Jinchuan Group Ltd, China`s biggest nickel producer, has renewed interest in a joint venture to reopen the Nonoc nickel mine in southern Philippines and has even improved its offer, the trade secretary said on Wednesday.
“They had sent another offer which is an improvement of where there were before the talks collapsed,” Peter Favila told Reuters by phone, but he refused to give additional details.
Jinchuan and the Baosteel Group had earlier agreed to infuse US$1 billion to revive the Nonoc mine, part of the Philippine`s plan to revive its once lucrative minerals sector and boost economic growth.
But talks between Jinchuan and Philnico Industrial Group about a joint venture to reopen the mine bogged down last January over how to divide the ownership of the mine and treatment of the Philippine firm`s debts.
Philnico Chairman Evaristo Narvaez said his company welcomed Jinchuan`s offer although Philnico had yet to formally receive it.
Narvaez said Jinchuan`s offer would be evaluated alongside proposals Philnico had received from other investors – from Russia, Japan, Canada and other Chinese mining companies that were also interested in reviving the Nonoc mine.
“If Jinchuan is serious in pursuing its interest, it should detail the specific terms and conditions, all of which will be evaluated in relation to such criteria as technical and financial capability to implement the project in accordance with the Philippine government`s timetable and standards, and under fair commercial terms,” Narvaez said in a statement.
“We are at various stages of discussions with these other investors and ultimately the best offer will be considered,” he added.
Canada`s Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Inc earlier said it was close to finalising a deal with Philnico to reopen the Nonoc nickel mine.
Nonoc mine has the capacity to produce 41,000 t/y of nickel, equivalent to 3% of world production of 1.34 Mt. Narvaez said the government is keen on restarting commercial operation of the Nonoc mine in 2009.
Information from: Reuters