Company Dynamic

Company Statement

Landore Resources Limited (“Landore”) is the holding company of Landore Resources Inc (“Landore Canada”), a Canadian based company engaged in mineral exploration and development, with the present focus of its operations being mineral exploration in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, Canada. Landore Canada’s principal properties are the “Junior Lake Property” and the Miminiska Lake Property”, both located in the Thunder Bay Mining District, Ontario, Canada. Landore Canada is also the owner of other properties in Canada containing gold and base metal drill intersections.

Landore is a newly incorporated company, formed in February 2005 for the purpose of effecting a court approved arrangement (“Arrangement”) with Landore Canada pursuant to which the Company’s shares have been admitted to trading on AIM. Pursuant to the Arrangement all of the Landore Canada shareholders have exchanged the shares that they held in Landore Canada for Ordinary Shares in the Company and the Company is now the sole shareholder of Landore Canada.

Landore Canada was incorporated in March 1996 and has a wholly owned subsidiary, Brancote US Inc, which holds 10 mineral properties in Nevada in the US. These properties include grass roots exploration areas as well as defined drill targets. Landore Canada has financed its activities to date principally through a series of private placements. The funds previously raised by Landore Canada have been used to finance exploration and development activities on Landore Canada’s properties in Canada and the US.

Current Operations

The Group’s objective is to become a successful mineral explorer and create capital growth for Shareholders through the discovery of economic mineral deposits.

Landore Canada will continue to focus on the continuing exploration of the Junior Lake Property and the Miminiska Lake Property. The funds raised in connection with the Placing will be used to explore and develop Landore Canada’s properties and fund the Group’s general and administrative expenses.

Board of Directors and Key Management

William H. Humphries – Chairman
Richard Ö Prickett – Chief Executive Officer and Finance Director
R. James Garber – Non-Executive Director
Charles E. Wilkinson – Non-Executive Director
Helen F. Green – Non-Executive Director

Major Shareholders

W H Humphries 6.74%, R Ö Prickett 4.48%,Hargreave Hale Limited 4.99%, J P Morgan Fleming 4.99%,
Taheh Holdings Limited 3.49%, Warrant Trustees Limited 3.26%
as at 06/04/05

Joint Venture Agreement implemented with BHP Billiton

Petra Diamonds Limited (‘Petra’ or ‘the Company’), the AIM quoted diamond mining group, announces the implementation of the formal Joint Venture Agreement with BHP Billiton World Exploration Inc (‘BHP Billiton’) regarding the Alto Cuilo diamond project in north eastern Angola.

On Tuesday 30 November BHP Billiton subscribed for 901,060 shares in the Company at a price of 88.2 pence per share. The price was based on the average of the closing mid-market prices of Petra’s shares for the ten dealing days to 26 November 2004.

Application has been made for these shares to be admitted for trading on AIM and dealings are expected to commence on 6 December 2004.

As announced on 14 September 2004, under the terms of the Joint Venture Agreement BHP Billiton can, by investing up to US$60 million in the JV vehicle (‘Vehicle’) which holds Petra’s share in Alto Cuilo, acquire a share of up to 75% of the Vehicle.

Petra has, to date, focused its work on the area around the Mussunuige-Luangue river interfluve (‘the ML Complex’) in which Petra, along with its Angolan partners Endiama and Moyoweno, has already established the presence of a diamondiferous kimberlite and alluvial complex. Under the terms of the Joint Venture, BHP Billiton will work with the Company to undertake regional exploration on the balance of the concession and to develop the ML Complex further.

Adonis Pouroulis, Chairman of Petra Diamonds, commented, “Further to the announcement of the Joint Venture terms on 14 September, we are delighted to have completed the formal Joint Venture Agreement with BHP Billiton. This is a very exciting project and although exploration is still at an early stage, results so far have been encouraging. Along with BHP Billiton, we hope to expedite exploration on the Alto Cuilo project and look forward to obtaining further definition of the deposits. ”

~ Ends ~

For further information, please contact:

Adonis Pouroulis / David Abery
Petra Diamonds
Tel: +27 11 467 6710 Cathy Malins / Annabel Leather
Parkgreen Communications
Tel: +44 20 7493 3713

Philippine Supreme Court Opens for Increases Foreign Ownership in Mining Projects

LONDON, United Kingdom, DATE: December 3rd 2004. Crew Gold Corporation (“Crew”) (TSE & OSE: CRU; Frankfurt: KNC; OTC-BB- other: CRUGF.PK.

On December 1st 2004, the Supreme Court of the Philippines reversed an earlier negative decision on the Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) where foreign companies can enter into an agreement with the government owning up to 100% of a mining project.

The President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapgal-Arroyo said the decision of the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the Mining Act would attract investments, which would “boost jobs and productivity” in the rural areas, citing that the Philippines ranked number three in gold production, number four in copper, number five in nickel, and number six in chromite deposits.

For Crew’s two development projects in the Philippines; the Mindoro Nickel Deposit (MNP) and The Pamplona Sulphur Project (PSP) the decision has been welcomed as very good news. Crew and its Philippine associated companies have for several months held ongoing discussions with potential partners on both projects. We believe the Supreme Court decision will help these discussions to be concluded.

Further more Crew has for some time worked on identifying gold projects in the Philippines. Again with the present Supreme Court favourable decision we hope to be able to materialize on this work.  

Jan A. Vestrum

President & CEO

This news release contains certain “Forward-Looking Statements”. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included in this release, and/or statements made by company officers or directors at any given time, as well as Crew’s future plans are such forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the date the statements are made, and Crew does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements should conditions or management’s estimates or opinions change. For more information please contact our UK Head Office (TEL +44 -1932 268755) or by email to For more information about Crew, additional contact information or to subscribe to future news releases, please visit our new website

BacTech And Medusa Provide Dizon Tailings Update

TORONTO, ONTARIO – Dec. 2, 2004 – BacTech Mining Corporation (TSX VENTURE:BM) (“BacTech”) today announced a progress report for the Dizon tailings project in the Philippines. The Dizon project is located 100 km northwest of Manila near Olongapo City at Subic Bay. BacTech and Medusa Mining Limited (“Medusa”) previously entered into a Joint Venture Memorandum of Understanding to focus on the identification of refractory gold-copper deposits in the Philippines that are amenable to BacTech’s bioleaching process. The Dizon Project is the first project to be evaluated by the joint venture.

The Dizon project operated as a 50/50 joint venture between Dizon Copper and Silver Mines Inc. (“DCSMI”) and Benguet Consolidated Inc. (“Benguet”) from 1979 to 1997 and mined 110 million tonnes of ore. The mill tailings are impounded at the head of a valley behind an earth wall dam, and at their deepest point are 126 metres deep. Benguet has subsequently withdrawn from the joint venture and returned 100% ownership to DCSMI. Medusa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with DCSMI to evaluate the potential of retreating the Dizon tails for metal recovery.

Medusa has completed a sample drilling program on the upper 50 metres of the Dizon tails whereby 578 metres of Denison tube coring was undertaken over 12 holes to recover 800 kilograms of tailings material. The cored tailings samples were collected, logged onsite by a Medusa geologist, packaged, and transported to the Manila laboratory of McPhar Geoservices Inc. (“McPhar Geoservices”), where they were dried and composited into two groups of samples per hole. McPhar Geoservices assayed the 24 samples for gold, silver, total sulphur, silica and a suite of base metals. These samples have been forwarded to Perth, Australia to undergo metallurgical testwork including bioleaching work on the sulphides.

The composite grades from the 24 drillhole samples show good consistency in grade and have returned average values of 0.3 g/t gold 0.6 g/t silver and 0.074 % copper, which are similar to previous estimates based on historic mill operating data. In addition, the tailings also contain approximately 4% magnetite. Gravity concentrates from 5 of the core composite samples have returned head grade estimates of 2.7 to 11.6 g/t gold due to the presence of free gold.

A conceptual model for metal recovery consisting of a mineral sands mining and gravity processing operation to recover free gold, magnetite and sulphides is being considered by the joint venture. Testwork is now planned to obtain further details on processing alternatives for the gold and magnetite, as well as processing the sulphides to recover additional metal. Results of the first stage test results are expected in the first quarter of 2005.

The sample drilling program was conducted under the supervision of Geoff J. Davis of Medusa Mining Limited, a member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists. Mr. Davis is a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101.


BacTech has developed and patented bioleach technology for the treatment of refractory ores and concentrates over the past 16 years to enhance the recovery of gold, silver and base metals. BacTech has successfully commissioned three bioleach plants for gold and successfully demonstrated its technology in the selective recovery of base metals from complex sulphide concentrates in a joint project with Industrias Penoles de C.V. of Mexico.

BacTech acquired a 55% stake in Tonkin Springs LLC, the owner of the Tonkin Springs gold project in north central Nevada, in July 2003. BacTech has also acquired an option on 100% of the McKinnon Creek polymetallic deposit near Revelstoke, British Columbia. Finally, BacTech has entered into a series of agreements in China and the Philippines that could see the Company participating in certain projects.


Except for statements of historical fact relating to the Corporation, certain information contained herein constitutes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as “plan,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “believe,” “anticipate” and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions “may” or “will” occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These factors include the inherent risks involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties, the uncertainties involved in interpreting drilling results and other ecological data, fluctuating metal prices, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future and other factors described in the section entitled “General Development of the Business of the Company – Risks of the Business” in the Corporation’s annual information form dated May 17, 2004. Circumstances or management’s estimates or opinions could change. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Shares Outstanding 37,447,412


BacTech Mining Corp.
Ross Orr
President & CEO
(416) 813-0303
Linear Capital Corporation
Phil Williams
Toll Free: (877) 600-6001
Direct: (416) 364-2266

Oriel Receives First Round of Drill Hole and Trench Assay Results from the Kupol Gold Project, Urup Island

Oriel Receives First Round of Drill Hole and Trench Assay Results from the Kupol Gold Project, Urup Island.

Oriel Receives First Round of Drill Hole and Trench Assay Results from the Kupol Gold Project, Urup Island.

Dr Sergey V Kurzin, the Chairman and CEO of Oriel Resources PLC (“Oriel”) said today “we are pleased to announce the initial results of Oriel’s exploration and drilling campaign for the 2004 season on the Urup Project in the Kuril Islands. The campaign was completed despite inclement weather conditions, permitting issues and the necessity to set up a mining camp on an uninhabited island. As a result drilling did not commence until late August 2004.”

During the limited seasonal campaign 15 drill holes were completed and the assays for the first two drill holes received so far are shown below in addition to the assays for the first two of the 9 trenches completed.

The results from the first 271 samples of the 2004 drilling and trenching program at Kupol during the summer, which was completed in September, are as follows:

Hole ID Type From m To m Interval Au g/t
KPDD1 Drill Hole 2.6 58.4 55.8 3.97
KPDD1 includes 3.6 28.1 24.5 6.45
KPDD1 includes 9.6 16.8 7.2 11.7

KPDD2 Drill Hole 0.8 17.8 17 2.0

KPTR6 Trench 0 19.8 19.8 15.5
KPTR6 includes 0 6 6 30

KPTR8 Trench 0 17 17 5.3
KPTR8 includes 0 6 6 9.24

The 2004 field program comprised the following work,
• 604m of channel sampling from 9 separate trenches (633 samples).
• 15 diamond drill holes with a total length of 2,015.25m (1,656 samples)
• Detailed geological mapping and ground geophysics.

The mineralized body at Kupol had been interpreted by the Sakhalin Geological Institute as a +150m long by 50m wide mineralized body dipping at approximately 65 degrees to the east, and interpreted as extending to a depth of 100m or more below the surface. However, as a result of the geological mapping and drilling completed during the 2004 program, Oriel has reinterpreted the mineralized body as being a relatively flat-lying 10 to 20m thick zone, covering an area of approximately 150 by 100 metres, bounded along the west side by sea-cliffs. Since the intensity and grade of mineralization increases to the west, we interpret this as indicating that the bulk of this particular deposit has been eroded away. In view of this reinterpretation, Oriel has decided to pause the 2004 drilling program at 2,015 metres total length to allow Oriel to re-evaluate the Project once all the assay data becomes available in February 2005.

The original 70 square kilometre licence area has approximately ten additional exploration targets which will be evaluated beginning in 2005.

The Chairman and CEO, Dr Sergey V Kurzin said, “We are very encouraged that our original thoughts on the high grade, open pittable nature and good thickness of this deposit have been confirmed. However, the tonnage potential may be more limited than we originally thought, but reinterpretation has allowed us to identify high quality targets in the licence area for next season.

For further information, or to download the entire press release, please visit our website at or contact:

Sergey V Kurzin

Stephen R Dattels

18 Upper Brook Street. • London W1K 7PU • England
Telephone +44 (0) 20 7514 0590 Facsimile +44 (0) 20 7514 0591

Giralia Resources Is Only Aussie Junior Currently Involved In Uranium Exploration

For some time now the Australian government has stuck to a policy of only allowing three mines to produce uranium, , but demand from around the world as the price of uranium has risen may bring about a change of heart. The re-election of the Howard government, which now also has control of the Senate, could be a major factor, but a lot will still depend on State governments which control mining and export licences. South Australia has always been supportive and reaps handsome royalties from the Olympic Dam and Beverley mines and the Northern Territory takes the same attitude towards the Ranger mine operated by Energy Resources of Australia, which is itself 65 per cent owned by Rio Tinto. Western Australia, on the other hand, has been against any expansion of uranium exploration. There is an election in the offing, however, and this stance may change if Labour is thrown out.

In the past there have been more than ample supplies of enriched uranium for nuclear power stations around the world. Above-ground strategic stockpiles of the metal put aside by utilities and for use in nuclear weapons have been unwound and highly-enriched military uranium in decommissioned bomb arsenals diluted and reprocessed. As a result there has been a lack of investment in uranium exploration and mine development over the past 10 years or more. Things are now changing dramatically with higher oil and gas prices increasing the popularity of nuclear power. Above-ground stockpiles are now heavily depleted and rising demand has driven the world spot price for uranium oxide from US$7.10 per pound in late 2000 to US$15.50 at the beginning of this year and it is now above US$20/lb which is a 20-year high

This is no temporary blip as figures for the end of July showed that 30 reactors were in construction, another 32 were on order and 72 more were proposed. Japan, China and Taiwan are planning substantial increases in capability and all three are ideal markets for Australian producers. This puts a focus on Giralia Resources which is the only Australian junior involved in an active drilling programme for uranium as it has a 25 per cent free carried interest in tenements around the Beverley mine which produces around 700 tonnes a year of uranium oxide. Its partner is Heathgate Resources which owns and operates the Beverley mine and is related to the private US utility General Atomics.

The joint venture is exploring the Lake Frome property which covers some 2,000 sq kms around Beverley and is known to contain potential extensions of the mineralised palaeo channels being mined at Beverley. A drilling programme is now underway to assess the uranium potential and the regional/structural geology of areas to the south and east of the Beverley mine. Recent geophysical surveys have traced a well defined structural target called the Poontana fault on the Lake Frome tenements which is related to the regional setting of the Beverley uranium deposit. To date exploration has been a bit laid back as Heathgate was restrained from expanding its uranium operations. The possibility that the Australian government may open the door a bit wider for exports could be of great benefit to Giralia which is free carried up to a decision to mine.

Uranium is only a part of Giralia’s portfolio, however. Leading the rest is the 100 per cent owned Snake Well gold project which runs for 45 kms along strike of an under-explored greenstone belt in the West Murchison region of WA north east of Geraldton. The company has already delineated a gold resource of 2.49 million tonnes at 2 g/t gold for 160,000 contained ounces and drilling is in progress to extend known deposits and test new targets with first pass holes. Promising results have been received from drilling to extend the Mixy lode with an intersection of 12 metres at 5.4 g/t gold and 0.4 metres at 32.1 g/t with conspicuous visible gold. More results are awaited , but it is already clear that the resource will have increased significantly when the next estimate is announced.

Giralia is also earning into Haoma Mining’s Daltons nickel project in the Pilbara. At the moment diamond drilling is in progress to test conductor targets where previous high grade nickel-copper-sulphide intersections have been reported. The company is involved in a couple of other gold and nickel jvs and the only other wholly owned project is the Blue Rose copper – gold project in South Australia. Drill targets are being defined by ground gravity geophysical surveys with the focus on primary porphyry skarn and IOCG mineralization under extensive near-surface secondary copper intersections. Last, but not least ,the company has broken out of Australia and also owns the Ann Mason copper project in Nevada. Back in the 70s a porphyry copper resource of 495 million tonnes at 0.4% copper was estimated, but work since then has indicated a high grade core and data is currently being integrated. For the moment, however, it will be uranium that drives the share price.

Numis Securities Debates How A Weak US Dollar Affects China And Its Trading

Analyst John Meyer has produced an interesting paper which claims that collapse of the US dollar effectively renders China more competitive, driving growth BUT will not force Chinese re-valuation. The State Council and Communist Party State Central Committee will meet over the next few weeks at the central economic work conference in China to decide on general policy in the coming year.

At the forefront of the agenda will be the objective of maintaining stable economic growth and political and social stability. China , after all, does not have to concern itself with elections which cause swings in economic policy in the West. The huge investment in dollar bonds will also come under scrutiny as there has recently been growing evidence of a preference for Euros rather than US dollars for the country’s currency reserves. The point has already been made by the deputy governor of the Bank of China that there is no intention to devaluing the currency despite pressure from the Bush government and international markets.

The brokers are of the view that China has set its own internal targets at a rate of around 7 per cent -9 per cent in terms of growth in gross domestic product, and that it will stick to this come what may. This could allow 10 per cent -20 per cent metals demand growth within China, much of which will need to be sourced internationally.

There is bound to be some scare mongering from metals traders in Asia over potential Chinese re-valuation and over Chinese consumption levels. But it is Numis’s view that China will continue to consume substantial and increasing quantities of raw materials, particularly copper and steel related raw materials such as iron ore, nickel, manganese and chromite ores. These commodities are effectively forming the foundations of China’s new economic era and development and China is unlikely to consider the demands of the rest of the world in its drive to develop its infrastructure and economy.

While China is happy to trade with the rest of the world, its stated policy is to manage a relatively small trade surplus/deficit and to remain as independent as possible from the rest of the world. Fortunately for western mining companies China is relatively short of a number of key raw materials which it continues to import. Chinese mining concerns have been slow to discover new prospects and their safety record has not been good, so much so that the authorities were reported to be closing many small coal mines.

Mining may be one of the world’s oldest professions, but China appears to have lagged the west in the development of large-scale mining and exploration organisations. This may be due to the unusual expertise required to discover and develop efficient mining projects. Alternatively it may also be due to the difficulty in discovering prospects in a geology where there is a lack of rock outcrop and where overlying sand cover effectively masks underlying prospects from many geophysical techniques.

There is little doubt that Chinese miners, who traditionally worked in mines in Cornwall, the US and Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries, may now discover more in their back yard but the prevailing geology of China may continue to retain its riches and new discoveries may take some years to bring to fruition.

John Meyer concludes that the Chinese may therefore remain a net importer of many key raw materials for some years and that Western mining concerns should continue to benefit from a continuing high level of demand within the region. Bulk shipping companies and recycling businesses should also continue to fare well from a continuing increase in this trade as will miners which are able to operate in US-dollar based currency zones where they benefit from its weakness..

African Eagle Has An Iron Oxide Copper Gold Deposit

By The Tail At Eagle Eye And A Possible Gold Mine At Miyab

What with an extended rainy season, lack of drills and a queue a mile long at the assay lab it is not surprising that news from AIM listed African Eagle has been a bit sparse over the last few months. The share price suffered as impatient investors tried to make a fortune elsewhere, but they will probably now be wishing that they had stayed put as the company has released very encouraging news from both its Miyabi gold project in Tanzania and the Eagle Eye copper and gold project in Zambia. In the event the company wrong footed one or two commentators as the biggest expectations had been built up for Eagle Eye, but it is Miyabi which now shows every indication of becoming a mine. As a result African Eagle has swiftly made the flight from pure explorer to developer and the share price has been trying to catch up.

The drilling that has taken place at Miyabi has been concentrating on the Faida area in the south east of the Miyabi mineralised corridor. The object was to gain an accurate view of the stratigraphy and occurrence and nature of the gold mineralisation for input into a new resource calculation. The results speak for themselves. One hole intersected 58.3 metres grading 4.03 g/t gold, including a higher grade zone of 22.5 metres at 7.11 g/t which itself included an even higher grade intersection of 12.8 metres at 11.54 g/t. Another hole to the north ntersected 60.7 metres at 1.57g/t, including a central zone of 32.0 metres at 2.09 g/t and a third to the to the northeast intersected 61.2 metres grading 1.63 g/t, including 28.8 metres at 2.22 g/t.

The conclusions reached by the African Eagle team is that the holes drilled so far show that the gold mineralised zone has a true thickness of between 27 and 60 metres, a strike length of at least 300 metres and extends to a vertical depth of at least 120 metres. Geophysical surveys and soil geochemistry suggest that the mineralisation extends over at least 500 metres. Mark Parker, managing director, points to the results from the first hole as being significant as they appear to reveal a higher grade ‘ore shoot’ within the Faida gold zone. He goes on to point out that shoots of this type can add greatly to the total resource ounces of gold in a project but they may be only 100 to 200 metres long and 20 to 50 metres thick, which makes them difficult to find except by sustained and systematic drilling

Early in 2005 the company will complete the new resource estimate and it will obviously be whole lot bigger than the 140,000 ozs presently ascribed to Miyabi as it includes nothing from Faida. This is only the beginning, however, as Mark Parker believes that the gold-bearing corridor at Miyabi, which is 7kms in length and 2 kms wide, has the potential to host other important gold structures of the Faida type. A comprehensive database of geophysical, geological and geochemical data has been built up which will now be used to identify and target other possible gold structures for drilling. More work will also be carried out at Faida which is open at depth and to the east and may also be open to the west. These latest results also suggest that the gold mineralisation increases with depth and may plunge to the east.

The announcement about progress at the Eagle Eye project in Zambia actually contains the words ‘Iron Oxide Copper Gold deposits’ and the eyes of analysts will have been drawn to this very swiftly. The basic news is that the continuing geochemical, geophysical and other surveys show that zones of copper mineralisation and geochemically anomalous soils are considerably more extensive than previously considered. Newly defined zones identified from recent geochemical analysis of soils correspond to a major fold structure seen on the aeromagnetics and in the geological mapping. This fold structure is believed to be a favourable trap-site for potential mineralisation and the hinge of the fold is defined by a magnetic high on the airborne imagery suggesting a large zone of iron alteration characteristic of Iron Oxide Copper Gold Deposits.

Such deposits tend to be big and there are only about half a dozen in the world; Australia has two of them and Africa none. Olympic Dam has a resource of around 1 billion tonnes of copper and gold and Ernest Henry 170 million tonnes. People close to African Eagle see geological similarities with Ernest Henry which is a dipping breccia style deposit. To give an idea of scale it extracts 10 million tonnes/year of ore from an open pit operation and produces around 360,000 tonnes of concentrate containing 100,000 tonnes of copper and 125,000 ounces of gold a year..

Investors should not get over-excited as it is still early days. Eagle Eye has yet to determine priority targets over the fold hinge for drilling in 2005, but it is encouraging that first pass trenching along the northern limb of the fold structure near the hinge zone has returned 1.07% copper over 6 metres. As to size, well the new zones of copper mineralisation and anomalous soil geochemistry define the entire fold structure, which extends for some 13kms from the Eagle Eye/Mweze prospects on the north-western portion of the fold limb to the historic Sasare Gold Mine on the margin of the south-eastern limb. Chris Davies, operations director, reckons that the copper mineralisation in the soils extends for 25 kms. Time and Dr Drill will tell, but Eagle Eye has now moved up a league..

Trans-Siberian Gold Joins The Queue To List On AIM In October

So the Moscow Times was right and Trans-Siberian Gold is going to list on AIM in October. The broker and nominated adviser will be Collins Stewart who did a great job with Monterrico Metals and they will be assisted on the technical side by Loeb Aron. As the name suggests Trans-Siberian operates in Russia and acquired a number of projects a couple of years ago in the centre and far east of the country on attractive terms. As a private company it has raised US$12.5 million so far to advance these projects and is hoping to raise around £10 million at the time of listing according to managing director Jocelyn Waller.

After the problems mining companies have been encountering with titles of all sorts there is no doubt that investors will go through the prospectus with a tooth comb. Celtic Resources is now soaring ahead after sorting out its interest in the Nezhdaninskoye mine in Yakutia, but went through a long, dark period of intense legal and political battling to get to this stage. Now Highland Gold finds itself in a problem over the ownership of fixed assets in the Mnogovershinnoe gold mine which is Russia’s fourth largest producer. At the time of the listing questions were asked about title to certain assets, but assurances were given that everything was under control.

Now, more than six months later, a little announcement was put out over RNS that ‘Highland Gold has been in discussions with the Khabarovsk Administration for some time to acquire certain mining assets at the MNV mine, currently leased under a 15 year agreement, signed in 1998 with the Khabarovsk Administration.’ The fact that this minimalist statement was only put on RNS and not distributed as a press release raises concerns with cynical old journos that things are less than rosey. This is a spin tactic and Lord Daresbury, the chairman of Highland Gold, should have stamped on it as soon as it was suggested. Openness is always the best policy.

Doubtless Trans -Siberian will avoid such problems and it is interesting to note that it has no Russian partners in its projects. In Kamchatka, which is a sort of appendix that drops off the far eastern end of Russia towards Japan, the vendors still have a 10 per cent interest in the Asacha project covering 24 sq kms, but Trans-Siberian hopes to get full control at a later date. And it has certainly got 100 per cent of the nearby Rodnikova project to its south. Both are accessible by an all weather road and the Mutnovskoye power station, which attracted US$100 million of funding from the EBRD, sits between them.

Asacha has been explored extensively in Soviet times between 1973 and 1990 with trenching, diamond drilling and underground exploration by means of a 1,120 metre adit along the main vein. Since being acquired by Trans Siberian the resource has been measured to JORC standards and totals 1.74 million ounces of gold in the measured and indicated categories after silver credits and 2.58 million ounces of inferred gold resources. A feasibility study is in progress and the plan is to raise funding to develop an underground mine at Asacha by 2005 as it is on a hill and involves only a simple decline to access the free milling high grade ore. Based on the feasibility study the throughput would be 200,000 tones/year to produce 98,000 ounces of gold equivalent at a cash cost of US$160/oz.. Rodniskoye could then be developed as an open pit ancillary operation later on.

In the Krasnoyarsk region, which is to the north east of Kazakhstan, Trans -Siberian also has full control of the Veduga project where a feasibility for an open pit should be completed next year. The measured and indicated resource is 10.7 million tones grading 4.94 g/t gold to give 1.71 million ounces and metallurgical testing is in progress on the ore which is 52 per cent free gold and 45 per cent refractory. It appears to be amenable to flotation and tests on pressure oxidation have proved positive. This is a bigger project as 1.5 million tonnes of ore would be mined a year to produce just under 190,000 ounces of gold at a cash cost of around US$110/ounce.At a later date it would continue as an underground mine producing around 100,000 ounces of gold a year.

Full details of these projects and of the exploration potential of the ground surrounding them will be available in the prospectus. By that time also the application for the Nyuektaminskoye prospect in Yakutia, the same region in the far east. of Russia that contains Celtic’s Nezhdaninskoye mine, should have been granted. Again it appears that Trans- Siberian is going for full ownership and not a partnership with a Russian entity. Jocelyn Waller argues that there are effectively partnerships with local governments in Krasnoyarsk and Kamchatka through royalty payments, but this is not the same thing as the partnerships formed by peer companies such as Peter Hambro Mining and High River Gold. What Trans -Siberian does have is full control over interesting projects and a team of young Russian managers.

October is going to be a busy month as far as the mining sector of the AIM market is concerned.

Western World Would Be Unwise To Ignore Proposal For Gold Dinar Currency Among Islamic Countries

Just before the Organisation of Islamic Conference which is due to take place in Kuala Lumpur in October 2003 a number of Muslim countries, led by Malaysia, propose to introduce an electronic unit of value called a gold dinar to settle bilateral trade among themselves. The plan will be rubbished by members of the Bush administration who were brought up from birth to believe in the power of the almighty dollar, but the White House should reflect on the fact that there are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world and very few of them share America’s view of the dollar. Moreover Asia was developing as an economic power house in its own right until the financial crisis of 1997/8 and many leaders in these countries believe that they were destabilised by an overly strong dollar.

Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the economic adviser to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, announced the plan to an international conference in the last few days and the intention is to introduce it half way through next year. The idea may be in its infancy at the moment, but as Mao Tse Tung said, “A long journey starts with a single step.” The great appeal, not only in Asia but in the Middle East as well, is that it would offer Islamic countries a means of by- passing western currencies by using gold to settle bilateral trade. All these countries still retain the concept of gold as a store of value as evidenced by Indian wedding rites, purchases of gold by Thai farmers after good harvests and the number of shops selling bullion in Dubai.

America finds it hard to comprehend the resentment in these countries against the sheer power it wields in the world and this is exemplified in the dollar. If the conspiracy theorists are to be believed immense efforts have been made during the 90s by US banks and other institutions to detach gold from the global financial system and spin it off as a barbaric relic. Now the dollar is under pressure and the scales are falling from the eyes of those who put total faith in the paper IOUs of governments. Islam could not have chosen a better moment to offer an alternative currency.

The Malaysian Prime Minister views matters in a fairly simplistic way. Currently most world trade is settled using major currencies. The dollar has predominated and it has been followed by the pound sterling, yen and euro. The economies of the countries of the Middle East and Asia have been vulnerable to the exchange rate between their local currencies and these majors. “The gold dinar could be an important facilitating mechanism to help the smaller countries of the world move away from an inherently unstable and ultimately unjust global monetary system,” he said.

Central to the proposed plan is the requirement that central banks in member countries would settle dinar trade balances every three months by transferring the beneficial ownership of gold held in a custodian bank, such as the Bank of England. These central banks would then settle with exporters and importers in the local currency. According to Islamic law, the dinar is a specific weight of gold equivalent to 4.22 grams of pure gold (0.135 ounces) and its value is based on world demand for gold which would give it a value of US$42 at the moment..

Prime Minister Mahathir’s plan coincided with an announcement from the World Gold Council that Asia’s reserve-rich central banks are potential buyers of gold to diversify their reserve assets. At the moment , according to Ralston Thiedeman, head of the WGC’s Asia Pacific sector, Asia holds over half of the world’s near US$2.0 trillion of foreign exchange reserves and it is mostly held in low-yield U.S. dollar assets, and generally less than five percent in gold. Thiedeman said volatility in global financial markets, a weakening U.S. dollar and low U.S. interest rates were reasons for Asian central banks to diversify their portfolios. He might almost have been reading from the same hymn sheet as Mahathir Mohamad and it might therefore be realistic to suppose that these countries might be gearing up their gold reserves to support the dinar.

One can see the world weary veterans of the derivative markets who thought the bear market in gold would go on for ever shrugging their shoulders at such an idea, but they forget the wild card – China. Its basic industries such as steel are going gangbusters while the western world is in recession and the Bank of China is steadily increasing its gold reserves which still only amount to around 2 per cent of total reserves. Just suppose it decided to hook into the gold dinar idea. The balance of economic power might then shift from the west to the east. Such a move would take time, but it is a thought worth mulling over on the beaches this summer. As the man said, “Post September 11th things will never be the same again.”.