25/10/2007 - 15:41

ConsMin manganese production down 40,000 t in Sep quarter

25/10/2007 - 15:41

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West Perth-based takeover target Consolidated Minerals Ltd has reported a shortfall in manganese production of 40,000 tonnes during the September quarter, in its quarterly activities report released today.

West Perth-based takeover target Consolidated Minerals Ltd has reported a shortfall in manganese production of 40,000 tonnes during the September quarter, in its quarterly activities report released today.

In an announcement, the company said it did not expect the shortfall to impact full year guidance, with a production boost expected in the December quarter as mining rates and grades increase.

Nickel production at Kambalda was also marginally below budget, which the company attriubuted to slower than planned development of new ore horizons as a result of later than planned final commissioning of the new ventilation shaft.

That said, the company expected to make up the shortfalls over the nest two quarters, with ConsMin still on track to achieve its production guidance for the 2007-2008 financial year.

Its chromite production of 60,863 tonnes for the quarter was in line with its guidance, the company said.

Meanwhile, the identity of the owner of 17.7 per cent of ConsMin shares, held under the name ANZ Nominees, remains a mystery, despite the owner using at least four different custodians in Australia and continental Europe.

In addition to ANZ Nominees, these are Deutsche Bank, Euroclear and ING Bank.

ConsMin's auditor, Greg Meyerowitz of Ernst & Young, said a substantial shareholder notice is required for holdings of five per cent and higher, so the company has referred the matter to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

"It's not unusual to see holdings being held in bank custodians in Europe, but what is unusual is not to be able to identify a beneficial owner after tracing a handful of notices," Mr Meyerowitz said.

ConsMin managing director Rod Baxter said the 17.7 per cent stake had been acquired over the past month.

"There is no indication they could build on this stake ... but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen," Mr Baxter said.

Until this shareholding became apparent, Belize-headquartered Palmary Enterprises Ltd was ConsMin's largest shareholder with a 14 per cent stake while rival Pallinghurst Resources Ltd had an interest of about seven per cent.

Mr Baxter said the unknown shareholder could not block Palmary's bid, which has been recommended by the ConsMin board, or a potential revised bid from Pallinghurst, as there were no minimum conditions on either offer.

Mr Carter said Palmary and Pallinghurst did not know the identity of the mystery shareholder and were keen to find out.

He said it did not appear to be Norway's Tinfos, which has about a four per cent shareholding in ConsMin.

The company has reserved its right to pursue further action through the Takeovers Panel in relation to the mystery shareholding.

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