Newmont Pays Ghana Royalty, Gold Mine Protest Continues in Kyrgyzstan

The closing price of gold in Sydney yesterday was USD$689 per fine ounce, up USD$7.95 on Friday’s close. Among gold miners, Newcrest (ASX:NCM) rose 15c to AUD$23.13, Newmont (ASX:NEM) was steady at AUD$5.11, and Lihir Gold (ASX:LHG) added 9c to finish at AUD$3.10, The Australian reports.

Newmont Mining has paid 2.4 million dollars to the government of Ghana as royalties from its Ahafo Mine for the first quarter of 2007, the company has revealed. Ghanian news source myjoyonline has reported that the payment covers a total of 124,862 ounces of gold produced and sold between January and March this year, which generated USD$80.67 million.

Dr Chris Anderson, Newmont’s external relations director, said management was optimistic about attaining its yearly production target at Ahafo, despite the current power crisis. The company has projected it will produce at least 430,000 ounces from the mine this year.

Approximately 200 villagers blocked a road into the Canadian-operated Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan for a fourth day yesterday, the International Herald Tribune reports. The villagers are demanding that the government’s share in the project, operated by Centerra gold (TSE:CG), be increased. They are also protesting the suspension of compensation payments for a chemical spill that occurred in the region in 1998.

Centerra, the biggest foreign investor in Kyrgyzstan, said that it had suspended investment in the project, including the compensation payments, because the Kyrgyz parliament is currently considering nationalising its gold mines.  In Sri Lanka, commemorative gold and silver coins are being bought by foundries to melt down and make jewellery, as the precious metals in the coins are worth more than the face value of the coins themselves, iAfrica reports. Jewellers have said it would make sense to melt down the coins, but as this is illegal, no one would admit to doing so.

The citizens of Sittingbourne, England are being warned away from gangs selling fake gold on the street. Reports from BBC News say that the gangs use ‘very aggressive selling techniques’, including telling potential buyers that their car has broken down or that they cannot feed their children, to sell what they claim is 18 or 24 carat gold.”If a deal sounds to good to be true, it usually is,” local police officer Jason Hedges said.

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