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Rasp Mine still go

Friday, 18th March, 2011

Japanese disasters won't stop development

By Andrew Robertson

CBH Resources says development of the Rasp mine will not be affected despite the devastating events in Japan which have impacted on parent company Toho Zinc.

Chief operating officer, Visko Sulicich, said yesterday Toho did not come through "unscathed" from Friday's massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami which destroyed entire towns and killed thousands of people.

But he said the president of Toho, Tatsuya Tejima, yesterday reassured CBH that Rasp remained a priority for the metals producer.

"We had a board meeting today and their view is to proceed under the same arrangements and the same scheduling," he said.

CBH was last month given final development approval by the NSW Government to proceed with the new zinc-lead-silver mine which is scheduled to start production in the middle of next year, employing 160 people.

Mr Sulicich admitted that the events of the last week had led to some concern in Australia about what it would mean for Rasp.

"There was a couple of days of worry. We've put on a few people over the past couple of weeks and there was some concern.

He said even now CBH did not "fully understand the implications" of the disasters to Toho.

Japan pumped more emergency funds into its buckling financial system yesterday after the yen hit a record high and shares slid as authorities fought to stabilise a stricken nuclear plant.

"I don't think they've come through unscathed but it's not going to affect the development of Rasp," Mr Sulicich said.

"They made that quite clear to us - it's full steam ahead.

"Whatever issues they are going through they are working through them, and it won't affect the timing of Rasp.

"The Japanese really do take a long-term view on this."

He said the main purpose of yesterday's meeting was to get board approval for the contract sign-off with GR Engineering to construct an $80m processing plant.

Perth-based GRE would be mobilising on site next week, he said.

"There should be some earthworks starting on the 22nd of March."

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