Iron ore mining in Malaysia

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As of 2013, there are 98 iron ore mines, scattered throughout Pahang, Johor, Perak, and Terengganu. Iron ore output doubled from 3.5 million tons in 2011 to 7.6 million tons in 2012, the highest jump of all mineral-mining in Malaysia during the period.[1][2]
Iron-ore mining

Malaysia has an iron ore reserve, estimated at RM17 billion (as of 2013).[1] Its highest quality iron ore is in Bukit Besi, a small town in Terengganu, which is believed to hold 50 million tonnes of reserves at 70% iron content on 2,400 hectares of land.[1] Low grade deposits are found in Pahang, Johor, Perak, Kelantan, Kedah, and Melaka. In 2012, iron ore production topped all other major minerals in Malaysia, with 10.7 million tonnes mined, valued at RM2.02 billion.

After the collapse of the tin market in the 1980s, local mining began to make a big comeback in 2000, with total national iron-ore output increasing by 20% from 667,082 tonnes in 2006 to 802,030 tonnes in 2007.[3] The Terengganu state government has significantly increased the issuance and renewals of mining leases and concessions for iron ore, as there have been strong foreign investments, either direct or via joint ventures with domestic players. Interestingly, some of the domestic players which were investing in the mining operations were greenhorns, with zero experience in mining, e.g. pipe-maker Hiap Teck Ventures Berhad and condom-maker Takaso Resources Berhad.[4]


2.  Key players: As of 2013, Malaysia has 98 active iron ore mines. The key players are:

  • Aras Kuasa Sdn Bhd, a Johor-based company which owns 6 iron-ore mines in the country, and has exported over 1.5 million tonnes of iron ore since 2005;
  • Eastern Steel Sdn Bhd, a company that manages an RM1.8 billion integrated steel complex in Kemaman.[4] It has also been given a 60-hectare iron-ore mining concession in Bukit Besi, Terengganu, the biggest foreign direct investment in the state; [4]
  • Hiap Teck Ventures Berhad, which is collaborating with China Shougang, one of China's top steel group;
  • Perwaja Steel which, as of February 2012, was waiting for its iron-ore mining concessionaire from the Terengganu state government; [4]
  • Vale, the 2nd largest mining company in the world, which had built an iron ore distribution center in Teluk Rubiah, Perak, near Lumut; and
  • Zhong Cheng Mining Sdn Bhd, a Singapore-based iron ore miner which, in 2012, moved its entire operations to its 700-acre iron ore mine in Pahang, a joint-venture with Hong Kong's Prosperity International Holdings Ltd. The company mines and processes 3 million tons of iron ore annually from its 15 mine concessions across Peninsular Malaysia. All its output are shipped to China, whose demand for iron ore reaches a record 1.8 billion tons in 2012. Zhong Cheng plans to add 10 more mine sites in its portfolio, aiming for an increased annual output of 10 million tons of iron ore by 2015.[2]


"Mining iron ore can be lucrative, if you are at the right place and the right time. Just look at the world's largest iron ore producers, Rio Tinto and BHP Biliton. Their cost of production is only about US$50 per tonne, but their selling price are marked up to US$180 per tonne at the peak period. Presently the selling price is US$120 per tonne."

 
— Australia-based mining consultant Lee Kong Leng

 more... at Chronology


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