Pre-Close Period Update and Directorate Changes
Highland Gold Mining Limited, the AIM traded Russian gold mining group, today issues the following pre-close period update and notice of directorate changes, ahead of the announcement of the Group's preliminary results expected in late April 2003.
Highland Gold continued its strong progress during 2002 and anticipates its overall performance for the full year will be in line with expectations. In the year ended 31 December 2002, its subsidiary ZAO Mnogovershinnoye ("MNV") milled a total of 806,000 tonnes of ore and produced 178,000 ounces of gold at an average grade of 6.87 grams per tonne. During this period the average recovery was approximately 91.74% and reported cash operating costs were US$149 per ounce.
Since the admission of the Company's shares to trading on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange ("AIM"), Highland Gold has made significant progress on a number of key issues affecting the Group's operations. These include: the completion of the registration of the tailings dump at MNV; further progress on the award of the mining licence at the Darasun deposit and in the overall registration of title to the Group's key operational assets; and the acquisition of a further 2.96% of Novoshirokinskoye. Further announcements regarding the conclusion of these developments will be made, where appropriate, in due course.
The Board of Highland Gold also announces the resignation, with effect from 10 February 2003, of Mr Ted Grobicki as a non-executive director of the Company, and of his alternate director, Mr Peter McKenna, both of whom are executives of Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited ("Harmony"). Ted Grobicki is relocating on a full-time basis to Australia to focus on his responsibilities for Harmony's Australian gold mining operations.
With effect from the same date, Mr Michael Pleming, a non-executive director of Harmony, has been appointed as a non-executive director of the Company. Further details on Mr. Pleming are set out in the attached Notes to Editors. There are no other matters with regard to his appointment which are required to be disclosed under paragraph (f) of Schedule 2 of the AIM Rules.
Lord Daresbury, Chairman of Highland Gold, said:"Highland Gold has made sound progress in 2002. Since publication of the AIM admission document on 12 December 2002, we have achieved our production and output targets as planned and we have made material progress in our development projects."
"The Board is very grateful for the help and guidance received from both Ted and Peter in the preparations for the acquisition of the Company's portfolio of quality gold mining projects in the Russian Federation, and in the admission of Highland Gold's shares to trading on AIM. We are delighted that Harmony has now proposed that Mr. Pleming should join the Board in their place, and Mr. Pleming's engineering and financial experience should be of great benefit to the Company."
|Patrick Handley||Brunswick Group||+44 20 7404 5959|
Notes to Editors: Mr Pleming (aged 67) started his career in mining engineering on the Zambian Copperbelt. He joined Trans Natal Coal (now Ingwe) in 1975 as general manager: at Optimum Collieries, and was later appointed project manager and consulting engineer. He joined Liberty Asset Management in 1982 where he was responsible for mining investment research. He retired in 1995 and has since undertaken a series of mining investment-related assignments. Following the acquisition of Evander in 1998 by Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited ("Harmony"), he joined the company as a non-executive director. For the last five years Mr Pleming has been a non-executive director of Harmony and Impala Platinum Holdings Limited and serves on the HSE Audit Committees of both companies. Within the past five years he has been, but is no longer, a director of St Helena Gold Mines Limited, Evander Gold Mines Limited and The Afrikander Lease Limited.