Friday, March 6, 2009

Antam eyes six coal firms in East Kalimantan

State-owned nickel and gold miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk, or Antam, is considering buying six coal mining firms in East Kalimantan Province, which the company estimates would cost a total of Rp 2.55 trillion (US$224.4 million). Antam said it may be willing to enter operational partnerships with the firms. 

�Our team is currently in East Kalimantan, conducting due diligence on those six coal companies,� Hari Widjajanto, Antam�s senior manager for corporate strategic development, said on Thursday January 29. 

Despite the steep decline in commodities prices, Antam is determined to invest in the mineral sector this year. �We believe the investments will have high economic value in the next two or three-years when we start production, and prices will hopefully be higher,� said Alwinsyah Lubis, Antam�s president director. 

Bimo Satriyo, Antam�s corporate secretary, said that the coal mine acquisitions would be paid out of its 2009 capital expenditure budget of Rp 3 trillion, which would be financed from internal cashflow. Antam also hopes to gain majority stakes in 15 mining firms in Papua and Jambi provinces. 

The company said that it would also work with the local governments and private firms in Central Kalimantan Province to develop gold, coal and other mineral resources there. 

Although rich in minerals, the province lacks the infrastructure required to support full-scale mining operations. 

�We have 468 mining concessions, about 80% of which have been explored as of the end of 2008,� said Agustin Teras Narang, governor of the province. 

Agustin said the unexplored concessions included sites in Barito Utara and Barito Selatan districts, which had potential coking coal deposits, and in the western part of the province with iron ore and bauxite. 

Antam said it would also continue to develop a nickel-laterite site in Buli on Halmahera Island in Maluku Province despite project partner BHP Billiton�s withdrawal due to delays by the government in issuing the contract of work for the mine. 

Antam projects lower revenue this year on falling ferro nickel prices and output. About two-thirds of Antam�s revenue comes from production of the mineral. �This year ferro nickel production is estimated to decline by 30% to 12,000 tonnes, while the price is expected to fall to between US$11,000 and 12,000 per tonne,� Lubis said. 

Last year, Antam produced 17,000 tonnes of ferro nickel, which it sold at an average price of US$18,000 per tonne, while revenue for the first nine months of 2008 came in at slightly over Rp 12 trillion, compared with Rp 7.5 trillion for full-year 2007. 

The company�s profit for the first nine months of 2008 stood at Rp 1.62 trillion, as against Rp 5.13 trillion for all of 2007. 

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