Mineral exploration and development company African Eagle Resources Plc, has said it will, for the time being, restrict active operations principally to its Dutwa nickel laterite project in Tanzania. The company said it is prioritising its projects carefully.

We are operating in very challenging times and our first and foremost duty to our shareholders is to remain in business so that we can realise the benefits of Dutwa and other advanced assets when markets improve, chairman, John Park, said in a statement.

The company said it would for the time being, place other advanced projects of merit on care and maintenance and give up many of its earliest stage projects.

It is important that we continue to make progress and we will therefore commission an economic scoping study at Dutwa when the current metallurgical tests are completed later this quarter. The scoping study will be conducted over the first half of 2009 and will assess the economic viability of the project.The Dutwa nickel discovery in 2008 added some $4 billion of metal in the ground to the company's account within the past six months, which demonstrates the validity and the strength of its past strategy of remaining diversified and capitalising on opportunities as they arise.

Speaking recently, African Eagle Managing director Mark Parker said the company believed Dutwa, which has also shown exceptional cobalt grades, was shaping up to be the most exciting base metals discovery in Africa in the last 50 years. See: African Eagle claims best base metals discovery in Africa in 50 years

The company, which operates in Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, said it would continue to explore other promising nickel laterites like Zanzui in Tanzania. However it has deferred a project development decision on Mkushi Copper Mines in Zambia saying with a 25 year mining licence in place, the project can afford to take a breather while the partners look at ways in which the short term project economics can be improved.