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March 31, 2015

Petrobras independent director to quit

Mauro Rodrigues da Cunha frustrated over government’s handling of problems at the oil group @MasterMetals MasterMetals Blog

Caledonia Mining CFO hopes 2014 was ‘the low point in our fortunes’

Mark Learmonth, the chief financial officer of Caledonia Mining (LON:CMCL, TSE:CAL), says he hopes 2014 was the low point in the company’s fortunes.

‘We’ve already started on the process of dealing with the issues that gave rise to the lower production,’ says Caledonia’s CFO on the new plan at the Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe.

Learmonth says it is a year the company is ‘happy to put behind us’ but he hopes the process of rebuilding is well underway. He says looking at new opportunities at the moment would be ‘too great a distraction’ for the company. @MasterMetals MasterMetals Blog

UPDATE - Gulf Keystone share sale raises US$40mln as takeover talks continue


Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LON:GKP) shares fell around 10% after a share sale raised US$40mln to bolster the group’s finances while it continues negotiations to potentially sell the company.

The Kurdistan-based oil company is issuing 85.9mln new shares priced at 32p each to new and existing institutional investors.

The cash injection adds to the company’s cash balance of around US$86mln, and comes amid uncertainty over payment schedules and after the company has called on some of its lenders to waive certain financial covenants.

Sami Zouari, GKP’s chief financial officer, said: "This successful placing will strengthen the company's financial position while discussions with interested parties in relation to possible asset transactions or a sale of the company and the board's assessment of a number of longer-term funding options to progress to the next Shaikan production target of up to 70,000 barrels of oil per day are ongoing."

“The share issuance was flagged before, so doesn’t come as a surprise,” said analyst Jamal Orazbayeva.

Sam Wahab, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, described the new placing as an important milestone for GKP, as he reinstated a ‘buy’ recommendation and set a target price of 112p.

“We believe that in raising additional capital at this stage underlines continued shareholder support for GKP’s story against the backdrop of difficult macro-conditions and civil instability in Iraq,” he said in a note.

“Despite concerted efforts on behalf of company management, slower than anticipated progress in ratifying an oil law between the KRG and the federal government, and difficulties in receiving payments for export production has weighed heavily on the company’s share price.”

GKP separately announced that non-executive chairman Simon Murray is to retire from the board with immediate effect. @MasterMetals MasterMetals Blog

Mercia Technologies invests £1mln into Soccer Manager Ltd

Mercia Technologies (LON:MERC) has invested £1mln in a developer of online football management games.

The AIM quoted technology investor is backing Soccer Manager Ltd, and is helping fund ongoing development and marketing for the Soccer Manager 2015 title. Following the investment the AIM quoted group's stake in the games developer is around 21%.

Soccer Manager 2015 was launched in February and it is available on a breadth of platforms including Android, iOS, and Facebook.

"Soccer Manager is a scalable business that addresses the global and expanding market for soccer-based gaming,” said Mark Payton, Mercia Technologies chief executive.

This expanding market is worth more than US$100bn worldwide, according to Payton.

"The founders of Soccer Manager have been developing the business for the past nine years and are clearly passionate about two things: soccer and technology,” he added. “We are delighted to be working with them as they move to the next stage of product development with their most recently launched title, Soccer Manager 2015."

Specifically the funds provided by Mercia will pay for development and translation of the game into Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Steven Gore, Soccer Manager Ltd’s operations manager, said: "Mercia's investment in our business, as well as the expertise in the digital and gaming sectors provided by their senior team, will provide strong support to our business as we expand our offering globally." @MasterMetals MasterMetals Blog

Corn dips after surprise on US inventories

Stocks to remain ample but more soyabeans will be planted @MasterMetals MasterMetals Blog

Semafo outlines 1.1m oz gold at Burkina buy

Shares of Semafo Inc (TSE:SMF) bounced around on Tuesday, after the company announced the initial resource estimate for the recently acquired Natougou gold deposit in Burkina Faso.

Semafo opened strong but turned negative midday as the gold price retreated and investors digested the NI 43-101 compliant estimate that showed indicated mineral resources of 5.79 million tonnes at a grade of 5.87 g/t Au for 1.1 million ounces of contained gold.

Inferred resources on the Natougou deposit which Semafo acquired as part of its takeover of Australia's Orbis Gold stand at 3.93 million tonnes at a grade of 3.49 g/t Au for 0.44 million ounces of contained gold.

The Montreal-based company is worth $1.1 billion on the Toronto Stock Exchange after gaining 26% in less than three weeks following the closing of the Orbis deal and strong financial results.

The $139 million Orbis acquisition brought with it three gold projects in the West African country with the flagship Natougou project located about 600 kilometres east of Semafo's operating Mana mine.

Semafo will spend more than $20.5 million on exploration in 2015, including an initial $2.5 million already under way at Natougou for a feasibility study expected in the first half of next year. The goal of the 22,000 meter in-fill drilling campaign is to convert Natougou’s inferred resources to indicated resources according to the company.

Semafo's 2015 production guidance is 245,000 – 275,000 ounces and is targeting further costs reduction with an expected AISC of $715 – $750/oz.

Semafo in February announced its 2014 reserve and resource statement that upped Mana's total mineral reserves and resources by 250,000 ounces and its reserve grade by 7% to 3.01 g/t Au.

Burkina Faso is the continent's fourth largest gold producer after Mali and has commissioned eight new mines over the past six years.

Image by Jeff Attaway

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