Monday, September 25, 2017

UK gold mining firm predicts delay in securing permits

London-listed gold and mineral exploration company Aurasian Minerals expects delays in the approval of three exploration permits in Myanmar, according to a shareholder statement.

The company has identified the three prospective zones totalling 1900 square kilometres, following a study carried out in cooperation with US firm Newmont, according to a statement made by chair Bruce Kay.

“The executive team, based in Australia and the Philippines, has completed a thorough review of Myanmar … and has identified large areas that are considered to be prospective for copper and gold deposits,” said Mr Kay. “We expect that the approval process will initially be slow because of provincial issues, the national political transition and the ongoing revision of the Myanmar Mines Law,” he said.

Approval of the Mining Amendment Bill has been repeatedly delayed, and was suspended by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in June. Disagreements have centered on whether licences should be granted to mining companies for 15 or 25 years.

The current law is seen as offering little certainty to potential foreign investors.

In January, Aurasian Minerals told shareholders that its applications to explore for copper, gold and silver had been registered and that no other company would be able to lodge a claim for the same areas.

However, due to the “current security situation”, the applications are currently on hold, said the announcement.

“When the areas have been given security clearance the authorities have indicated that they will then process the applications, after excising the jade and gem mining concessions that currently exist over the areas applied for.”

Aurasian Minerals has an agreement with Newmont to use the firm’s high resolution geochemical exploration technology which “has been instrumental in making many copper and gold discoveries worldwide”, according to Mr Kay.

The company is also in discussions with authorities and local licenced companies about other business opportunities.

Aurasian Minerals is a gold and mineral exploration company operating in Southeast Asia, which listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 2004.

Newmont is the world’s second-largest gold miner, with a market capitalisation of more than US$10 billion.