Monday's AIM news: Gold and silver

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Shares in Touchstone Gold gained more than a tenth of their value as it boasted of "high-grade gold intersections" at its Rio Pescado Project in Colombia.

Read on to see what it, and five other AIM-listed gold and silver companies, had to tell investors.

Arian Silver

Arian Silver (AGQ) reaffirmed the potential for "very significant" silver, lead and zinc resources at its San José property in the silver belt of Mexico.

The company highlighted a 29% increase in resource tonnage along the San José Vein from the July 2011 mineral resource estimate, with contained ounces of silver increasing by 32%, while contained pounds of lead and zinc jumped 29% and 30% respectively.

Broker XCAP stated that the silver explorer had reached a "significant milestone", with its total silver resource surpassing 100 million ounces. It rated the stock a 'buy'.

Aureus Mining

Aureus Mining (AUE) has closed the doors on a "momentous" 2011 , ending the year with £31 million of cash.

Operationally, the mineral resource estimate at the New Liberty Project in Liberia showed a reserve of 873,000 ounces of gold grading 3.1 grams per tonne (g/t).

"The company has now de-risked the New Liberty Project, which is only the beginning of our long term ambitions in the region," said president and chief executive David Reading. Ten targets have been identified in the region for follow-up drilling programmes.

At the Leopard Rock project, the company has encountered "encouraging results" from the first nine diamond drill holes of the 24-hole programme. Additionally, exploration work has commenced in Cameroon.

Looking ahead, the company is expecting to commence the construction of the New Liberty Project, planning to produce an average of 123,000 ounces per annum in its first four years.

Norseman Gold

Norseman Gold () has lodged a secondary trading prospectus in Australia to allow the trading of 50,000,001 new ordinary shares in the company.

An application has been made for the placing shares to be admitted to trading on AIM with effect from 16 March. Following admission of these shares, the company will have a total of 408,202,223 ordinary shares at 1.25p each in issue.

Stratex International

Stratex International (STI) provided investors with an update regarding its gold and base metals exploration and development projects in Turkey.

Exploration highlights include step-out drilling to commence at Öksüt in April 2012 to investigate additional resources to the east and north of the Ortaçam North Zone; and further drilling to be conducted at Altunhisar, where previous significant anomalies have been returned.

"We are particularly looking forward to the accelerated drill programme at Öksüt, where the indications are that we should be able to increase this million-ounce gold deposit even further," said chief executive Bob Foster.

"The average grades and the oxidised nature of the material at Öksüt suggest that it should be very amenable to exploitation as an open-pit, heap-leach operation which bodes well for future economics of the deposit," he added.

Stratex also reported on its development projects. Bahar Mining has completed 17 confirmatory drill holes at Altintepe and a minimum production target of 30,000 ounces has been agreed subject to further studies.

At Muratdere, due diligence is expected to be completed before the end of April and further metallurgical test work has been commissioned to confirm metal recoveries.

Looking ahead, the company said that it should be "in the very comfortable position of being able to fund future exploration activities from cash flow from our partner-managed Turkish mining operations".

Thor Mining

Thor Mining (THR) posted a net loss of £469,000 for the half year to 31 December.

The company announced it had commenced drilling at the Spring Hill gold project. Six diamond drill holes were complete before the annual wet season commenced, with assays confirming extensions to the mineralisation.

In Dundas, Western Australia, Thor confirmed that a calcrete sampling programme had begun despite being "hampered by bad weather". Preparations were in hand for a follow-up drilling programme.

Finally, the company boasted of a 25% increase in the resource estimate at its Molyhil Molybdenum/Tungsten project.

Touchstone Gold

Touchstone Gold () boasted of "high-grade gold intersections" as it announced additional assay results from the 1141 Zone of its Rio Pescado Project in Colombia.

On 21 February, the company highlighted results from the 1141 Zone that included "the best ever gold intercepts and grades in the drilling to date".

"The current assay results are even better," stated chief executive Dave Wiley, adding that Touchstone was in possession of "a large gold mineralised system".

"With further assay results to come from holes drilled in the 1141 Zone area, the months ahead are going to be very exciting," he commented.

Shares in the company jumped more than 11%.

Plenty of companies are reaping the benefits of exploration in Algeria and Morocco. Malcolm Graham-Wood of VSA Capital talks us through the key players in: North Africa: Unlocking the commodities potential.