Tenure on the Mumbwa copper-gold project by a joint venture of BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Blackthorn Resources Ltd. (BTR.AU) has been reconfirmed following the apparent cancellation of a prospecting licence by Zambia's government.

Zambia's Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development wrote to BHP last week cancelling the license, saying that there was a military security zone in the area.

However, the Ministry has since confirmed in writing that the decision, by the director of its Geological Survey Department, has been reversed.

BHP is the holder of the prospecting licence and has a 40% stake in the Mumbwa JV.

Scott Lowe, Managing Director of Blackthorn, said the cancellation was a "hiccup" and not representative of government regulation in Zambia, considered one of Africa's more stable mining investment destinations.

"We had no advance warning and the (mines) minister had no knowledge of this," he said. "Within a department you can have someone who makes an error or acts outside of their authority."

-By David Fickling, Dow Jones Newswires; +61 2 8272 4689; david.fickling@dowjones.com

 
 
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