Centamin says to suspend operations at only producing mine

Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:51am EST

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Dec 13 (Reuters) - Gold miner Centamin Plc said it would suspend operations at its only producing mine, located in Egypt, due to a short-fall in working capital and the inadequate availability of diesel at the mine.

Centamin said in a statement that fuel supplies to its Sukari gold mine had reached critical levels.

The company said it received a claim from Egyptian General Petroleum Corp for about $65 million for diesel supplied between December 2009 and January 2012, and that it would not be supplied additional diesel until the payment was made.

Last month, the company said a gold shipment was required "shortly" to meet working capital commitments.

Centamin subsequently suspended gold exports pending a ruling on its appeal in an Egyptian court, which declared its rights to operate the Sukari mine as illegal.

The company said on Thursday that it had obtained clearances from the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority, but a request from customs officials for prior approval by the Minister of Finance halted the shipment.

"This approval has been urgently sought, but has not yet been forthcoming," Centamin said.

Centamin shares have nearly halved in value since late October when the Egyptian court questioned the company's right to mine gold in the country. The stock closed at 52.7 pence on Wednesday, valuing the company at about 579 million pounds.

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