RMB picks winners in mining
At RMB Namibia’s forefront is geologist turned investment banker, Steve Galloway who has also been involved with the development of landmark projects like Ohorongo Cement, and Husab Uranium, as well as the Otjikoto project, scheduled to start production in 2014. In a candid interview with the Economist, Galloway explained the importance of betting on a winning horse.
He said “We’d like to get involved early on. We try and pick winners that have got good projects and have got good people. We believe that because we have the technical skills we have the ability to look at projects and pick winners and take them through to successful projects. Our main objective of course is to finance the projects at the end of the day.”
RMB Namibia’s has been involved in the establishment of all of the new mines currently in development in Namibia.
He added, “We realize the better you understand the project the more you help people to get to that stage [development]. We go right through the whole project.” Galloway’s involvement in the development of the Otjikoto project spans a period of almost ten years, a period marked by constant take-overs of the mining project which he witnessed.
In RMB’s role as a facilitator, Galloway said, “We’ve got a very good feel for what you need to do to get a mining licence. Putting that local knowledge together with technical knowledge, we often play a valuable role. We help companies through the settling-in process, particularly foreign companies.” He added “We have this slogan, we want to be a value added partner, we don’t just want to be the guys that come in at the end and finances. I think in mining we certainly do that, we are a value added partner.” Shedding light on what is of importance to RMB Namibia he said, “We need a good project, or [the] high likelihood of a good project. We look at the resource, [in the] early stages you can get some gut feel as to whether it has any chance of going or not and then [we look at] the people, the company. We would never be supporting a company that we don’t believe in, or a company that is going to just take a resource, list it on the stock exchange and sell the company, without any intent of developing a mine, we’re not interested in that.”
“We are looking for partners that want to take the project through to development, and there are probably 30 or 40 options for us to look at at any time. We generally choose 3 or 4 projects and we pick those guys that we are prepared to stick with, for 3 years, 4 years, 5 years and beyond and that’s what we’ve done,” said Galloway who had earlier also worked on bringing the Husab project to light. Galloway’s involvement goes back to when he was Chairman of Extract, Husab’s previous owners.
“We don’t deal with speculators, we deal with companies that are really intent on building mines,” he concluded.