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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 31) - It is amazing how a dream deal can sour over time.

Australian explorer Alcaston Mining and [Sydney, Australia-based] Emperor Mines were all cuddly in February last year.

Alcaston was going to buy Emperor's Tuvatu Gold project in Fiji for about FJ$14.2 million [US$8.3 million] in cash and shares.

[PIR editor’s note: Tuvatu is located in the western part of Fiji’s Viti Levu island.]

In the intervening year the price of gold has spiked, both companies have faced more than their fair share of corporate problems and extraordinary meetings, and the deal has finally collapsed.

Now the former pals are pointing a finger at each other as the promised benefits to both sides disappear.

Emperor managing director Mark Wellesley-Wood said after granting many extensions to Alcaston it thought the financing terms offered were deficient, and the request for another extension was unacceptable.

Alcaston chairman Rick Crabb told a different story - blaming Emperor's insistence on restructuring the deal for the delays.

Crabb had personally committed AU$1 million [US$749,000] to funding the deal and said the money was all in place before the Christmas break.

"Alcaston did not receive the final draft of the Deeds of Variation and Emperor's input into the Meetings Materials until December 23 and December 24 respectively,'' Crabb said.

Emperor wanted Alcaston's proposed capital-raising to have a minimum of AU$7.5 million [US$5.6 million] rather than the AU$5 million [US$3.7 million] proposed and then refused to grant an extension.

Now it seems money will be spent on lawyers rather than mining gold.

February 1, 2006

Fiji Times Online: .

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