LONDON (Thomson Financial) - Kefi Minerals PLC said its first drilling programme has begun earlier than planned at the Derinin Tepe prospect in Turkey, where trenching had indicated strong gold mineralisation.

"Our work has continued to confirm that Derinin Tepe is prospective for lowsulphidation epithermal gold deposits," said managing director Jeff Rayner.

The company said trenching at Derinin Tepe had exposed very extensive, shallow mine workings from antiquity -- believed to have been mined by the Romans about 2,000 years ago.

"The depth of mining is uncertain but unlikely to be greater than 30 metres given the limitations of ancient technology," it added.