- Avocet Mining [LON:AVM] was the sector's biggest faller having revealed it had cut fees for non-executive directors to reflect the company's changed financial position and reduced market capitalisation.

The chairman's fee has been reduced from £110,000 to £70,000 and fees for non-executive directors have been cut from £40,000 to £30,000.

The company has also changed additional fees for committee chairmanships. The fee for the SHEC chairman has been increased from £10,000 to £15,000 while the fee for the audit committee chairman falls from £15,000 to £10,000. The fee for the remuneration committee chairman fall from £10,000 to £5,000 and the fee for the technical review committee chairman is unchanged at £15,000.

The revised fees have been backdated to 1 March.

The company says that Noël Harwerth will resign from the board at the end of December in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest with her other directorships. Harwerth is currently chairman of the remuneration committee. And Robert Pilkington has advised that he will stand down from the board at the next annual general meeting on 8 May after more than 18 years with the Avocet group.

Neither will be replaced and the board will continue with two executive directors, a non-executive chairman and three non-executive directors.

Anglo Asian Mining's [LON:AAZ] full year gold output at the Gedabek gold/copper/silver mine in Azerbaijan will be lower than target.

The company expects gold production to be around 52,000 oz compared with the previous target of 60,000 oz.

The company announced record gold production of 20,242 ounces in the third quarter following the commissioning of the agitation leaching plant in June.

But it says that due to unexpectedly high concentrations of copper in the ore, gold recovery was reduced in the fourth quarter because the copper preferentially consumed cyanide.

The company said it had also experienced unseasonably cold conditions (-15°C) at Gedabek, which had arrived earlier than previous years. This is the first year of operation of the newplant during winter months and there were instances of line and valve freezing that have now been mitigated.

Chief executive Reza Vaziri said: "Since its commissioning in June 2013, the Agitation Leaching Plant has performed well and has enabled us to increase our quarterly production and lower our operating costs.

"Naturally we are disappointed to report that we will marginally miss our FY2013 production target, however we believe our commencement of RC drilling to determine copper levels ahead of mining, and the determination of segregation and blending plans for this ore, will prevent a reoccurrence of this problem.

"It is also important to note that circa 15,000 ounces of gold production for Q4 2013 at Gedabek would result in production for H2 2013 of circa 35,000 ounces of gold, representing a doubling over H1 2013 gold production of 17,497 ounces. As such, the second half year production will have a positive impact on profitability despite the recent reduction in the gold price.

"In addition, mining development at our second gold development project, Gosha, 50 km away from away from Gedabek, which will feed into the new agitation leaching plant, is progressing well, with production expected to come on line in H1 2014.

"The improved knowledge of the ore characteristics and the plant operation will allow a review of the mining plans for the coming year with increased confidence, and the market will be updated in due course."

Tri-Star Resources [LON:TSTR] said a third party report confirmed that, at this preliminary stage, a gold roasting facility would be technically viable and could generate high economic returns, with an estimated NPV of $532m and an IRR of 31%.

In October, the company commissioned a technical and economic report on the potential feasibility of applying the antimony roasting technology developed by Tri-Star to treat refractory gold concentrate.

Refractory gold, or gold trapped in sulphide minerals, is a large market that now represents over 30% of the world's remaining gold resources in the ground.

Tri-Star has engaged with parties who have expressed interest in the gold roasting technologyand intends to explore further with them and other owners of refractory gold assets how it may best be able to monetise the value in this intellectual property.

Mariana Resources [LON:MARL] has announced further positive results with high grade intersections reported from scout drilling at Pucayacu, Condor de Oro copper-gold-molybdenum project, which is located along the prolific gold-copper Cordillera del Condor belt in northern Peru.

Highlights included:

- CDOYE 4 (355.5m) intersected high grade gold in hydrothermal breccia with 2m @ 61.5 g/t Au from 118.5m plus strongly anomalous gold zones including 6.6m @ 0.47 g/t Au from 18m, 19.1m @ 0.42 g/t Au, 9.8m @ 0.46 g/t Au, 14.8m @ 0.5 g/t Au, and 5m @ 0.50 g/t Au, refer histogram (Fig 4)

- CDOYE 3 (252.8m) intersected a broad zone of anomalous molybdenum, similar to adjacent Hole 2, from about 79m to EOH at 252.8m. A 63m interval from 180m averaged 90 ppm Mo with 25m from 205m @ 116 ppm Mo. Multiple anomalous gold zones ranged from 8-28m @ 0.11-0.18 g/t Au, refer histogram (Fig3).

- CDOYE 5 (596.75 m) intersected intensely potassic altered diorite with disseminated chalcopyrite and high-density stockworked quartz-magnetite, and quartz sulphide veins from approximately 159m to 365m. Assays expected mid January 2014. (Photo Fig 5)

- The wide spaced drilling confirms that the Pucayacu mineralization relates to a very large porphyry complex with multiple diorite and dacite porphyry intrusive phases emplaced into volcanic wall rocks

- Exploration model evolving - better grading copper mineralisation relates to earlier dioritic phases, gold probably relates to early dacitic porphyries and molybdenum is mostly associated with the youngest dacite porphyries

Ncondezi Energy [LON:NCCL] said a mine feasibility study identified the South Mine, within the South Block of concession 5967C, as the most optimal mining area.

The South Mine covers an area of 200 ha and has the resources to provide coal to the 2x150MW Circulating Fluidised Bed power station for a period of 25 years, plus a contingency of about 50% or an additional 15 years.

The objective of the Mine FS was to identify and confirm the technical and economic viability of the South Mine as a dedicated supplier of coal feedstock to the Ncondezi Power Project.

Based on information received from the Ncondezi Power Project the coal energy requirement, as measured in GigaJoule (GJ) requirement, is estimated at c. 23 million GJ per annum which translates to a requirement of c. 1.5 Mtpa of coal (Air Dried ("AD")) at an approximate CV of 15.5 MJ/kg (AD).

The Ncondezi Project coal resource with its near surface multiple coal seams lends itself to open cast 'truck and shovel' mining of the overburden/ interburden and coal seams.

The 25 year LoM average strip ratio is 0.61 BCM/tonne, and the LoM average yield is 92% as most of the raw coal does not require washing. The updated coal yields are a significant improvement over the initial 55% yields originally envisaged and this improvement is a result of further coal product optimisation.

The higher yields have made a positive impact on the mine by reducing the amount of equipment required and the amount of material that needs to be moved.

Gemfields' [LON:GEM] 75%-held Kagem Mining Limited - Zambia's largest emerald producer - has declared and paid its first dividend of $8m.

The Zambia government, a 25% shareholder in Kagem, has received its $2m share of the dividend, and Gemfields has received its $6m share.

The cash pay-out arises from distributable net profits generated by Kagem during recent years.

Gemfields says it is believed to be both the first ever dividend paid by Kagem in its 29 year history and the first such payment to the Zambian government from any gemstone operation in Zambia.

Red Rock Resources [LON:RRR] has completed the issuance of £500,000 via a secured bond, arranged by the UK Bond Network Limited.

The bond will have a term of 2 years and a coupon of 14% per annum and is to be 50% amortised with payments starting in June 2014 and continuing on a semi-annual basis.

The bond will be secured by way of a debenture and a cash escrow arrangement, and there may be a further return to participating investors linked to the performance and any future sale of the company's Jupiter Mines Limited shareholding above an agreed fixed price over the period of the loan.

The loan maybe be repaid at any time following the first anniversary of the date of issuance at no additional cost to the company.

Botswana Diamonds [LON:BOD] shareholders will be told that an active exploration programme, focused on ground which is part of the 50-50 Alrosa joint venture, will begin in January.

Shareholders at the annual general meeting later today (20 December) will be that four Alrosa geologists will be based in Botswana from early January and their first target is PL117, where they will initially identify drilling sites.

Botswana Diamonds chairman John Teeling says drilling should commence in March and take a month to complete. The targets are diamondiferous kimberlites. Drilling on the previously discovered AK10 kimberlite is likely.

As part of the Alrosa joint venture, Botswana Diamonds has applied for additional ground which has been identified as prospective. The company currently awaits the award of concessions.

Teeling says Botswana Diamonds' own team of geologists is preparing a work plan for the 13 licence Brightstone block in the Gope area. All available data has been reviewed and certain areas on the 6,500 sq km block highlighted.

The next step is geophysics and soil sampling in the priority areas.

Teeling says the recent financing has provided funding for the full 2014 exploration programme.

Baobab Resources [LON:BAO] is 'several steps closer to the completion of the bankable feasibility study' for the Tete project in Mozambique in 2014.

The company has issued an update on activities relating to the BFS at the pig iron and ferro-vanadium operation.


⬢ The 2013 drilling campaign has been successfully completed for an aggregate total of 5,940m (diamond and RC), bringing the total metres drilled at the Tenge/Ruoni prospect since 2011 to 41,175m.

⬢ Drilling has been prioritised to convert the upper portions of the Tenge resource block, representing a minimum 10 years of operation, to a JORC compliant Measured category. Preliminary analytical results are expected in January 2014 with a revised resource estimation to be completed by the end of Q1 2014.

⬢ Two large bulk sample trenches straddling the Tenge mountain were excavated to an average depth of 2m. The trenches, providing a total of 317m of mineralised exposure across the deposit, were systematically channel sampled and analysed with results reporting a weighted average head grade of 45.5% Fe, 18.4% TiO2 and 0.53% V2O5.

⬢ Bulk samples collected from the trenches, along with bulk coal and carbonate samples, are being processed at the Mintek laboratories in South Africa before despatch to pilot plant facilities in the USA and Japan for reduction test work.

⬢ Un-fluxed bench scale smelting test work carried out by CSIRO earlier in the year confirmed that a low impurity pig iron product could be produced using Baobab's iron ore and local Mozambique thermal coal (refer to RNS dated 4 March 2013 for details). Further fluxed smelting test work is on-going and will provide the first empirical data on the composition of the vanadium and titanium slag by-products. Results are expected in early 2014.

⬢ Discussions with public and private sector entities regarding port and rail allocation are making solid progress and are expected to be formalised shortly by way of Memorandum of Understanding ('MoU') documentation prior to the drafting of term sheets in which access conditions and tariff rates will be established.

⬢ Mining title and industrial licence applications are being prepared for submission in January 2014. The environmental impact assessment ('EIA') and associated resettlement plan and community and enterprise development programme are making good progress under the guidance of Ms Elisa Vicente, Baobab's newly appointed Environment, Health and Social Manager.

Managing director Ben James said: "Baobab is pleased with the progress made this year in systematically addressing prioritised areas of perceived risk, which brings us several steps closer to the completion of the bankable feasibility study in 2014.

"The results of the current programmes will significantly strengthen the company's position going into the next round of discussions with potential strategic partners during the coming months. The analytical results of the trench sampling are encouraging and indicate a higher grade cap to the Tenge deposit."

At 3:51pm:

[LON:AAZ] Anglo Asian Mining PLC share price was -3p at 18.25p

[LON:AMI] African Minerals Ltd share price was +7.75p at 177.5p

[LON:AQP] Aquarius Platinum Ltd share price was +0.88p at 38.63p

[LON:AVM] Avocet Mining PLC share price was -3.38p at 9.37p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was +0.26p at 5.88p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Resources Ltd share price was 0p at 13.5p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was +0.88p at 40.94p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was 0p at 17.5p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was -0.36p at 6.06p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was 0p at 3p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was -1.75p at 696.25p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was -1p at 143p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was 0p at 127.5p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was +0.4p at 19.6p

[LON:MARL] Mariana Resources Ltd share price was -0.33p at 4.15p

[LON:NCCL] Ncondezi Coal share price was -0.12p at 5.13p

[LON:TSTR] Tri-Star Resources PLC share price was -0.02p at 0.28p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was +35p at 842p

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