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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Solid quarter for Zinifex

MiningNews.net + Solid quarter for Zinifex

MAJOR zinc and lead producer Zinifex is cashing in on the base metals boom with production from its operations "comfortably" ahead of the previous year despite a planned rebuild of the roaster at its Hobart refinery.

Early days at the Century operation

During the March quarter, Zinifex produced 379,462 tonnes of lead and zinc, up from 371,086t in the corresponding quarter but down on the previous quarter's result of 406,384t.

"The March quarter was broadly in line with our expectations from an operational perspective but notable for the large uplift in zinc prices that occurred," Zinifex said.

"Total metal and concentrate produced in the quarter exceeded the same quarter last year despite a planned rebuild of the Hobart roaster, which was largely responsible for the 10% shortfall against the December quarter."

Zinifex is cashing in on surging commodity prices, with zinc averaging $A3050 per tonne during the March quarter and lead consolidating at an average of $1685/t.

At Zinifex's mainstay Century mine in Queensland, zinc-in-concentrate production was 13% higher than the corresponding period last year, which was affected by a SAG mill motor failure.

Like many of its counterparts, climatic conditions played its part with zinc and lead concentrate sales lagging behind production following a number of weather-related shipping delays, and a late wet season hampering pit operations at Century during the quarter.

Elsewhere, Zinifex said the ramp up to increase zinc production to 260,000t per annum at its Budel refinery in the Netherlands is nearing completion, with commissioning scheduled for the June quarter and production expected to reach full capacity in the first half of the next financial year.

However, the company said market electricity prices remain high with little prospect of relief in the foreseeable future.

Shares in the company hit a 52-week low of $2.63 in May before gaining ground to hit a 52-week high of $11.68 last week. The stock shed 41c (3.8%) during morning trade to $10.40.

Click here to read the rest of today's news stories.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Jinchuan backs Allegiance in $US1.3 billion deal

MiningNews.net + Jinchuan backs Allegiance in $US1.3 billion deal

CHINA'S largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group has thrown its support behind Allegiance Mining and its Avebury project in Tasmania, signing a $US1.3 billion ($A1.76 billion) off-take agreement for all the concentrates produced from the current resource.

"Jinchuan have offered a very favourable off-take agreement and it gets us on the way, but it is restricted by definition to a certain area and we believe the potential area for mineralisation is much greater," Allegiance chairman Tony Howland-Rose told MiningNews.net.

"One of the foundation stones is having an off-take contract so people know what you're doing is real and there is somebody there willing to buy it, should you produce it."

Production estimates from the current resources are pegged at 70,000 tonnes of contained nickel metal-in-concentrate, and Jinchuan has also been provided with first rights to enter into negotiations for securing additional concentrates sourced from new resources.

"They [Jinchuan] also have expertise which I think is a really important thing at this time because … Australia in particular is very short of skills in various areas and Jinchuan is very eager to assist us should we not be able to get Australian expertise," Howland-Rose said.

"They're nickel experts, which is very relevant."

In addition, Jinchuan will provide the budding nickel producer with a $5 million subordinated loan and will make available technical support in the form of metallurgical experts.

Howland-Rose said the company was reviewing earlier production estimates – originally flagged at an initial 5700t per annum start-up before ramping up production to more than 10,000t – adding if the figures come out right "it maybe a bit higher than that".

"Our drilling has been reasonably successful … and we do believe there is significantly more nickel to be had, not only along the line there but in the region, so I think there is good cause to think a little bigger than we have been," he said.

In addition, Howland-Rose said it could be time for a re-rating of the small company.

"I think the thing that will give us a re-rating is the off-take contract because obviously Jinchuan doesn't muck around, they're quite professional in what they do and they've been familiar with our deposit since the earliest days."

The $A77 million project is expected to come online early next year. On initial reserves, the project has a net present value of $26 million and in internal rate of return of 17%, but the company's business plan envisages a NPV of $94 million with an IRR of 29%.

The business plan involves the rapid expansion of resources and reserves at Avebury this year during the construction phase. Allegiance used a nickel price and cobalt price of $US12,000t in the study and an exchange rate of 0.735.

Shares in Allegiance hit a 52-week low of 10.5c in May before gaining ground to hit a 52-week high of 43c this week. The stock climbed 7.5c (25.9%) during morning trade to 36.5c.

Click here to read the rest of today's news stories.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Australia on the Map � Tasmanian program launched - - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Australia on the Map � Tasmanian program launched - - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

A program of 27 activities highlighting Tasmania’s role in the nation’s rich maritime history was launched in Hobart today.

The events – including community festivals and ship visits - are part of the Australia on the Map project aimed at enhancing knowledge and understanding of Australia’s maritime heritage, beginning in 1606 with the voyages of Janszoon and Torres.

It focuses on the many mariners who, whether by accident or design, charted the country’s coasts and put “Australia on the Map”.

Tasmanian program patron Sir Guy Green said that familiar names such as Tasman, Van Diemen, Du Fresne and D’Entrecasteaux show that Tasmania has always been aware of the diversity of its history.

“The Tasmanian program looks at this history, and considers not only the comings and goings of the Europeans, but a range of other themes,” Sir Guy said.

“These include the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, the difficulties and dangers of 17th and 18th century navigation and the geography of the many islands of Tasmania.”

The Maritime Museum of Tasmania, the State Library, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Archives Office of Tasmania and the University of Tasmania are participating in the Tasmanian program.

There is a schools program, 10 new exhibitions and displays around the state, and a number of talks and presentations.

Community projects include this weekend’s (7 - 9 April) France to Freycinet goes Dutch festival. It will focus on the East Coast and include kite flying, drama, music and trips to Maria Island.

In November, Dunalley will host a community event to mark Abel Tasman’s only Tasmanian anchorage in 1642.

Two new maps are being produced including a new chart of 979 of Tasmania’s islands and rocks to be available in July from Tasmap.

Another map of great interest is Tasmania during the Ice Age showing the land bridge from the mainland to Tasmania when the Aboriginal people lived in a harsh and icy world. Produced by the Aboriginal Heritage Office, the map will be available in October followed by a new website and educational resource.

A highlight of the national program is the voyage of the Duyfken, which will make a year-long voyage to various coastal towns and cities of historic interest in all states.

The Duyfken is a replica of the Dutch ship which came to Australia in 1606, the first recorded time when Australian Aborigines met with people from the outside world. It was also the first recorded time when a part of Australia’s coastline was mapped.

The replica Duyfken was made using traditional materials, such as flax and hemp, and traditional construction methods including fire to bend the planks of the hull. Its visit to Tasmania in November and December this year will be of great interest to local boat builders and enthusiasts.

Australia on the Map media enquiries: Angela Bourke 6233 5741 0418 361 929

This initiative is part of the State Government’s commitment to progressing Tasmania Together Goal 21 – Value, protect and conserve our natural and cultural heritage.

The Mountain Festival

The Mountain Festival

The Mountain Festival is a community festival centered around Mt. Wellington in the South East of Tasmania. More...

We're still working on our program but in the mean time, please get in touch for details.

Publican trains apprentice beer-drinking pig. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

" I am amazed that the animal rights lobby hasn't got onto this ...

.. force feeding alcohol onto an animal for entertainment value is not very humane "
says zygomaturus

Publican trains apprentice beer-drinking pig. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

The Pub In the Paddock at Pyengana in north-east Tasmania has a new tourist drawcard.

The pub is world-famous for its beer-drinking pig named Priscilla, who can scull a watered-down stubby in seven seconds.

Priscilla is getting old, so a mischievous successor, Priscilla Babe, is being trained as a replacement.

Tourists from all over the world travel to Pyengana just to buy Priscilla a beer.

Owner Anne Free says it is crucial that she has a successor to keep her memory alive.

"I had a woman from Texas recently and she was so excited, she said, 'is this the pub with the beer drinking pig?'," she said.

"I said 'yes', she said ... 'I saw her on TV back home'."

Ms Free says training a pig to drink beer is not easy.

"Most pigs will drink beer, but you do have to train them to drink out of a bottle," she said.

"It did take her a while to get the taste, she sort of played with the bottle and still does play with the bottle, she's not the expert [that] Priscilla is."

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Lawyer highlights high Tas asbestos-related illness rate. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

Lawyer highlights high Tas asbestos-related illness rate. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

A Melbourne lawyer believes Tasmania's rates of asbestos-related illnesses are some of the highest in Australia.

Margaret Kent has been handling compensation cases for Tasmanians affected by asbestos for nine years.

Many cases are directly related to the Goliath Cement Factory in Railton, in the state's north, which was the third biggest producer of asbestos products in Australia.

Ms Kent says she alone takes on up to 20 new mesothelioma cases a year.

"They're going up significantly from a few years ago, there are a lot more people being diagnosed and coming forward with asbestos-related illnesses. Proportionate to the population it's a significant problem," she said.

Respiratory specialist Dr Jim Markos says about 5 per cent of lung cancer cases in Tasmania are caused by asbestos.

Age no barrier to competitive wood chopping. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

Age no barrier to competitive wood chopping. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

Competitive wood chopping might be considered a young bloke's game but an 84-year-old Tasmanian has shown age is no barrier.

Retired tree feller and former wood chop title holder Henry Munday was a crowd favourite at the Hamilton Show north of Hobart at the weekend.

While he took almost five minutes longer than his competitors in the wood chop, he got there in the end, with the help of an old mate.

"That's an old plum axe, one of the old American plums, it's like me, it's pretty old," he said.

"But it's not a big axe, I don't use real big axes.

"I'm not strong enough now like those other big fellas out there to use big heavy axes so I use the lighter one.

"I can get knocked up with one of them without using a big heavy one."

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A LACK of aged care facilities is forcing elderly West Coasters to leave families and friends and abandon the area.

The Advocate Newspaper - Online Edition

"People are being forced off the West Coast because there's nowhere for them to go," West Coast mayor Darryl Gerrity said yesterday.

"There are probably hundreds of ex-West Coasters who are not close to relatives and families.

"They are isolated, they love the West Coast and if they had the opportunity to stay they would."

Cr Gerrity said he hoped a development plan for Strahan would set aside land for an aged care facility.

He said the council would then need to find a provider who wanted to set up on the West Coast.

Failing that, it might have to consider developing facilities itself.

"It is a cruel situation.

"We've been trying for some years to attract an interest from commercial operators.

"They have said there's not enough demand, but we could probably fill 15 units (immediately).

"These people are entitled, they have paid rates and taxes and contributed to West Coast growth.

"Now in their sunset years they deserve to be looked after.

"If no-one else is going to do it, it falls back to the council to address the issue as best we can."

Cr Gerrity said some residents had to leave when they became too frail to care for themselves.

Others living in "historic homes" were finding it impossible to keep up with escalating rates and maintenance needs, he said.

Full story available in today's edition of The Advocate.

Forest ad plea was `to all parties'

examiner.com.au : Forest ad plea was `to all parties'

¤ Greens advocacy denied
The Wilderness Society says it is confident that it would be vindicated by any investigation of advertising during last month's State election.

Society campaign coordinator Geoff Law said yesterday that the logging industry was wrong to claim Wilderness Society television advertisements screened during the State election campaign last month advocated voting for the Greens and were political.

Logging industry representatives want the society's tax-deductible status reviewed by the Federal Government, saying the advertisements went beyond environmental advocacy to political advocacy.

Mr Law said the logging industry was trying to stifle debate.

"We ran the advertisements about old- growth logging with the intention of getting positive policies from all political parties," he said.

"We stand by what we put in those television ads. The industry has tried this on before and in every case the Wilderness Society has been vindicated."

He said loggers were moving into previously untouched old-growth forests in the Upper Florentine and Styx valleys.

The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania could not be contacted yesterday.