It’s a plan he’s had in the pipeline ever since he resumed a more active role in the day –do-day running of the company following the departure of former chief executive Jan Nelson last year.
Bird found a company with a mixed suite of assets spread across two continents in fairly urgent need of funding.
The Manica gold project, which was the one Xtract was originally built around, resumed centre stage. South American assets were declared more peripheral, and the focus firmly return to Africa.
In the longer-term, the plan is to build a hard rock mine at Manica, and to that end various studies have been completed.
A decade or more ago it was thought the ore at Manica might be refractory, but Bird says that is now not the case, although it’s true that some of the metal is encapsulated in silica.
Instead, work on the grinding size has allayed the earlier concerns.
“The previous work was done at quite a coarse grind,” he says. “But with a finer grind the liberation is quite good. It has a mixture of oxides and sulphides.”
But how is Xtract, a company that’s now only capitalised at around £4 mln going to set about funding development at Manica?
That’s an open question, especially since there are already over 20bn shares outstanding.
But the latest transaction, under the terms of which Xtract will collaborate with Nexus Capital in mining the alluvial gold deposits at Manica, with Nexus taking on tall the costs save those for monitoring and transport.
Under this new agreement it’s anticipated that Xtract will receive its first income in the second quarter of this year. What’s more the official resumption of alluvial mining at Manica is likely lead to the opening up of more areas for exploitation in the months to come.
“There are many alluvial mining operations in the Manica area and significant expertise has been gained in the art as well as the science of working such deposits,” says Bird.
“We can now move forward with restoring shareholder value.”
Xtract’s shares rose by more than 20% on the news to 0.3p.