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Regency Mines' JV partner resumes project funding on nickel price rise

London-listed Regency Mines Plc said it may continue its joint venturewith Direct NickelLtd. over the Mambare nickel project, after new controllingshareholders of the Australian partner promised to resume funding its 50%project share.

Direct Nickel had suspended payments for the Papua NewGuinea project last year, prompting Regency to begin default procedures and preparationsto buy out the Sydney-based company's share.

Direct Nickel, which controls a technology it claims canprocess nickel more cheaply than regular methods, had been hoping to use thetechnology at Mambare.  

But last year's fall in the nickel price to its lowest levelsince 2003 scuttled those plans and prompted Sydney-based Direct Nickel group to fireemployees and close several offices, along with freezing support to the PapuaNew Guinea project.

Regency said Direct Nickel agreed to resume payments and haspaid £44,032, with another £20,000 expected shortly, according to a July 15news release.

Located northeast of Port Moresby, Mambare has approximately1.5 million tonnes in nickel resources, according to SNL Metals & Miningdata.

Regency Mines suspended Sudanese potash and phosphate exploration inJune, as well as nickel exploration in Papua New Guinea.

Instead, the company said last year that it wanted tobuy oil and gasassets for short-term cash flow.

SNL Metals &Mining is an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence.