24/7 Space News  





. China given monopoly to work Gabon's untapped iron ore resources

by Staff Writers
Libreville (AFP) Jun 2, 2006
Gabon has granted China sole rights to exploit huge untapped iron ore reserves and build costly rail links needed to reach them in the tropical forest, a government statement announced on Friday.

A Chinese consortium headed by the China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CEMEC) has been granted the rights by the west African country's government.

The statement said the Gabonese state would have a share in the project but gave no further details.

An informed source said work would be launched at the end of the year and the first ore would be extracted before 2010.

The decision kicks out the world's leading iron miner, Brazil's Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), which since April last year had headed a consortium with China's CEMEC and Sinosteel, along with the French group Eramet.

But the Brazilians and the Chinese "fell out over who would be in charge of the various operations," an observer told AFP, "and in the end they decided to make separate bids."

The duel split the Gabonese government between those who backed the Brazilian bid, led by Richard Onouviet, minister for oil and resources, and supporters of the Chinese, led by Foreign Minister Jean Ping, whose father is Chinese.

The iron ore was discovered in 1955 at Belinga, which lies in remote forest hills 500 kilometres (300 miles) east of Libreville, the capital and port on Gabon's Atlantic coast.

Belinga is thought to be one of the last major untapped iron ore reserves on the planet, estimated at at least a billion tonnes, 60 percent rich in iron. The site has never been developed because of the prohibitive cost of the necessary infrastructure.

Getting to the ore means that a new railway will have to be built to connect the site with Santa Clara, north of Libreville, where a deepwater port is to be built.

A new hydro-electric dam will also be required to provide the necessary power.

The total cost of the project is estimated at 300 billion CFA francs (450 million euros, 590 million dollars).

In the end, there was "no contest" between the Brazilian and the Chinese bids, one influential minister told AFP.

"The Chinese state offered to guarantee the project financially and promised to buy the entirety of Belinga's production," he explained.

"Moreover, the CMEC project includes the construction of a whole new railway between Belinga and the coast, while the Brazilians had only proposed a 200-kilometre branch line off the existing Transgabonese railway."

On the other hand, the Chinese tend to prefer to ship in their own workers rather than employing the local labour force, and CMEC's offer does not include many jobs for Gabonese people.

The country's president, Omar Bongo Ondimba, had promised that Belinga would create thousands of jobs. "The Chinese need to make an effort in this area," one Gabonese commentator said.

China is looking increasingly to Africa as a source of mineral resources to help power its rapidly growing economy.

President Hu Jintao visited Gabon in February last year, when he signed a series of bilateral trade accords with Bongo Ondimba.

After the visit, China's state-run oil company Sinopec signed a technical evaluation deal with the Gabonese oil ministry for three onshore oilfields.

Chinese cooperation with the African nation already includes two timber processing companies, an industrial fisheries firm and a Sino-Gabonese hospital.

CVRD, meanwhile, maintains a strong presence in Gabon despite losing out over Belinga.

It is already active in manganese mining in the country, and the government has promised to support its bids for copper and other mineral exploitations.

Related Links




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


hello world
Chinese investment in Africa good news
London (AFP) May 25, 2006
Africa will benefit from a push by China to invest in the continent but both sides need to "discuss and define" their relationship, South African President Thabo Mbeki has told a British newspaper.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Voyager Data May Reveal Trajectory Of Solar System
  • A Voyage To The Edge Of Sol
  • Planetary Society Presents a New World to Congress
  • Hopkins Physics Lab To Build NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes

  • Opportunity Gets Dug Into Loose Soil Again
  • Spirit Continues Studies of Martian Winter Haven
  • Two APL-built Instruments Observe Recent Total Solar Eclipse
  • Atmospheric Study Shows Similarities In Solar Effects On Earth And Mars

  • SES Global Contracts Sea Launch For AMC-21 Satellite
  • Volvo Aero Components Powering Large Number Of Ariane 5 Launches
  • Heaviest Ariane 5 Payload Orbits Without A Hitch
  • Air Force Orders More Space Launches From Orbital

  • Ancient City Reveals Life In Desert 2,200 Years Ago
  • Commercial Remote Sensing Satellite Market Stabilizing
  • Digital Globe and Getty Images To Supply Satellite Images To News Media
  • Intermap Technologies Receives Radar Mapping Contract

  • New Horizons Crosses The Asteroid Belt
  • Trio Of Neptunes And Their Belt
  • New Model Could Explain Eccentric Triton Orbit
  • New Horizons Taking Exploration To Edge Of Sol

  • The Case Of The Neutron Star With A Wayward Wake
  • Supercomputers Reproduce Fluid Motions Of Galactic Cosmic Duet
  • Dawn Team Looking Good For Launch Next Year
  • NASA Interstellar Boundary Explorer Mission Moves Ahead

  • SMART-1 Captures Central Peaks Of Zucchius Crater
  • Lunar Highlands And Mare Landscapes
  • Scientist Dreams Of Us Revisiting The Moon
  • NASA Lunar Orbiter Mission Moves To Next Step

  • QinetiQ Joins Galileo Development
  • Satelinx To Equip Seniors With Location Base Devices
  • LM And EADS Space To Team On NavSat Systems
  • European Galileo Satellite Program In Early Budget Over Run

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement