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Ian Harris

COLOMBIA - Energy & Mining

Ian Harris

President & CEO, Libero Copper

Bio

Ian Harris has been President & CEO of Libero Copper and Gold since 2021 and led the successful re-activation strategy for the restart of exploration at the Mocoa Copper and Molybdenum Porphyry Project. He is a mining engineer with over 25 years of experience leading mining projects worldwide, including 15 years working and living in South America. Previously, he served as CEO of AMAK Mining and Para Resources. Harris was also senior vice president & country manager of Corriente Resources.

"Libero Copper is focused on copper in the Americas, with assets in British Columbia, Canada; San Juan, Argentina; and Putumayo, Colombia."
Libero Copper is focused on copper production in the Americas, with the goal of establishing a production chain for copper and ultimately develop a complete supply chain.
What is the focus of Libero Copper, and where does the company fit within the Latin American and Colombian mining ecosystems?

Libero Copper is focused on copper in the Americas, with assets in British Columbia, Canada; San Juan, Argentina; and Putumayo, Colombia. Our flagship by far is the Mocoa project in Putumayo because it already has an established resource. It contains over 2 million tons of copper and over 200,000 tons of molybdenum. Mocoa is one of the largest resources of copper in Colombia and one of the biggest undeveloped molybdenum resources on the planet. Looking to the future, our goal and strategy are to establish production chains underpinned by game-changing style deposits that have the potential to significantly impact the world’s green energy transition.

What is the scope of the investment by Anglo Asian Mining PLC and its impact on Libero’s operations moving forward?

The energy transition in Colombia is not just about how power is produced, but about the transition to new prime industries and a transitional energy production chain. That is where we are heavily focused on currently. Our goal as a company, which is closely aligned with the government, is to not just develop a copper project, but a production chain based on copper. This is where Anglo Asian comes into the picture. It understands and can think outside the box in project development. Many other companies would only focus on exploration; however, we are looking at developing a project that underpins a production chain. Anglo Asian can provide a massive resource because it operates projects that are significant for the territories it works in as well. Its access to expertise is extremely invaluable, and as our largest shareholder, it will be a strong ally to Libero.

How significant is the local market to the company’s broader portfolio of operations, which spans Canada, Argentina, and Colombia?

There is not much access to the Colombian market, which is challenging. We would like to explore having a dual listing, for example. We are looking at joint ventures and the creation of new companies. We also expect a higher Colombian component. We are also investors in Hakuna, which makes electric scooters, because we see them as proof of concept. If we can create the motors that it currently imports, then it would be a truly Colombia-based electric scooter company that can expand further because it has access to the raw materials that are required. The supply chain will move everything forward in the future and is a critical component.

How does the tension between supply and demand for copper impact your outlook moving forward?

Many in the copper industry are excited because they expect the price of copper to boom; however, if copper prices go up, so will electric motor prices. If there is a guarantee of supply in a scarce market, then investment will flow accordingly. If it takes advantage of its natural resources to create a production chain and transform those raw materials into metallic copper, then Colombia will have a massive strategic advantage over other countries.

What are some of Libero Copper’s priorities for 2023?

Our priority is definitely Colombia. We are focused on the establishment of a production chain based on recycled copper in Putumayo and continuing to work in partnership with the government, universities, local communities, green tech start-ups, and others to co-develop projects. The target is a production chain and not merely extraction alone. Developing a production chain is the most important component of understanding the raw material supply requirements. The chief priority is to make sure we establish a complete supply chain from recycled copper through an electric motor that goes into a Hakuna vehicle. The next step is then to diversify that same chain into recycled copper. We plan to build up our experience, build up knowledge, and co-develop a strategy together.

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