StockMarketWire.com - GoldStone's [LON:GRL] shares slumped after it confirmed that joint venture partner Randgold would shift its attention to other prospects because assay results from Sangola did not justify an immediate follow-up programme.

GoldStone says all assay results from the drilling programme completed by Randgold on the Baraboye and Ibel prospects at Sangola in Senegal had been received.

Best gold intercepts included 7m @ 1.5 g/t, including 1m @ 8.3 g/t, 6m @ 0.7 g/t including 1m @ 2.2 g/t and 11m @ 0.5 g/t, including 1m @ 1.9 g/t.

GoldStone says these results do not justify an immediate follow-up programme and Randgold will now focus its exploration activities on the Gangara and Bandafassi prospects by undertaking geological mapping and lithological sampling to identify additional drill targets.

GoldStone says the Gangara and Bandafassi prospects are of particular interest because they cover an area where Randgold, through its recently completed work programme, identified a previously unknown extension of the MTZ structure which controlled the formation of Randgold's 3 million ounce Massawa gold deposit to the north-east.

GoldStone exploration director Dr. Hendrik Schloemann said: "Exploration is ongoing and we are expecting Randgold's experience in this geological environment to firm up additional drill targets along the newly identified extension of the MTZ structure at Gangara and Bandafassi."

Leyshon Resources' [LON:LRL] new managing director, Corey Nolan, will get an annual base salary of A$200,000 with a short term incentive bonus scheme of up to 50% based on performance.

Nolan - who was appointed on Friday - will also be entitled to long term incentives which will also be based specific performance targets to be agreed.

Nolan will receive employer superannuation contributions on top of his base salary.

If Nolan's contract is terminated, other than for neglect of duty or gross misconduct, he will receive a termination payment of six months of base salary.

Mining behemoth BHP Billiton [LON:BLT] said that underlying EBIT increased by 15% to $12.4bn in the half year to end-December and underlying attributable profit increased by 31% to $7.8bn, thanks to strong production and cost-cutting.

BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie said the strong performance was driven by a substantial improvement in productivity and additional volume from the company's low-risk, largely brownfield investment program.

"The commitment we made 18 months ago to deliver more tonnes and more barrels from our existing infrastructure at a lower unit cost is delivering tangible results,⬝ he said.

"Annualised productivity led volume and cost efficiencies totalling US$4.9 billion are now embedded and this is expected to increase to US$5.5 billion by the end of the 2014 financial year.

"This sustainable increase in productivity supported a 9 per cent increase in the group's underlying EBIT margin to 38 per cent and a strong improvement in the group's underlying return on capital to 22 per cent."

A 65% increase in net operating cash flow and a 25% reduction in cash outflows from investing activities have driven a US$7.8 billion increase in free cash flow during the period.

"The Group's opportunity rich portfolio remains a key point of differentiation. By maintaining strict financial discipline and increasing internal competition for capital we intend to further differentiate ourselves by creating a more capital efficient organisation.

"On this basis, we believe an average rate of return of greater than 20 per cent is achievable for our portfolio of major development options," he said.

The group's interim dividend of 59 US cents per share was unchanged from last year's final dividend, consistent with recent practice. The resultant 3.5 per cent increase in the interim distribution highlights the power of the Company's progressive dividend policy.

With strong free cash flow projected, net debt of US$27.1 billion is expected to approach US$25 billion by the end of the 2014 financial year.

"With strong free cash flow, selective investment and continued simplification, we are well placed to extend our strong track record of capital management," Mr Mackenzie said.

"I want to acknowledge the hard work of BHP Billiton employees and their contribution to these strong results. Together we are improving the productivity and competitiveness of the Company and the countries in which we operate.

"I also want to thank our people for their unwavering commitment to health and safety.

"We are pleased to report improved safety performance in the first half, reducing our Total Recordable Injury Frequency to a record low of 4.4 per million hours worked."

Churchill Mining [LON:CHL] has issued a further update on the timing of the jurisdiction decision in the international arbitration claim against Indonesia.

The company had been told that the tribunal anticipated issuing its ruling on jurisdiction in late January or early February.

Churchill says that, as of this morning, it has not received the ruling.

The company's lawyers Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP are in the process of contacting the secretary of the tribunal to request an updated timeframe for the issuance of the tribunal's ruling on the Indonesia's jurisdictional challenge.

A 3D geophysics survey at Landore Resources' [LON:LND] Junior Lake nickel-copper property in Ontario has been completed.

Landore Resources retained Quantec Geoscience, of Toronto, Canada for the completion of an additional DCIP+MT ground geophysical survey over the B4-7 and VW Nickel Trends.

The survey block spans from grid line 300E to 3700E and line 700N to 1500S, and is located directly adjacent to the east of Landore Resources' 2012 ORION 3D DCIP+MT survey block covering the Scorpion Zone. This survey began on 19 January and concluded on 10 February - almost a week ahead of the estimated 30-day schedule.

Preliminary findings will be completed by mid-March with final results anticipated becoming available in May.

Landore also announced the appointment of Michele Tuomi as director and vice-president of exploration of its wholly-owned subsidiary Landore Resources Canada Inc.

Tuomi is a practising professional geoscientist affiliated with the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO), and is a 'qualified person' under National Instrument 43-101.





At 3:54pm:

[LON:AMI] African Minerals Ltd share price was -4p at 161.25p

[LON:AQP] Aquarius Platinum Ltd share price was +0.13p at 39.38p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was +0.05p at 4.8p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Resources Ltd share price was +0.25p at 15.5p

[LON:BLT] BHP Billiton PLC share price was +36.5p at 1948.5p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was -1.12p at 51.48p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was +0.5p at 23.75p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was -0.02p at 5.67p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was +0.01p at 3.63p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was -7.75p at 966.25p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was -0.37p at 160.63p

[LON:GRL] GoldStone Resources Ltd share price was -0.15p at 1p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was -0.5p at 196p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was +0.16p at 16.86p

[LON:LND] Landore Resources Ltd share price was +0.06p at 2.23p

[LON:LRL] Leyshon Resources Ltd share price was +0.01p at 0.88p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was -17.5p at 919p



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