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Asian Mineral Resources Ban Phuc mine hit by typhoon

Thursday 2nd October 2008

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Asian Mineral Resources, the biggest investment of New Zealand's Widespread Portfolios, said typhoon rains have caused mudslides and damaged equipment at its Ban Phuc nickel project in Vietnam.

Canadian-listed Asian Mineral Resources (AMR), which represents about 38% of Widespread's total assets, announced the storm damage a day after suspending develop activities at the site because it couldn't secure financing. It blamed unfavourable market conditions and uncertainty over Vietnam's policy on nickel exports, tariffs and royalties.

The company will continue negotiations with potential funders, including major shareholders, president Collin Ellison said in a statement. The setbacks mean the company won't meet its June 2009 target to start production, he said.

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.

In July, the company had a 1-for-50 share consolidation to narrow the gap between its market price and the value of assets. The shares last traded at 30 cents on September 15, giving the company a market value of NZ$6.4 million.

By Jonathan Underhill

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