- Highland Gold Mining's [LON:HGM] shares were up in late trading after net losses fell to $10,019,000 in the year to the end of December - down from $24,843,000 in 2014.

Total production at Mnogovershinnoye (MNV), Novoshirokinskoye (Novo) and Belaya Gora rose to 262,485 oz of gold and gold equivalents, an increase of 1.4% compared with 258,937 oz in 2014.

The average realised price for gold and gold equivalents in 2015 was US$1,062 per oz (2014: US$1,175 per oz).

Total cash costs fell by 25.6% to US$480 per oz and all-in sustaining cash costs were lowered by 20.9% to US$640 per oz.

EBITDA rose to $133.3 million (2014: US$123.6 million) despite lower prices with EBITDA margins increasing to 48.3% versus 40.6% in 2014.

Adjusted net profit, free of impairment and exchange rate fluctuations and with a normalised tax rate, amounted to US$49.6 million (2014: US$51.3 million).

* * *

Serabi Gold [LON:SRB], the Brazil-focused gold mining and development company, has provided an operational update for Q1 on its wholly owned Palito and Sao Chico gold operations in the Tapajos region of Para State, Northern Brazil.


- 9,771 ounces of gold produced for the first quarter of 2016 (Q4 2015 - 7,924 ounces).

- Mine production totalled 37,546 tonnes: 26,752 tonnes at a grade of 11.84 grammes per tonne (g/t) of gold from Palito; 10,794 tonnes at 9.00 g/t of gold from Sao Chico.

- 36,615 tonnes of ore processed through the plant for the combined mining operations.

- 2,926 metres of horizontal mine development completed in the quarter with 1,901 metres completed at Palito and 1,025 metres at Sao Chico.

- Installation of the third ball mill is almost complete, along with the second flotation line and enhancements in the carbon in pulp ("CIP") plant. The works are on schedule to be complete by the beginning of May. A carbon regeneration kiln is also being acquired which will assist in enhancing gold recoveries once the kiln is operational in the second half of the year.

- Sao Chico now being developed on the 171mRL, 156mRL and 141mRL, with production ore being mined from the 186mRL level. The ramp continues to be deepened to the 126mRL, the next planned development level, and will continue this year to the 96mRL to accommodate underground drilling of the Sao Chico deposit extension at depth.

- At the end of the first quarter, the combined surface stockpiles at Palito and Sao Chico totalled 17,000 tonnes at a grade of 5.3 g/t of gold.

* * *

Anglo American [LON:AAL] finance director Rene Medori has told the board he intends to retire when he reaches the age of 60 in 2017, in order to enable an orderly succession.

The board is initiating a formal process to appoint a successor, which will include internal and external candidates.

Medori will continue to serve in role until the appropriate time to ensure a smooth transition.

Chairman Sir John Parker said: "On behalf of the board of Anglo American, I would like to thank Rene for his dedication and tremendous contribution over more than a decade. The cyclicality of the mining industry presents the widest array of challenges and Rene's professionalism has served the Company well."

* * *

BHP Billiton [LON:BLT] has maintained production guidance for petroleum, copper and coal and is on track to deliver an average unit cost improvement of 14% across its major assets.

Guidance at Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) has been reduced by 10 Mt to approximately 260 Mt (100% basis) as a result of adverse weather and the initiation of an accelerated rail network maintenance programme.

In Petroleum, a US$640 million exploration program is now planned for the 2016 financial year to fund additional access and testing of our future growth opportunities.

Four major projects under development are tracking to plan. The Escondida Bioleach Pad Extension project was completed as planned during the March 2016 quarter.

Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said: "The productivity of our company continues to improve notwithstanding the disruption largely caused by adverse weather this quarter.

"Over the last 12 months, we have taken a number of steps to strengthen BHP Billiton, including asset sales and the deferral of investment for long-term value. While these measures will reduce our output this year, they have increased our focus on our highest-quality operations and will support stronger margins and returns.

"We have the potential to significantly grow the value of our Company. Our simpler organisational structure will promote greater efficiency, rapid sharing of best practice and adoption of new technology to deliver the next level of safe productivity. Debottlenecking our assets at very low cost will generate high returns and substantial value. We have a pipeline of projects in copper and oil that allow us to bring high-margin volumes to market when the time is right. And as others cut back on exploration, our investment will go further and help create new options for the future."

* * *

Goldplat [LON:GDP] gold production totalled 7,252 ounces in the three months to the end of March following another good quarter with continued profitability at the recovery operations and decreased losses at Kilimapesa.

Output at Goldplat Recovery Pty Limited in South Africa totalled 4,864 ounces of gold of which a total of 3,365 ounces were sold for own account and 975 ounces were returned to clients by way of metal transfers.

Operating profit for the quarter was GBP845,000, bringing the 9-month year to date operating profit to GBP1,535,000 (unaudited).

Gold Recovery Ghana produced 1,885 ounces of gold with 2,391 ounces being sold. The profitability continues with an operating profit of GBP156,000 for the quarter, bringing the 9-month year to date operating profit to GBP458,000 (unaudited).

Kilimapesa Gold in Kenya produced 503 ounces of gold during the quarter of which 442 ounces were sold. This resulted in an operating loss for the period of GBP169,000 (unaudited), bringing the 9-month year to date operating loss to GBP501,000. Monthly losses relative to the previous 6 month period were reduced by improving gold yields.

Chief executive Gerard Kisbey-Green said: "This has been another good quarter for Goldplat. I am pleased to report continued profitability at the recovery operations and decreased losses at Kilimapesa. Good progress was made on major projects, including the Kilimapesa plant project and the GPL tailings storage facility. Finally I would like to congratulate all stakeholders for the successful completion of annual wage negotiations at all subsidiaries. Whereas the financial results reflect the performances of the operating subsidiaries only, it is pleasing to report that, including all holding company and non-operating subsidiary costs, the Group remained profitable during the quarter."

* * *

Avocet Mining [LON:AVM] has agreed terms with its largest shareholder, Elliott Management, which is the beneficial owner of 27.7% of the company's shares, for a further US$0.8 million in loan funding.

The new funding represents an increase to the existing loan agreement with Manchester Securities Corp, an affiliate of Elliott, initially signed in January 2015 for US$1.5 million, and subsequently amended in January 2016 to a revised limit of US$2.25 million at 14% interest.

This latest agreement will further increase the limit of this loan to US$3.05 million. The terms of this loan will remain unchanged, which will be unsecured and repayable on demand. The funding is expected to meet the company's corporate requirements for approximately four months, and is intended to allow the company to continue its business review, particularly with respect to securing finance for the Tri-K project in Guinea. This latest funding, once drawn down, will increase the total debt owed by the Company to Manchester Securities Corp to approximately US$24.8 million.

* * *

Galantas Gold Corporation [LON:GAL] posts a net loss of C$1,793,077 for the year to the end of December - down from $5.264,727 in 2014.

Revenues rose to $80,989 from $8,332. This consisted mainly of jewellery sales. Following the suspension of production during the fourth quarter of 2013 there have not been any shipments of concentrates from the mine.

Cost of sales, which includes production costs and inventory movement, for the year ended December 31, 2015 amounted to CDN$ 356,836 (2014: CDN$ 379,379). Production costs were mainly in connection with ongoing care and maintenance costs at the Omagh mine site.

* * *

Petropavlovsk [LON:POG] has noted the update published by IRC Ltd yesterday, and issued the following statement:

"As previously announced by IRC, the IRC Group has been in discussions with ICBC and China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation regarding waivers in respect of the IRC Group's project finance facility with ICBC.

"This included the obligations to maintain certain cash deposits with ICBC, and the obligations of IRC Group and Petropavlovsk PLC (as its guarantor) to comply with certain financial covenants.

"On 19th April 2016, IRC announced that ICBC has granted the waivers, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions precedent. The waivers will become effective immediately upon fulfilment of the conditions precedent.

"The waiver from the obligations of IRC Group and Petropavlovsk PLC to comply with certain financial covenants will be effective up to and including 31 December 2017, whilst the waiver from IRC Group's obligation to maintain cash deposits of c.US$26 million with ICBC will cover the period from 20 June 2016 to 30 June 2018 (both dates inclusive)."

* * *

Hochschild Mining's [LON:HOC] attributable production exceeded budgeted mine plans in the first quarter with 3.7 million ounces of silver; 51.1 thousand ounces of gold and 7.4 million silver equivalent ounces, up 79% versus on a year ago.

Inmaculada mine produced 47.2 thousand gold equivalent ounces. 34.0 thousand ounces of gold; 1.0 million ounces of silver; 3.5 million silver equivalent ounces.

And it says 2016 all-in sustaining costs per silver equivalent ounce on track to meet $12.0-12.5 guidance.

Chief executive Ignacio Bustamante said: "We have once again delivered a strong start to the year at all our mines in what is budgeted as the lowest quarter of production. Output is scheduled to increase through the rest of the year and we are firmly on track to reach our full year production target of 32 million silver equivalent ounces. Our flagship mine, Inmaculada continues to operate efficiently at a very competitive cost and we remain excited by the potential in the surrounding district where we will commence a drilling programme later in the year as part of our Company-wide 2016 brownfield exploration plan. Our cash balance has now grown to beyond the $100 million level and with the recent relative strength in prices, our leverage ratio is currently running at approximately 1.8x Net Debt to EBITDA for the year."

* * *

Churchill Mining [LON:CHL] has provided a further update on the default by the Republic of Indonesia following its failure to pay its share of the fifth advance payment sought by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).


In the letter from Churchill's lawyers to the ICSID Tribunal on 13 April 2016, Churchill sought from Indonesia (inter alia) unequivocal confirmation that Indonesia was still participating in the arbitration and gave notice that if such confirmation was not provided by 6.00 pm Singapore time Wednesday 20 April 2016, Churchill would bring an application under Rule 42 of the ICSID Arbitration Rules.

Indonesia did not give the confirmation sought by Churchill within the notified time-frame. Accordingly, Churchill's lawyers Clifford Chance have lodged an application under Rule 42 of the ICSID Arbitration Rules requesting that the Tribunal:

(a) notify Indonesia of Churchill's application under ICSID Arbitration Rule 42; (b) continue to deal with the questions submitted to it by Indonesia in its Forgery Dismissal Application and render a fully-reasoned decision in respect of that application; (c) issue a procedural order or direction that Indonesia provide a written explanation for its default on the fifth advance payment within 14 days (or such other period as the Tribunal considers appropriate); (d) if Indonesia does not comply with proposed order (c), grant Churchill leave to file a request for programming orders; and (e) make any further orders or directions the Tribunal considers appropriate.

Churchill has also reserved all rights, including (but without limitation) as to costs.

Update to Churchill's Costs Submission

The ICSID Tribunal granted Churchill leave to amend its December 2015 costs submission and the company has accordingly filed an updated cost submission, which includes the payment that Churchill has now made on account of Indonesia's default and the additional legal costs Churchill has incurred as a result of Indonesia's default.

Churchill Chairman David Quinlivan said "As previously stated, it is strange that Indonesia defaulted on a payment requested to cover the costs of its own application. It is also surprising that, despite our express request, Indonesia has now failed to confirm that it is still participating in the arbitration. Indonesia's continued silence suggests that it may have decided to withdraw from the arbitration proceedings. While there is still time for Indonesia to re-appear in the arbitration, if it does not do so that will not stop the arbitration. Churchill remains committed to the resolution of its dispute with Indonesia through the ICSID process and will do whatever has to be done to ensure that the arbitration progresses to its natural conclusion."

At 3:43pm:

[LON:AAL] Anglo American PLC share price was +40.85p at 793.35p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was +0.01p at 4.18p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Energia Ltd share price was 0p at 29.25p

[LON:BLT] BHP Billiton PLC share price was +20.45p at 984.95p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was -2.65p at 104.55p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was -2p at 20.75p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was +0.09p at 2.21p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was 0p at 29.75p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was +26p at 1089p

[LON:GDP] Goldplat PLC share price was +0.13p at 5.13p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was +1.63p at 138.88p

[LON:HGM] Highland Gold Mining Ltd share price was +5.88p at 91.38p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was -2.87p at 137.88p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was +0.03p at 0.94p

[LON:SRB] Serabi Mining PLC share price was +0.25p at 4.5p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was +22.1p at 424.1p

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