- Anglo Asian Mining [LON:AAZ] was the sector's biggest faller - down more than 9.7% in late trading - after an exploration update for its new gold discovery Ugur within its Gedabek licence area in western Azerbaijan and SP Angel downgraded its investment rating on the company to hold (from buy) and cut the price target to 22p (from 25p).

Anglo Asian said the phase II drilling programme commenced in October 2016 to expand the potential resource at the Gedabek licence, which provided significant potential upside to its future gold production.


- Additional 35 reverse circulation drill holes completed since previous update - 1,842 metres of reverse circulation drilling now completed

- Core drilling commenced with six drill holes completed totalling 1,221 metres

- Initial Phase II core drilling programme confirmed an oxide zone to depth of about 60 metres

- Core drilling on-going based on a 40-metre grid system to allow for resource and reserve estimation

- Detailed geological structural and alteration mapping started and an additional 240 metres of trenching completed

- Significant upside potential from results of alteration mapping and core drilling of flanks of main zone planned

* * *

Ncondezi Energy Ltd [LON:NCCL] said, in an update on its Ncondezi Project, good progress continues to be made in the negotiations to finalise the joint development agreement (JDA) with Shanghai Electric Power Co., Ltd (SEP).

The 300MW Ncondezi Power Plant project is located near Tete in northern Mozambique.

"It is expected that the workstreams to agree the transaction documents will be completed in Q1 2017 with SPIC and Chinese government approvals to follow," the company said in a statement.

"The Company is monitoring cash requirements and taking steps to preserve cash. Existing cash and facilities are expected to cover costs until the end of Q1 2017."

* * *

Antofagasta's [LON:ANTO] wholly-owned subsidiary, Twin Metals Minnesota, has been notified that the US Forest Service and the US Bureau of Land Management have denied renewal of two of its long-held federal mining leases in the Iron Range region of north-eastern Minnesota.

Twin Metals is in the early stages of developing a proposal for an underground copper-nickel mining project in the region.

Twin Metals' leases have been held in good standing by the federal government for more than 50 years, and have been twice renewed without controversy.

As stated in a federal lawsuit filed by Twin Metals in September 2016, Twin Metals believes denial of the leases is inconsistent with federal law, the terms of leases themselves and the federal government's established precedent in supporting and renewing the leases over five decades.

While Twin Metals is assessing the impact of the agencies' lease renewal decision, Twin Metals is committed to progressing the project and will continue to pursue legal avenues to protect its contractual mineral rights.

* * *

Shanta Gold Ltd [LON:SHG] said that, on Dec. 15, the underground development at the New Luika Gold Mine intersected first mineralization at the Bauhinia Creek deposit.

"The intersect occurred just after the nose fault, as predicted in the geological model," the company said.

CEO Toby Bradbury commented:

"I am pleased to report continued progress at the underground development at the New Luika Gold Mine. Intersecting first ore is a pleasing result and we remain on track to commence first stoping of ore in Q2 2017."

* * *

Alba Mineral Resources [LON:ALBA] reports encouraging results from a microgravity study and portable XRF shallow soil sampling programme at the Limerick base metal project in Co. Limerick.

Interpretation of the gravity data suggests the presence of gravity anomalies consistent with brecciation of the host limestone, with zinc and lead anomalism in shallow soil samples collected above or adjacent to gravity anomalies. HIGHLIGHTS

- Several gravity anomalies detected

- Gravity lows are interpreted to be a result of dissolution and brecciation of the host rock

- Zinc and lead soil anomalism is present above or adjacent to the gravity anomalies

- 11 samples from pXRF considered to be highly anomalous (131 to 269 ppm Zn) for zinc, and 12 samples anomalous for lead (38-93 ppm Pb)

- Survey area is 9 km south of Teck Ireland's Stonepark project, 12 km southwest of Glencore's Pallas Green project, and 25 km due west of the former Gortdrum copper-silver mine.

At 4:14pm:

[LON:AAZ] Anglo Asian Mining PLC share price was -2.25p at 20.75p

[LON:ALBA] Alba Mineral Resources PLC share price was +0.03p at 0.42p

[LON:ANTO] Antofagasta PLC share price was -15.5p at 668p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was 0p at 5.38p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Energia Ltd share price was +2.75p at 49.5p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was +2.55p at 117.45p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was -0.02p at 3.31p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was -3p at 52.25p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was -14.5p at 1099.5p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was +0.13p at 106.38p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was -16.05p at 208.55p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was -2.5p at 252.5p

[LON:NCCL] Ncondezi Energy Limited share price was -0.25p at 4.75p

[LON:SHG] Shanta Gold Ltd share price was 0p at 8.75p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was +11.75p at 921.75p

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