Zimbabwe Minister “blocks” Duration gold miner’s Toronto SE listing

According to media reports, Zimbabwe’s Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is declining to give permission for leading gold miner Duration Gold (www.durationgold.com) to raise US$7 mn by listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange (www.tmx.com).
According to a report in businessdigest of the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, the minister wants an empowerment plan detailing how Duration will empower black Zimbabweans in line with the Government’s 2010 economic empowerment regulations under which foreigners must sell controlling shareholdings to black Zimbabweans.
He also apparently believes the money could be raised locally on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
The minister confirmed that Duration had written for permission to list but told the newspaper “I cannot comment on anything”.
The company is an investment by Clarity Capital (www.claritycapital.com), a US-based fund founded in 1996 by Allan Dolan, that claims on its website: “Clarity has the capital and in-house expertise to create and grow successful businesses. We don’t just invest in promising ventures, we incubate and operate them.
“Clarity specialises in the minerals, life sciences, energy and creative industries sectors. Our entrepreneurial team of over 25 technical and commercial experts, from scientists, engineers and geologists to accountants, lawyers and financiers, are passionate about building value. Our goal is to deliver returns of 5 to 10 times our invested capital over a 3- to 5-year period.”
A fellow company, Whetstone Minerals, is listed on the TSX. According to the news report, Duration intended to retain 30% of the capital raised outside Zimbabwe for head office expenses. The newspaper does not report any comment or confirmation from the company.
Duration’s website describes it as “a Zimbabwe focused, private, emerging gold producer and explorer. The Company, majority owned by Clarity Capital and its employees, currently has a global resource base of 4.2 million oz of gold. Formed in 2006, Duration partnered with two long standing Zimbabwean mining families, the Muirs and the Thompsons, and now owns 5 core assets with historic production of 4.6 million oz. Each core asset has the potential to produce over 1 million ounces of gold. Duration is licensed to market and sell its gold on the open market. It sells gold at international spot prices and receives freely transferable foreign currency in return. The company is cash flow positive and generates a healthy EBITDA from its current operations.
Duration’s objective is to develop its existing asset base into a 350,000 oz per year producer, based on 5 bankable feasibility studies targeted for completion by 2014. Acquisition of additional producing and advanced stage assets will also bolster the company’s annual production.”
Zimbabwe’s economic regulations gazetted in March 2010 gives the Minister authority to approve and disapprove deals involving foreign equity participation. He previously sought to block the sale of Barclays Bank subsidiary, Custodial Financial Service, on grounds that the bank did not comply with indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations. This deal was part of the sale by Barclays Bank plc of its African custody businesses to Standard Chartered Bank.

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