- Thor Mining's [LON:THR] shares jumped after it confirmed that, in respect of the sale of its Spring Hill Gold Project for an initial A$3.5m, the acquirer, PC Gold, has completed its technical due diligence and has moved towards finalisation of formal agreements.

It is expected that settlement of the initial 60% interest in Spring Hill will take place during February.

* * *

Shanta Gold [LON:SHG] has completed a euro4.6m financing agreement with Sandvik Mining and Construction OY for the purchase of underground mobile equipment.

This is repayable quarterly in two tranches over 36 months from June 2016 (tranche 1) with a fixed interest cost of 7%, and from September 2016 (tranche 2) with a fixed interest cost derived by the US dollar base rate and expected to be approximately 7%.

The equipment is expected to arrive in Tanzania in stages from April 2016. This purchase is part of Shanta's capital programme outlined in the base case mine plan for its flagship asset, the New Luika gold mine located in the Lupa Goldfield in south-west Tanzania.

* * *

KEFI Minerals [LON:KEFI] has selected its preferred senior secured lenders for the Tulu Kapi gold project in Ethiopia. The lenders, a leading African mining bank and a leading African development bank, have indicated their non-binding terms for the project finance for Tulu Kapi, which include the following key features:

- Senior secured project loans of US$60 million, with average tenor of six years;

- Security to be on a first-ranking basis, shared pari passu;

- Gold hedging of 100,000oz (out of total Ore Reserves of 1 million oz);

- Normal conditions precedent, pricing and covenants for facilities of this nature; and

- The balance of capital requirements be sourced from product-linked gold finance and equity capital.

Finance director John Leach said: "KEFI's successful overhaul of Tulu Kapi has rendered it a robust project. The selection of the preferred banks, the backing of the Government of Ethiopia as project partner and the quality of the emerging syndicate of stakeholders serves to reinforce the Board's confidence as we move towards commencing production in 2017."

* * *

Prices for Letseng's diamonds remained robust in the fourth quarter to the end of December despite challenging market conditions, Gem Diamonds [LON:GEMD] says. Full year production was above guidance.

Operations at Ghaghoo, which is being developed by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Gem Diamonds Botswana, have been downsized but it remains an important future option for the group. Letaeng highlights:

- Produced 29 100 carats in Q4 2015 taking full year production to 108 579 carats.

- Achieved planned waste tonnes and increased Satellite Pipe ore contribution.

- Average price of USD2,117 per carat achieved in Q4 2015.

- 9 rough diamonds achieved a value of greater than US$ 1.0 million each.

- A total of three diamonds of greater than 100 carats each sold in the Period.

- Zero Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) for the Period, resulting in a LTI free 2015 and a total of 430 consecutive LTI free days.

Chief executive Clifford Elphick said: "It is pleasing to see that the prices achieved for Letaeng' s diamonds during the fourth quarter have remained robust despite the challenging market conditions experienced throughout this Period. The large high quality diamonds, for which Letaeng is renowned, have contributed to a Q4 2015 average price of US$ 2 117 per carat which results in an average price for FY 2015 some 9% lower than FY 2014.

"We continued to experience difficult underground conditions at Ghaghoo, but I am pleased to report that, following the commissioning of the surge bin on 21 January 2016, the Phase 1 planned treatment run rate of 2 000 tonnes per day was achieved. A sale of 49 120 carats achieved revenues of US$ 7.4 million at an average price of US$ 150 per carat, down from US$ 210 and USD165 per carat in the previous two sales held in February and July respectively. The fall in prices achieved has impacted the planned pace of the ramp up at Ghaghoo.

"Ghaghoo remains an important future option for the Group, however in the short term it is considered prudent to downsize the operation to minimise cash consumed by the development of this asset. Options are being assessed to expand the operation in order to achieve acceptable financial returns, as and when the diamond prices improve.

"The Company has again continued to demonstrate its ability to generate cash flows at Group level even in difficult market conditions. The company paid a maiden dividend during 2015, and is on track to recommend payment of a dividend for the 2015 financial year."

* * *

Minera IRL Ltd [LON:MIRL] said nominated advisor Canaccord Genuity Ltd has given the company 30 days' notice of the termination of their agreement, which will end on March 3.

Minera has commenced the search for a replacement Nominated Adviser. The Company has been suspended from trading on AIM since 21 September 2015. Under the AIM Rules for Companies, the admission to trading on AIM of the Company's shares will be cancelled should it remain suspended for six months.

The Company must therefore appoint a replacement Nominated Adviser and re-commence trading on AIM on or before 21 March 2016 in order to maintain its admission to AIM.

The board is addressing the matters that led to the suspension and expects to make a further announcement regarding progress within the next week. No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained in this news release.

* * *

Herencia Resources has signed a binding term sheet with Next Minerals, a private Chilean mining company, allowing it to 'earn-in' to a joint venture arrangement for the Picachos and the Pastizal projects in Chile.

At its election, Next can ultimately acquire 100% of Picachos and Pastizal.

The agreement is conditional on shareholder approval and Next finalising current due diligence.

The key terms of the binding Agreement are as follows:

- Conditional on the consent of shareholders of Herencia, to be given at a general meeting of the Company which will be convened shortly;

- Conditional on a three month due diligence process during which Next will meet most of Herencia's in-country operational expenses on the Piccachos project and the Herencia team will assist with the due diligence process

- Upon successful completion of their DD process, Next will immediately pay Herencia US$2 million no later than 30 April 2016 and spend up to US$2 million over a 15 month period, to earn a 70% share in the Picachos and Pastizal Projects.

- After 6 months, Next can elect to pay Herencia a further US$625,000 cash to acquire a an additional 7.5% of the project (increasing their stake to 77.5% of Picachos and Pastizal)

- After a further 9 months, Next can elect to pay Herenica a further $2.5 million to acquire 100% of the Picachos and Pastizal Projects

- If Next make the initial payments, but do not take up these additional amounts then the project will be operated as a joint venture with Herencia.

Should Next elect to acquire the full 100% interest in the Picachos and Pastizal projects, the total consideration payable under the agreement to Herencia is USD5.125 million.

* * *

Chaarat [LON:CGH] says the economics for its eponymous gold project in the Kyrgyz Republic have been confirmed in the final draft of a feasibility study.

The study confirms a very low cost of production with average all-in sustaining costs of USD635.2/oz and post-tax NPV of USD351 million at a discount rate of 8% and a gold price of USD1,250/oz.

Other highlights from the final draft of the study by NERIN include:

- Initial capital investment required of USD684 million to bring the mine into full production immediately, with potential to considerably reduce this amount

- Reserve base estimated at 53 Mt at an average grade of 2.79 g/t containing 4.7 million ounces of gold

- Average gold production of 211k ounces per annum when plant operating at full capacity based on current reserve base and 18 year mine life

- Significant potential for improved economic returns from optimisation

Chief executive Dekel Golan said: "We are pleased to present the results of the final draft of the feasibility study for the Chaarat Project. NERIN (who prepared the FS on behalf of NFC) are still awaiting the final Chinese regulatory approvals. We consider that the outcome of the study is sufficiently certain that there is no merit in further delaying the announcement of the final draft results. We are very appreciative of the unstinting patience shown by our shareholders.

"The preparation of a feasibility study by a Chinese engineering company is very different from a similar process in the West. In the planned economy of the Chinese mining sector the client is not the company but the state, hence studies tend to be overly conservative. Overall we were impressed with the technical quality of NERIN's work.

"The Board considers that the value of the Chaarat Project has been reduced by certain economic assumptions which were based on "indices" rather than actual quotes. There is therefore significant scope for optimisation and improvement of this work.

"Even as presented here, the FS demonstrates that Chaarat is indeed a first class property. Despite the conservative approach of the NERIN engineers, the all- in sustaining cost of producing an ounce of gold in Chaarat, after paying all royalty and taxes, is less than $650. At current gold prices this should leave a significant margin for the repayment of debt and the payment of dividends.

"The return on investment shown in the study is on the low side by industry standards. The reason for this is the large upfront investment which delivers a highly capital intensive and mechanised mining process. In our view this assumed capital cost can be considerably reduced based on actual quotes we have already obtained. Chaarat and its advisers are now working on optimising this study in order to maintain the same low operating cost structure but to reduce, considerably, the upfront capital cost.

"Our shareholders will be aware of the challenges presently facing the mining industry. It is evident though that there is still an appetite for good projects in the gold sector. We see strong interest in gold from investors in China and other countries who view assets such as Chaarat as a good way to preserve and store money."

At 4:03pm:

[LON:AQP] Aquarius Platinum Ltd share price was -0.12p at 12.38p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was -0.1p at 5.88p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Resources Ltd share price was -0.25p at 23.75p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was +0.03p at 67.48p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was +0.75p at 18.13p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was +0.2p at 2.37p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was 0p at 17.38p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was -15.75p at 706.25p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was +0.88p at 117.38p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was -0.75p at 49.5p

[LON:KEFI] KEFI Minerals PLC share price was +0.01p at 0.33p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was +0.09p at 0.59p

[LON:SHG] Shanta Gold Ltd share price was +0.38p at 8.25p

[LON:THR] Thor Mining PLC share price was +0.01p at 0.04p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was -12.7p at 208.2p

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