Rabat – Morocco was ranked 133rd in press freedom out of 180 countries by the latest World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).Morocco slipped down two places from 2016.The index said that this low ranking resulted from authorities’ use of political and economic pressure to deter local independent media outlets from covering sensitive subjects. The report added that even international media members have become targets. The index, released annually since 2002, pointed out that Morocco expelled a growing number of foreign reporters in 2016 for lacking official filming permits.Topped by Norway and bottomed by North Korea, the index said that in Western Sahara, where the Polisario Front continues to abuse human rights, journalists are threatened and prosecuted when they attempt to report human rights violations.According to the RSF, which published a corresponding analysis, two recent international major events, the Brexit campaign and Donald Trump’s rise to power in the United States, were marked by high-profile media bashing. The United States ranked at 43rd, falling two places, and the United Kingdom at 40th.In Africa, Namibia topped the list, ranking 24th followed by Ghana at 26 and Cape Verde at 27.
Galantas Gold has approved the purchase from G&F Phelps of a Hitachi EX800, 80 t weight, tracked excavator and two, Volvo A40C, (40 t capacity), articulated dump-trucks for its wholly owned subsidiary, Omagh Minerals. Omagh Minerals operates an open-pit gold mine situated near Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Additionally a Hitachi ZX470LCH excavator, of low operating hours has been separately purchased. A Volvo EC460 (46 t weight) tracked excavator was sold.The purchase of the G&F Phelps equipment is expected to reduce future rental costs and consequently reduce mining costs. The second excavator purchase is expected to improve fleet availability and utilisation by a reduction in downtime. The purchases are part of the planned program of capital expenditure.A second ball mill, which will initially act as a stand-by unit during the renewal of bearings on the main ball mill, has been refurbished and is awaiting delivery to site pending an improvement in local road conditions. Northern Ireland is being impacted by winter weather, extreme even for this time of year, and parts of the local road network are impassable save by four-wheel drive vehicles. This has caused personnel shortages and difficulties in maintaining fuel and other deliveries, which have impacted production.