중앙데일리

Private fund to finance Madagascar mine deal

Mar 16,2007
Korea plans to launch a fund worth about 200 billion won ($212 million) in June to finance a nickel mine project in Madagascar, as it scrambles to secure supplies of the costly raw material.
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said yesterday that it will seek private capital for the seed money and will offer tax incentives. It will be a private mutual fund, but the ministry is considering offering some shares to the general public.
The fund announcement came after the state-controlled Korea Resources Corp. acquired 27.5 percent of the Ambatovy mine in Madagascar last year. The mine is expected to produce 60,000 tons of nickel annually from 2010 to 2037.
The price of nickel has risen sharply thanks to runaway international speculation coupled with exploding demand in China, the world’s fastest growing economy. Nickel is a major component of stainless steel, and according to industry data, demand for stainless steel more than doubled from 2004 to 5 million tons last year.
Shin Seung-hoon, head of the nickel buying team at Posco, said, “Nickel prices have jumped by more than 10 times over the past seven to eight years. Back then, one ton of nickel cost $3,000, but the price has reached over $45,000 recently.” Experts say nickel could soon exceed $50,000 per ton.
China Minmetals, a state-run metal and mineral trader, has, with other firms, reportedly secured four to five nickel mines across the world.
Korea’s top steel company Posco also secured a nickel mine in New Caledonia in the South Pacific last April. Its nickel smelting plant in Gwangyang, South Jeolla province, set to open next year, will churn out 30,000 trillion tons of nickel a year to meet rising domestic demand.
Advancing prices for nickel and stainless steel are dealing a tough blow to consumers and producers of home appliances, including refrigerators, and construction firms. An executive from a domestic stainless kitchen utensil producer, Dongwon Metal, complained that the company spent 10,000 won to produce a stainless pan last September, but now the cost has risen to 17,000 won.


By Seo Ji-eun Staff Writer/ Shim Jae-woo JoongAng Ilbo [spring@joongang.co.kr]




dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장