Eight AIM gold and gemstone players update investors

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Eight AIM gold and gemstone players, including Goldplat and Mariana Resources, updated investors on Monday. See what they had to say in our round-up...

Goldplat

Goldplat (GDP) posted a 74% increase in pre-tax profits as it announced its interim results for the six months ended 31 December.

By project, Kenya's Kilimapesa project poured its first gold in January 2012, with the company targeting 10,000 ounces of gold production within the mine's first year of operation. Kilimapesa currently has a Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) compliant resource of 1.65 million tonnes (Mt) at 2.44 grams per tonne (g/t) gold for 129,000 ounces of gold at a cut-off grade of one g/t of gold for all categories.

Goldplat is aiming to increase this "towards the 500,000 ounce mark through further exploration of other targets within the licence area".

In the Anumso Gold project in Ghana, a 4,800 metre drilling programme is underway, aimed at increasing the historic non-JORC gold resource of 262,107 ounces of gold to a JORC-compliant status.

The AIM-listed company is planning a work programme at the Nyieme Gold Project in Burkina Faso to "target additional areas of economic potential" following completion of resource drilling programme in 2011.

Finally, gold production from the two gold recovery businesses in South Africa and Ghana came in at "a record high" for six months at 15,404 ounces of gold.

Looking ahead, the company aims to have delineated "in excess of" one million ounces of gold resources in 2012 and is expecting to "significantly exceed" full-year 2011 gold production of 28,285 ounces, driven by Kilimapesa Gold.

The gold producer ended 2011 with a net cash position of £4.6 million. "It is not our intention to seek additional equity capital to advance existing operations," the company confirmed.

Broker Fairfax estimated that the maiden contribution from gold production at Kilimapesa could boost profits by around 30%. "These are a strong set of results from Goldplat, with the outlook for the second half likely to follow the pattern of the first half," it said, noting that the recovery operations were continuing to grow from incremental throughput from existing contracts as well as new contract wins.

Despite shares in the company gaining almost 40% over the past year, the broker sees "further upside". On its calculations, shares in the company are trading on an "undemanding" 2012 price to earnings ratio of between five and six times.

Mariana Resources

Mariana Resources (MARL) updated investors on progress at its precious metal Los Amigos joint venture in southern Argentina and precious metals and iron oxide copper gold exploration projects in northern Chile.

The company confirmed that an eight-hole scout drilling programme had been completed at the Los Amigos joint venture, and had returned "shallow gold intersections". Mariana has a 49% stake in the joint venture.

Additionally, the company highlighted that mapping at Jiguata in northern Chile showed potential for high sulphidation gold-silver mineralisation at depth and porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum.

Chaarat

"2011 was another excellent year during which we added over a million ounces of gold to our resource," gold exploration and development company Chaarat (CGH) told its investors on Monday.

The company increased its estimate of the gold resource to 5.59 million ounces, a 27% increase from the 4.406 million ounces announced on 7 February 2011.

The Kyrgyz Republic-focused company also increased the resource at the Tulkubash project by 56% from 321,000 ounces to 501,000 ounces. Chaarat is continuing to work on the documentation required for the application for the grant of a mining licence, with plans to start mining this summer. Finally, the company confirmed that gold production would commence in 2013 "once the processing plant has been commissioned".

Touchstone Gold

Touchstone Gold (TGL) announced it has entered into an option agreement with a private company to acquire a 90% interest in four mining concessions in the Santa Rosa Project, Colombia.

"[This] highly prospective area hosts multiple gold-bearing vein-type systems in a gold province that is home to a number of international gold mining and exploration companies," the company confirmed.

Touchstone will make an initial payment of $59,000 (£37,000) to the current concession holders upon signing the option agreement. An additional payment of $50,000 will be made upon the mining concessions being registered to Touchstone Colombia on the National Mining Registry of Colombia. Then, four annual payments of $327,750 will commence one year after the mining concessions have been registered and finally, $1,000,000 will be paid in exploration expenditures on the property before earning the 90% interest.

Thor Mining

"Encouraging results" from surface geochemical sampling at the Dundas gold project in Western Australia were published by Thor Mining (THR).

The Dundas project tenements lie on the general strike extension of the gold-bearing belt of the Yilgarn province.

Thor holds a 60% interest in the project tenements, with rights to increase that interest to 100%.

Orosur Mining

Orosur Mining (OMI) has commenced drilling on its 100%-owned Mahoma Project in Uruguay.

Although Orosur has held the property since 2009, issues with land access had previously prevented exploration. These issues were resolved during the second half of 2011, and exploration will now be conducted.

The Mahoma Project, previously operated by American Resource Corporation, produced 16,419 ounces between 1993 and 1997.

"We believe that Mahoma could ultimately deliver an increase in Orosur's Uruguayan production by 25,000 to 30,000 ounces per annum with minimal capital," commented chief executive David flower.

Kalahari Minerals

Shares in Kalahari Minerals () will stop trading on AIM from 07:00 GMT on 4 April 2012, "or as soon as practicable thereafter" following the recommended cash offer for the company by Taurus Mineral and the China-Africa Development Fund.

Gemfields

Gemfields (GEM) boasted of a "financially robust first half with increasing demand, solid financial controls and improving operating efficiencies underpinning gratifying margins" as it published its interim report for the six months ended 31 December 2011.

Revenues from rough and finished emerald sales jumped 57%, while post-tax profits increased 42%. The company ended the year with $32.4 million cash in hand.

Since the year end, the company has acquired a 75% stake in a "significant" ruby deposit in the Montepuez district of the Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique. Additionally, diamond core drilling and bulk sampling has been undertaken at a key target site within the Kagem licence area.

For an understanding of what to look for when considering exposure to natural resources companies, read: Analysing... Miners.