MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Chinese Nickel Group May Join Canadians In Nonoc Mine

Published by MAC on 2006-09-14
Source: Reuters

Chinese nickel group may join Canadians in Nonoc mine

Manila Bulletin

14th September 2006

HONG KONG (Reuters) — Jilin Nickel Group, China’s second largest producer of the metal, may consider joining its Canadian minority shareholder to develop nickel resources in the Philippines, a company official said on Wednesday.

The government of Jilin province sold a 10 percent stake in Jilin Nickel to Canada’s Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Inc. in October last year, the official said, without providing financial details.

Chemical Vapour is involved in mining, metal refining and also provides equipment to Jilin Nickel.

The Canadian firm’s unit, CVMR Resources Philippines Inc., has said it has applied in the provinces of Samar and Palawan for exploration permits. A Philippine official has said the CVMR is interested in an integrated nickel operation.

"It is possible we will cooperate to develop the nickel resources," the Jilin official said, referring to the Philippine projects.

If Jilin does not invest in the resource, Chemical Vapour was likely to sell the material from the Philippines to Jilin Nickel in the future, he said.

"We have a cooperation agreement with CVMR in developing nickel raw materials. We also have an intention to invest," he said.

Such an investment would be the first overseas project for the Chinese firm and would raise supply of the material to Jilin Nickel, the parent of Jilin Jien Nickel Industry Co. Ltd.

China’s largest nickel producer, Jinchuan Group Ltd., and its largest steel group, Baosteel Group, have already agreed to invest $ 1 billion to revive the Nonoc nickel complex in the Philippines.

Jilin Nickel is nearly trebling nickel capacity to 23,000 tonnes by 2008, from 8,000 tonnes currently, but its two nickel mines in China cover 50 percent of its ore demand.

"We have not decided whether the existing 8,000 tonnes of capacity will be switched to produce copper. It will depend on the raw material supply," the official said.

In 2006, the firm aimed to produce 8,000 tonnes of nickel, against about 7,300 tonnes last year, he said.

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