Saturday, April 12, 2014

Asia Mining – “Battle for Minerals” – USA


In my recent post I focused on China, as a major player, but there are certainly other ones in the area, the United States being, of course very prominent. Let us look at Vietnam and latest news reveal a good performer.
 US public company (listed at NYSE Euronext ) ATI Petroleum (ATIP) seems to be vigorously operating in Vietnam.
One of the noteworthy project is the plan to build 2 nuclear power plants in Vietnam with total capacity of 4,000MW.  The project has been approved by the Congress and a feasibility study had to be submitted to the government in September 2008.  ATIP is also developing its uranium project in Niger – which was discussed with Vietnamese officials in August. Furthermore, ATIP’s President in September 2008 delivered a report at the special session in Hanoi, where he emphasized that new technologies can provide for dramatic reduction of construction period of nuclear plants “from 10 years to 5 years at the cost of about $35 per megawatt-hour, far less than using coal at a cost $40.8/MWh or gas  at a cost of $41.4/MWh”.
ATIP, a subsidiary of American Technologies Incorporated Group has a long-time presence in Vietnam and is engaged in oil and gas exploration on offshore blocks in the northern Gulf of Tonkin since 2000.  Initially ATIP signed a production sharing contract (PSC) for Blocks 102 and 106, covering 14,000 sq. km. (3.5 million acres) off the coast of Hai Phong, Vietnam. Since that time extensive exploratory actuvutes were conducted in some blocks: Yen-Tu, Ha Long, Thai Binh, and Ham Rong, that resulting in the discovery of three new oil and gas fields. As the result it is estimated that there is a high probability of high commercial rate production.
Expanding operations in Vietnam, at the beginning of 2009 increased activities are underway at the development of an ilmenite/titanium reserve deposit with estimated at over 5.5 million metric tons. The area is about 586 hectares and is currently producing Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon and Monazite in commercial quantities. Presently the company's production capabilities allow for the separating and processing of 4,000 m/t of ore per month. Ilmenite is currently processed by ATI Petroleum on site to a high TiO2concentration of approximately 62%. If this can be processed to produce synthetic rutile with a 94-95% TiO2concentration, it will greatly increase the value of the mineral. At present, ATI Petroleum is able to sell its ilmenite for approximately $120 per metric ton. Synthetic rutile is typically worth four to five times this amount.
It seems that ATIP is now in discussions with Tor Minerals, a worldwide producer of specialty mineral products (that already has its plant in Malaysia) to install Vietnam's first synthetic rutile processing facility. Last week the sample of its titanium dioxide (TiO2) ilmenite sand was delivered to Tor Minerals processing plant in Malaysia to determine the feasibility of converting the ilmenite to synthetic rutile.
  So, new spots on the Asian mineral map are being visible as the time goes on…
As if the US businessmen are reading my blog….. he-he
“It’s time to look at the Vietnamese market, says US executive” – this is the Voice of Vietnam brings to us. A delegation from 15 businesses and academics from the USA Pittsburgh region arrived to Vietnam and are looking “to explore this dynamic Asian market”.  The report also cites Roger Cranville, vice president for global marketing of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance: “market entry timing is critical, and as part of its long-term opportunity Asian strategy…”

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