Eramet’s new
manganese plant at
Chonggzuo, in China
 
Windhoek, Namibia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 October 2008 – Rapidly growing French-listed mining and metallurgical group Eramet, is considering a 75% stake in the Namibian manganese mining company, Otjozondu Mining, worth US$300 million (R2.7 billion).

Reporting from the Namibian capital, allAfrica.com quoted New Era as saying Eramet has commenced with a pre-feasibility study to determine the quantity and quality of the mine’s ore deposits. Eramet is paying US$10 million (R90 million) to fund the 18-month study.

When asked the basis of determining the US$300 million (about R2.7 billion) value of shares,Eramet chairman and CEO Patrick Buffet said: “We would know what is at stake in 18 months. It is still too early a stage to assess the quality and quantity of the deposits.”

The owners of Otjozondu Mining entered into a partnership with Eramet in July this year to conduct a joint pre-feasibility study on the manganese ore deposits, with the option of Eramet becoming the majority owner of Otjozondu.

The executive teams of both companies paid a courtesy visit to President Hifikepunye Pohamba last Friday to brief him on the project.

“This project is an opportunity for Eramet to develop its manganese business through a manganese mine in Namibia,” said Eramet senior executive vice president and head of the manganese division Philippe Vecten. “It could eventually be a major asset for Eramet, and will remain a top priority for us in the upcoming 18 months.”

Aside from its current entry attempt in the Namibian mining sector, the company mines manganese in Gabon, operates the Gabonese railway line, and is in control of the Gabonese port facility at Owendo.