City & Corporate: Buchanan drafted in for Aureus gold brief

Buchanan has been called in to promote the first gold mining firm in Liberia, as it spins out of African Aura Mining.

Iron-ore focused African Aura Mining has floated off its gold interests into another company, Aureus Mining, which was due to list on AIM this week.

Pelham Bell Pottinger rem-ains retained by the iron-ore side of the business, now named Afferro, while Aureus has called in Buchanan to explain its story to the UK investor community.

The firm is led by chief executive David Reading, formerly chief executive of European Goldfields, and owns 100 per cent of the New Liberty gold deposit in Liberia. The site in West Africa has a resource of 1.51 million ounces of gold and is the first gold mine in the state.

The agency was retained without a competitive pitch because of its previous work with Reading. Buchanan was formerly a long-term adviser to European Goldfields, now advised by Brunswick, when Reading was at the helm.

Bobby Morse, senior partner at Buchanan, said the key part of the brief was to familiarise investors with its Liberian focus, given that the firm is the first commercial gold mining company in the country.

Liberia is recovering from two violent civil wars, which in 2003 resulted in the resignation and exile of former president Charles Taylor. He is currently on trial in The Hague for alleged war crimes in Sierra Leone.

Liberia has had a democratically elected government since 2006, when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became Africa's first female head of state.

Aureus also has a gold exploration licence for a site in Cameroon, but production is not expected to commence for a number of years.

Last week, shareholders overwhelmingly approved the plan to split off Aureus, with investors receiving one new share for every existing share they hold in African Aura Mining.

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