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Group Chairman Calls for Rethink Energy Strategy

MEDIA RELEASE – 18 November 2005

L&M Group Chairman Calls for Rethink of National Energy Strategy

L&M Group Chairman, Geoff Loudon, predicts “energy problems if the New Zealand government focuses solely on renewable energy resources as part of its proposed National Energy Strategy.”

“The speech from the throne states that the new Labour government will develop a National Energy Strategy and priority will be given to renewable energy resources. This focus on renewable energy will not solve New Zealand’s imminent energy crisis” says Geoff Loudon.

The L&M Group of companies are conducting an aggressive exploration programme in New Zealand. L&M exploration permits covering coal, lignite brown coal, petroleum and coal seam gas represent the largest volume of identified energy resources in New Zealand. L&M’s lignite resources alone are the equivalent of 5 Maui gas fields.

Geoff Loudon, an international mineral investor, is a key speaker at the 2005 New Zealand Minerals Conference in Auckland. He gave a presentation outlining the risks for international investors. These risks included the lack of a coherent and cohesive national energy strategy. The lack of co-ordination between New Zealand government departments is also identified as a major barrier to the development of New Zealand’s energy resources.

“While Crown Minerals and the Ministry of Economic Development are doing a wonderful job attracting international investors to invest in developing New Zealand’s energy resources, other government departments are doing their best to make it difficult” says Geoff Loudon.

“New Zealand’s recent commodity boom has been on the back of low energy prices. Increasing costs in energy and a reliance on imported energy means the cost of production of agricultural commodities will rise. New Zealand is moving from the bottom quartile of cost of energy to the top quartile of cost of energy in the OECD. Unless New Zealand develops its own energy resources New Zealand’s economy will suffer.”

“New Zealand has the largest energy resource per capita in the OECD. There is no reason why an energy crisis should develop. The Government needs to signal to the international energy industry that it wants us here. Renewable energy alone will not solve New Zealand’s immediate energy problems” says Geoff Loudon.

Geoff Loudon is Chairman of the Christchurch based L&M Group of energy companies. He is also Chairman of Nautilus Minerals Inc., a Canadian based seabed minerals explorer; founder and Director of Lihir Gold Limited, a world class PNG gold mine; a Director of Sterilox Technologies Inc., a US high tech medical firm; a founder and investor in Peru Copper Inc.; and a founder and member of Warintza Copper Syndicate (Ecuador). He is a cornerstone investor in European based fuel cell, information technology and industrial companies.

ENDS

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