MAC: Mines and Communities

London Calling on a win for gold - rather than the Great Game

Published by MAC on 2013-06-13
Source: Nostromo Research, Bloomberg

It's surely the only Great Game worth playing?

However, football (soccer, that's to say, not its US pretence) has had its image distinctly tarnished over recent years.

This is not just because of the exposure of massive corruption at the heart of the international football regulatory body, FIFA.

Arguably even worse have been injections of ill-gotten funds into two London premier football clubs, by two eastern European mining oligarchs.

Roman Abramovich owns Chelsea Football Club, while being one of the largest equity owers anywhere in dubious steel and gold enterprises.

Lesser-known, but even richer than Abramovich, is Alisher Usmanov, who's number one shareholder in  Chelsea's north London rival, Arsenal.

Now, Didier Drogba, one of soccer's most accomplished younger players, has performed a sort of reverse tackle, buying a 5% stake in an Ivory Coast gold mine called Ity.

And, to do this,  he's used a significant chunk of what he earned by playing as a striker for Chelsea during 2012. 

Being an Ivorien citizen, Didier Drogba is at least putting some of this lucre into the country where he was born and nurtured.

As for the man who actually heads the team behind the Ity gold venture, don't expect any such loyalty from him.

Naguib Sawiris is an Egyptian billionaire whose mining investment outfit, La Mancha Resources (sic), is registered thousands of miles away in Montreal, Canada.

For more on Roman Abramovich see:

For more on Alisher Usmanov see:


Didier Drogba buys 5% stake in Ivory Coast gold mine

Baudelaire Mieu & Olivier Monnier


10 June 2013

Didier Drogba, an Ivorian footballer and former striker for London's Chelsea, bought a 5 percent stake in the Ity gold mine in Ivory Coast as part of a sale of state assets to a company led by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, a government official said.

Drogba, who won the European Champions League with Chelsea in 2012 and currently plays for Turkey's Galatasaray, made the investment through a company called Didier Drogba Group, Bruno Kone, a government spokesman, said by phone today from Abidjan, the commercial capital. Drogba, 35, has served as the captain of Ivory Coast's national soccer team, known as the elephants

Ivory Coast sold part of its holding in the mine to a group including Canadian miner La Mancha Resources Inc., Drogba's company and other private investors, Kone said. Sawiris is the chairman of Montreal-based La Mancha.

La Mancha will now control 55 percent of the mine, an increase from the 45.9 percent it previously held, Kone said. Ivory Coast will 35 percent while private investors hold 10 percent.

Ity, which is in the west of Ivory Coast, has been open since 1991 and had the capacity to produce 31,000 ounces of gold last year, according to La Mancha's website.

--With assistance from Olivier Monnier in Abidjan. Editors: Dulue Mbachu, Antony Sguazzin

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