Metals major expanding overseas footprint

By Zhang Qi (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-14 08:01
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Nanning - State-owned Guangxi Nonferrous Metals Group is expanding its footprint overseas to acquire more mineral resources to spur growth, a top company executive told China Daily on Monday.

The company is looking at nickel assets in Indonesia, and has established representative offices in Laos to scout for potash, tin, gold, zinc, lead, copper and antimony projects, said Li Yangtong, the company's chairman.

The company signed six agreements for resource projects overseas worth 5.35 billion yuan ($787 million) on the sidelines of the China-ASEAN Mining Cooperation Summit Forum last Monday.

This included iron ore and gold projects in Cambodia, a tin venture in Laos, a manganese project in South Africa and a tungsten antimony project in Mongolia, he said.

He also said the company plans to list the Cambodian iron ore project, valued at 2 billion yuan, in Hong Kong.

The company's overseas initiatives indicate that it is very keen to expand its global footprint in search of key resources.

"The company will focus on overseas mining investments in neighboring countries, especially in Southeast Asia, but that does not mean it will exclude projects from other regions," Li said.

He said the company is also conducting research on potential mining investments in Myanmar and Vietnam.

Established in 2008, Guangxi Nonferrous Metals Group consists of six local State-owned enterprises, including Liuzhou-based China Tin Group, which has the largest tin reserves in China.

The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region is one of the nation's key nonferrous regions with huge reserves of tin, antimony, tungsten, aluminum, lead and zinc.

Metals major expanding overseas footprint

Guangxi's nonferrous metals industry produced 50.6 billion yuan in value terms in 2009, local government data showed.

China led the competition in the global resources market last year and has signed a flurry of deals recently, aimed at significantly boosting its raw material supplies.

Ernst & Young said in a report that Chinese investor focus might shift to new regions this year.

"Mining asset prices in developed countries like Canada and Australia have been on the rise, which means assets in new mineral rich countries provide great opportunities for Chinese companies," said Ernst & Young.

Buoyed by rich resources, favorable locations, and reasonable prices in Southeast Asia, Chinese companies are increasingly investing in projects or financing infrastructure for mining companies in return for mineral resources, said Liu Yinan, vice-chairman of China Chamber of Commerce for Metals, Mineral and Chemicals Importers and Exporters.

"Chinese companies' investment in Southeast Asian countries in the resources sector now accounts for one-fourth of the country's global resources transaction market," Liu said.

China's largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group in July signed a memorandum of understanding with Toledo Mining Corporation to jointly develop a nickel project in the Philippines.

China Daily