Ascom Precious Metals, a subsidiary of Asec Company for Mining (Ascom), has signed a £1.9m ($3.1m) agreement to acquire a 9 per cent stake in UK-based gold exploration and mining company GMA Resources.

Ascom is owned by Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital.

GMA holds a 52 per cent stake in Entreprise d’Exploitation de Mines d’Or, the operating company for the Tirek-Amesmessa gold production and exploration concession in southern Algeria. State-owned energy company Sonatrach holds the remaining shares in the firm.

Citadel Capital already has five gold mining concessions in Ehtiopia and is negotiating more concessions in Sudan and Egypt.

By the end of 2009, Citadel Capital will have an $800m portfolio of investments inAlgeria.