- Avocet Mining [LON:AVM] was the sector's biggest faller after it said bailiffs acting on behalf of ex-workers of Societe des Mines de Belahouro SA, owner of the Inata gold mine, who were laid off following an illegal strike in December 2014, took seizure of a gold shipment containing approximately 1,400 ounces on 7 October.

The legal basis for the seizure was, according to representatives of the ex-workers, a number of unpaid benefits which remain outstanding.

Although a court upheld their claim that elements of pay were due, the amount has yet to be determined by a court, and SMB management believe that any amount would be considerably less than the 2bn CFA (US$3.4m) claimed by representatives of these workers.

SMB has maintained that the seizure itself was illegal, and although management had hoped to have the seizure removed earlier, a court hearing is due to take place today at which the lifting of the seizure will be requested.

No gold shipments will be made until SMB is sure that they will not be again intercepted by bailiffs.

Following this hearing, a decision is expected within 1-2 weeks. SMB management has advised workers and the government that if this matter cannot be resolved promptly, and cash cannot be realised from gold sales in order to pay for running costs of the mine, management will need to consider temporary cessation of operations.

If such a cessation is necessary, production will be impacted and no payments will be possible to suppliers or workers until the matter is resolved.

If the cessation continues for a prolonged period, it may mean that the mine cannot be re-started without significant investment, if at all, and may have a material adverse effect on SMB's financial position.

Avocet says that if SMB is unable to provide funds for head office and corporate costs before receipt of proceeds in connection with the sale of Tri-K to Managem SA, as announced on 10 October, which is expected to take place before the end of the year, then Avocet will need to find alternative sources of funds.

* * *

Sunrise Resources [LON:SRES] announces results of the second phase of drilling at its Bay State Silver Project in Nevada together with the results of a small programme of underground sampling, both targeting extensions of the Chihuahua Vein system south of Mining Canyon.


- Shallow underground (near surface) samples: 0.33m grading 85 grammes/tonne silver (2.48 ounces/ton); 0.76m grading 399 grammes/tonne silver (11.64 ounces/ton); 0.91m grading 480 grammes/tonne silver (14.00 ounces/ton).

- Three holes completed in Phase 2 drilling: Hole 16SRRC004 - Located Chihuahua Vein system at c.300m below surface; Hole 16SRRC005 - Interpreted to have stopped short of Chihuahua Vein; Hole 16SRRC006 - Lincoln Vein system not intersected.

* * *

Rambler Metals & Mining [LON:RMM] has widened its FY pretax loss to $15.2m, from a year-earlier loss of $13.6m.

Revenue was $30.4m, from $34.6m. Production totalled 17,412 dry metric tonnes (DMT), from 17,662. Copper output was 4508 DMT, from 4622 DMT. Gold production was 7129 ounces, from 4926 oz.

"During the year, Rambler was successful in delivering on its targeted production guidance while reducing cash costs," said CEO Norman Williams.

"With the project financing we will continue to focus on accelerating the Phase II development, allowing the mine to deliver increased tonnage to surface.

"We are targeting our first expansion milestone of 1,250 metric tonnes per day from the mine by mid calendar 2017.

"With the operation team focused on delivering the production increase, we look forward to further engineering and evaluation of two very exciting opportunities around shaft rehabilitation and ore pre-concentration.

"We will provide an update on these projects as they progress.

"While global copper markets continue to be challenging, I would once again like to thank the entire operations team for their outstanding efforts, tremendous dedication and continued focus on safety throughout the year."

* * *

Randgold Resources [LON:RRS] CEO Mark Bristow said exploration continues to highlight exciting possibilities for further investment in Cote d'Ivoire.

The company owns and operates the Tongon gold mine in that country. Bristow was speaking at a Randgold-sponsored golf day.

"We're building a solid portfolio of targets here and we're still adding new exploration permits," Bristow said in a statement.

"We've always believed in the prospectivity of Cote d'Ivoire and we are becoming increasingly confident that it will deliver our next world-class discovery.

"Our Boundiali permit in particular hosts some very exciting prospects. We are also busy with near-mine exploration designed to extend Tongon's life by developing satellite deposits and converting the resource potential below the existing pits," he said.

Meantime, he added that Tongon's performance was continuing to improve across the board and management was still targeting the revised annual guidance for the year after a difficult first half which had been impacted by a long mill breakdown.

"The final phase of the extensive crusher expansion and mill circuit upgrade project has been completed and is paying off in terms of a significant step-up in operational efficiency," Bristow said.

Constructive engagement with the CIE power utility, facilitated by the government, had improved the stability of the grid electricity supply, he said.

In addition, Tongon was investing in the expansion of its generated power facilities by the installation of six new generators which would boost its capacity to 24MW, enough to operate the whole process plant on generated power if necessary.

* * *

Hochschild Mining [LON:HOC] has appointed Eileen Kamerick as an independent non-executive director with effect from 1 November. Kamerick most recently served as the senior vice-president and chief executive of ConnectWise, a US-based developer of a business management platform for technology companies.

Prior to that she held senior executive roles in finance in various industries including healthcare consultancy Press Ganey Associates, investment bank Houlihan Lokey, executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles and BP Amoco Americas. Kamerick acts as a non-executive director of a number of commercial and not-for-profit organisations.

These include NYSE-listed Associated Banc-Corp where she chairs the Corporate Governance Committee and serves on the Audit Committee (having acted as chairman between June 2011 and April 2016).

Kamerick also sits on the board and chairs the audit committee of certain closed-end funds listed on the NYSE advised by Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisors, LLC.

* * *

Petra Diamonds [LON:PDL] has issued a production and sales update for Q1, which ended Sept. 30.


- Q1 production up 30% to 1,097,523 carats (Q1 FY 2016: 842,796 carats), due to increased contribution from undiluted ROM ore, improving ROM grades and additional tailings production from Kimberley Ekapa Mining.

- Q1 revenue US$94.7 million from 745,447 carats sold (Q1 FY 2016: no tender held).

- Following the Period end, Petra closed its second tender of FY 2017 yielding ca. US$66.4 million (ca. 574 kcts sold), with a third and final tender for H1 FY 2017 scheduled for early December 2016. Prices achieved during the second tender held firm with year-to-date rough diamond prices remaining flat on a like for like basis in comparison to H2 FY 2016.

- Expansion programmes, including the Cullinan plant project, remain on track and in line with expectations. The new caves being installed at Cullinan and Finsch are both starting to deliver undiluted ore and will result in a continued increasing ROM grade profile and improved product mix.

- Net debt at Period end of US$463.9 million (30 June 2016: US$384.8 million) within expected levels and excludes cash from the October diamond tender. The Company has undrawn bank facilities of US$70.0 million (30 June 2016: US$110.0 million), with an additional unrestricted cash balance of US$30 million (30 June 2016: US$36.7 million) available at Period end. Petra remains on track to become free cash flow positive from H2 FY 2017 onwards.

- Tragically, despite historically having an exceptional safety record, it is with deep regret that the Company announces that three unrelated incidents lead to four Petra employees being fatally injured during the Period.

* * *

Beowulf Mining [LON:BEM] Bis pleased Sweden's Mining Inspectorate has progressed matters over the company's application for Kallak North.

Beowulf says it understands that the Mining Inspectorate, in conducting a further review of the Kallak North application as directed by the government of Sweden, and in the light of the Supreme Administrative Court judgement in February in the case of Norr Karr, has written to the County Administrative Board for Norrbotten County.

The CAB has been given a deadline of the 16 December to respond to several questions: - Does the Kallak North EIA contain the information required under Chapter 6 of the Environmental Code;

- Does the information contained within the EIA, for both mining and ancillary activities applied for by the Company, meet the requirements of Chapters 3 and 4 of the Environmental Code; and

- Does the CAB wish to put conditions, that could be attached to an Exploitation Concession if one is granted by the Mining Inspectorate, on the Company.

The Mining Inspectorate's letter follows the submission made by the company on the 21 September , revising its application boundary to encompass both the 103-hectare Concession Area, delineated by the Kallak North orebody, and the activities necessary to support a modern and sustainable mining operation.

The Mining Inspectorate has also sent to the CAB, a copy of the Company's submission made on the 21 September 2016, and a copy of the Company's submission dated 4 November 2014.

In the November 2014 submission, the Company, in response to the concerns raised by the CAB in October 2014 about a specific transport corridor under consideration, eliminated the transport corridor that passes in a north/north-easterly direction through the Jelka-Rimakabba Natura 2000 area.

Beowulf says that until now, the CAB has never formally received this submission through the application process.

Chief executive Kurt Budge said: "We are very pleased that the Mining Inspectorate has progressed matters.

"As I have written before, the review being conducted is very important and should give all stakeholders confidence, that Beowulf has not taken any shortcuts in bringing the Kallak North project to this juncture.

"Over the last two years, we have demonstrated our desire for becoming a local partner in Jokkmokk and our commitment to developing the Kallak project in a responsible manner, that in 2015 saw the Company gain both the support of the CAB, and the recommendation of the Mining Inspectorate that the Concession be awarded.

"Awarding the Exploitation Concession does not give the Company the right to start constructing a mine, but it does give the Company the opportunity to inject some much needed momentum back into the project, advance design, engineering, and environmental permitting, create jobs, and forge partnerships.

"Kallak offers the potential to create 250 long term jobs in the mine, allowing people to live and work in Jokkmokk, and be the catalyst for establishing a diverse, thriving and sustainable economy.

"We have a vision for building a modern and sustainable mining operation at Kallak, with the minimum environmental footprint achievable, such that there is no significant impact on Laponia, which covers 940,000 hectares, and which at its closest boundary is situated approximately 40 kilometres from Kallak, and establishing ways to work with the reindeer herding communities, protecting their way of life and livelihoods, while creating new opportunities for the local community."

Beowulf also announced the establishment of a Swedish Advisory Board, and the appointment of two members, Per G. Broman and Jan-Olof Hedstrom.

The Swedish Advisory Board has been established, to support the development of Beowulf's projects in Sweden, first and foremost for Kallak, to provide expert advice as the Company seeks an Exploitation Concession for Kallak North, and thereafter the environmental permitting of that project.

Beowulf said: "The board will ensure that we continue to adopt best practice, in the preparation of our permit applications, meeting the requirements of legislation and Environmental Codes, and in our dealings with the Mining Inspectorate, the County Administrative Board ("CAB") for Norrbotten County and the Government of Sweden."

Broman led the team which prepared the Environmental Impact Assessment for Kallak North and represented and supported the Company in its work with the CAB throughout the application process, ensuring that the application met the requirements of the Swedish Environmental Code.

Broman has a career spanning over 40 years in mineral processing and environmental management, is a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, has a Licentiate of Technology (Lic. Eng.) in Mineral Processing, and a Master of Science in Mining and Metallurgy, both from

Hedstrom served as the Chief Mine Inspector and Head of the Mining Inspectorate of Sweden from 1997 to 2010.

Hedstrom has a Master of Science and Engineering from The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and serves as a Member of Senior Advisory Council at Raw Materials Group. Hedstrom has a career spanning over 40 years, and was in public service with the CAB for Norrbotten County from 1968 to 1997.

At 4:06pm:

[LON:AVM] Avocet Mining PLC share price was -16.5p at 66.63p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was +0.5p at 5.5p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Energia Ltd share price was -0.75p at 46.75p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was -0.8p at 155p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was +1.75p at 29p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was -0.09p at 3.29p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was -0.75p at 55.75p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was -26p at 1620p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was -2.37p at 116.63p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was -2.8p at 270.3p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was +36p at 316p

[LON:RMM] Rambler Metals and Mining PLC share price was -0.38p at 6.25p

[LON:RRS] Randgold Resources Ltd share price was -142.5p at 7012.5p

[LON:SRES] Sunrise Resources PLC share price was -0.03p at 0.19p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was +3.75p at 683.25p

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