Corporate Governance

Overview

Ariana considers that its primary responsibilities are to its stakeholders: its shareholders and employees, and the communities and environment in which it operates. More specifically, Ariana adheres to sound corporate governance policies and aims to communicate transparently and effectively with its stakeholders.  

The Ariana Board of Directors aims to conform to statutory responsibilities and industry good practice in relation to corporate governance of Ariana and its subsidiaries. The Board has adopted the latest version of the QCA Corporate Governance Code (2018) (“QCA Code”) and strives to follow the 10 principles outlined within it to the fullest extent possible taking into consideration the stage of development of the Company. It also seeks guidance from its advisers on recommended best corporate governance practice for AIM companies. To learn more, go to Corporate Governance in the AIM rule section of this website. 

Ariana also:

  • Maintains a high standard of technical best-practice in its exploration and development activities and adheres to international standards where applicable.
  • Embraces a socially responsible and beneficial approach to health and safety, the environment and community support in its areas of operation.
  • Recognises the importance of its employees and the need to attract and continue to challenge its exceptionally talented people.
  • Is committed to best-practice in socially responsible exploration and in the development of mineral resources, to the benefit of the local communities, wherever they may occur.

Ariana attaches great importance to the communities within which we work. We are grateful for their support and involvement in our exploration and development activities. Where beneficial, Ariana has a policy to enhance communities through certain schemes.

Examples of these schemes include:

  • Hire and training of workers from local village communities to support our exploration programmes.
  • Rental of machinery from local communities to support our drilling and other exploration programmes.
  • Landowners are fairly compensated for disruption to their land and all disrupted sites are suitably rehabilitated after our work programmes have been completed.
  • Certain excess materials from our exploration programmes are donated to local villages as a part of our community support effort.

Prior to the commencement of any major programme of work, we consult extensively with local people. We keep them informed of our activities at every stage, to ensure awareness of our progress. Official establishments, such as the Offices of Local Government and the Mayoral Office, Gendarmerie, Fire and Forestry departments are consulted on key aspects of our work programmes before they are initiated.

Sustainability

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Corporate Responsibility

Since commencing work on our Red Rabbit Gold Project, which includes the Kiziltepe gold mine, Ariana has been committed to building strong links with local communities and to establishing relationships of trust with stakeholders across Turkey.  In addition, the Company has in place an Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Policy. Since inception, we have been committed to socially responsible and environmentally conscious exploration and mining.  Whilst work on establishing vital stakeholder links often occurs in the background, its importance cannot be under-estimated.  Without such concerted efforts over many years, we would not be in the strong position of having an operating a gold mine today. 

Shareholders

The Board of Directors actively encourages communications with shareholders and seeks to protect shareholders’ interests at all times. There are regular opportunities to engage directly with shareholders at the Annual General Meeting and at investor events and shows throughout the year. The Company also updates shareholders via regulatory news, financial reports, director Q&As and social media updates. 

Employees

Ariana has always attached great importance to professional development and the creation of employment in the localities where we operate. The Company provides fair remuneration, flexible working arrangements where practical and exposure to wider aspects of the Company’s operations. The Company gives full and fair consideration to applications for employment received irrespective of age, gender, colour, ethnicity, disability, nationality, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. The Board also welcomes interest and suggestions from employees, which can improve business performance.

Ariana has a strong track-record for developing young geologists in the early stages of their careers.  We know that investing in today’s graduates will lead to tomorrow’s exploration leaders.  Ariana itself has benefited from students who have gone on to take up leadership roles within the Company.  Every year, Ariana has typically invited two British and two Turkish undergraduates to take summer internships with our exploration team. This has proved to be a highly successful programme and has also reinforced our relationships with universities both in the UK and in Turkey.

Ariana has also sponsored a PhD thesis on the gold metallogenesis of western Turkey and has supported several MSc students with projects based on our operations in western Turkey. Our ability to attract and retain a talented team has enabled us to explore at half the cost of our industry peer group.

Local Community

Ariana has a strong track record of working with local suppliers and employing local people. Ariana has run many training programmes to focus on the mechanical, physical, technical and safety aspects of its exploration programmes. The Joint Venture company, Zenit Madencilik, employs local personnel, including professionally qualified mining engineers, from nearby villages and towns.  All visitors to the mine are required to complete a mine safety test before they are permitted to access the mine site. 

Working with the local community to promote educational standards has also been a priority for Ariana.  Since 2010, a highly experienced member of our joint venture company, Zenit Madencilik, has been committed full-time to the development of local stakeholder engagement in the Sindirgi area.  His unremitting efforts to build local links and guide environmentally responsible policies, mean that he is now a highly regarded member of the local community.  

Through our joint venture we actively support Sindirgi Elementary School as part of our CSR policy.  In addition, our joint venture sponsors the Sindirgi High School magazine and the Sindirgi Book Fair.  The joint venture  also supports the community through its sponsorship of firefighting equipment.  Firefighting is an important local issue, as much of the upland area in the vicinity of the mine is covered in protected pine forests.

Suppliers & Contractors

The Company has a prompt payment policy and seeks to ensure that all liabilities are settled within the supplier’s terms. Through fair dealings the Company aims to cultivate the goodwill of its contractors, consultants and suppliers.

The Environment and Environmental Standard Compliance

Ariana has established operating guidelines to ensure that specific environmental standards are met by its exploration and mining teams.  Ariana is also a founder member of the Gold Miners’ Association of Turkey and a subscriber to e3 Plus: A Framework for Responsible Exploration (https://www.pdac.ca/priorities/responsible-exploration/e3-plus).  We comply with various local environmental standards in Turkey and operate under the relevant certification from government departments accordingly.  

Human Rights

Ariana is committed to best-practice in socially and ethically responsible exploration and mining for the benefit of all stakeholders. The activities of the Company are in line with applicable laws on human rights. 

Health and Safety

Company activities are carried out in accordance with its Health and Safety Policy, which adheres to all applicable laws. Relevant to their job roles, members of the team have received certification in occupational health and safety, advanced off-road driving, first-aid and survival.

Technology

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We have been an early adopter and leading user of the following key exploration technologies:

Remote-Sensing

ASTER satellite data analysis and interpretation in 2003 and 2004, which was used to identify areas of hydrothermal alteration across Turkey, lead to our first exploration licence applications.  This remote-sensing work also identified the prospectivity of the Kiziltepe and Salinbas areas, among others, upon which we are still continuing to work. 

Field-Portable XRF

First use of Olympus Delta XRF by our team in 2011 enabled the direct targeting of mineralisation in the field and enabled optimal sampling of drill core and RC samples during several drilling programmes since 2012.  We have also used the XRF to enhance our geological mapping and interpretations and have recently purchased a second XRF unit, an Olympus Vanta, which is even more sensitive for the direct determination of gold.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones)

The Company first used fixed-wing drones in 2012 and is currently using quadcopter drones extensively for field-mapping and surveying applications.  The Company currently has six registered drone pilots in Turkey capable of operating drones such as the DJI Mavic Air and Phantom 4 Pro RTK.  We are looking to expand the capability of our drone operations to encompass both exploration and production applications.  

Track-mounted mobile drilling

The Company adapted a Sandvik DE-130 underground diamond drilling rig for surface drilling applications in 2008 in an effort to achieve more flexibility and improved costs on a US$/m basis.  The rig was mounted on remotely operated tracks and the diesel engine was modified for air-cooling of the on-board hydraulic systems.  The rig has been used extensively across our project areas up to 2016 and since 2018 is the subject of a partnership with Mt. Magnet Drilling of Australia, who now provide both RC and diamond drilling services to the company at preferential rates.  Our all-in drilling costs are currently c. US$80/m for NQ diamond core and c. US$55/m for RC, to depths of 200m or more, anywhere in Turkey.

The above technologies have significantly contributed towards our exploration success rate and our ability to keep our exploration costs as low as possible (currently US$15/oz).  All of these technologies are united by their low relative cost and their direct application to the discovery of mineralisation.  While the Company has also used geophysical methods (particularly electrical) from time to time, they are indirect approaches and relatively expensive.  The Company is yet to make a discovery from a geophysical anomaly alone.