AFRICAN QUEEN DROPS KENYAN OPERATIONS INCLUDING ODUNDU PROJECT
Vancouver, British Columbia — AFRICAN QUEEN MINES LTD. (the “Company”)reports that its Board of Directors has completed a thorough review of its remaining operations in Kenya and has determined that it is in the best interests of the shareholders of the Company to abandon development of its Rongo Gold Fields (Odundu) Project and terminate its operations in that country. The increasing levels of terrorist activity in Kenya and lack of political stability within the Government raise very serious issues related to the security of foreign investment as well as safety issues for personnel working there. A weighing of the political risks versus the geologic merit and potential economic gain from the Company's operations in Kenya clearly comes out on the side of abandoning further work in that country and terminating all further investment there. Management intends to focus exploration expenditures in 2016 in British Columbia at its recently acquired Yellowjacket Gold Project, which management views as representing an exciting opportunity for future corporate growth.
Kenya has seen terrorist activity escalate dramatically over the past four years, culminating in the well-publicized attack on April 2, 2015, at Garissa University College near Nairobi that killed 147 people and wounded scores of others. This exceeded the death toll in Nairobi's devastating Westgate Mall terrorist attack of 2013. The Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the Garissa attack and has been instrumental in much of the terrorist activity engulfing the country. Violence in Kenya has been surging in recent weeks following the November elections, leading to ethnic warfare in villages around the country. A sea of refugees has overrun the country's ability to care for and protect its people.
Many countries, including the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Australia, have issued travel advisories to their citizens travelling in Kenya and the U.S has closed its Consulate in Mombasa and reduced staff at its Embassy in Nairobi.
Apart from the issues of terrorism and domestic violence, the Kenyan Government itself is the subject of much criticism and concern worldwide. Kenya has recently threatened to leave the International Criminal Court in The Hague in view of charges against its Vice President, William Ruto, for alleged crimes against humanity, including murder and deportations linked to election issues. Charges were pending at one point against Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta but were dropped due to legal and political considerations. Kenyatta's administration, which was elected in 2013, has not been constructive toward the mining industry and there is no sense of security of investments in the mining sector at present.
As a junior resource company facing relatively limited availability of exploration funding in the present difficult financial environment, management believes it is important to prioritize our projects. We can best build shareholder value by focusing our efforts and financial resources on those projects holding out promise from a geologic and economic standpoint in countries with relative political stability and constructive mining cultures. Unfortunately, Kenya at this time no longer meets this profile.
The Odundu Project covers an area of approximately 97 sq. km in the Kanango gold mining area of the Migori District of Nyanza Province in southwest Kenya near Lake Victoria. The Project is situated some 380 km. by road from the capital city of Nairobi and 60 km. N of the border with Tanzania, forming part of the gold rich Lake Victoria Greenstone Belt. The Company's rights to the Project arise from an Earn-In and Joint Venture Agreement with Kenyan-based Abba Mining Company ("Abba"), under which the Company may earn up to an 85% interest in the Project by funding prescribed optional stages from exploration through feasibility. The Company has presently earned a 51% interest by carrying out a successful drill program in 2012 and other exploration activities and expending an aggregate of $925,000. Abba's license expires in January, 2016, and the Company has advised Abba that it will not participate in any renewal or new license covering the Project insofar as it is abandoning its Kenya operations.
According to Irwin Olian, CEO of the Company, "While we had some early success in our exploration program at Odundu in 2012, the deteriorating political and social situation in Kenya has led us to curtail our expenditures there and we now conclude that investing further dollars in that country at present would be contrary to the best interests of our shareholders. The political and personal risks far outweigh any potential economic gain from our project there and we have serious reservations concerning the security of expatriate investments in Kenya's mining sector going forward."
About African Queen
The Company is an exploratory resource company engaged in exploration and development of mineral properties in Canada and Africa. It is presently focusing on development of its Yellowjacket Gold Project iin Atlin, British Columbia, which covers an aggregate of approximately 79.56 sq. km. The Company has its executive offices in Vancouver, Canada. The Company was incorporated under the laws of the Province of British Columbia, Canada on April 30, 2008, and received certain southern African assets in a spin off transaction related to the acquisition of Pan African Mining Corp. by Asia Thai Mining Co., Ltd.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF
AFRICAN QUEEN MINES, LTD.
Chairman & CEO
For more information, contact:
President and CEO
Phone: (604) 899-0100
Fax: (604) 899-0200
Dubai - +971 55 997 0427
London - +44 (0) 7780 602 788
Germany - +49 (0) 21141 740411
U.K. - +44 (0) 870 490 5443
The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of the information contained herein. The statements made in this press release may contain certain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ from the Company's expectations.