Happy New Year to the Hanlong Group!

hanlong

In today’s Big Business news, we bring you China’s Hanlong Group, which has just acquired one of the largest iron ore mines in West Africa. Horraaaay!

China Daily reports that the deal is worth a fair chunk of change:

“The acquisition will start on February 26 and end on March 1, 2013 after documents are submitted to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, officials with the privately-held Hanlong Group said Friday.

Hanlong will pay A$0.45 per share to buy Sundance shares — a price agreed upon in August 2012. The offer will save Hanlong 2 billion yuan ($315 million) for the deal, which was originally valued at A$1.7 billion ($1.76 billion).

Sundance controls the Mbalam Iron Ore Mine in Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Hanlong executives have disclosed that the company is in talks with leading state firms to jointly develop the mine.

Hanlong is investing $5 billion to develop its first mining project in Mbalam, as well as build a 550-km railway and a shipping port. It is slated to start operating in 2014, the company officials said.”

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So it’s worth more than a billion dollars, but why exactly is this news making headlines around the world?

The Economic Times dropped a very brief line about it:

“The mine holds 865 million to 925 million tonnes of iron ore … unnamed observers said Hanlong’s control of the mine would give China more influence in setting international iron ore prices.

Major investments and acquisitions by China in natural resources projects overseas, including Africa, have helped fuel its rise to become the world’s second-largest economy.

Xinhua said that Hanlong Group has combined assets of 36 billion yuan ($5.7 billion) with ownership or stakes in more than 30 firms.”

It’s not only iron ore–for more insight into China’s growing influence on the world’s mineral markets, we turn to Mining.com, which recently published an article about China’s rise to prominence in silver markets:

“China has transformed from a ‘relatively small player’ on the silver market as recently as the 1990’s into the world’s second largest silver fabricator with a burgeoning share of both global supply and demand.

China’s share of global silver demand and supply currently stands at 17% and 14% respectively, while the country is expected to soon become the world’s second-largest producer of the precious metal.

Total silver demand in China increased more than two-fold during the period from 2002 to 2011, rising from 67.1 million ounces to 170.7 million, with gains driven by both vigorous economic growth and liberalization of the country’s silver market.

Demand for silver has seen especially strong gains in China’s jewelry and investment markets. During the period from 2002 – 2011 the country’s silver jewelery market grew by 211% to reach 54.4 million ounces.”

Read more on China, France, America and the world beyond in the latest edition of Carnet Atlantique!

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