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Centamin Egypt Gold Mine Operating Normally, Executives Say

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Centamin Plc’s Sukari Gold Mine in Egypt is operating as normal as the company prepares to appeal yesterday’s court decision annulling its 18-year-old contract, executives said.

“We are not worried, and have the support of the government,” Yousef Al Raghi, the mine’s managing director, said in a phone interview today. He said the court wasn’t empowered to overturn the concession agreement. Andy Davidson, head of investor relations, said the company is waiting for a transcript of the verdict to understand its implications.

The agreement, between Centamin Plc and the state-run Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority, is valid until a copy of the court’s decision is received, Fekry Youssef Mohamed, chairman of the state-run agency, said in a telephone interview today. He said he expects to get it by Sunday.

The administrative court in Cairo ruled yesterday that the mineral authority didn’t exercise enough oversight on gold-extraction operations, and that Egypt’s share of the profits is too low. Centamin’s London-listed shares fell as much as 59 percent, the most on record, before trading was suspended.

Centamin signed a 50-50 joint venture agreement with the authority in 1994 under the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular uprising last year.

The lawsuit was brought by Hamdy Al-Fakharany, a former lawmaker involved in overturning Mubarak-era deals where he says that public assets were sold for less than their fair value.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadine Marroushi in Cairo at nmarroushi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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