LONDON, May 26 (Reuters) - African Copper said it believes it has satisfie
d virtually all the claims made against it by mining investment firm Natasa Mining Ltd and that it is looking to restart mining, sending shares up 22 percent.
The AIM-listed miner said on Tuesday it has repaid 153 million Botswana Pula ($20.4 million) to Natasa from the bonds issued by its Messina unit and has paid the investment firm a further 15 million Pula ($2.1 million) in settlement for some of Messina's debts.
It has also repaid Natasa $1.5 million for a bridge loan.
The company put its first copper mine, Mowana, on care and maintenance in January pending completion of financing talks. It rejected a takeover offer from Natasa, leaving the way open for rival bidder Zambia Copper Investments Ltd (ZCI).
ZCI agreed a $22.5 million financing package for African Copper and then provided the miner with an additional $25.4 million after Natasa demanded immediate repayment of the Messina bonds earlier this month.
Shares in African Copper were up 22.4 percent at 10.25 pence at 0815 GMT.
'Natasa seems to have a hold on the situation and has made some cash on this after being edged out of the picture somewhat by ZCI,' said Ambrian mining analyst Julian Emery. 'Copper prices are also coming good now but African Copper's shares are up on the bond payment, which is good news for the company.'
The remaining proceeds from the ZCI financing package will be used to repay small creditors as debts become due, African Copper added.
'ACU and ZCI look forward to the completion of all outstanding matters, so that mining operations can recommence, (and) cash can start to flow in following production and sale,' African Copper said in the statement.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Rhys Jones; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien) Keywords: AFRICANCOPPER/NATASA
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