. Energy News .

Peabody, China, Russia to develop Mongolia mine
by Staff Writers
Ulan Bator (AFP) July 4, 2011

Mongolia has said US mining giant Peabody Energy, China's Shenhua and a Russian-led consortium have been selected to develop the prized Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit, one of the largest in the world.

Authorities in the mineral-rich but undeveloped country are hoping its nascent mining industry -- and the deep-pocketed foreign firms interested in it -- can help pull thousands of people out of poverty.

The government announcement late Monday made no mention of Japan's Mitsui and South Korea's Korea Resources Co. -- originally on the shortlist of preferred bidders to develop Tavan Tolgoi, located in the south Gobi desert.

Shenhua is to have a 40 percent share and Peabody 24 percent, while the remaining 36 percent is to be held by the Russian-led consortium, the statement said.

The draft agreement -- announced after a special cabinet meeting on Monday -- is subject to parliamentary approval and will be submitted to lawmakers this week, it added.

The field is located 270 kilometres (165 miles) from the border with China and contains 6.4 billion tonnes of coal -- about a quarter of which is high-grade coking coal, a key ingredient for steel production, while the rest is thermal coal.

The selected companies will jointly develop the western part of the Tsenkhi block of Tavan Tolgoi, which contains mainly coking coal.

State-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi (ETT), set up to manage Mongolia's coal mining interests, owns the rights to mine the block, and will do so with its foreign partners.

It was not immediately clear if Mitsui and Korea Resources were part of the deal, but Ulan Bator-based Eurasia Capital analyst Akmal Aminov said they were likely still involved.

Mongolia wants "all of them to collaborate and work on Tavan Tolgoi", Aminov told AFP. "It doesn't want to depend on one country."

The government had said it would hold a news conference on the deal Tuesday in Ulan Bator, but a spokeswoman later told AFP it had been postponed.

Mongolia-based Frontiers Securities investment strategist Dale Choi said the agreement, if approved, would be a "game changer" for the impoverished country.

"Mongolia has the upper hand because it has managed to be the controlling interest," Choi told AFP.

A Mitsui official told AFP the Japanese firm still planned to work with Shenhua on the project but had not yet received Mongolia's official decision.

Spokesmen for Korean companies Korea Resources and POSCO said they had only seen news reports on the deal and did not know if they were part of a consortium to develop the deposit.

Hong Kong-listed shares in Shenhua rose 1.70 percent to HK$38.95 ($5.00) while in Shanghai, the company closed up 1.67 percent at 31.6 yuan ($4.89).

In Tokyo, Mitsui & Co. fell 0.84 percent to 1,409 yen ($17.36).

Shares in Peabody were not traded Monday due to a public holiday in the United States.

Sandwiched between China and Russia, Mongolia has sought to follow policies that do not alienate either of its giant neighbours, but is also seeking closer ties with the United States.

China is the world's largest producer and consumer of coal, upon which it relies for 70 percent of its fast-growing energy needs.

Under the deal, investors will pay Mongolia a non-refundable $500 million plus another $500 million as an advance payment, the government said.

The firms also will be obliged to pay all taxes and fees associated with the project to the government, and five percent of sales income will be paid to ETT.

Peabody, Brazil's Vale and Indian steel giant ArcelorMittal had been among six preferred bidders to develop the western portion of Tsenkhi.

The others in contention were Anglo-Swiss group Xstrata, a joint venture between Shenhua and Mitsui, and a consortium of Russian, South Korean and Japanese companies.

ETT will retain full ownership of the eastern portion of Tsenkhi and will hire a contract miner to extract the coal.

Perth-based Argonaut Securities senior trader James McGlew told AFP that if Mitsui and Korea Resources missed out on the western block, they would be frontrunners to help develop the eastern section.

Ulan Bator has been opening up the landlocked country's lucrative resources sector to foreign investment as it seeks to lift more people out of poverty.

In 2009, Mongolia sealed a long-awaited multibillion-dollar deal with Canada's Ivanhoe Mines and Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto to develop Oyu Tolgoi, one of the world's richest copper deposits and a key gold source.

An initial public offering of ETT slated for early next year is expected to raise up to $2 billion and includes a plan to distribute shares to every Mongolian.

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

China hit by two mining accidents
Beijing (AFP) July 2, 2011 - China suffered two mining accidents on Saturday that left three workers dead and 40 trapped underground, state media said, the latest incidents to hit the nation's dangerous collieries.

One mine collapsed in Heshan city in the southern region of Guangxi, and rescuers sent to help the trapped workers found three bodies at the site of the accident, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Another 19 miners were still trapped in a difficult-to-reach section of a mine shaft more than 300 metres (990 feet) below ground, the report said.

In another accident on Saturday morning, a mine in the neighbouring province of Guizhou flooded when 29 workers were underground, a separate Xinhua report said.

Eight of the workers had made it out safely, but the remaining miners were still trapped in the mine in Pingtang county, it added.

China's coal mines have a notoriously poor safety record, which the government has repeatedly pledged to address.

In its latest campaign, the government issued a policy last year that required six kinds of safety systems, including rescue facilities, to be installed in all coal mines within three years.

In 2010, 2,433 people died in coal mine accidents in China, according to official statistics, or a rate of more than six workers per day.

Labour rights groups, however, say the actual death toll is likely much higher than official data indicates, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit their economic losses and avoid punishment.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Greenpeace protesters dump coal at S.Africa utility
Johannesburg (AFP) June 27, 2011
Greenpeace activists dumped three trucks of coal in front of the headquarters of South African state utility Eskom Monday to protest what they called its lack of commitment to green energy. Activists from the global environmental organisation paraded in front of the five tonnes of coal blocking one of the main entrances of Eskom's Johannesburg headquarters, carrying signs criticising the com ... read more

Developing world need $1 trillion a year for green tech: UN

US backs Lithuanian energy independence drive: Clinton

Groups Launch National EPA SmartWay Drayage Program

Japan begins power restrictions

Anti-China demo in Vietnam despite clampdown

China oil spill to have long-term impact: report

ExxonMobil expands Yellowstone pipeline cleanup

Flooding hinders US Yellowstone river cleanup

Wind power numbers down in Britain

Wind farm inquiry balanced and reasonable

Power-One Inverters Chosen to Power WindTronics

Sheringham Shoal signs up For WindManager wind farm management system

Solis Partners Completes Rooftop Commercial Solar Installation in Bridgewater

High-Efficiency IDS Solar Inverter Technology Unveiled in North America

Race is on to site largest U.S. solar farm

Spanish Government Selects SolarReserve's Solar Thermal Project

French nuclear reactor authorised for 10 more years

Japan mayor opts to restart reactors

Nuclear waste requires cradle-to-grave strategy

Tanzania to mine uranium in game reserve

Biofuels from the sea

Salt-loving microbe provides new enzymes for the production of next-gen biofuels

Wales wood pellet biomass effort advances

Insight into plant behavior could aid quest for efficient biofuels

China to launch an experimental satellite in coming days

China to launch new communication satellite

China's second moon orbiter Chang'e-2 goes to outer space

Building harmonious outer space to achieve inclusive development

Europe drought leading to more property damage: study

International gathering on climate change opens in Germany

Researchers considering climate change

Big industry campaign to derail Australia carbon tax

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement