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06.05.2004 Business & Finance

Akrokeri-Ashanti fights to stay alive...

By Mineweb.com

ENO, NV (Mineweb.com) -- Although forced to clean house and file for liquidation of its main asset, the three remaining directors of Toronto-based Akrokeri-Ashanti [AKR] have vowed to continue operating the company in an effort to save it. On Wednesday, the company announced that it had ceased operations and that John de Boer had resigned as chairman and Alan Legg had resigned his position as interim CFO effectively immediately. The company also ended the services of its Investors Relations counsel Nick Kohlmann. In an interview with Mineweb, Director Michael Cawood said the resignations did not stem from any fraud or other criminal activity, or result from an internal investigation. Akrokeri-Ashanti owns three principal subsidiaries, all based in Ghana: Bonte Gold Mines, operator of the Bonte gold mine, currently undergoing official liquidation; Jeni Gold Mining, which holds all the surface rights to the Jeni property; and Goldenrae Mining, which holds 30-year mining leases on the Kwabeng and Pameng properties. All of the properties are in Ghana. Production levels at the Bonte gold mine have remained low due to the shortage of dependable, operating mining equipment and the low grade of the material being mined. The exploration program, which was unable to find new reserves, was cancelled due to a lack of funds. Recent attempts to further reduce costs and increase cash flow were unsuccessful, as debt piled higher. On March 4th, Bonte received a letter of demand for $3.4 million, which it was unable to meet, along with any future pending demands for payment of overdue debt. Ghana lacks bankruptcy laws that allow corporations to apply to the court for protection from credits while producing a plan of reorganization. Therefore, Akrokeri-Ashanti officials decided the best course of action was the official liquidation of Bonte. Without the liquidation, the company couldn't defend itself against suits from its creditors or pay any judgement debt awarded against it under the laws of Ghana. Cawood told Mineweb that Goldenrae Mining shares have been pledged as security for the debt accumulated by Bonte Gold Mines. Cawood said he and two other directors, Gerald Rupke and Douglas Mills, have decided to remain with the company in the hopes of cleaning up debt, clearing liabilities, and putting the company into shape to attract other investors. Although Akrokeri-Ashanti has no source of income, Cawood noted that it also has very little debt.

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