India's gold jewelers call off strike, expecting tax rollback

Section:

By Rajesh Roy and Biman Mukherji
The Wall Street Journal
Friday, April 6, 2012

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230330250457732728329555427...

NEW DELHI -- India's gold-jewelry trade associations agreed Friday to call off a 20-day strike, after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee promised to look into rollbacks on newly implemented gold taxes.

Indian retailers have been protesting measures, effective March 16, that doubled the import tax on gold to 4% and imposed excise taxes on most gold jewelry. Earlier, the excise tax was applicable only on gold jewelry sold by large, private companies.

Imports by India, the world's top consumer of gold, have nearly stopped due to the strike, impacting global prices.

"We are more than satisfied after meeting the finance minister," said Bachhraj Bamalwa, chairman of the All-India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation. "We and all our associated members have decided to call off the strike until May 11 and expect some favorable announcement by the finance minister in Parliament by then."

... Dispatch continues below ...



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Prophecy Platinum (TSXV: NKL) and Ursa Major Minerals
Sign Combination Agreement

Company Press Release
Friday, March 2, 2012

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada -- Prophecy Platinum Corp. (TSX-V: NKL, OTC-QX: PNIKF, Frankfurt: P94P) and Ursa Major Minerals Inc. have signed a binding letter of agreement for a business combination through a proposed all-share transaction. In doing so Prophecy and Ursa have acted at arm's length and the transaction has been negotiated at arm's length.

Prophecy will issue one common share in exchange for every 25 outstanding common shares of Ursa. Ursa options and warrants will be exchanged for options and warrants of Prophecy on an agreed schedule.

Prophecy's offer represents a value of about $0.15 per each common share of Ursa based on Prophecy's share price of $3.70 as at March 1, representing a premium of 130 percent to Ursa's March 1 closing price of $0.065.

Prophecy is to subscribe for $1 million common shares of Ursa by way of private placement financing at $0.06 per share, subject to regulatory approval. Upon placement completion, John Lee and Greg Hall, current Prophecy directors, will be appointed to Ursa's board.

Prophecy thus will become a mid-tier resource company with a robust and diversified pipeline of platinum nickel projects, including:

-- The fully permitted open-pit Shakespeare PGM-Ni-Cu mine close to Sudbury, Ontario, infrastructure with near-term production capabilities.

-- The flagship Wellgreen (Yukon) PGM-Ni-Cu project with more than 10 million ounces of Pt-Pd-Au inferred resource. Drilling is under way and a preliminary economic assessment study is pending.

-- Manitoba's Lynn Lake Ni-Cu project with more than 262 million pounds Ni and 138 million pounds Cu measured and indicated.

For the complete announcement, please visit Prophecy Platinum's Internet site here:

http://www.prophecyplat.com/news_2012_mar02_prophecy_platinum_ursa_major...



Mr. Mukherjee may not be able announce any changes immediately, as he would need to follow parliamentary procedures to make changes in the budget.

Indian gold prices have been quoting at a discount of around $20 a troy ounce, due to a lack of demand from wholesalers and retailers. Gold for June delivery ended at $1,630.10 a troy ounce Thursday on Comex.

The jewelers' main demand is a rollback of the excise tax, which they fear will lead to compliance issues, as most also run manufacturing units.

Mr. Bamalwa said the trade has suffered a loss of 200 billion rupees ($3.91 billion) due to the strike.

The government has said the tax changes are aimed at discouraging purchases of the precious metal to contain the country's current-account deficit, as gold is the second-largest import item by value after crude oil.

India's central bank recently directed local banks to submit monthly statements on the quantity of gold held, over and above previous declarations of the value of their imports, in a bid to tighten monitoring of the metal's inflow.

Until this week, only designated banks and state-run trading agencies were permitted to import gold, which mostly ended up in the retail jewelry market.

The government has now allowed Titan Industries to import gold directly, in an attempt to eliminate procedural hassles.

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Sona Discovers Potential High-Grade Gold Mineralization
at Blackdome in British Columbia -- 13.6g over 1.5 Meters

From a Company Press Release
November 22, 2011

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- With its latest surface diamond drilling program at its 100-percent-owned, formerly producing Blackdome gold mine in southern British Columbia, Sona Resources Corp. has discovered a potentially high-grade gold-mineralized area, with one hole intersecting 13.6 grams of gold in 1.5 meters of core drilling.

"We intersected a promising new mineralized zone, and we feel optimistic about the assay results," says Sona's president and CEO, John P. Thompson. "We have undertaken an aggressive exploration program that has tested a number of target zones. Our discovery of this new gold-bearing structure is significant, and it represents a positive development for the company."

Sona aims to bring its permitted Blackdome mill back into production over the next year and a half, at a rate of 200 tonnes per day, with feed from the formerly producing Blackdome mine and the nearby Elizabeth gold deposit property. A positive preliminary economic assessment by Micon International Ltd., based on a gold price of $950 per ounce over eight years, has estimated a cash cost of $208 per tonne milled, or $686 per gold ounce recovered.

For the company's complete press release, please visit:

http://www.sonaresources.com/_resources/news/SONA_NR18_2011-opt.pdf