MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Chinese companies advance across the globe

Published by MAC on 2004-10-23


Chinese companies advance across the globe

China Business Weekly

23rd October 2004

China has increased investments in overseas mining projects for base metals in recent years, to meet its large and rising demand for raw materials.

The Chinese Government has encouraged large firms to extend their businesses abroad, and has implemented preferential policies to facilitate their overseas investments, industry sources said.

Numerous key projects have been finalized or are under negotiation.

For bauxite and alumina, State-owned Chalco and Companhia Vale do Rio Doce signed a framework agreement last May to build an alumina refinery in Brazil.

The first phase of the refinery will see 1.8 million tons of capacity due in 2007, at a cost of US$1 billion. Final capacity is projected at 7.2 million tons.

The government of Queensland said in mid-July that China will bid on the Aurukun bauxite deposit in the Australian state.

China's Foreign Engineering and Construction Co has agreed to an A$770-million (US$567.03-million) export-credit facility with Australia-based Aldoga Aluminium Smelter Pty Ltd.

China Nonferrous Metal Mining & Construction (Group) is expected to complete a study by next month on investment needed to develop a bauxite deposit and build an alumina refinery in Dac Long in central Viet Nam.

Startup is expected in 2009, and initial capacity is expected to be 2 million tons.

Other Chinese partners include East Hope Group, Yunnan Aluminium Co, Lanzhou Aluminium Co Ltd, Tongchuan Aluminium Smelter, Lanao Aluminium Smelter and Chalco which will take over the management.

Sichuan Aostar Aluminium Co Ltd, a unit of Sichuan Electric Power Corp, one of China's major aluminium producers, has tied up with Ashapura Minechen to bid for a project to build a 500,000-ton alumina refinery in India's Gujarat state.

The project would be expanded to 1 million tons, with an investment exceeding 20 billion rupees (US$440 million).

Copper is another metal resource Chinese firms plan to explore overseas.

Jiangxi Copper in June signed a letter of intent with Ivanhoe to study the possibility of taking a stake in Canadian mining promoter Oyu Tolgoi's copper-gold project in Mongolia.

Ivanhoe, which plans to build an open-pit mine, due to start in mid-2007, said last December that it was negotiating with several companies in China, including financial giant CITIC, as well as firms in South Korea and in Japan.

Jiangxi Copper said in May it and other smelters in China United Copper Co Ltd could take a stake in the to-be-expanded capacity of Saindak copper mine in Pakistan.

China's MCC Resources Development Co (Pvt) Ltd has a lease until 2012 to mine copper.

MCC, which restarted production at the mine in August 2003 after several years of closure, will make 13,000 tons of blister this year.

Codelco and China's Minmetals are negotiating a possible joint venture to finance and develop new deposits in Chile.

China has expressed an interest in acquiring a stake in Codelco's Gaby copper deposit, which will take about US$500 million to build.

State-owned China Minmetals has entered into exclusive talks with Noranda Inc to buy the Canadian copper and zinc miner.

The assets include aluminium, alumina, lead, zinc, copper and nickel.

Zhuzhou Smelter was negotiating with a Pakistan-based company to jointly develop a zinc mine in the southern Asian country, a board official for its listed arm, Zhuye Torch Metals, said.

Zhuzhou does not own any mines in China, but operates lead and copper smelters.

China Nonferrous Metal Mining Construction (Group) in May said it expected to start operations at the Tumurtin-Obo zinc mine, in southeastern Mongolia, in 2006.

The firm expects to produce 300,000 tons of zinc concentrate annually for Chinese smelters -- including Huludao Nonferrous and Baiyin Nonferrous.

China Nonferrous and the Mongolian Government, which is investing US$38 million, own 51 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, in the mine.

Several Chinese companies also mine nickel elsewhere.

The Chinese Government agreed earlier this year to allocate US$650 million for the Ramu nickel deposit in Papua New Guinea, in exchange for an 85-per-cent stake, for China Metallurgical Construction Co, in the project.

Standard Bank Asia Ltd said, on September 15, an agreement could be completed within six months.

Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2007, and the project is expected to yield 33,000 tons of nickel and 3,000 tons of cobalt annually for at least 20 years.

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