Wober joined Chevron's
mineral division where he was later appointed Manager of Engineering and Development with
worldwide responsibilities. Mr. Wober formed MDE International in 1990 and has since
worked as a geological consultant and consulting engineer. In his career, Mr. Wober has
worked on all five continents and on Greenland.
Panoro Minerals Ltd. (Panoro) is a Canadian
mineral exploration company trading on the TSX Venture Exchange (PML) and on the Frankfurt
Stock Exchange (PZM, WKN 914959) and on the Junior Board of the Lima Exchange. Panoro's
strategic focus is on exploring for large-potential gold and copper/gold deposits in
countries with the corresponding geological potential and where the right political and
economic conditions are present.
recent acquisition of a large portfolio of projects in Peru and the divestiture of its
Philippine interests has placed its current holdings entirely in Peru.
Panoro has a
seasoned and accomplished management team and Board of Directors, the majority of which
has served in leading or senior positions with some of the largest resource companies of
CEOCFO: Mr. Wober, what is your vision for the company
and your plan to get there?
Mr. Wober: Panoro has just recently gone through
a major change in having made a very significant acquisition. Our vision for Panoro is to
take it from here into the preproduction and production stages on the basis of the
portfolio of projects we have just acquired. We closed this acquisition in June (2007) and
we are in the process of implementing the work programs.
We made a
conscious strategic decision to concentrate our efforts in Peru. We had pursued this
opportunity for over a year; it did not come about all of a sudden. We were in the end
fortunate and successful in having made this acquisition, which is an acquisition of
projects that show some inventory, large-scale upside potential and the potential to
contain some world-class copper and copper/gold deposits. We were able to make this
acquisition having just closed a $20 million financing for the acquisition and we have a
program in place to advance these projects into the pre-feasibility and feasibility stage.
We are exactly where we wanted to be at the beginning of this effort, and we are looking
forward now to just working and advancing the project.
CEOCFO: Why is Peru a good place to be?
Mr. Wober: Peru has tremendous mineral
potential. It contains a number of world-class deposits. It is a country in which the
largest mining companies in the world today are active both in production and exploration.
We look at Barrick Gold Corp (NYSE-ABX), Newmont Mining Corp.(NYSE-NEM) Teck Cominco Ltd
(NYSE-TCK) and Southern Peru Copper, and all of these large companies are in production or
bringing projects into production. That means that the big players in the business have
some confidence in the country in the long-run and that the potential that the country has
for mineral deposits is just hardly being tapped.
CEOCFO: What does the government think about the mining?
Mr. Wober: With regard to the governments since
Fujiimori left, there have been two democratically elected governments; first under Toledo
and now under Alan Garcia. They have been regarded as benign. Alan Garcia instead of
raising taxes with the mineral industry, has managed to persuade the mining industry to
enter into a commitment over ten years to investments in social infrastructure. That
provided some tax stability, but it also provided him with the political credits to get
more for the people out of the industry. Another thing is that we in our group and some
other junior mining companies have developed is a strong shareholder base in Peru, of
Peruvians investing in foreign companies like ours. Therefore, we are no longer just a
foreign company working in Peru, we are a company that has a strong Peruvian shareholder
base and we feel more comfortable being in Peru and also more welcome. The government is
essentially a free enterprise government and both the majors in the industry and the
junior mining industry have recognized that. This is why the country experiences such a
CEOCFO: You have a very wide range of projects; what do you
look at first?
Mr. Wober: The projects are in different stages
of exploration and predevelopment. There are two projects that have already shown that
they contain some inventory of mineral resources and there is some indication of the
tonnage and grade at varying degrees of definition. The indications are that these
deposits are expandable in tonnage, hosting a resource that in grade is a combination of
copper and gold, therefore very attractive and they will lend themselves to further
advancement into production. These are the first two projects. The other eleven projects
that we have acquired together with this acquisition are in various stages. They will be
ranked and evaluated and they will then be systematically approached with exploration
programs to further them and take them through the next stages. It is a ranking and
prioritization process as to where to apply our financial resources to the best
CEOCFO: Why is copper of interest to Panoro?
Mr. Wober: We have always been interested in
copper. We have always been a company that was looking for copper and gold projects with a
large tonnage potential. This is because looking at both copper and gold we feel that we
are straddling the economies on the upside and on the downside, whereas gold is always
considered to be a crisis or protection of value metal. Copper is the real industrial
metal and sees its demand coming from growth economies, and also from the growth of
populations. Copper and gold in combination with deposits with large tonnage potential are
the type of deposits that are our best chance of increasing the values in the holdings for
CEOCFO: Will you be doing joint ventures as you develop;
what is you strategy?
Mr. Wober: At the moment we have another project
in the north of Peru, and we may consider joint-venturing it. The projects that we just
acquired, we will first evaluate ourselves. Two of the core projects Cotabambas and
Antilla, we have no intention of joint-venturing. We actually have recommendations to
drill several of them, but it will take a while before we get to know the rest of this
portfolio and to decide which ones we want to keep and which ones we want to advance
ourselves and which ones we want to possibly share the risk on and look for joint venture
partners, but not in the immediate future.
CEOCFO: With all the development nowadays, is it hard to
find people on the ground to run the projects and take care of business?
Mr. Wober: It is difficult. People in our
industry and in our professions are all busy. We have been fortunate in being able to
attract the management of the company that we bought to continue with us. We have retained
the manager and the chief geologists of the company that was before us owned by CVRD and
by Antofagasta; two very large companies. The managers have over ten years of experience.
They have been with the development of this portfolio from the beginning and they have a
network of people in the country that will be working on our projects. In that way we will
overcome the shortage of good people on the market.
CEOCFO: What is the financial picture of the company?
Mr. Wober: At the end of May and the beginning
of June, we released that we have $20 million Canadian to make this acquisition. We have
about $6.5 million left in the treasury after making the acquisition, to advance the
projects, especially the two core projects, Antilla and Cotabambas, through very
significant drilling programs that will enhance the definition of the resources that are
indicated on these two projects. We also have - with the enhancement of the value of the
projects - an expectation that our share price will rise and that the share purchase
warrants that are in the money right now will provide us with additional
funds. We have received a lot of interest in the company and we do not foresee any
difficulty in providing financing in the future for the programs.
CEOCFO: Why should potential investors be interested?
Mr. Wober: Panoro today when you compare it to
the peer group of companies, shows that it is really undervalued. I would like to urge the
readers to go to the website of Research Capital (and now also our own website). Research
Capital was the lead manager in the financing that we just closed at the end of May. On
their website if you do a search under Panoro Minerals, you will find a very recent report
by the Technical Analyst of Research Capital. It will give you an in-depth evaluation of
the company. That report will demonstrate that we are undervalued, at least to our peer
group, and that investing in Panoro has a lot of attractiveness.
CEOCFO: What should people remember most about Panoro?
Mr. Wober: We are focused and we have a plan and
a strategy; we are also focused on sticking to that plan and being consistent. We have
concentrated our efforts on Peru. We have in the process also divested ourselves of our
interest in a project in the Philippines, to concentrate on this package that in our
opinion this has great potential and very realistic expectations of moving into the
predevelopment, development, and eventually into the production stages.
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