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India in talks to buy part of VN tungsten mine

Update: February, 22/2017 - 10:58
A view of the Núi Pháo tungsten mine. India’s state-owned mining enterprise, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), is in talks with Masan Resources to buy a partial stake in the Núi Pháo tungsten mine. — Photo nhipcaudautu.vn

HÀ NỘI — India’s state-owned mining enterprise, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), is in talks with Masan Resources to buy a partial stake in the Núi Pháo tungsten mine, according to Indian media reports.

Núi Pháo tungsten mine is located in the northern province of Thái Nguyên and has the richest reserve of tungsten minerals in the world, with a total capacity of about 66 million tonnes, equal to 33 per cent of the world’s.

Sources familiar with the matter told Indian media that a team from NMDC recently visited the Núi Pháo mine and had initial discussions on the deal with Masan Resources.

According to the reports, NMDC is interested in buying a “considerable stake” in the mine, just as India’s government plans to purchase tungsten from the NMDC for national defence development.

The final decision will be conducted after due diligence is completed. NMDC declined to comment on the deal, as the firm signed a non-disclosure agreement with Masan Resources, reports said.

Việt Nam News contacted Núi Pháo Mining Co Ltd, the mining arm of Masan Resources and the owner/operator of the tungsten mine. The company neither denied nor confirmed the deal, saying that its details will be sent to local media later in the process.

At the moment, India has to import tungsten to meet the domestic market demand. Mining for the metal is expensive and economically inefficient.

The Núi Pháo mine is run by Masan Resources, a member of the private-equity consumer goods producer Masan Group. The first shipment to buyers began in early 2014.

However, the profitability of tungsten production in 2016 declined to 9.6 per cent from 19.9 per cent in 2015. In 2016, the company’s profit from tungsten production was VNĐ229 billion (US$10.18 million) – the lowest among three major mining business units.

Masan Resources is traded on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) with the code MSR. MSR closed up 14.2 per cent to VNĐ16,500 per share yesterday, totaling a two-day increase of 25 per cent. — VNS

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