Smelting poured to box at gold room in the G- Resources Group Ltd. Martabe gold and silver mining site at stock pile area in Batang Toru, North Sumatra province, Indonesia, on Wednesday, Febuary 13, 2013. The project started in July 2008 and is expected to commence production in the last quarter of 2011. Photographer: Dadang Tri/Bloomberg

Goldplat says considering partner for Kenyan mine

NAIROBI, March 10 (Reuters) - Africa-focused miner Goldplat Plc said on Monday it was considering a joint venture for its Kenyan operations to help curb losses and comply with a new local ownership law.

London-listed Goldplat, with assets in Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Burkina Faso, said the partnership would help redevelop its Kilimapesa gold mine in western Kenya that is now maintained on a skeleton operation to limit financial losses.

“The company is talking to potential joint venture partners to carry the capital costs for expansion,” Goldplat Chairman Brina Moritz said in a statement.

The firm began mining at Kilimapesa in January 2012, pouring the first bar of gold ever produced in the east Africa nation.

But a weaker gold price and uncertainty over a proposed mining law that forces foreign-owned firms to cede 35 percent of their mining operations to Kenyans dimmed its outlook, pushing management to suspend operations at Kilimapesa in June 2013.

“The Kilimapesa mine is still operating at reduced levels to defray costs. Kilimapesa continues to suffer losses, but, despite the lower gold price, the losses are at a much reduced rate,” the chairman said.

The company said it would factor in the local stake rule, which is yet to be discussed by parliament, to its recovery plans for Kilimapesa.