Africa Top Stories

Sierra Leone ‘Peace Diamond’ sold for less-than-expected

The egg-sized, 709-carat rough yellowish diamond was sold for $6.5…

De Beers steps up efforts to remove ‘conflict diamonds’ from the market

Diamond giant is investing in an open platform that will…

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High River Gold gets mining license for Burkina Faso project

Canadian miner High River Gold Mines Ltd said it received a 20-year mining license in Burkina Faso to explore and construct a gold mine at its Bissa gold project in West Africa. The company, which has properties located mainly in Russia and Burkina Faso in Africa, said the license could be renewed.

South Africa’s Q1 gold output falls 9.3 pct

The African Chamber of Mines said that South Africa's gold output during the first quarter of this year fell 9.3 percent to 44,682.7 kg compared with a revised 49,245.4 kg produced in the fourth quarter last year. Africa is known for its large gold mines

Botswana Diamonds stays upbeat on exploration programme

Botswana Diamonds (LON:BOD) issued a mixed update on its exploration activities in Botswana but believes there are enough positives for it to press ahead with work aimed at furthering the assessment of its key prospects, most notably the AK9 structure, which is believes to hold considerable upside potential. The company is currently intent on refining the grade per ton and value per carat of diamonds discovered by prior work in kimberlites AK9, AK8 and BK5 in Botswana.

Zambia coal power plant construction to start in 2011

Singapore's Nava Bharat Pte plans to start construction of a 300 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Zambia by the end of 2011 and complete it by 2014, company director Ashwin Devineni said on Saturday. "We have finalised the detailed layout of the power plant initially for 300 MW and later for an additional 300 MW," Devineni said in a statement.

Madagascar Oil and Total drop Africa’s biggest oil sands project

Madagascar Oil's annual report released on Thursday shows the company is scuttling its project with French giant Total to develop a 1.2bn barrel oil sand deposit on the island after three years of extensive work. The Bemolanga bitumen deposit adjacent the Tsingy de Bemaraha nature reserve (pictured) was first drilled in the late 1800s and would have cost upwards of $8bn to bring into operation. Madagascar Oil has been through a torrid six months – after raising $80m in its debut on the London AIM market in December the stock was suspended in March after the company declared a force majeure over threats of expropriation by the Malagasy governments of its other oil field Tsimororo. When it resumed trading this week the stock promptly lost 50% and has not recovered since.

Sierra Leone diamond miner secures funding for $150m expansion

Sierra Leone’s largest diamond-mining company, Koidu Holdings, says it has secured funding for the $150-million expansion at the Koidu kimberlite project and implementation is gaining momentum. CEO Jan Joubert reports that the expansion project incorporates all the currently evaluated kimberlite resources on the property. The richer K1 pipe, which was mined by vertical pit methods between 2005 and 2007, is currently being redeveloped to be brought back into production by the end of this year.

Classic takeover battle as Brazil and China giants vie for African miner

The stock of cobalt and copper miner Metorex is up by a third this year following Brazilian giant Vale's $1.1bn bid for the mid-tier producer. With reports surfacing that Jinchuan, China's biggest nickel miner, is readying a competing offer shareholders of the Johannesburg-based company look set to extract further value ahead of a vote on July 22. Metorex has aggressive expansion plans for its central and Southern African projects and aims to more than double its current annual copper output of around 50,000 tonnes. It's a far cry from the situation in 2009 when the company was fighting for survival amid serious cost overruns in the Congo.

POSCO not in talks with Sundance on $4.6 bln iron ore project

POSCO, the world's third-biggest steelmaker, is not in talks with Sundance Resources over the latter's $4.6 billion iron ore project in West Africa, a POSCO source said. "We previously met Sundance Resources (on the project) but are not currently in talks with the company on it," the source told Reuters, declining to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

Crucial meeting on Zimbabwe’s diamond exports and $5bn stockpile ends in disarray

SW Radio Africa reports the seemingly unilateral decision by the chairman of the international diamond trade watchdog to allow Zimbabwe to resume diamond exports has been rejected by among others the United States, Canada and Israel. Some members of the industry body want to keep a ban on exports of Zimbabwe's diamonds which could potentially be worth $2bn/year and include a vast stockpile built up during international sanctions, because of ongoing smuggling out of the rich Chiadzwa fields and reports of sustained human rights abuses there.