China’s Jinchuan closes in on 70% in Kenya titanium project

16 September 2009 20:04  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Jinchuan Group, China's largest nickel and cobalt producer, is close to acquiring a 70% stake in a titanium dioxide (TiO2) feedstock project in Kenya, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

The seller, Canada-based mining firm Tiomin Resources, said all that was needed to complete the deal was a “comfort letter” from the Kenyan government showing its support for the project.

The bulk of the titanium minerals from the Kwale development project near Mombasa would be used in the production of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment.

Tiomin and Jinchuan last month agreed to the deal under which Jinchuan would invest $25m (€17m) in Kwale at closing and would develop, finance and operate the project.

Tiomin, for its part, had raised more than $200m in debt and equity in 2006 to build Kwale, said Tiomin CEO Robert Jackson.

Jackson said that “failure [by the Kenyan government] to complete key actions according to schedule led to disastrous consequences” for Kwale, but did not disclose further details.

Tiomin has assessed Kwale’s production capacity at 330,000 tonnes/year of ilmenite, 75,000 tonnes/year of rutile and 40,000 tonnes/year of zircon.

Jinchuan is described as a major non-ferrous metallurgical mining firm which also produces chemicals such as sulphuric acid, caustic soda, liquid chlorine, hydrochloric acid and sodium sulphite.

($1 = €0.68)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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