SEOUL, April 18 (Reuters) - South Korea said the country’s private and public investments in six major minerals were estimated to reach $1.3 billion this year, up 22 percent from last year, thanks to economic recovery.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy expected its self-development rate for coal, uranium, iron ore, copper, zinc and nickel to be 27 percent, compared with 25.1 percent last year, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement on Sunday.
“The investment could hit $1.4-$1.5 billion if favourable market conditions allow more investment through mergers and acquisitions,” the ministry said, referring to this year’s investment outlook.
It said the country’s self-development rate for strategic metals had increased because of stake acquisitions in new mines, and production increases in existing mines, while the rate for copper had decreased as a result of lower production.
The government planned to help raise investments in Africa, and Central and South America, which have rare metal reserves, as risk probability in supply and demand was higher than those for other natural resources, the statement said.
In one of the latest major deals, a consortium led by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) (015760.KS) said last December it would invest 300 billion won ($270.5 million) to buy a 10 percent stake in a uranium mine in Niger to raise the country’s uranium self-development rate. [ID:nTOE5B90A7] ($1=1109.1 Won)