BRIEFS

MINING

MINING

Project halt

Another mine project has been mothballed, with ASX-listed Aquarius Platinum saying one of its South African mines will be placed on "care and maintenance". The company said its Everest mine had become uneconomic because of low platinum prices, industrial relations problems and several cost-related factors.

TELCOS

Costs fall

Cheaper fixed-line and mobile phone services drove a 6 per cent fall in the cost of telecommunications products in 2010-11. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said inflation-adjusted prices for fixed-line phone services fell 7.3 per cent over the year, while mobile services had become 4.6 per cent cheaper. Prices for internet services fell 3.6 per cent.

ENERGY

Fund-raising

Energy infrastructure owner SP Ausnet has continued to raise funds, saying last night that it had priced $205 million of 10-year bonds. The raising follows a separate $434 million capital raising last week. The company, with links to Singapore Power, said the money would be used to refinance existing debts and fund growth. SP Ausnet's total debt stands at $4.678 billion.

OMBUDSMAN

Role expands

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman will expand its role to include detecting and investigating systemic problems inside telcos. It today will outline plans to improve its members' complaint-handling skills.

MEDIA

APN purchase

Struggling regional media publisher APN News & Media is bulking up its online presence to reposition for growth and increase digital earnings. The group is paying $36 million for an 82 per cent stake in the online retailer brandsExclusive. The website, which has 1.8 million members, offers premium clothing brands, accessories, shoes, toys, homewares and sporting goods at discounted prices.

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