Metals X Ltd., developer of the Wingellina Nickel-Cobalt Project, had verified it has held preliminary talks with South Korea's Samsung C&T Corp. for a possible $2.2 billion investment into the project.
A worker displays nickel ore in a ferronickel smelter owned by state miner Aneka Tambang Tbk at Pomala district in Indonesia's southeast Sulawesi province March 30, 2011
Both parties, however, did not provide the extent of details of their negotiations.
"We have held discussions with many international entities including the Samsung C&T Corp. All discussions are at a preliminary stage and we have not received any formal proposals," Metals X Ltd. said in a statement to the Australian exchange on Friday, in response to an earlier Dow Jones Newswires article.
The Wingellina Nickel-Cobalt Project, according to Metals X Ltd., could produce 40,000 tonnes of nickel and 3,000 tonnes of cobalt in concentrate annually for more than 40 years. It is located at a point where the Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory meet.
But the distance poses a hindrance to its potential as nickel produce would need to be moved by truck to the Adelaide-Darwin railway and transferred on to the coast for export, The Australian reported.
"As a construction company, we are collecting information on many infrastructure projects all over the world to check for business opportunities," Sohn Soo Keun, spokeswoman for Seoul-based Samsung C&T, told Bloomberg. "The Australian project is one of multiple projects that we are collecting information about, rather than studying the feasibility of an investment."
Metal X Ltd. shares grew 4 per cent to close at 26 cents in Sydney. It is 13 per cent owned by Chinese nickel producer Jinchuan Group.
Metal X Ltd. is Australia's largest tin producer by output, with mines in Tasmania, and the ninth biggest in the world.
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