Miners Still in Dark on Eritrea Mine Ban
British Columbia September 20, 2004 (Reuters) - Two Canadian miners said on
Monday that meetings with Eritrea's mines minister had shed little light on why
they and two other foreign exploration companies had been ordered to stop all
operations in the East African country.
not telling us anything regarding where the directive came from and why,"
said Don Halliday, investor relations manager at Nevsun Resources Ltd. whose
chief executive has just returned from the small Red Sea nation.
Asmara government had offered no official explanation, a spokesman for
Quebec-based Northern Mining Explorations Ltd. said it emerged during
meetings that Eritrea may want to revamp its mineral laws.
"In two or
three meetings with the minister of energy and mines we learned that the
government wants to restructure the mining act and mineral rights in Eritrea
because they believe that their future is in the mining industry," a
Northern Mining spokesman said.
The firm's chief
operating officer, Tim Williams, had met with Eritrean mining officials.
Northern Mining, which is building a gold mine in Tanzania with Barrick Gold
Corp. , recently bought a 75 percent interest in an Eritrean mining
has lost half its value since the Eritrean government slapped the surprise ban
on prospecting and exploration by foreign miners two and a half weeks ago.
It forced the
Vancouver-based firm to halt work at its Bisha gold deposit, a find some
analysts regard as very promising and a large component of Nevsun's value. But
Halliday said that Nevsun would press ahead with a planned resource estimate
going to continue to plan our programs as if we will continue to work in the
country," he said.
The ban also
affects Canadian-based Sanu Resources Ltd. and Sunridge Gold Corp. ,
which have operations in Eritrea. Both stocks have lost about two-thirds of
their value this month.
stock has remained steady as it has a much smaller exposure to Eritrea, a
country that got its independence from neighboring Ethiopia in 1993 but has had
ongoing conflicts with its former ruler.
slid 5 percent or 12 Canadian cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday to
close at C$2.13.