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Jan 2007 - Year End & China

  • The construction pace of growth in China appears to be accelerating and is involving bridge building engineering feats and extensive spending on railways & rail networks with US$190bn allocated up to 2010 and more to 2020.
  • It didn’t matter where you went in China, literally everywhere was in major construction in villages, towns, cities, plus new railways & new freeways etc.
  • The main base metal of interest still appears to be nickel (based on INCO and Falconbridge both taken over, & Jinchuan’s offtakes with a number of ASX listeds).
  • I re-iterate a comment I made in our last annual review dated 3 January 2006, namely to anyone that still insists that “commodity prices have to fall”, or “China’s growth has to come to an end”...you should ask them “when was the last time you visited China?”.
  • This comment is based on ERA’s (my) last visit to the China Mining (November) 2006 Conference in Beijing, in which I visiting Golden Tiger’s operations in Western Guangxi and SGX’s Jinfeng operations in Southern Guizhou during the week before the conference, attended the conference and saw a number of blue skies over Beijing including an almost clear sky flight from Guiyang to Beijing, and then visited Shanghai and some friends studying Mandarin at a university in Hangzhou.
  • The disparity that we wrote about in the performance of Australian nickel companies during 2005 and our comment that “we believe both (Mincor and Sally Malay) are capable of exceeding A$1 per share, with Independence capable of being well over $2 per share”, was an understatement as during 2006, both MCR and SMY exceeded and are still more than $2/share, with Independence rising to over $5/share, before dropping back.
  • Both Inco and Falconbridge have been taken over, so comparisons with them cannot be made any more – surprisingly no one has focused on why they were taken over as in why not aluminium, copper or zinc companies. However, Table 1 below reflects a “what if” nickel stayed at US$15/lb (US$33,000/t) since current share prices appear to be indicative of nickel prices of ~US$
  • Written by: Keith Goode
  • Friday, 05 January 2007

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