CUO copperco limited

falling prices give china chances to buy coppe

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    Falling prices give China chances to buy copper mines

    Chinese firms are looking to acquire copper mines on falling prices
    Falling copper prices are providing opportunities for cash-rich Chinese firms to buy overseas resources, a senior executive at China Nonferrous Metal Mining said on Monday.

    But falling prices and the global financial turmoil could delay existing copper projects in Chile, the world`s top producer of the metal, a director at that country`s copper commission (Cochilco) told a copper conference in Nanchang, capital city of Jiangxi Province.

    "The winter is coming. It may be a good timing for Chinese firms to go out to buy resources," Liu Guoping, director of the exploration department at China Nonferrous, said at the conference. Liu said some overseas exploration firms might find it difficult to obtain funds to finance their projects, giving cash-rich Chinese firms good opportunities to buy their assets.

    He added the financial turmoil was unlikely to affect Chinese firms that held large cash piles. "Some Chinese firms made good profits in the past two years and hold a lot of cash," Liu told Reuters at the sidelines of the same conference, without providing names.

    Prices of copper lost more than 20% last week, the biggest weekly fall since 1977, and are down 50% since July`s record high. Low copper prices could impact on existing projects in Chile.

    Ana Isabel Zuniga, research and policy planning director at Cochilco, said the current market conditions might delay the timeframes of construction and production at existing copper mining projects in Chile.

    "We expect (existing projects) to go ahead. The projects may be delayed because they need more time to assess the situation," she told Reuters at the sidelines of the same conference. Zuniga said 20 projects were in the pipeline and would add 1.9Mt of metal in concentrate by 2015, based on Cochilco`s estimate in August.

    Liu at China Nonferrous said Chinese firms had acquired copper resources in the past few years at high prices as China`s need for the raw material rose. The demand for imported copper materials would stay strong in the long term. Jiangxi Copper, China`s top producer and the owner of the country`s largest open-pit copper mine in Jiangxi, will need to import 70% of its materials for refined copper production by the end of this year when its capacity rises by nearly 30% to 900,000t/y, president Li Yihuang said.

    (Reuters, October 27)

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