This in itself tells a story, as he’s not been attracted to the company by any form of significant salary.
Rather, it’s the Irish gold and zinc assets themselves, and what he believes he can do with them at this stage of the cycle.
Cullen’s relatively new on the Irish junior mining scene, but he fits right in.
An Irishman himself, with a geoscience background at Schlumberger, many years of experience in 3D seismics and mining at AngloGold (including a major re-design of two levels at Western Deeps) and subsequent experience with junior explorers in Africa, this is a man who arrives with a perfect feel for what he’s doing.
And when he decided to move his family to Ireland, he cast his eye around for likely-looking opportunity.
“I found John Teeling and these very good assets and I thought we could definitely do something,” he says.
And his idea of doing something is entirely operational. He’s not on the board and his main remuneration is option-based. If he can make things happen on the ground, he’ll be rewarded.
"Much to be getting on with" ....
“My role is to get things moving,” he says.
There’s much to be getting on with.
Founded as one of the stable of John Teeling companies that also includes Botswana Diamonds (LON:BOD) and Clontarf Energy (LON:CLON), Connemara has over the years amassed a suite of zinc and gold assets in Ireland and made plenty of progress on both.
Things have slowed down a bit in recent years though, as joint venture partner Teck proved less than steady in the level of its commitment at a key asset, Stonepark, and eventually sold out to Group Eleven, a private vehicle backed by MAG Silver (TSE:MAG) that’s due to list shortly in Toronto.
Connemara holds a 23.44% working interest in Stonepark, so it will not be making the running there, but even so that stake could still turn out to be very valuable. Next door, on the Pallas Green license, owned once upon-a-time by Minco, the word is that Glencore has six drill rigs at work and thats an already significant resource that could get bigger.
What that will ultimately mean for Stonepark isn’t clear, but Cullen expects Group Eleven to go to work on the project in a fairly serious way, and for Connemara’s end to come in at around £500,000 over the next two years.
That’s money Cullen reckons he can raise fairly easily, with the help of outstanding warrants, but it would be easier of course if he could get the share price moving.
Inishowen gold project push
In part, that’s why Connemara is now stepping up the work programme at its Inishowen gold project, which isn’t so far away from the Curraghinalt project that made Dalradian Resources (LON:DALR) a £200mln company.
Inishowen’s a long way from that at the moment, but the early work has been good.
“The second lot of drilling that the company did last summer hit 5 grams per tonne gold over 4.8 metres,” says Cullen.
“We’ve just done five more holes and further results will be back in a couple of weeks.”
But if there’s an idea that this will put a little zest into the share price with this drilling, the long game is far more interesting.
Cullen wants to put maybe 70 holes into three or four targets right across the licence and to work it up as a regional trend. And he wants to keep hold of it all while he does it. They also have near-term plans for drilling at their other gold project in the south-east of Ireland.
“I’m not giving up any of this ground and I’m not doing any deals,” he says. “We’ve got to drill more holes. We don’t want to miss another Curraghinalt.”