StockMarketWire.com - Berkeley Resources [LON:BKY] was one of the sector's biggest risers after reporting progress with a scoping study at the Salamanca project, Spain.

The company said there had been substantial progress on the scoping study to determine the optimum integration of Zona 7 with the development of Retortillo and Alameda, thereby potentially increasing the scale and/or mine life of the project:

- The metallurgical testwork programme is well advanced. The scope of work includes bond crushability and bond abrasion tests, mineralogy, diagnostic leach tests, stacking tests and 1m column leach tests at different crush sizes on representative samples of weathered and fresh ore.

- Hydrogeological and geotechnical studies have been completed and technical reports compiled by independent consultants for inclusion in the Scoping Study.

- Mining studies, including pit optimisation and sensitivity analysis, pit design, mining phase definition, waste dump design and waste/ripios backfill scheduling, have been completed.

- A materials movement trade-off study which compares the options available to transport material from Zona 7 to the proposed centralised processing facility at Retortillo is well advanced.

- The Scoping Study is scheduled to be completed in the current quarter, following which the next phase of resource infill drilling at Zona 7 will commence. The objective of the drilling program is to upgrade the classification of the high grade portion of the Zona 7 Mineral Resource Estimate ('MRE') to the Indicated category.

Salamanca project definitive feasibility study advanced:

- The DFS is currently focussed on the integrated development of Retortillo and Alameda however, Zona 7 will be incorporated following completion of the Scoping Study and infill drilling programme.

- Final assay results from the resource infill drilling program at Retortillo, which was aimed at upgrading sections of the resource to the Measured category, were received:

* Assay results returned from 69 reverse circulation ('RC') drill holes have shown that there is good continuity of the mineralised zone, both in terms of thickness and grade, between the previous broader spaced holes in the area of the deposit planned to be mined during the initial two years of production as per the Pre-feasibility Study ('PFS) mining schedule.

* Significant high grade intersections have been recorded at shallow depths (from 14 metres below surface to a maximum depth of 94 metres), with thicknesses up to 30 metres. Better intercepts included 30 metres @ 1,670 ppm U3O8, 13 metres @ 2,484 ppm U3O8, 16 metres @ 1,329 ppm U3O8, and 10 metres @ 1,909 ppm U3O8. The Retortillo MRE has been updated with the results of the 2014resource infill drilling programme:

- Updated MRE totals 16.6Mt at 367 ppm U3O8 for a contained 13.5Mlbs U3O8 at a lower cut-off grade of 200 ppm U3O8.

- 4.4Mlbs U3O8 or 33% of the MRE is now classified in the Measured category.

- The portion of the deposit to be mined during the initial two years of production as per the PFS mining schedule upgraded to Measured.

- Comparison with the previous MRE (September 2013) highlights the initial estimation of Measured Resources, and shows a small increase in overall tonnage (+3%) and contained U3O8 (+1%) with a slight decrease in average grade (-2%).

The metallurgical testwork program for Retortillo is nearing completion: - Solvent extraction ('SX') characterisation tests continued with batch SX performed to remove uranium from the pregnant liquor solutions from the Retortillo 6m columns. The resultant 'loaded organic' has been scrubbed and stripped and ammonium diuranate ('ADU' or 'yellowcake') precipitated from the liquor.

- The Retortillo hydrogeological model has been updated based on the results of permeability and hydraulic conductivity tests, along with pumping tests, undertaken in the previous quarter.

* * *

Condor Gold [LON:CNR] has concluded a long running legal claim brought by former field and logistics manager Peter O'Hare for an injury he sustained in 2011.

Condor made an interim payment of £90,000 relating to the case in October 2014 and has now paid a further £460,000 in full and final settlement.

The payment of associated legal fees is currently being discussed.

* * *

Canaccord Genuity has upgraded its investment rating on gold miner Petropavlovsk [LON:POG] to 'speculative buy' from 'hold', following today's results announcement and despite cutting its price target to 10 pence a share from 14 pence.

The broker said: "The valuation is sensitive to a number of factors, including the gold price, cost assumptions, exploration success (i.e. any additional non-refractory ore that extends mine-life) and currently unsanctioned projects, and as such we recommend potential investors view Petropavlovsk as a highly leveraged option on gold."

Separately, SP Angel repeated its 'buy' recommendation, commenting: "Earnings are marginally better than our estimates on the back of lower operating cash costs.

"Adjusting for FX related charges and impairments, the Company broke even in FY14, but more importantly remained cash generative at the operating level."

* * *

Eurasia Mining [LON:EUA], the Russia focused PGM Exploration and Development Company, has announced that its mining licence application at the West Kytlim Project in the Central Urals has been approved by the Ministry of Economic Development ('MED').

As announced on 21 April 2015 the MED had requested from Rosnedra certain original copy documentation from Eurasia which was immediately provided. The MED then reassessed the Eurasia Mining Licence application, including the additional documentation provided.

Rosnedra have now received written confirmation of the approval from the MED of Eurasia's application. As a result Rosnedra now have all the necessary information and approvals to compile the mining licence on behalf of its parent organisation the Ministry of Natural Resources ('MNR').

Subsequent to a final compilation, the MNR will forward the application to the offices of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for final approval. A further announcement will follow in due course.

Christian Schaffalitzky, CEO of Eurasia Mining comments: "We are again impressed at the consistent progress achieved in furthering our licence application through the relevant Russian ministries. This is a particularly significant event as it marks a milestone in the close working relationship developed between Eurasia and Rosnedra who have managed very effectively the licence application on our behalf. It is also significant in that it marks an end to the period of detailed and technical scrutiny of our licence application.

We are also pleased to confirm we have further accelerated our preparatory work with regard to ground operations at West Kytlim, to ensure we are ready to deliver on our promise to commence platinum mining operations as soon as practicable after the issue of the final mining licence. We will be providing a further update with regard to these preparatory measures shortly."

* * *

Ormonde Mining [LON:ORM] has finalised project financing arrangements for the development of its flagship Barruecopardo Tungsten Project in Salamanca, Spain, through the signing of binding agreements with OCM Luxembourg Tungsten Holdings, funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

The Financing is being put to Shareholders for their consideration at an extraordinary general meeting convened to be held at 10.00 a.m. on 19 May, 2015, and its implementation is conditional on Shareholder approval.

Highlights:

· Under the Financing Oaktree has committed to provide a total of US$99.7 million, which secures the full funding for the development of Barruecopardo, together with a significant budget to conduct the early evaluation of a potential underground mining Stage 2 expansion of the Project.

· The Financing is split favourably between a large component of project equity of US$44.2 million and project debt of US$55.5 million.

· For the provision of the equity component, Oaktree shall be entitled to a 65% interest in the Project, with an additional 5% interest being consideration in relation to the provision of the debt facility, to result in a 70% Oaktree interest, to be held through a new company, Barruecopardo Joint Venture BV, with Ormonde holding a 30% interest.

· The debt facility includes flexible repayment terms which would allow for: cash to be retained within the business and applied towards the fast track development of an eventual underground mining Stage 2 expansion; the option of dividends to be distributed to Oaktree and Ormonde during the term of the facility.

* * *

Antofagasta's [LON:ANTO] copper, gold and molybdenum production fell in the first quarter compared with the previous three months. And the group has warned that full-year copper output will be below forecasts.

Copper production was 146,400 tonnes - 13.6% down on a year ago and 21.9% lower than he previous quarter, reflecting primarily the impact of disruptions at Los Pelambres during the quarter that resulted in lower throughput.

Gold production totalled 57,400 ounces - a 30.3% decrease the previous three months due to lower throughput at Los Pelambres and Centinela and similar to Q1 2014.

Molybdenum production at Los Pelambres was 2,100 tonnes in Q1 2015, compared with 2,400 tonnes in Q4 2014 principally due to lower throughput but 23.5% up a year ago as higher grade material was mined.

Chief executive Diego Hernández said: "As we have previously announced, the first quarter of this year has been affected by water issues of very different kinds at both Los Pelambres and at Centinela.

"At Los Pelambres protests by members of the local community concerned about the shortage of water in the region blocked access to the mine impacting production; while in the north of Chile our operations were disrupted by unprecedented heavy rains.

"After reaching agreement with the local community at Los Pelambres, normal operations resumed, as have operations at Centinela following the end of the rain storms.

"Although we expect to recover some of the lost production resulting from these disruptions, production for the year will be some 15,000 tonnes of copper lower than we originally forecast. However, we still expect our net cash costs for the year to be around $1.40/lb.

"Despite the disruption we have seen in this first quarter, we remain confident that our existing strategy of reducing costs, engaging with stakeholders to find solutions to long-term issues and investing through the cycle will continue to strengthen the group."

* * *

Vedanta Limited [LON:VED], formerly known as Sesa Sterlite Ltd and a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc, has reported record Aluminium and Alumina production for the full year ended 31 March 2015.

Financial Highlights from the Company's fourth quarter (Q4) and full year results include:

· Strong underlying results, on the back of a diversified portfolio, in a weak commodity price environment

· Revenue at Rs. 73,364 crore

· EBITDA at Rs. 22,226 crore; EBITDA margin of 41%1

· Attributable pre-exceptional PAT at Rs. 5,060 crore

· Gross debt reduced by Rs. 2,814 crore during the year, Cash & Cash equivalents of over Rs. 46,200 crore

· Free Cash Flow post capex of Rs. 3,425 crore

· Contribution of Rs. 27,900 crore to the Indian Exchequer during the year, in the form of taxes, duties, royalties and profit petroleum

· Exceptional items includes a one-time non cash impairment charge of Rs. 19,956 crore largely relating to Cairn India acquisition goodwill and the Sri Lanka Block on account of a steep fall in crude oil prices

· Final dividend of Rs. 2.35 per share; FY2015 total dividend 26% higher at Rs. 4.1 per share

Operational Highlights include:

· Record full year production of mined metal at Zinc India; better positioned for underground transition

· Record full year Aluminium and Alumina production; started new Jharsuguda-II and Korba-II smelters

· Commenced Iron ore production at Karnataka, final approval awaited at Goa; record annual production of Pig Iron

· Oil & Gas production normalised post shutdown in Q2

Mr. Tom Albanese, CEO, Vedanta Limited, said:

"There have been several positive developments in 2015; record annual mined metal production at Zinc-India, record aluminium production as the new Jharsuguda-II and Korba-II smelters are ramping up well, and record alumina production at the Lanjigarh refinery. We have also commenced iron ore production in Karnataka and mining activities in Goa are expected to resume in the latter half of 2015. We have taken actions to maintain financial strength and flexibility during this period of weak commodity prices through capital re-phasing and cost management initiatives. We remain confident of our diversified business model and low cost asset base and will continue to generate attractive returns to our shareholders."

He also added, "Our Q4 results include a one-time non-cash impairment charge of acquisition goodwill, largely relating to the Oil & Gas business and the Sri Lanka Block on account of a steep fall in crude oil prices. This has no impact on the production or future earnings capacity of these assets.

* * * Kibo Mining says that following the announcement of the joint development agreement with SEPCO III, Kibo hosted SEPCO III for a successful country and project site visit to Tanzania from 23-27 April.

Highlights · First and strategically most important condition precedent in SEPCO III JDA fulfilled

· Project site visit completed successfully, with all visit objectives met

The SEPCO III site visit included a visit to the RCPP mine and power plant site and surrounding areas and fulfilled a key condition precedent to the JDA. The visit also included plenary meetings with the Minister for Energy and Minerals as well as senior officials of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and related departments.

The key objectives of the site visit were:

1) To familiarise the SEPCOIII team with local in-country conditions and those related to operational and business conditions in Tanzania;

2) To physically visit the RCPP project site and to conduct an extensive on-site technical work shop; 3) To plan and finalize the scope of work required to successfully execute and complete Stage 2 of the RCPP Definitive Feasibility Study, i.e. delivery of an integrated Bankable Feasibility Study for the RCPP; and

4) To officially introduce SEPCO III to all the relevant Tanzanian Government departments and authorities as the Company's RCPP development partner.

Chief executive Louis Coetzee said: "The fact that we are able to provide the market with an update on the fulfilment of the most important condition precedent in the JDA so soon after it was signed, is strong confirmation that in SEPCO III Kibo has engaged a highly professional, competent and committed joint venture partner that is as serious as Kibo in pursuing the successful and timely delivery of the RCPP.

"The site visit comprised five very productive days that totally exceeded our expectations in terms of progress made on all relationship levels associated with the JDA. This bodes well for the further development of the RCPP and we look forward to updating the market on further progress."











At 4:28pm:

[LON:AQP] Aquarius Platinum Ltd share price was +0.12p at 9.06p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was 0p at 1.4p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Resources Ltd share price was +0.63p at 13p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was +1.35p at 64.2p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was 0p at 11p

[LON:CNR] Condor Resources PLC share price was +1p at 71.5p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was -0.06p at 2.57p

[LON:EUA] Eurasia Mining PLC share price was +0.01p at 0.58p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was -0.13p at 26.75p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was -1.25p at 741.75p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was -2.25p at 136.75p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was +2.38p at 101.13p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was -0.01p at 3.08p

[LON:ORM] Ormonde Mining PLC share price was 0p at 2.95p

[LON:POG] Petropavlovsk PLC share price was +0.01p at 5.86p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was -14p at 631p



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