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December 29, 2009

Guangdong Rixin Buys Iron Mine

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It was reported from the local media that Guangdong Province-based Rixin Development, a privately-owned company, has reached an agreement to buy a majority ownership in a foreign iron ore mine.

Rixin Development inked a deal Saturday to acquire a 70 percent stake in an iron ore mine in Chile, the Guangzhou Daily newspaper reported Sunday. Financial details were not disclosed.

Rixin Development, which declined to release any information about its major businesses or registration, is listed on the local enterprise information website as a “trader for home appliances, textiles, auto parts and so on, and importer and exporter of various products and technologies.”No further information about the company could be found online.

The deal would promote the participation of the country’s qualified privately-owned companies in the overseas mining industry, and might lead to the restructuring of the iron ore importing market in two or three years, said Liu Weidong, general manager of Rixin’s iron ore marketing partner, the Zhuhai-based Guangdong branch of State-owned miner and mineral trader China Minmetals, as quoted by Guangzhou Daily.

Privately-owned companies are in a better position to invest in overseas natural resources, said Li Zihao, president of Rixin, as quoted in the report.

“A government background may trigger alertness when it come to State-owned enterprises buying foreign mines,” said a Beijing-based steel analyst who preferred not to be named. The Chinese government is spurring enterprises to purchase natural resources overseas, especially iron ore.

Chinese State-owned giant Chinalco’s $19.5 billion bid for Aussie iron ore giant Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest iron ore miners, was disapproved in early April by Rio Tinto’s board.

Privately-owned enterprises are more flexible in dealing-making, said Wang Zhe, a steel analyst with Beijing-based CITICS Securities Research. Wang expects iron ore prices for 2010 to grow more than 10 percent over 2009, as China’s economy keeps recovering and steel production grows.

China produced 560 million tons of steel in the first 10 months of the year, up 15.4 percent from the same period last year, according to figures from the China Iron and Steel Association.

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