Monday, December 29, 2008

Daily news - 29 Dec

Straits Asia permits clear scrutiny
Straits Asia Resources has said that Indonesian police have completed a probe into possible illegal mining activity at Sebuku Island and are satisfied with their review of the firm's mining permits. 'No significant disruption to the mine occurred as a result of the investigation,' said the company in a statement over the weekend. Straits Asia owns and operates two coal mines in Indonesia - one on Sebuku Island in south-east Kalimantan and another at Jembayan, near Samarinda in east Kalimantan. Indonesian police recently completed an investigation into whether mining activities had been undertaken in non-permitted forest areas on Sebuku Island. 'Straits Asia was, and is, of the opinion that it holds all the relevant permits for its mining activities at Sebuku,' the firm said, adding that it had co-operated with the police in their investigations. 'Straits Asia is pleased to announce that the authorities are satisfied with their review of the permits; and that the investigation is now finished and mining activities at Sebuku are continuing as normal.' Earlier this month, Straits Asia said that it had received approval from the Indonesian government to explore and mine in a new 5,121-hectare area on Sebuku, just north of existing mining concessions owned by the firm. Drilling in the new area will start in 2009, the company said. Last month, Straits Asia secured a US$300 million loan from Standard Chartered Bank. Straits Asia chief executive Richard Ong said at the time that the 18-month credit facility would be used to refinance an existing US$230 million bridge loan and to provide funds for business expansion. The company's shares last traded at 77.5 cents on Friday. The price has plunged 75.2 per cent since the start of the year, amid a broader slide in commodity-related stocks as the economic outlook worldwide deteriorated sharply.

Source: Kim Eng

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