It’ll be interesting to see what sort of a reception Robin Young gets at our Proactive Investors One-to-One forum on Thursday 14th January.
Although Amur’s had its ups and downs over the years, it’s likely that the atmosphere will be overwhelmingly supportive.
Why? Because Amur was the exception that proved the rule in 2015, bucking the trend in an awful year for mining companies with an exceptional run of news in 2015 that culminated in a £12.5mln fundraising.
The key moment came in the summer when, after years of waiting, the company was granted permission to mine at its Kun-Manie nickel project in Russia.
That turned what had formerly been simply an intriguing proposition into a hard-nosed reality.
To be sure, there are still big infrastructure issues to be solved at Kun-Manie, and a full economic plan has yet to be worked out.
But early news flow in 2016 has already demonstrated that the momentum that built up in 2015 is now likely to be maintained.
The company stated on January 12th that final assay results from the 2015 drill programme continued to deliver attractive grades and thicknesses and that in-house analysis, which has now been independently checked, had actually understated some previously reported grades at the Maly Krumkron/Flangovy deposit by a factor of around 5%.
Given that all the results are now in, the company plans to update the resource for Maly Krumkron/Flangovy and use it as a cornerstone for the definitive feasibility study that is also now getting underway.
This all represents real progress for investors who have had to wait a long, long time for progress at Kun Manie, and it also represents a certain vindication for Young, who held his nerve as investors grew jittery and critical in the face of years of government inactivity.
Real challenges remain, of course.
The nickel price is not what it was back in the heyday of 2006, and the logistics of getting the product out of the Amur Oblast and into market remain challenging.
But with the blessing of the regional and national authorities, and with the clear support of shareholders – as demonstrated in the recent fundraising – Kun Manie now looks like a project that can get built.
And it’s that basic proposition that’ll be bringing the punters in on Thursday night.