ASX-listed gold miner Noble Mineral Resources says surface mining operations at its Ghana-based Bibiani opencast gold mine remain temporarily suspended.

The company said that recently appointed corporate advisor Ferrier Hodgson and Noble’s management continue with a strategic review while Noble progresses a revised operational strategy.

The joint technical and operating committee, which was formed with executives from both Noble and its major shareholder, Resolute Mining, has completed its review of operations, and its role will be concluded following the presentation of its findings.

The miner noted that it is in the process of formally notifying the Ghanaian Minerals Commission of the temporary suspension of surface mining operations and continues to engage with in-country stakeholders, adding that approvals are being sought from the Ghanaian Minerals Commission and EPA for underground access at Bibiani to commence drilling, leading to a feasibility study for an underground operation.

This is on the back of the company conducting preliminary assessments that support the potential for a profitable underground operation based on Noble’s existing infrastructure and underground exploration potential of the Bibiani resources.

The proposal will assess the quantum of additional funding required by Noble to complete the required exploration, study and development activity for an underground mining operation. Noble continues to assess funding alternatives which include ongoing discussions with Resolute Mining, as Noble’s major shareholder and the holder of the majority of Noble‘s convertible notes.

Meanwhile, Noble has revealed that Craig Dawson has commenced in the role of MD and CEO of the company with effect from 1 June 2013, and reiterated the company’s current focus on developing Bibiani into a profitable underground mining operation.

“I am delighted to join Noble at this challenging and defining time in the company’s history. With an existing gold resource, mining and processing infrastructure and identified exploration potential, there are positive indications that Bibiani can be developed into a profitable underground mine.

“My current priorities are to define a clear pathway forward for the company’s transition from the previous open pit operations which were not sustainable in the current financial environment, and to seek to ensure Noble has the required funding support to achieve its short-and medium-term objectives,” he explained.

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