San Miguel eyeing investment in nickel project

Posted at 01/24/2012 6:04 PM | Updated as of 01/24/2012 6:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said on Tuesday it was looking to invest in a nickel mining project in southern Philippines, its first major foray into a mineral resource project.

It currently has interests in coal mining and a minority stake in Australian firm Indophil Resources N.L., which has shares in the $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project, potentially the biggest in Southeast Asia.

"We advise that the company is in talks with the controlling stockholders of Philnico Mining Corp. and evaluating the viability of investing in the Nonoc Nickel Mining Project," it told the stock exchange after a local newspaper reported its planned foray into nickel mining.

The report, quoting a provincial official, said San Miguel president Ramon Ang signed on Jan. 4 an agreement with Philnico to rehabilitate the latter's nickel processing facility on Nonoc island.

China's top nickel producer and third-biggest copper producer Jinchuan Group Ltd previously considered an investment in the Nonoc nickel mine, which operated between 1975 and 1982 before it was shuttered due to high energy costs.