Chinalco looks to go global

Updated: 2011-01-20 12:28

By Zhang Qi (China Daily)

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Chinalco looks to go global

An Aluminum Corp of China booth at an industrial show in Beijing. The company has vowed to become one of the top five mining companies in the world within 10 years. [Photo / China Daily]

BEIJING - Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco), China's largest aluminum producer, is looking to become one of the world's top five mining operations in the next 10 years, by diversifying its core business sectors, a company spokesman said.

The company reported a profit of 2.7 billion yuan ($409 million) in 2010, and revenue of 200 billion yuan, up 40 percent from the previous year.

The upbeat figures follow two years of continuous losses after the global financial crisis hit the aluminum market.

"Apart from our main business sectors, including aluminum and copper, Chinalco also aims to top the domestic rare earths sector in three or five of the elements," said the spokesman Yuan Li.

Rare earth is the collective name given to 17 elements which are used in many industrial products such as hybrid cars, missile-guidance systems and mobile phones.

Yuan said Chinalco signed a memorandum of understanding with Guangxi Nonferrous Metals Group in late December to develop rare earths in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to bolster reserves.

The central government has indicated that it wants large companies to lead the consolidation of the country's rare earths sector.

Earlier, the media reported that China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group was also planning to explore rare earths mines in partnership with local operators in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Yuan said Chinalco is also talking with local miners in Guangdong province about potential cooperation.

He said the company will speed up the development of its overseas business. Yuan expects foreign operations to account for more than 30 percent of the whole group's assets, and to advance overseas mining projects this year.

Yuan said the delay to Chinalco's $2.2 billion Toromocho copper project in Peru has been resolved. The company has obtained approval from the local environmental agency and is expected to start construction this year. The project will produce 250,000 tons of copper annually.

Chinalco and its partner, the Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto, signed an agreement in December to establish a joint venture to look for new sources of copper and coking coal in China.

Related readings:
Chinalco looks to go global China's demand for aluminum may grow slowly in next 20 years
Chinalco looks to go global China's aluminum output may hit 16m tons in 2010
Chinalco looks to go global Chinalco: From lean to profitable
Chinalco looks to go global China's Chinalco to invest 10b yuan in rare earth sector

The move is an expansion into other mining sectors, after an agreement on the Simandou iron ore project in West Africa with Rio Tinto.

Rio's managing director for China, Ian Bauert, said at a media briefing on Tuesday that the joint-exploration might also include potash.

In July, Chinalco got approval from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), which is both a regulator of and shareholder in China's largest State companies, to expand into other sectors such as iron ore, copper, coal, and rare earth.

Analysts said the move will help Chinalco diversify beyond aluminum. The company has been facing competition in the domestic aluminum market from private companies.

Prices of alumina, the raw material used in the production of aluminum, were around 4,500 yuan per ton before the global financial crisis, before dropping to 2,650 yuan per ton in 2009.


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