China mine hunt turns to Africa, S.America, Asia
March 23, 2012 by Gold Editor
Author: Sonali Paul Posted: March 23, 2012
(Reuters) - Chinese firms are on the prowl for mining investments in Africa, South America and central Asia as they look to feed ever expanding domestic demand for key commodities, but are switching away from Australia and Canada, which are getting too expensive.
Iron ore and copper have been the hot targets over the past few years, but more recently, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp has gone after uranium in Africa, and firms are now seeking gold, nickel, tin and coking coal, too.
They used to prefer Australia and Canada for their political stability, but state-owned and private Chinese investors say assets in those countries are becoming too expensive.
"Those traditional markets that are developed, while being more stable - the likes of Australia and Canada - the competition to gain good resources is actually very, very intense," said Leong Eng Kiat, Managing Director of CCB International Capital.
"Because of that, the prices tend to be bid up. So Chinese investors are looking outside of these countries and going into emerging markets - the likes of Africa, Latin America, central Asia."
Long project approval processes have also put off some Chinese investors, spurring the search for assets in emerging markets instead.
"It's easier to get approvals in African countries. There are no big headaches, like with Canada and Australia," Liliang Teng, chief marketing officer at the China-Africa Development Fund, told Reuters.
The fund has invested $1 billion in a range of projects, including iron ore, in Africa and has a further $4 billion to invest.