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27 april 2009

Trendfield Energy and Resources is a private international mining and consulting firm exploring West Africa for mining possibilities and developing them into productive and profitable operations for the Asian market, specifically China. The company offers professional consulting services to mining companies interested in exploring Niger’s and West Africa’s mining sectors. Christopher Lyon, its Director of Marketing, shared his views on the current gold market with Yekaterina Davydova, Rough&Polished Asian Bureau Editor in Beijing.

In the current economic environment gold seems to be an asset turning more and more important as international currencies continue their fluttering movement. What does it mean to China?

Global demand for gold will increase significantly as investors are more likely to put their money in gold rather than in the equity market due to current market instabilities.

China will also diversify its foreign currency holdings and as a result of volatility on the currency markets and recent discussion aimed to find a safer global currency the Chinese will increase their gold reserves, drastically. We also believe that any normal common person will see gold as an investment rather than just another luxury item due to the current global crisis.

Do you think the economic downturn will affect demand for gold jewelry in this country?

China’s demand for gold jewelry this year is expected to be over 350 tons. China has now become the second largest gold consumer in the world. This equates to 14% of the global demand. And China is also the world’s largest producers of gold.

Demand for gold jewelry will reduce, naturally, because consumers are tightening their “purse strings”. However, as consumers become more aware of market trends and market volatility they will view gold as a viable alternative. The Chinese investors are also looking for an investment option they can understand, and gold seems to be the most suitable and profitable substitute.

Speaking of your company’s operations, what are the major projects currently pursued by Trendfield Energy and Resources in Africa?

We at Trendfield, see gold as a strategic asset. With operations in China, it is a natural partner. So we will be expanding our property assets to include more gold tenements, conduct exploration and find viable partners for gold projects in West Africa.

In the last 10 years gold price per oz has increased from $250 per oz to over $950 per oz. We already have 87,000 oz on one of our tenements, and only 10% of the tenement has been explored. This is our Tafassasset permit in Niger, and we have recently acquired the prospecting permit, which covers a total area of 50,000 sq kilometers. And in March 2009, we were granted two more gold permits in the northwest region of Mauritania.

What is your outlook for gold price in 2009?

I see the value of gold increasing later in the year, possibly over the summer. We have to give some time to see how the global markets react to the stimulus packages that have been put in place by the world’s leading economies. But we believe that by the end of this summer, price of gold will be slightly above or slightly below $1,000 per oz and stay there. It has been hovering in the 900’s for the last two years, so it should make a significant move this year.