Corporate News

Miner infuses P247 million into Zambales nickel site

Posted on November 29, 2011

LISTED MINER Benguet Corp. has infused more capital into its subsidiary Benguetcorp Nickel Mines, Inc. (BNMI) to fund the development of a project in Zambales.

Benguet said in a disclosure to the local bourse yesterday it is infusing P247 million into its wholly owned subsidiary.

“This additional investment will bring BNMI’s paid-up capital to P1.25 billion and will enable BNMI to complete the development of the Sta. Cruz nickel project,” the firm said.

BNMI exports high-grade nickel ore from the Sta. Cruz nickel project.

Recently, BNMI entered into two off-take agreements for the delivery of nickel ore over the next three years.

In August, it signed an off-take agreement with Chinese firm Bright Mining and Resource Company, Ltd., for the sale of 1.8 million metric tons (MT) of nickel ore.

Another deal was signed in October with Hong Kong-based Minecore Resources, Inc., for the sale of 2 million MT of nickel ore.

BNMI earned P101 million from direct shipping of nickel ore last year according to earlier reports.

Benguet had said it is eyeing to set up a processing plant for the Sta. Cruz nickel project to produce higher-value material for export.

In July, the firm signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese firm, Beijing Shenwu Thermal Energy Technology Co., Ltd. to determine the appropriate processing plant for the project.

Under the MoU, Beijing Shenwu will be testing the ores shipped from BNMI’s mine site.

Renato A. Claravall, chief finance officer of Benguet Corp., said earlier the firm is looking at having a low-power consuming processing technology for the Sta.Cruz nickel project.

He said the initial estimate of the processing plant is at $125 million and Benguet Corp. may need to borrow funds for such.

The firm, he said, would be making its decision on whether it would be raising capital for the investment in the first quarter of next year.

Benguet had reported a turnaround, with its nine-month net income standing at P1.76 billion versus the P58.3-million net loss recorded a year ago.

Benguet Corp.’s A shares were unchanged at P27.50 apiece yesterday, while its B shares rose 3.21% to P28.90 apiece. -- Louella D. Desiderio