Gujarat firm acquires Hong Kong mining company

June 9th, 2008 - 3:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, June 9 (IANS) Sadbhav Engineering Ltd, which is into mineral prospecting and infrastructure development, has acquired a 74 percent stake in the Hong Kong-based mining company Ocean Bright Corporation Limited (OBCL), a move that gives it entry into Africa. The city-headquartered Sadbhav made the acquisition through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Sadbhav Natural Resources Pvt. Ltd.

OBCL, directly and through its subsidiaries, holds complete prospecting rights in three provinces in Mozambique; it can prospect for ore and copper (spread over 24,400 hectares in Tete province), limestone (over an area of similar size in Nampula), and coal (over 5,230 hectares) in Manica.

“The acquisition has paved the way for us to enter mining in Mozambique,” Sadbhav chairman Vishnu Patel said.

The Mozambique government is now considering a new application from OBCL for prospecting coal in Niassa province.

Each of the concession areas was selected on the basis of various studies on mineral deposits and economic feasibility conducted by the World Bank in Mozambique, Patel said. Once the prospecting is completed, the licences will be converted into mining licences under the country’s mining laws.

Sadbhav has now appointed Holtec Consulting to conduct a detailed feasibility study for the optimum utilisation of the resources, and plans to apply to the Mozambique government for a mining licence after the detailed assessment report is completed by end-September.

Patel said preliminary results of the prospecting activity in Nampula were “encouraging”, with geologists conservatively expecting limestone reserves of around 350 million tonnes.

Sadbhav plans to start commercial exploitation in Nampula by April 2009, as the concession area is a mere six kilometres from the port.

OBCL intends to have 10 mining and drilling rigs for its Mozambique operations. Two rigs are already operational, another two are in transit and the remaining six rigs are expected to be acquired over the next six months.

The company has also placed firm orders for other miscellaneous mining and drilling equipment, most of which is expected to be delivered in line with the drilling rigs.

The company will carve out a separate set-up for its mining operations from the existing construction services business, with a few senior personnel already being appointed for this. It also plans to increase its staff strength in Mozambique and India offices.

An ISO-9001-2000 certified company, Sadbhav is engaged in execution of civil engineering construction projects with its focus on roads and highways, irrigation and mining operations.

It is also into third-party mining services business and has executed projects involving excavation of overburden rock, lignite and copper on behalf of Gujarat Industries Power Company Ltd, Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Ltd, Western Coal Fields Ltd and Northern Coal Fields Ltd.

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