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CITIC Pacific raises Australian project cost to US$6 bln

Jan. 4, 2012 (China Knowledge) - CITIC Pacific Ltd<0267>, the Hong Kong-listed arm of China's biggest state-owned investment conglomerate, CITIC Group, on January 3 inked a supplementary agreement to pay an extra US$822 million to contractor Metallurgical Corp of China Ltd<601618><1618>, bringing the total costs of its Australian iron ore project to more than US$6 billion.

The third budget increase was due to full impact of foreign-exchange volatility and cost inflation for items, including labor and equipment, said CITIC Pacific.

CITIC Pacific raised the same project cost by US$835 million in May 2010 due to an iron ore price jump of nearly 140%, bringing total costs from US$3.32 billion in 2006 to US$4.2 billion. The total cost was increased to US$5.2 billion and eventually more than US$6 billion for the third time.

The additional payment was for MCC Mining, a unit of MCC, to complete the first two production lines and facilities for the whole six production lines.

The first production line is expected to be completed by May 31 and put into operation by August 31, while the second production line would go into operation by December 31, said CITIC Pacific.

The iron ore project, located in West Australia, is estimated have a combined output capacity of 27.6 million tons of iron ore pellets and concentrates, and the capacity is expected to exceed 70 million tons in future.

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