Embargoes push Iran into remonetizing gold

Section:

Turkish Gold Sales to Iran Soar as Sanctions Bite

By Behiye Taner
Reuters
Thursday, May 17, 2012

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/17/gold-turkey-iran-idUSL5E8GGF3K...

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Turkish gold sales to Iran in March soared over 30 times and gold companies said Iranians were turning to gold for savings and possibly trade as Western sanctions tighten.

Sanctions to force Iran to curb its nuclear programme have targeted its energy and banking sectors and new measures from both the United States and European Union take effect in July, aimed at strangling Tehran's foreign earnings.

The sanctions have made neighbouring Turkey an ever more important channel for the Islamic republic.

Data from Turkey's Statistics Institute on Thursday showed gold exports to Iran rose to nine tonnes, worth $480 million, in March, from 286 kg a year earlier and compared to just 30 kg in February this year.

They were the highest monthly exports to Iran since records started in 2010. Total gold exports were 11.1 tonnes in March.

... 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...



"It wouldn't be wrong to say Iran chooses Turkey for gold imports because of embargoes," said Gokhan Aksu, vice chairman of Istanbul Gold Refinery, one of Turkey's biggest gold firms.

"Iranians prefer jewels and precious stones to protect the value of their money and escape instability," he told Reuters.

Turkey's trade with Iran is politically sensitive and one gold company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said gold could also be in use for trade as sanctions made regular currency transactions harder.

"Some payments may be made in gold because of problems in transferring money to Iran," he said. "For the most part, I think gold may be replacing money transfers in trade with Iran."

Turkey has become an increasingly important gold producer over the last 12 years, producing 25 tonnes last year. It imported about 80 tonnes last year, but most was for re-export to unstable neighbours which also include Syria and Iraq, one gold company executive said.

Iran's annual gold consumption was put at 300 tonnes by the head of its gold and jewellery association, according to a report from state news agency IRNA in February, but the lack of official data makes it hard to gauge.

Dubai is also an important centre for Iranian gold buyers.

Uncertainty in Iran has taken its toll on the rial currency, which fell as low as 19,000 to the dollar in late March from 12,000 in mid-2011 before recovering to 16,000 after Iran re-entered talks with world powers.

"It's natural that savings are made in gold in Iran," said Ozgur Altug, chief economist at BGC Partners in Istanbul.

Talks between Iran and world powers resume in Baghdad on May 23. Western countries suspect Iran is trying to enrich uranium to build atomic bombs. Iran says its nuclear programme has only peaceful ends.

The U.S. Senate was due to consider a new package of sanctions on Thursday. In another indication of the impact of sanctions, petrochemical exports have plunged 90 percent in the last two weeks.

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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