RNS Number : 9827G
Oxus Gold PLC
11 February 2010
OXUS GOLD PLC
Amantaytau Goldfields Update
LONDON - 11 February 2010. Oxus Gold plc ("Oxus" or the "Company") (OXS.L) is pleased to present the following update in respect of its 50% owned Amantaytau Goldfields joint venture in Uzbekistan ("AGF").
The Company has previously reported that AGF had stockpiled approximately 18.2 tonnes of silver doré from its heap leach operations at Vysokovoltnoye (now renamed Nukrakon), containing some 6,700 ounces of gold and 568,000 ounces of silver. This stockpile has now been refined at the Uzbek State owned Almalyk refinery and exported and sold. In addition, 3,860 ounces of gold and 56,750 ounces of silver previously reported as locked-up in the furnace at Almalyk has also been recovered, exported and sold, following a scheduled refurbishment of the smelter.
In addition UZS 4.6 billion ($3.1 million) of previously paid VAT has also been recovered by AGF. UZS 2.2 billion ($1.5 million) has been offset against other taxes and customs payments due by AGF to the Uzbek State, and the balance of UZS 2.4 billion ($1.6 million) is being offset against Oxus' Phase 2 Project Development Fund liability to the Uzbek Government (as more fully described in note 39 to the Company's 2008 Annual Report and Accounts), with Oxus' shareholder loan account with AGF being reduced accordingly.
AGF has commenced recovery procedures in respect of various taxes and customs duties which it considers to be repayable or to have been overpaid to the Uzbek State. To date the local Uzbek courts have initially awarded in favour of AGF in respect of customs import duties previously paid.
Having processed the silver doré stockpile, AGF has now resumed irrigation and stacking of the heap leach pads at Nukrakon, utilising a previously mined stockpile of 75,000 tonnes of ore. To date a total of approximately 38,170 tonnes have been stacked on the heap leach pads containing a head grade of 0.89 grammes per tonne of gold and 93.4 grammes per tonne of silver. Discussions are underway with AGF's mining contractor and with the Uzbek Government as to the optimum time to recommence mining at Nukrakon, which itself will be influenced by the timing of the issue of the mining licence for the nearby Sarybatyr gold deposit.
In the meantime, Oxus has initiated discussions with the Uzbek Government in respect of the Foreign Investment Agreement which is a condition precedent to the drawdown of up to $185 million of financing recently announced with the Chinese CITIC Group. It is intended that these funds will be used to develop the Severny underground mine, to expand existing heap leach operations at AGF, and to carry out an aggressive exploration programme, with a view to increasing annual gold production to 300,000 ounces and also to increase gold reserves at AGF from the current 2.4 million ounces to over 7 million ounces (after allowing for mining depletion) over the next 5 years.
Richard Shead, Executive Chairman of Oxus, commented: "After a frustrating 2008 and 2009, I am delighted at these positive developments and hope that 2010 will be the year when Oxus gets back on track and starts to unlock the undoubted potential that exists within AGF's 192 square kilometres of licence area. We will drawdown on the relevant finance as soon as possible and we look forward to working with both the Uzbek Government and the CITIC Group in order to significantly expand operations at AGF over the coming years for the benefit of both AGF's and Oxus' shareholders."
For further information, please contact:
Oxus Gold plc
Richard Shead (Chairman)
Richard Wilkins (Executive Director)
Tel: +44 (0) 207 907 2000
Fairfax I.S. PLC
Tel: +44 (0) 207 598 5368
Conduit PR Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 207 429 6607
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange