MAC: Mines and Communities

China Update

Published by MAC on 2007-04-07

Jinchuan starts Zambian nickel mine construction

Gansu Jinchuan Nickel Group, China's largest nickel smelter, began construction of a nickel mine in the South African country of Zambia this week, according to a company official.

The Munali Nickel Mine is located 60 kilometers south of Zambia's capital city Lusaka and has been designed to output 8,500 tons of nickel concentrate per annum, upon planned completion in the middle of next year.

The project is managed by Albidon Ltd. and has a total investment of $65 million. Jinchuan and Albidon signed an off-take and financing agreement last December. According to the agreement, Jinchuan will invest $20 million to develop the Munali Mine and $5 million to purchase Albidon shares.

Jinchuan has agreed to purchase all the nickel concentrate from the project and any additional concentrate from expansion over the mine's operational lifetime.

The mine contains proven reserves of 100,000 tons of nickel, 1,400 tons of copper, 400 tons of cobalt and 15,000 tons of platinum and palladium.

Albidon was founded in 2000 and is an Africa-focused nickel exploration and development company.

Jinchuan is currently conducting a due diligence assessment on a nickel mine in the Philippine province of Palawan for possible joint exploration with MacroAsia Corportation. Jinchuan is also involved in the Australian Wingellina Nickel Limonite Deposit Project and has signed a framework agreement with the Australian mining company Metals X Ltd.

Joint venture negotiations between Jinchuan and another Philippine company Philnico Mining and Industrial Corp. broke down at the end of last year as Jinchuan was not comfortable with project financing and uncertain policies from the Philippine Government.

Chinese steelmakers in talks to develop Vietnamese iron ore mine

Interfax China

7 April 2007

Chinese steelmakers are in talks with the Vietnam Steel Corp. (VSC) for the development of the Thach Khe iron ore mine in Vietnam's Ha Tinh Province, according to an announcement from China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) yesterday.

The Chinese steelmakers include Wuhan Iron and Steel Group (WISCO), Kunming Iron and Steel Group and Baotou Iron and Steel Group. Overseas steelmakers, such as Indian Tata Steel, Essar, Korean Posco and the Russian Evraz Group have also expressed interest in the project.

Vietnam plans to develop the Thach Khe Iron Ore Mine with a $350 million investment fund and to construct a 4.5 million-ton steel mill in Ha Tinh Province, at a cost of $3.2 to $3.5 billion. The project is currently awaiting local government approval, MOFCOM said last month.

"We've been following the Ha Tinh project for several years now, however, the difficulties in developing the coastal mine may eventually discourage our involvement," a WISCO official surnamed Xiao said when reached by Interfax. A pre-feasibility study conducted by VSC in 2005 showed that the geographical position of the Thach Khe Iron Ore Mine would result in many excavation difficulties.

The Thach Khe Iron Ore Mine is one of the biggest iron ore mines in Vietnam with estimated reserves of 550 million tons. Vietnam has been planning to exploit the mine for many years. Vietnam is seeking to boost its steel production due to a predicted demand increase from 6.5 million tons in 2005, to 10 million tons in 2010, 16 million tons in 2015 and 20 million tons in 2020, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry.

Last November, Kunming Steel established a joint venture to develop the Quy Xa Iron Ore Mine in the Northern Vietnamese Province of Lao Cai. The Quy Xa mine contains approximately 120 million tons of iron ore reserves.

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