Published : 2013-02-24 16:10
Updated : 2013-02-25 13:10
Woulfe Mining, a Canada-based mining company, is near finalizing a deal to invest some 300 billion won ($260 million) to finance the redevelopment of Sangdong tungsten mine in Yeongwol, Gangwon Province, said a source familiar with the situation.
The investment would also include building a processing plant in the region, with Woulfe’s strategic partner TaeguTec securing a long-term supply of the rare metal materials used for the production of its special industrial tools.
This could be the biggest foreign direct investment to Korea by a Canadian company.
Korea’s Daegu-based TaeguTec is wholly-owned by investment guru Warren Buffett’s Israel-based International Metalworking Companies. Woulfe is among the top 50 companies listed on the Toronto stock exchange’s venture market.
Sangdong was once the world’s biggest tungsten mine whose existence dates back to the Japanese colonial period, the source noted. It had to close several times due to imports of tungsten materials from China in recent years as locally-produced rare metal could not compete in terms of price.
The deal had involved Korea Zinc, a Korean non-ferrous metal developer, but the company is said to have exited due to “differences of opinion.” Korea Zinc has a 9.78 percent stake in Woulfe Mining, according to a regulatory filing in Nov. last year.
The redevelopment of Sangdong had previously faced setbacks last year due to financing, although Woulfe told the local community in Yeongwol of its plans to produce 1.2 million tons of tungsten annually beginning in mid-2013, with a potential value reaching $160 billion, according to the media.
With mining rights and TaeguTec’s strategic offtake agreement, Woulfe is about to clinch its deal, which the company calls “the flagship project,” the source said.
Woulfe said on its homepage that it expects to begin production at Sangdong by the fourth quarter of this year.
Woulfe’s Korean unit could not be reached for comment.
By Park Hyong-ki
<관련 한글 기사>
울프, 상동광산 투자 최종 결정 단계
캐나다 광산업체인 울프마이닝은 강원도 영월군 상동텅스텐광산 재개발사업을 위해 약 3,000억 (2억6,000억달러) 투자를 최종 결정 단계에 이르렀다고 업계관계자는 말했다.
재개발뿐 만 아니라 프로세싱 공장 설립을 위해 투자를 할 예정이라고 전했다.
계약이 성사 되면 캐나다 기업으로써 국내 최대 외국인직접투자가 될 수 있을 것이라고 한다.
상동은 한때 세계 최대 텅스텐광산이었으며 희유금속인 텅스텡 소재는 특수공구 생산에 주로 쓰인다.
투자 귀재인 워렌 버핏의 IMC가 100프로 소유하고 있는 대구텍은 장기적으로 상동 텅스텐 확보를 위해 울프하고 구매계약을 했다. 특수공구사인 대구텍은 울프의 전략적 파트너기도 하다.
(코리아 헤럴드 박형기 기자)