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Widespread says Belgian company studies Chatham Rise

Monday 24th January 2011

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Widespread Energy said Belgian dredging company Jan de Nul will undertake a mining concept study of the Chatham Rise rock phosphate project.

Widespread has previously said that three dredging companies - Royal Boskalis, IHC Merwede and DEME - will carry out two jointly funded mining concept studies on the project.

Today it said a further jointly funded mining concept study will be carried out by Jan de Nul.

Jan De Nul had already provided a preliminary mining report for Chatham Rise phosphate, and will now provide a more detailed study of the mining and riser systems based on its earlier engineering for similar projects and additional studies on the most critical items. The work will be performed around the use of Jan De Nul's large DP2 vessel Simon Stevin.

When all the studies have been completed it will select an exclusive partner for a detailed concept design. Detailed concept design and production testing is expected to take at least 12 to 18 months.

Widespread is operator of the project. Analysts have said that extracting rock phosphate from under 400 metres of water on the Chathams Rise is an ambitious project from both a mining and funding perspective. The mineral is used as a fertiliser. Local development of the resource would reduce imports.

Widespread Energy shares last traded at 10 cents each, down from 16 cents in November last year.



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