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African Queen Drops Mozambique Operations As It Sharpens Focus On Kenya, Ghana

African Queen Mines (CVE:AQ) Monday said it would end development at its King Solomon Project in Mozambique to focus on projects in Kenya and Ghana.

The company said it made the decision after "a thorough review of its portfolio of exploration properties" in Southern, West and East Africa, in order to reduce costs of operations and to prioritize projects for development in 2013.

"We must be responsive to the overall economic climate and relatively limited availability of exploration funding at this time,"African Queen Mines' CEO Irwin Olian said.

"This requires that we use a very sharp pencil in limiting all costs and evaluating ongoing expenditures on our exploration projects.

"Dropping King Solomon and our Mozambique operations is a necessary part of this process and will allow us to now focus on our higher priority projects in Kenya and Ghana."

Mozambique's King Solomon Project, which covers approximately 230 square kilometres within the central parts of the Mesoproterozoic Fingoe Belt in the nation's western Tete Province.

"Results of the second drill program...failed to reflect meaningful widths or continuity of gold-bearing mineralization. Subsequent study during the past year did not generate any further highly prospective drill targets," African Queen Minessaid in a statement.

African Queen Mines also said it implemented cost-cutting measures both at its home office in Vancouver and in the overseas operations and exploration programs.

"The bottom line is that we intend to operate in 2013 as one of the lowest cost and most efficient African explorers, constantly mindful of reducing overheads and expenses, with a sharp reduction in our already modest burn rate," the company said.

"At the same time we intend to work diligently to continue to advance our key projects in order to add shareholder value."

In 2013, the company said it will focus exploration expenditures on its priority gold projects in Kenya at the Odundu target in the Rongo Gold Fields and at Ugunja, and in Ghana at the Noyem-Nyanfoman Gold Project on the Ashanti Belt.

"We can best build shareholder value by focusing our efforts and financial resources on those projects holding out the most promise and periodically dropping projects which do not demonstrate sufficiently positive results to warrant our continued development efforts," the company added.

Speaking to StockTube at the recent Mines & Money event in London - which can be seen on the Proactive Investors website - African Queen's Olian talked about the company's assets and prospects in Kenya and Ghana.

"The company has never been more advanced as it is today and the company's geologists have never been more excited."

While the company was excited about both its assets in Kenya and Ghana "...the project in Ghana is actually the more advanced project because Newmont (TSE:NMC)(NYSE:NEM) and its predecessors previously had the project and established a historic resource of 1.1 million ounces at a very high grade of 6 grams per tonne...the bottom line is we think we're onto an important system of relatively high-grade gold."

Indeed, the Noyem-Nyanfoman Gold Project in Ghana is located only 12 miles from Newmont's big new Akyem Project - an 8-million ounce gold project due to go into production.

Monday, shares were up 5 per cent to 10 cents.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.