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AsiaPhos to seek legal help for disputes with Sichuan provincial government

CATALIST-LISTED AsiaPhos is intending to issue a formal notice of arbitration to the Chinese government after unsuccessful attempts to settle ongoing disputes through negotiations with the Sichuan provincial government.

On Friday, the phosphate mining company said that it will work with legal counsel if the Sichuan government fails to come up with a satisfactory settlement proposal within 30 days.

"Based on consultations with legal counsel, the company believes that China's actions amount to an unlawful expropriation of AsiaPhos' investments, and breach China's obligations to provide fair and equitable treatment and other protections under the China-Singapore BIT and China-Asean Investment Agreement," AsiaPhos said.

AsiaPhos has been in discussion with the Sichuan government for a settlement in relation to the non-renewal of the mining and exploration rights pertaining to the Panda Park and the Mianzhu government's requests.

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The request was to provide an undertaking to vacate its mining site in the JiuDingshan Nature Reserve.

In an update on the group's business, the firm said it has shut down its P4 furnaces for maintenance due to "unfavourable conditions" in the P4 business because of high material prices.

According to AsiaPhos, the price of P4 has been impacted by a new round of environmental inspections, resulting in shutdowns of some of its P4 customers during the period of inspection.

It added that management will continue to monitor the phosphate rock and P4 prices to "take advantage of opportunities" that may open up in the second half of 2018.

The counter closed unchanged at S$0.016 on Friday.