Despite being an undischarged bankrupt, Brisbane entrepreneur David Catsoulis has big hopes for his newest venture — a multi-billion-dollar gold mining project in the depths of the Papua New Guinea jungle.
Speaking to The Weekend Australian, Catsoulis says the new venture is about his family legacy, giving back to the local community, and according to capital raising documents, making a fortune for investors.
Catsoulis is a founder and the chief geologist of PGL Gold and, as a bankrupt, he is not and cannot be a director or shareholder. PGL reportedly plans to mine initially alluvial gold from prospects in PNG’s remote northwest, near the town of Maprik.
Catsoulis said the Maprik project was “progressing very well’’, and he expected mining leases would be granted in the “next couple of weeks’’. An email seen by The Weekend Australian corroborates this.
“The project’s had a great amount of due diligence done on the resource. The resource stacks up incredibly well,” Catsoulis said.
“We’re in the process of resourcing the development of the future mine.’’
Catsoulis said the numbers presented to investors are “conservative’’, with the company claiming the gold resources could be three times what was set out in September 2019.
“There have been seven viable sites that have been estimated to host 5000kg each (881,500 ounces) each of high grade alluvial gold,’’ the IM says.
At today’s prices, that’s more than $2.1bn worth of gold.
Catsoulis says while the dollar figures were large, he thought of it as a “legacy project for my family and my mother in particular’’.
“I can’t say I was really looking for this project when we found it.
“I was on a family legacy project for my mother, to actually go and retrace the routes of my father’s wartime history in the region … and she wanted to go back and effectively see where my father was.
“He spoke quite stoically about the region and the efforts of the local people during that time and I was really looking for a way in which, logistically we could get her up there … and talk to some local people to see if we could get out to the war memorials and so forth.
“Probably the first night I was there I think I had probably 30 people coming to my door in the hotel wanting to sell me gold.
“I just gave them 50 kina and said, ‘no, not interested’.
“I had one guy come in and he said I’ve got a very large amount of gold I’d like you to buy’ … and I looked at it and thought, ‘that’s just incredible’.
“The amount, the size, the grains of gold were all fingernail size and above and I thought ‘where has it come from?’
“I’d never seen it before in my professional career. One thing led to another and about a week later we were on site at a place called Maprik panning gold like I’d never seen before.
“That small starting base ended up being the starting place for my current endeavour for this project.
“What we found in the end was my father’s wartime history actually started in Maprik where he was deployed as part of the 28,000-strong Australian forces that then moved on down into Wewak and that was the end of the Second World War.’’
Sourced By: The Weekend Australian