Reports: China looks into RP iron ore venture


Posted at Jun 20 2008 02:56 PM | Updated as of Jun 20 2008 10:56 PM

Agence France Presse

MANILA - China is looking into investing in an iron ore prospect in the southern Philippines, a venture that could involve billions of dollars in capital, officials and press reports said Friday.

The reports quoted Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza as saying state-owned China Metallurgical Group Corp. is in talks with indigenous communities at the prospect on the Zamboanga peninsula on Mindanao island.

If the prospect proves to be economically viable, the company would put up a processing plant with an initial investment of 1.5 billion dollars, Atienza reportedly said in the Philippine Star newspaper.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau here said the company has yet to file an exploration permit.

Levy Teodoro, an official of the bureau's mining tenements division, told AFP the Philippines, which is largely known for gold, copper and nickel production, has largely undeveloped iron ore potential, including in Mindanao.

"The Philippines produced iron ore in the 1950s and the 1960s, but the operation became non-viable when metals prices tanked," Teodoro said.

With metals prices on the rebound, driven mainly by demand from China and the developing world, the Philippines is aggressively promoting mining investments to revive the sector.