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    Canadian Firm to Dispose of Mining Projects

    Financial Gazette (Harare)

    February 27, 2003
    Posted to the web February 27, 2003

    Staff Reporter

    CANADIAN mining firm Mandorin Goldfields Inc has begun negotiations for the sale of its subsidiary Tafuna Hills mine in Zimbabwe and has identified a joint venture partner to run its Empress gold mine, according to the company's chairman and president, Malcolm Stevens.

    Stevens said Mandorin had received expressions of interest in Tafuna Hills and Empress gold mine, although he did not disclose the identities of the potential investors in the two companies.

    Local mining industry officials however said the expressions of interest were likely to have come from Zimbabwean investors interested in taking advantage of Mandorin's review of its activities in the country.

    Stevens said in a statement: "Following the receipt of expressions of interest in the company's projects in Zimbabwe, the company has undertaken a review of its activities. Negotiations for the outright sale of the company's interest in this (Tafuna Hills) project have commenced.

    "An appropriate joint venture partner (for Empress) has been identified and negotiations to determine the joint venture terms are being initiated."

    Empress gold mine ceased production last March because of viability problems that have affected the operations of most of Zimbabwe's gold mining firms.

    Gold miners have been hard hit by the country's fixed exchange rate, a hard cash squeeze that has affected the import of raw materials, as well as the general decline in Zimbabwe's economy.

    Several gold mines have shut down in the past three years, making thousands of workers jobless at a time unemployment is estimated at more than 70 percent.

    The problems in the gold mining sector, a major foreign currency earner, have also affected output and exports of bullion, contributing to Zimbabwe's hard currency crisis.
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