KEFI Minerals’ wholly owned Tulu Kapi project in Ethiopia has been approved by the Ministry of Mines of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Minister for Mines Tolassa Shagi Moti said: "Responsible mine development is a high priority for the government and hence we are pleased to have approved the Tulu Kapi gold project.

"The joint effort with our ministry officials has also served to pave the way for other mining projects to follow."

KEFI Minerals executive chairman Harry Anagnostaras-Adams said: "The granting of the mining licence is a landmark achievement that enables us to begin development of this high-value and low capex asset.

"The economic and social benefits that Tulu Kapi can bring to Ethiopia are significant."

"In addition, the economic and social benefits that Tulu Kapi can bring to Ethiopia are significant. We remain on-track for development to commence in 2015 leading to commissioning at the end of 2016 for production in 2017."

The company is at an advanced stage in refining the development plan for the Tulu Kapi licence to minimise the previously announced capital and operating expenditure figures.

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KEFI operates two advanced gold development projects in the Arabian-Nubian Shield, with an attributable two million ounces (Moz) (95% of Tulu Kapi’s 1.9Moz and 40% of Jibal Qutman’s 0.6Moz) Au Mineral Resources, in addition to significant resource growth potential.

The company aims to set production rates at these projects at a level to generate cashflows for further exploration and expansion.

This year, KEFI will submit a mining licence application for Jibal Qutman in Saudi Arabia through its joint venture company Gold & Minerals.