Cardinal Resources chief executive and managing director Archie Koimtsidis has for the past 20 years been involved in all facets of gold exploration, discovery, production, and refining in West Africa and South America.
Archie's most recent appointment prior to joining Cardinal was as deputy country manager of Ghana for PMI Gold, a dual-listed TSXV and ASX company. During this time, he was responsible for all field operational matters including coordination of exploration, drilling programmes, and human resource management relating to that company's projects in Ghana.
Archie has been instrumental in acquiring the Ghanaian projects on behalf of Cardinal and has a unique knowledge and understanding of geopolitical and operational matters relating to resource projects in West Africa.
Cardinal Resources' 25-year history in Ghana has earned it respect and acceptance at a local level, however, meeting community expectations continues to keep Cardinal chief executive and managing director Archie Koimtsidis up at night.
Cardinal published a prefeasibility for its Namdini gold development last year and is working hard to deliver full feasibility results on a 294,000 ounce per annum operation before the end of the third quarter.
Koimtsidis said the ASX-listed group was ahead of the curve in terms of permitting, had indicative term sheets in place already for finance, and was comfortable with the technical aspects of project delivery. Rather, it was the company's ongoing commitment to local Ghanaians that would require the greatest attention both today and over the life of the mine.
"My problem is not the project itself; it's sound, technically robust and it will get built," he said. "It's not about any of that.
"It's about the expectations set at the local level with all the traditional councils and owners of the land.
"People are very patient where we are because they understand these things take time, but how we manage that expectation is what keeps me up at night. I do know how poor and impoverished that area of Ghana is and how the people are looking forward to jobs, not for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren. That's a key point for us: making sure our social licence is maintained.
"We eat from the same food bowls - we put our hands in the same bowls and eat with the locals. You can't buy that right, you have to earn that right. And by doing that you have peace and harmony and understanding.
Koimtsidis said there was a tendency for western resources firms to go into Africa, sign contracts with government, then operate as if those rights will be understood and accepted at a local level. He said this was often a fatal oversimplification of necessary in-country engagement requirements.
"Showing due respect, being respected, earning your stripes, then continuing to earn your strips is what makes a project or breaks a project."