15 Mar 2010 07:46

WISCO takes over iron ore deposit in Liberia

Shanghai. March 15. INTERFAX-CHINA - Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corp. (WISCO), China's third-largest steel producer, has bought a controlling share in a 4.1-billion-ton iron ore deposit in central Liberia, state media reported on March 13.

WISCO has agreed to pay the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) $68.46 million for a 60 percent stake in China-Union Investment Co. Ltd., the company that owns the deposit, Xinhua news agency reported. The deposit has 1.31 billion tons of proven iron ore resources and 2.79 billion tons of probable resources, with an average iron grading of 35.48 percent.

Prior to the agreement, the CADfund held an 85 percent stake in China-Union.

"We have yet to decide a production plan for the deposit," a WISCO employee surnamed Bai told Interfax.

As of the end of 2009, WISCO had more than 3 billion tons of overseas iron ore resources in countries such as Australia, Brazil and Canada.

WISCO wants to source more than 80 percent of its iron ore supply from its own deposits in an effort to reduce it dependence on the three global iron ore giants, Bai said. The company plans to produce 36 million tons of crude steel in 2010, and aims to boost its crude steel production capacity to 60 million tons by 2015.