June 23 (Reuters) - Plagued by financing difficulties, contract rows, and image problems, Democratic Republic of Congo’s languishing gold projects are failing to cash in on impressive reserves and healthy prices.
Below are details of the main gold mining companies operating in the country.
ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI (ANGJ.J)
The world’s third-biggest gold producer has been drilling for gold at Mongbwalu in northeastern Ituri since 2005.
AngloGold said last year that it had completed an economic study for the deposit, which has an initial inferred resource of 2.9 million ounces of gold.
Exploration was downscaled last year amid growing insecurity caused by armed bandits and militias.
Toronto-listed Banro has four gold properties comprising 13 exploitation permits in the South Kivu and Maniema provinces.
Measured and indicated resources across the Twangiza, Kamituga, Lugushwa and Namoya properties total 4.81 million ounces of gold.
Banro is in a long-running dispute with Congo’s ministry of mines over its mining contracts and is among six companies yet to complete a long delayed government review of mining deals.
On June 17, the firm announced it would offer about 43.5 million common shares to raise C$100 million ($88.34 million) to advance its Congo projects and generate working capital.
GOLD FIELDS (GFIJ.J)
South Africa’s Gold Fields, the world’s fouth-biggest gold producer, is in the early stages of exploration at its Kisenge Project in Congo’s southeastern Katanga Province.
The company owns a 80 percent stake in the joint venture with Congolese state-owned miner Gecamines. However, Gold Fields is among six companies yet to complete the contract renegotiation phase of a post-election government review of mining deals.
MOTO GOLDMINES MGL.TOMGLq.L
The firm is seeking to develop the Moto gold project in a joint venture with Congo’s state-owned gold company OKIMO, which has a 30 percent stake in the project and holds the mineral rights.
The project has indicated mineral resources of 10.3 million ounces of gold and a definitive feasibility study was completed in December 2007, which the firm said demonstrated the project’s long life.
On June 1, Toronto-listed Red Back Mining RBI.TO launched a $471 million friendly all-stock takeover bid to aquire Moto, in a move that would boost the company’s production to more than a million ounces when the Congo operation enters production.
London-listed Mwana owns 80 percent of Kilo Moto, an exploration licence for gold in the northeast of the country.
Last year it took over Gravity Diamonds, which is exploring a large diamond concession in Kasai province.
In 2006, it bought Umicore ACUMt.BR subsidiary Sibeka, owner of a 20 percent stake in DRC diamond miner MIBA, but falling demand for diamonds and frequent work stoppages have meant production has now stopped.
It also owns the Katanga copper concessions, which is subject to a joint venture exploration option agreement with Anglo American (AAL.L).
Compiled by Joe Bavier; Editing by Daniel Magnowski