- Stratex International's [LON:STI] shares fell after first half pre-tax losses rose to £1.98m, from a year-earlier loss of £1.39m. Revenue was nil.

"Looking back at the first half of 2016 it would appear that the fortunes of smaller exploration and mining companies have at last bottomed," said chairman Christopher Hall.

"The gold price has improved significantly and the outlook for base metals is looking more positive, although many commodities' prices remain relatively weak.

"The shares of juniors, including Stratex, have strengthened and equity funding has recommenced on improved terms."

Separately, Stratex provided an update on its 45%-owned Altintepe Gold Mine in Turkey. It said project gold and silver sales in H1 generated total revenues of $32.73m.

"In addition, our partner Bahar Madencilik has advised us that production remains on track to meet the minimum annual production target of 30,000 oz gold, with 19,467 oz gold produced to 30 June 2016."

* * *

Griffin Mining [LON:GFM] posts pre-tax losses of $4.1m for the six months to the end of June compared with a profit of $3.7m a year ago.

Revenues fell to $20.8 million from $35.2 million and the group reports an operating loss of $1.8 million compared with a profit of $6.4 million last time.

Griffin said revenues and profits were hit severely by the suspension of mining until 22 January following a fatality at the Caijiaying mine in October and disruption caused by the Chinese new year holidays in February resulting in a lack of ore and low grade ore to process in the first quarter of 2016.

Revenues were further hit by relatively low commodity prices in the first quarter of 2016. The second quarter has seen an increase in the amount of ore mined and consequentially processed which together with rising commodity prices has led to a return to profitability. With 13.5% less ore hauled to surface, throughput of 365,337 tonnes of ore in the six months to 30th June 2016 at the Caijiaying Mine was down 12.8% on that achieved of 418,950 tonnes in the six months to 30th June 2015.

Chairman Mladen Ninkov commented, "The interim results, although by their very nature disappointing, need to be understood in the context of the short and long term consequences of the 5 month shutdown caused by the death of a contractor at Caijiaying in late 2015.

"The cessation of operations not only ceased mining, processing, production, revenues and profits, but also prevented underground clean-up activities and vital capital development to be undertaken in the down period. The effects of the shutdown were being felt, both operationally and financially, until June of this year.

"Barring any further extraneous events, the second half of 2016 is expected to return to normality and, with higher commodity prices, the Company is confident of a very acceptable second half year period. Needless to say, the Company continues to progress the Mining Licence application and remains hopeful of a successful conclusion to this matter."

* * *

Caledonia Mining Corporation [LON:CMCL] posts a first half net profit attributable to shareholders of $4.1m up from $1.5m a year ago.

Gold output rose to 23,332 oz - up from 20,360 oz - and all-in sustainign costs fell to $943 per oz from $1,007 oz.

President and chief executive Steve Curtis said: "The results for the second quarter represent a substantial improvement on previous quarters as we begin to see the benefits of the continued investment at Blanket and as a result of the improved gold price.

"Adjusted earnings per share in the second quarter were 144 per cent higher than quarter 1 of 2016 and over 300 per cent higher than in the second quarter of 2015. Caledonia remains confident of meeting market expectations for the remainder of 2016.

"A new production record was largely the result of improved underground logistics and increased mine flexibility as a result of the implementation of the Revised Investment Plan at Blanket Mine. This achievement is a testament to the hard work of the management and employees at Blanket Mine and the technical team at Caledonia over the last 18 months.

"Gold production in the quarter was 15.6 per cent higher than the first quarter of 2016 due to the increased tonnes mined and milled and the improved grade. The average feed grade in the quarter was 3.47 grammes per tonne compared to 3.16 grammes per tonne in quarter 1 and 3.25 grammes per tonne in 2015. The higher grade was as planned and reflects the commencement of production from the AR South and Blanket ore bodies below 750 meters. In future quarters I expect the grade will improve towards 4 grammes per tonne as production from higher grade, deeper ore bodies increases.

"Our increased confidence in the future financial performance of the group is reflected in the increase in Caledonia's dividend. With effect from the end of July 2016,Caledonia's dividend has increased by 22 per cent from 1.125 cents per quarter to 1.375 cents per quarter. Caledonia's dividend remains sustainable with dividend cover for the quarter of over 4 times earnings and 10 times operating cash flow.

"Higher production results in a lower average cost per ounce as fixed costs are spread over more production ounces. The All-In Sustaining cost for the quarter was $936 per ounce - 9.5 per cent lower than the comparable quarter of 2015. Costs at Blanket and Caledonia remain well-controlled and I expect to see further reductions in the average cost per ounce as production increases in terms of the production plan.

"Improved profitability was also reflected in Caledonia's improved cash position. At June 30, 2016 Caledonia had cash of $10.6 million and no debt, compared to net cash of $8.8 million at March 31, 2016. In early August 2016, Blanket re-commenced dividend payments after approximately 18 months during which dividends were suspended so that it could re-invest its operating cash flows in terms of the Revised Investment Plan. The resumption of dividend payments by Blanket will further enhance Caledonia's cash position and also means Blanket's indigenous shareholders will participate in Blanket's improved financial performance.

"We have increased our focus on exploration and resource development which has resulted in regular resource updates. I am confident that the life of mine will be further supplemented by resource additions and upgrades.

"A huge amount has been achieved at the Central Shaft since work commenced in late 2014: the sinking head gear has been installed and commissioned and the main sinking phase has commenced. Completion of the Central Shaft remains on track for mid-2018 with the shaft depth currently standing at 170m. The completed shaft down to a level of 1,080m will establish Blanket as a large, low cost operation with excellent prospects to extend the existing mine life. "2016 has been a transformational year for Caledonia and Blanket to date and I look forward to providing further updates to the market as the year progresses."

* * *

The sector's biggest riser was Tertiary Minerals [LON:TYM] - up by more than 12.7% in late trading. The biggest faller was Bezant Resources [LON:BZT] - down by over 16.6%

At 4:09pm:

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was +0.01p at 4.13p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Energia Ltd share price was 0p at 45p

[LON:BZT] Bezant Resources PLC share price was -0.25p at 1.25p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was +4.65p at 178.45p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was +1.75p at 27.63p

[LON:CMCL] Caledonia Mining Corp share price was +7.5p at 97p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was -0.01p at 3.62p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was +1.25p at 41.5p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was +4.5p at 1964.5p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was 0p at 126.25p

[LON:GFM] Griffin Mining share price was -1p at 35.5p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was +4.5p at 304.5p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was +7.25p at 233.5p

[LON:STI] Stratex International PLC share price was -0.2p at 1.9p

[LON:TYM] Tertiary Minerals PLC share price was +0.15p at 1.33p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was +12.25p at 550.25p

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