Halt on new gold licences

Ghana would suspend the issuing of new gold-prospecting permits while it carried out an audit of licences to free up unused concessions for prospective investors, the chief executive of the minerals commission, Tony Aubynn, said yesterday. An initial 90-day moratorium on new prospecting permits would be imposed and this could be extended if necessary, Aubynn said. The country produced 4.29 million ounces of gold last year, down 0.7 percent from the previous year, he said. Ghana’s laws allow people prospecting for gold to hold licences for up to three years, after which they are expected to apply for a mining lease. – Reuters


Court shelves plantation buy

Kenya’s high court has halted the takeover of Rea Vipingo Plantations after one of the bidders for Africa’s biggest sisal producer challenged the validity of a rival offer. The court order was issued on Wednesday, pending a hearing on Monday of Centum Investment’s application to the Capital Markets Tribunal to set aside the Capital Markets Authority’s acceptance of a bid submitted by Rea Trading, according to court documents. Centum had taken its case to the high court because the tribunal did not have a quorum to hear the company’s appeal, corporate affairs director Fred Murimi said. Centum, which is also bidding to buy Rea Vipingo, said that Rea Trading’s offer violated Kenya’s takeover laws. – Bloomberg


Rossing moots more job cuts

Rossing Uranium, a unit of Rio Tinto in Namibia, will probably add to last year’s job cuts as the company tackles reduced demand and lower ore grades. “It is very likely that we will cut jobs,” managing director Werner Duvenhage said in an interview. Rossing fired 276 workers last year as demand for the metal used in nuclear power stations weakened around the world after Japan’s Fukushima atomic meltdown in 2011. The mining company has also been hurt by worsening ore grades and is reviewing operations. Output fell to about 2 400 tons last year from 4 200 tons in 2009. “We will have to come up with a plan to see us through this difficult period,”,” Duvenhage said. “We simply do not know what will be the outcome of this review.” – Bloomberg