Minmetals Resources has five-year growth plan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am


Minmetals Resources, the Hong Kong-listed overseas mining arm of state-backed metals trading giant China Minmetals Corp, aims to quadruple its market capitalisation within five years.

Chief executive Andrew Michelmore said the target would see the firm become one of the 'top three mid-tier resources companies' in the world. It has a market capitalisation of about US$3 billion.

To achieve the objective, Minmetals Resources will pursue internal exploration and development as well as mergers and acquisitions opportunities in Australia and elsewhere. Sovereign risk and tax regimes were two important considerations for acquisitions, he said.

Minmetals Resources was previously a metals trader and smelter. It transformed into a mining-focused firm late last year via a US$1.85 billion acquisition of an Australian-run diverse metals mining firm.

It mines mainly zinc, copper and lead ores in Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and Laos, but it has no plan to operate smelting plants. Michelmore said the firm planned to further expand in nickel and bauxite mining, and aimed to do so via its own exploration and acquisitions.

It already has a 51 per cent-owned joint venture in Jamaica that is doing early studies on bauxite exploration and the construction of an alumina refinery. On Wednesday, it posted a 50 per cent year-on-year jump in net profit to US$415.2 million for the first six months of the year.

Excluding a write-back on business acquisition expense and a gain from the sale of shares in Canada-listed Equinox, which it tried to take over in April but lost out to a rival, pre-tax profit grew 25.1 per cent to US$319.2 million.

The growth was mainly on the back of higher metal prices, as output was mostly flat or lower in its four operating projects. Average market prices for gold, copper and lead jumped more than 20 per cent year on year in the first half, and zinc gained 8 per cent and silver almost doubled.

Michelmore said the zinc price 'may surprise on the upside' in the second half, because current smelting fees were in favour of miners, implying a tight supply in raw ore. Much warehouse stock was also tied up in financing deals and not available for consumption, he added.

Next year, Minmetals Resources plans to start building a zinc mining project in Queensland, which may come on stream in 2014, one to two years ahead of its other mine there of similar output scale that is due to be decommissioned.


The average price, in US dollars, of zinc per tonne in the first half of 2011, an 8 per cent increase from a year earlier