Widespread's Asian Minerals comments further on nickel export tariff
Asian Mineral Resources ("ASN") is Widespread's largest investment, representing 66.4% of total assets at its present market value of Cdn $1.13 a share.
ASN made the announcement below in Canada earlier today. It is clear from this announcement that the company is pressing ahead with development of the nickel mine and processing plant. Further, while discussions are ongoing with various Vietnamese authorities and other relevant parties concerning the nickel tariff, the other immediate priority is the sourcing of further funding to complete the project.
The announcement follows below.
For and on behalf of the Board,
Chris D Castle
Onekaka, 23 July 2008
July 22, 2008AMR Outlines Export Tariff Increase Impact on Ban Phuc Nickel ProjectTORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 22, 2008) - Asian Mineral Resources Limited ("AMR" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:ASN) announced today the steps it plans to take to deal with the impact on its Ban Phuc nickel project of the recently announced increase to 20% in the Vietnamese export tariff on nickel concentrates.
AMR has initiated discussions with the appropriate Vietnamese governmental authorities and has begun enlisting the support of other interested parties in seeking to have the tariff increase rescinded. AMR believes that the tariff increase fails to take into account the realities of the nickel industry, including the cost of downstream concentrate processing. As this increase is unilateral across the metal groups, it will be counterproductive to the minerals industry throughout Vietnam.
Funding required for completion of construction at Ban Phuc is US$38.5 million, taking into account cash on hand, including the proceeds of the recent Jinchuan financing (see press release dated July 11, 2008). This amount reflects a revised project capital cost estimate of US$81.5 million to take account of increased construction and mining costs, exchange rates and other factors. AMR is continuing financing negotiations in parallel with alternative financing mechanisms for a total of US$45 million, which includes budgeted exploration and other costs.
"We were very surprised and disappointed by the sudden large and unexpected increase in the Vietnamese export tariff on nickel concentrates coming as it did at a critical stage of project development", commented Jim Askew, AMR's Chairman. "While we fully intend to engage in discussions with the Vietnamese government authorities with the objective of rolling back the tariff increase, we must deal immediately with completing financing of the Ban Phuc project that has been in a "full steam ahead" mode since receiving our mining license last December. The project continues to be on schedule for concentrate production in the second quarter of 2009 and, financing issues aside, management expects this production date to be met."
Asian Mineral Resources Limited is developing the Ban Phuc Nickel/Copper Project in north-western Vietnam in which it has a 90% interest. The Project is scheduled for commercial concentrate production in the first half of 2009.
For further details on the Company and the Project, please refer to the website atwww.asianminres.com.