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Gold miner takes heavy forex hit, losses slow


Monday 26th August 2002

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Foreign exchange losses and a mine closure have seen mining concern Otter Gold record a full year loss of $24.855 million.

However, the result was a significant improvement on the company's $41.916 million loss in the previous year to June 30.

Otter, which is now 89 percent owned by Australian mining giant Normandy, said it would issue no dividend.

Total operating revenue of $35.3 million was earned, compared to $89.6 million. Earnings before unusual items and tax were a deficit of $4 million compared to $26.9 million.

Unusual items totalled $14 million ($19.6 million last year) in foreign exchange losses, and the company lost an additional $4.7 million in tax losses which were forfeited when the company changed ownership.

Otter said that factors contributing to loss included a fall in gold sales this year, primarily due to lower gold production.

The company managed higher gold production from Otter's 32.9 percent owned Martha Mine of 42,636 ounces (31,316ou). But there was lower gold production of 9,638ou (60,168ou) from Otter's 60 percent share of the Tanami Mine in Australia which was closed in October last year as reserves ran out.

The Tanami plant was leased to Normandy NFM for three years from November last year.

Because less than 25 percent of Otter's issued capital is now in public ownership, Otter no longer satisfies listing rules of the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

Nicola Frazer, investor relations manager for Newmont Australia, said Otter's New Zealand listing was in the exchange's hands but it could not rule out delisting itself at some stage.

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