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Philippines: Korean firm eyeing mining ventures


October 25, 2008

Philippines: Korean firm eyeing mining ventures
South Korea's Hyundai Group is looking at investing in mining projects in the Philippines, in particular copper, iron and nickel, Reuters quoted a senior government official as saying Friday.

"Hyundai is now shopping around for investments," Horacio Ramos, director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"It seems they want copper, iron and nickel and I just gave them a list of ongoing exploration programmes."

Ramos said Hyundai wants to establish a Philippine office for its mining investment plans and "start the ball rolling."

The Philippines, estimated to have $1 trillion of unexplored minerals, is hoping to attract $12.6 billion in investments into the sector by 2013. But but only $1.7 billion has flowed in since 2004 when the Supreme Court cleared a law allowing foreigners to own 100 percent of large-scale mining projects.

Last week, Japan's Sumitomo Metal Mining  announced plans to build a $1.7 billion nickel processing facility in southern Philippines, adding to an existing high-pressure acid leaching plant.

The Hyundai group, which includes the world's fifth largest carmaker Hyundai Motor Co, also has interests in logistics, financial services and transport systems.

A spokeswoman for Hyundai Steel in Seoul said the steelmaking arm of Hyundai currently has no plans to directly invest in mining.

But larger rival POSCO, the world's No. 4 steelmaker, joined its big peers this year in snapping up mining assets to secure supply of raw materials.

In August Hyundai Steel said it would buy 8 million tonnes of coking coal from BHP Billiton for the next five years to feed its steel capacity expansion.

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