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Asian Mineral Resources suspends Ban Phuc project, seeks funds

Tuesday 4th November 2008

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Asian Mineral Resources, the biggest investment of New Zealand's Widespread Portfolios, has suspended work at its Ban Phuc nickel project in Vietnam while it seeks more funds and negotiates with the government over its royalties regime.

Canadian-listed AMR, which represents about 38% of Widespread's total assets, will put the Vietnam project on a care and maintenance basis. Spending will be pared back and the project model revised to reflect a later start-up date, AMR said in a statement.

The move is positive "as it should ensure that the company will survive the present extreme market conditions and eventually be in a position to continue the Ban Phuc development," said Chris Castle, director of Widespread Portfolios.

Widespread owns about 7% of AMR. Its other investments are an 11% stake in ASX-listed King Solomon Mines, which is exploring for copper and gold in Inner Mongolia, and owns 24% of NZAX-listed Widespread Energy, which explores for oil in New Zealand and Fiji, and has an application to prospect for phosphorite in on the central Chatham Rise.

Widespread Portfolios last traded on October 31 at 11.1 cents and has tumbled 63% in the past month.

By Jonathan Underhill

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