Proactive news summary including Gasol, Rambler Metals, Stratex International, Blur Group and Pan African Resources


A mixed bag came out of the news tap on Wednesday with miners. Gasol (LON:GAS) shares were up 11% in early deals despite the disappointing news that a major acquisition would not go ahead.

The proposed acquisition of the Energie de Côte d'Ivoire business from GDF SUEZ will not go ahead, because pre-emption rights have been taken up.

Basically, that means third parties had the right to choose to buy the asset ahead of any agreed sale, and in this case that option was taken up.

The proposed reverse takeover was worth US$116mln, and would’ve been partially funded by a US$76mln debt deal with Deutsche Bank.

Gasol, which currently has a stock market value of £6mln, is to receive US$2mln in break fees as a result of the pre-emption and will also get back the US$2mln deposit it paid when it agreed the first deal.

After early gains the stock was up 2.72% at 18.875p.

Elsewhere, Blur Group (LON:BLUR) has grown its finance and payments teams following the resignation of the s-commerce specialist’s chief financial officer.

Mitch Faigen becomes the company’s Chief Strategy and Finance Officer, having joined blur at the end of 2012.

Faigen, who has more than 15 years’ experience as a chief financial officer, will be joined in the company’s Southern California Strategy Center by Stuart Chun, who is now a Senior Analyst Strategy and Business Intelligence.

James Porter, who joined blur’s headquarters in Exeter as Group Financial Controller, will now oversee all internal finance jobs.

Barbara Spurrier, Director of Financial Reporting, becomes responsible for external financial reporting and continues her role as company secretary.

The reshuffle follows the resignation of chief financial officer James Davis who cited family reasons for not being able to relocate to the new headquarters. He leaves after joining as CFO in July last year.

In mining, Pan African Resources (LON:PAF) saw its interim results boosted by the first full contribution from the Evander acquisition made last February.

Net profit jumped 40% to £17.3mln as the amount of gold sold more than doubled for the African-focused precious metals producer.

“The increase from previous year’s production largely reflects the incorporation of the Evander acquisition which also shows corresponding increases in gold reserves and resources,” said broker Peel Hunt.

Peel Hunt said operating cash costs, which fell to US$834 an ounce from US$856/oz, had not yet reflect the recent devaluation in the South African rand in which over 60% of operating costs are based. 

“We would expect this effect to flow through into operating costs in the coming months,” it said.

Meanwhile, Numis Securities said the company’s operations appear to be performing well with Evander now moving into a lower grade area, while commenting that Barberton is steady and the tailings retreatment plant at Barberton had also been commissioned.

“Another solid set of results from the South African gold miner,” it said.

Pan African’s resources were up fivefold to 35Moz and reserves up sevenfold to 9.2Moz, with the addition of Evander, it noted.

Finncap said the results were in line with expectations and that it does not anticipate making any material changes to its full-year forecasts based on a US$1,400/oz gold price.

As Richland Resources (LON:RLD) updated on its operations fourth quarter the company said it is focusing on bringing high value areas of the mine back into production.

The gemstone miner is getting back on track in Tanzania after illegal mining had led to the closing off of large sections of the mine as the operation became too unsafe to continue.

In the fourth quarter tanzanite production totalled 1.095mln carats, up from 795,162 carats in the same period of the year before. Grades also improved to 166.05 carats per tonne, from 102 carats in Q4 2012.

Richland achieved sales of US$2.7mln in the quarter.

Importantly during the quarter a ten year deal was agreed with state owned mining company STAMICO, which is helping clear the illegal mining.

Mandalay Resources (TSE:MND) ended 2013 with almost double the amount of cash it had at the end of the previous year as the Canadian-listed company continued to generate cash amid lower metal prices.

Its cash balance at year-end grew to US$33.5mln, from US$17.3mln in 2012, even after paying dividends, repurchasing shares and spending US$41.3mln on capex and exploration.

"Mandalay has delivered strong production and operating cost performance during the fourth quarter and throughout 2013,” said chief executive Brad Mills. “This allowed the company to deliver robust financial results even with the significantly lower prices realized in 2013 compared to 2012.”

Profit and revenue fell for the year due to lower metal prices, although the losses were partially offset by higher volumes sold at both of the company’s mines.

Armadale Capital (LON:ACP) said the development of its Mpokoto gold project has accelerated and that results from initial metallurgical studies were “highly encouraging”.

It said the metallurgical results from the Democratic Republic of Congo-based project suggested that weathered and oxide ore could be amenable to gravity separation and so generate higher recoveries at lower costs.

The tests indicate that recoveries of up to 80% are achievable and that a limited use of chemicals could considerably reduce the overall cost of processing the ore.

“Our ambitious development strategy at our flagship Mpokoto project is bearing fruit for the company, with these latest results further enhancing the value of this asset and driving development forwards with the aim of commencing commercial production within 24 months,” said director Justin Lewis.

Canada focused Rambler Metals & Mining (LON:RMM, CVE:RAB) saw copper production rise from its Ming mine in Newfoundland amid extreme cold weather in the latest quarter.

Production of copper concentrate totalled 6,818 tonnes in the (fiscal) second quarter, which is a 3% increase on the previous quarter and a 71% jump from the same quarter the year before.

The amount of dry tonnes milled fell 8% from the preceding three months to 50,957 tonnes, resulting in production of 1,978 tonnes of copper, 1,551 ounces of gold, and 10,764 ounces of silver.

It came as freezing conditions swept across North America, hitting Canada further to the north particularly hard.

The company reiterated its full-year production guidance despite this.

Stratex International (LON:STI) announced positive drill results from the Dalafin gold project in Senegal after completing 57 holes on three key zones: Faré, Baytilaye and Saroudia.

The best drill results from the Faré South prospect included 14 metres (m) of gold at 2.94 grammes a tonne (g/t), 59.6m at 2.2g/t, 13.5m at 2.31g/t and 96m at 1.51g/t, all near or at the surface.

“These latest drilling results for Faré South continue to indicate the existence of a substantial mineralised gold system that appears to be associated with a porphyry complex,” said chief executive Bob Foster. “The long intersections being returned are very encouraging indeed and follow-up drilling will be a priority.

“We are also reviewing the data from the Baytilaye and Saroudia target areas, as these shorter, lower-grade intersections could still be indicative of concealed mineralisation."

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