Samsung Group to Invest $2.2B in Australia’s Wingellina Nickel-Cobalt Project

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 25, 2011 7:42 PM EST

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.

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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