Jiangxi Nonferrous Exploration Bureau: copper, zinc in Greenland, tantalum, niobium in Ethiopia

The Jiangxi Daily (江西日报) carried a puff piece last week devoted to the aforementioned Bureau (江西有色地质勘查局), who have been exploring for copper, zinc and lead at Jiangxi Copper’s Wegener Halvø site, near Ittoqqortoormiit in eastern Greenland since 2011. The article also mentions the Bureau’s activities in tantalium and niobium exploration, both domestically and in Shakiso, Ethiopia, where a company from Jiangxi (or a duplet of closely connected companies, viz. King-Tan/Kingtai/Jingtai 江西景泰钽业有限公司 and ZCXC/Zhicheng 江西智诚新材料科技有限公司) has been active for some time.

There is both tantalum and niobium in Greenland, e.g. at Ram Resources‘ Motzfeldt Sø project in the south, at NunaMinerals’ Qeqertaasaq rare earth + Nb project near Nuuk, where Korean state-owned miner KORES (한국광물자원공사) has already shown interest, and in Kap Simpson, in an area where Czech company CGRG holds an exploration license, just across from Jiangxi Copper’s Wegener Halvø project. China has a high demand for tantalum and niobium, and Chinese companies have been acquiring stakes in Ta/Nb mines abroad, so it would make sense for them to look for it in Greenland as well.

I’ve written about Jiangxi Copper’s Greenland project, in a longish article last year, then in an update two months ago.

Minmetals finally gets Las Bambas

China’s state-owned Minmetals has finally bought the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru for just short of $6bn. The asset, that could become the world’s third copper mine in a couple of years, had to be sold to get Chinese regulatory approval for Glencore’s takeover of Xstrata, Las Bambas’ owner up to now. There had been talk at some point of an almost unheard-of competition for the mine between Minmetals, Chinalco and even Jiangxi Copper, but the issue was resolved within Chinese state structures and only Minmetals was left to bid unopposed.

Royal Greenland struggling to bring in Chinese workers

Royal Greenland, a fishing company owned by the Greenlandic government, is having a hard time getting permission to bring in Chinese workers to make up for the lack of local skilled labour. We’re talking rather modest numbers here: while Sermersooq municipality has authorised the company to employ five Chinese produktionsspecialister during the high season in Paamiut, in the south of the island, Qaasuitsup authorities refused or are withholding permission to bring as many as 15 workers to two locations in the North-Western municipality.

Huang Nubo: in talks with Norway, Denmark, Sweden

Chinese poet-tycoon Huang Nubo 黄怒波, recently spotted in France, tells China National Radio that Zhongkun 中坤 Group, the real-estate and tourism conglomerate he leads, has an “ever more distinct” strategy to enter Northern European tourism market. “Now we’re not only talking with Iceland,” he added: in “the last couple of days” the ambassadors of Norway, Sweden and Denmark have all arranged meetings with him.

China Nonferrous deepens involvement in Greenland Zn project

China Nonferrous (中色) listed arm NFC has signed a new non-binding MoU with Ironbark for its Citronen zinc project in northern Greenland. A previous agreement already mentioned NFC would facilitate Chinese funding for a large part of the development costs, to which the new MoU adds an option for the Chinese company to eventually buy a minority share in the project.

Hålogaland bridge hits the Serbian news

“Novi Sad company builds bridge in Norway,” reports Radio Television of Voivodina, quoting information from the Norwegian Embassy in Serbia. The bridge in question is of course none other than the Hålogalandsbrua in Narvik, and the Serbian company VNG, a partner of Chinese state-owned contractor Sichuan Road and Bridge Group (SRBG, 四川路桥集团), the winner of a tender for the steelwork of that bridge last October.

VNG is a little-known company with a website under construction, but it’s connected to DSD Steel, a German group that has participated in multiple related projects in Europe, the Middle East and China, including the Ada bridge in Belgrade (which the RTV article credits to VNG, and which also involved some Chinese participation).

The bridge, expected to be finished by 2017, “is [i.e. will be] beautiful,” VNG director Zorana Brankovan is quoted as saying.

More about the background of Sichuan Road and Bridge, with its beautiful and less beautiful sides, in my article on the topic (“Hålogaland: a Chinese bridge in Norway“).