Australia


 

 

Bloomberg reported that Indonesia’s largest tin producer PT Timah is considering acquisitions in Zambia and Australia.

The report quoted Mr Abrun Abubakar corporate secretary of PT Timah as saying that “We are trying to buy mines, both overseas and local.”

He added that “It is a very preliminary consideration for acquisitions and further studies are needed.”

Bisnis Indonesia citing Mr Krishna Syarif director finance of PT Timah had earlier reported that the company is considering buying tin mines in Zambia and Australia. Timah may seek loans of more than the IDR 4 trillion (USD 431 million) it previously planned if it goes ahead with the acquisitions.

PT Timah said on May 12th 2008 said that it was in talks with banks for IDR 4 trillion in loans for acquisitions, including about IDR 2 trillion to be allocated for buying coal mines.

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By LIZ KEENAN/SYDNEY

“Today Australia has looked to the future,” said the country’s newly elected Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, claiming victory for his Labor Party for the first time since 1996.

Poll after opinion poll had predicted a Labor triumph in national elections, but few had forecast its scale. Labor captured at least 22 seats from the ruling Liberal-National coalition — including, it appears, the northwestern Sydney seat held for the past 33 years by Prime Minister John Howard.

With 77% of votes counted in Sydney’s Bennelong district, Howard trailed by several hundred votes. In an emotional speech Nov. 24 Howard took full responsibility for the conservatives’ defeat. Then one of Australia’s most successful leaders — and one of President George W. Bush’s staunchest western allies — walked off the stage and into retirement.

A year ago, few even in his own party believed Rudd, a 50-year-old former diplomat and bureaucrat who has been in Parliament for only nine years, had a hope of overturning the P.M. Indeed, Howard had seen off four Labor opponents in a row. A prissy, bookish multimillionaire, Rudd was far from the stereotypical Aussie bloke.

But with the help of focus groups, public-relations advisers and expressions like “mate” and “fair dinkum,” he made himself over as a cooler, younger version of 68-year-old Howard: not a revolutionary, just a renovator. His slick, buzzword-driven campaign — “New leadership,” “fresh ideas,” “plans,” “the future” — took Labor’s popularity rating into the high 50s, and kept it there.

Pundits have spent much of the past year debating what the trend to Labor said about Australia.

In a country where voting is compulsory, elections turn on a dozen or so marginal seats, where small shifts in voter sentiment can make or break governments.

There was reason to think swinging voters would applaud Howard: Australia is in its 16th successive year of economic growth, and unemployment and interest rates are the lowest since the ’70s.

“This is the first defeat of a government in decades where there was no evident anger or public rage,” said Liberal Senator Michael Baume. Instead there was ennui.

Many voters were tired of Howard, and unexcited by Treasurer (now Opposition leader) Peter Costello, 50, who was due to take over from Howard in 2009.

There were also concerns about small interest-rate rises, new industrial relations laws, health care and education, and — in a period of drought — water and climate change.

Australian elections have become increasingly presidential, and Labor cast this one as a two-man race: Kevin vs John, youth vs age, the future vs the past. A vote for Rudd was a vote for someone new. But not too different. Cartoonists drew Rudd as a mini-Howard.

A satirical video on YouTube cast the Chinese-speaking Labor leader as Chairman Mao, with subtitles reading: “Rudd unnerve decrepit Howard with clever strategy of ‘similar difference.'” Rather than attacking Howard’s strengths, Rudd appropriated them. “I am not a socialist,” Rudd insisted. “I am an economic conservative.”

On issue after issue, from federal intervention in dysfunctional Aboriginal communities, to national security, to the expansion of coal and uranium mining, Rudd adopted the government’s line. The new P.M. is likely to go Howard’s way on foreign policy, too.

What he described as “fundamental differences” with Howard — his vows to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and pull troops from Iraq — are largely symbolic. Though Australia is outside the Kyoto regime, the country has met its emissions targets. And on the question of a successor treaty to Kyoto, Rudd in mid-campaign abruptly took the Howard position: a Labor government would not ratify Kyoto II unless it required China and India to limit their emissions.

On Iraq, Rudd has moderated Labor’s earlier “pull-out-now” policy. He says he will bring home the 1,400 Australian troops in Iraq and the Gulf gradually, in a “negotiated, staged withdrawal.” He is prepared to send more troops to Afghanistan. Australia under Labor will remain a “rock solid” friend of the U.S., Rudd has said, but reserve the right to act “independently.”

Rudd, who spent eight years as a diplomat in Beijing, has criticized China’s human-rights record but appears more sympathetic to the People’s Republic than Howard. Rudd rejected the Howard government support of a potential alliance between the U.S., Australia, Japan and India, saying China would feel encircled.

As exultant Labor voters — “Eleven and a half years is just too long,” many said of Howard’s long run — cheered Rudd’s victory speech, some observers wondered whether he’ll maintain his Howard-like demeanor or whether, as left-wing commentator Robert Manne said during the campaign, “When he gets into government, then we’ll begin to see the differences again.” Australians who voted Labor only when Rudd moved toward the center may be hoping those differences are not too startling.

Source: Time Magazine 

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By Michael Perry  

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australians began voting on Saturday in national elections to decide whether to end more than 11 years of conservative rule or give Prime Minister John Howard, who trails in opinion polls, a fifth term.

“Its in the hands of the people,” Howard said as he took his morning walk from his Sydney Harbor-side residence.

Howard, 68, again warned voters that if they elected a Labor government it would threaten Australia’s economic prosperity.”

The government to be chosen today will set the direction of the country for years into the future,” Howard said on YouTube Web site, in a pitch to young voters he has struggled to woo.

“So if you think the country is heading in the right direction don’t risk that right direction by changing the government,” he said.Howard, a staunch U.S. ally, has made a commitment to keep Australian troops in Iraq if re-elected. He has offered voters A$34 billion ($29 billion) in tax cuts, but few new policies.

In contrast, opposition Labor leader Kevin Rudd has pledged to withdraw combat troops from Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, further isolating Washington on both.

The Mandarin-speaking former diplomat would also be expected to forge closer ties with China and other Asian nations.

An Australian commando died fighting the Taliban on Friday, the third soldier killed in recent months in Afghanistan.

Both Howard and Rudd want to keep troops in Afghanistan, but opinion polls show Australians opposed to operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and are losing faith in Howard’s tough security stance, which has won him previous elections.

Howard has been written off by opinion polls throughout the six-week campaign, with some predicting a landslide win for Rudd, after only 11 months as party leader.

But a Newspoll on Saturday had Labor only slightly in front.Howard risks becoming the first prime minister to lose his own seat in an election for 78 years.

Boundary changes have turned his blue-ribbon Sydney electorate, which he has held since entering parliament in 1974, into a marginal seat.”LAZARUS”Many voters of Asian origin see Howard as anti-immigration, due to his tough stance against boat people. An anti-Muslim leaflet distributed by his party in the closing days of the campaign may reinforce their belief.

Labor needs to win an extra 16 seats to take office and both Howard and Rudd say the election will be very close, possibly decided in a handful of marginal seats.Howard once described himself as “Lazarus with a triple bypass” for his ability to be resurrected from political defeat.

Even if he wins it will be his last hurrah, as he has promised to step down mid-term for his treasurer, Peter Costello.Rudd, 50, is offering voters a generational change, saying Howard is too old and tired to lead Australia.“I offer Australia new leadership for the future, a positive plan for the future because Mr Howard’s government’s best days now lay behind it,” Rudd said on Friday. “Mr Howard has gone stale in his government’s approach to the future.”

Howard has attacked Rudd’s lack of experience, insisting that a Labor government dominated by former trade unionists would wreck an economy which has recorded 17 years of growth and record unemployment.

He says that under his tenure, dominated by security and the economy, Australia has become more secure and stable.Since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, Australia has been on medium security alert.

Australia’s military in 2006 was at its highest operational level since the Vietnam War, with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

© Reuters2007All rights reserved   

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KARRATHA, Australia (AP) — For nearly three decades, Chinese peasants have left their villages for crowded dormitories and sweaty assembly lines, churning out goods for world markets. Now, China is turning the tables.

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Robert Yu, president of Chinese car maker ZhongXing Automobile Auto, presents models in Tijuana, Mexico.

Here in the Australian Outback, Shane Padley toils in the scorching heat, 2,000 miles from his home, to build an extension to a liquefied natural gas plant that feeds China’s ravenous hunger for energy.

At night, the 34-year-old carpenter sleeps in a tin dwelling known as a “donga,” the size of a shipping container and divided into four rooms, each barely big enough for a bed. There are few other places for Padley to live in this boomtown.

Duct-taped to the wall is a snapshot of the blonde girlfriend he left behind and worries he may lose. But, he says, “I can make nearly double what I’d be making back home in the Sydney area.”

The reason: China.

For years, China’s booming economy touched daily life in the West most visibly through the “made-in-China” label on everything from clothes to computers. But now, economic growth is giving rise to something more that can’t be measured just by widgets and gadgets — a shift in China’s balance of power with the rest of the world.

China’s reach now extends from the Australian desert through the Sahara to the Amazonian jungle — and it’s those regions supplying goods for China, not just the other way around. China has stepped up its political and diplomatic presence, most notably in Africa, where it is funneling billions of dollars in aid. And it is increasingly shaping the lifestyle of people around the world, as the United States did before it, right down to the Mandarin-language courses being taught in schools from Argentina to Virginia.

China, like the United States, is also learning that global power cuts both ways. The backlash over tainted toothpaste and toxic pet food has been severe, as has the criticism over China’s support for regimes such as Sudan’s.

To understand why China’s influence is increasingly pushing past its borders, just do the math.

When 1.3 billion people want something, the world feels it. And when those people in ever increasing numbers are joining a swelling middle class eager for a richer lifestyle, the world feels it even more.If China’s growth continues, its consumer market will be the world’s second largest by 2015. The Chinese already eat 32 percent of the world’s rice, build with 47 percent of its cement and smoke one out of every three cigarettes.

China’s desire for expensive hardwood to turn into top-quality floorboards for its luxury skyscrapers has penetrated deep into the Amazon jungle. For example, in the isolated community of Novo Progresso, or New Progress in Portuguese, one of the biggest sawmills was started by the mayor with financing from Chinese investors.

China accounts for 30 percent of the wood exported from logging operations in remote towns across Brazil’s rain forest, where trucks carry the finished product hundreds of miles along muddy roads to river ports, said Luiz Carlos Tremonte, who heads an influential wood industry association. Many Chinese purchasers now travel to Brazil to clinch deals, and are almost always accompanied at business meetings by friends or relatives of Chinese descent who live there.

“Ten years ago no one knew about China in Brazil; then the demand just exploded and they’re buying a lot,” Tremonte said. “This wood is great for floors, and they love it there.”

The Bovespa stock index in Brazil has climbed more than 300 percent since 2002, riding the China wave.

China is buying coal mining equipment from Poland and drilling for oil and gas in Ethiopia and Nigeria. It has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Zambia’s copper industry. It is the world’s biggest market for mobile phones, headed for 520 million handsets this year. The list goes on.

Along with looking to other countries for goods for its people, China is also going far and wide in search of markets for its products.

In war-torn Liberia, where electricity is hard to come by, Chinese-made Tiger generators keep the local economy humming. Costlier Western brands, favored by aid agencies and diplomats, are beyond the reach of small business owners such as Mohammed Kiawu, 30, who runs a phone stall in the capital, Monrovia.

A used Tiger generator costs around $50, he said over the steady beat of his generator. “But even $250 is not enough to buy a used American or European generator. They are not meant for people like myself.”

The Chinese generators are more prone to break down, Kiawu said. When the starter cable snapped on one, he replaced it with twine. But by making items for ordinary people, he predicted, China “will take control of the heart of the common people of Africa soon.”

China is having to make up for decades of economic stagnation after the communist takeover in 1949.

When Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping began dabbling in economic reforms in 1978, farmers were scraping by. By 2005, income had increased sixfold after adjusting for inflation to $400 a year for those in the countryside and $1,275 for urban Chinese, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

“The Chinese don’t want war — the Chinese just want to trade their way to power,” said David Zweig, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “In the past, if a state wanted to expand, it had to take territory. You don’t need to grab colonies any more. You just need to have competitive goods to trade.”

If China stays on the same economic track, it would become the world’s largest economy in 2027, surpassing the United States, according to projections by Goldman, Sachs & Co., a Wall Street investment bank. And unlike Japan, which rose in the 1980s only to fade again, China still has a huge pool of workers to tap and an emerging middle class that is just starting to reach critical mass. Many development economists believe China still has 20 years of fairly high growth ahead.

But the transition to a larger presence on the global stage comes with growing pains, for China and the rest of the world.

As Beijing plays an ever bigger role in the developing world, some Western countries fear it could undermine efforts to promote democracy. In its attempt to secure markets and win allies, China is stepping up development aid to Africa and Asia. Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged last year to double Chinese aid to Africa between 2006 and 2009, promising $3 billion in loans, $2 billion in export credits and a $5 billion fund to encourage Chinese investment in Africa. China has also promised Cambodia a $600 million aid package and agreed to loan $500 million to the Philippines for a rail project.

But China also extends aid to states such as Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Sudan whose human rights records have lost them the support of the West. Actress Mia Farrow has labeled next year’s Beijing Olympics — a point of pride for China — the “genocide Olympics” because of China’s support for Sudan, at a time when the West seeks to punish it for its military actions in Darfur. China buys two-thirds of Sudan’s oil output.

“In some ways, it will be integrating us into a new international order in which democracy as we’ve known it or the right to open organized political activity is no longer considered the norm,” said James Mann, author of “The China Fantasy,” a book about China and the West.

China is also facing some of the unease that powers before it have encountered. In Africa and Asia, some complain that massive China-funded infrastructure projects involve mostly Chinese workers and companies, rather than create jobs and wealth for the local population. And Moeletsi Mbeki, a political commentator and brother of South African President Thabo Mbeki, likens the trade of African resources for Chinese manufactured goods to former colonial arrangements.

“This equation is not sustainable,” Mbeki said at a recent meeting of the African Development Bank in Shanghai. “Africa needs to preserve its natural resources to use in the future for its own industrialization.”

The backlash is also coming on the consumer front, with Chinese goods earning a dubious reputation for quality. In the United States, there is a furor over the standard of Chinese imports. In Bolivia, vendors peel off or paint over any indication that their wares were “Hecho en China,” Spanish for “Made in China.”

A woman selling bicycles in El Alto, a poor city outside the capital, La Paz, insisted they were made in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan or even India. With some prodding, she acknowledged the truth. “They’re all Chinese,” she said, declining to give her name lest it hurt her business. “But if I say they’re Chinese, they don’t sell.”

Even those who benefit from China’s growth express some wariness. Aerospace giant Boeing expects China to be the largest market for commercial air travel outside the United States in the next 20 years, buying more than $100 billion worth of commercial aircraft, U.S. trade envoy Karan Bhatia said in a recent speech.

“Right now, we’re hiring every week,” noted Connie Kelliher, a union leader. “Things couldn’t be better.”

Yet Boeing workers remain wary of China’s ambitions to build its own planes. next year China plans to test-fly a locally made midsize jet seating 78 to 85 passengers. It has also announced plans to roll out a 150-seat plane by 2020.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” Kelliher said. “You want the business and we want to get the airplane sales to them, but there’s the real concern of giving away so much technology that they start building their own.”

That’s what happened to Western and Japanese automakers, which made inroads in the Chinese market only to see their designs copied and technologies stolen. Already, China’s vehicle manufacturers are venturing overseas, exporting 325,000 units last year — mostly low-priced trucks and buses to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“We’re taking a bigger piece of the pie,” said Yamilet Guevara, a sales manager for Cinascar Automotriz, which has opened 20 showrooms in Venezuela in the past 18 months, offering cars from six Chinese makers. “They ask by name now. It’s no longer just the Chinese car. It’s the Tiggo, the QQ.”

China’s biggest car company, Chery Automobile Co., just announced a deal with the Chrysler Group to jointly produce and export cars to Western Europe and the United States within 2-1/2 years.

Given the speed of China’s ascent, it’s perhaps not surprising that China itself is trying to calm some of the fears. Its slogan for the Beijing Olympics: “Peacefully Rising China.”

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HOPING TO BOOST FOREIGN INVESTMENT

 

Zambia is to defer payments on a 30% customs duty for mining equipment for one year to allow foreign mining companies time to get operations running smoothly.

LUSAKA (Reuters)  – 

Zambia will defer payments on customs duties in a bid to boost foreign investment in its mining industry, finance minister Ng’andu Magande told Reuters in a weekend interview.

Magande said Zambia’s Treasury will defer payments on a 30 percent customs duty on imported mining equipment for up to one year to give companies a chance to get operations going smoothly and gain profits from copper and cobalt projects.

“I can’t tax somebody who is not making profits,” he said.

The Treasury has said it would raise mineral royalties to 3.0 percent from 0.6 percent and corporate tax to 35 percent from the current 30 percent for mining companies following a rise in global metals prices.

Magande said negotiations on royalties, which were scheduled to start in September because Zambia was hiring foreign consultants on the talks.

“We should be able to start this process by the end of September or October. Everybody thinks that perhaps within three months we should be through with the negotiations,” he said.

Copper mining earns the bulk of Zambia’s foreign exchange but analysts say the country does not reap enough benefits becaue the mines are owned by foreigners.

He noted there was no fresh investment from new foreign companies but that existing projects were expected to raise output.

“Most of the big companies that have already had (investment) plans are saying to us that the highest curve of investments is this year and then next year we will see production coming up,” said Magande.

Foreign firms operating in Zambia include London-based Vedanta Resources Plc , Canada’s First Quantum Minerals , Swiss firm Glencore International AG and Australia’s Equinox Minerals Ltd.

Most of Zambia’s big copper mines are majority-owned by foreign firms, with the government holding no more than a 14 percent stake in any one venture.

Zambia forecasts finished copper output to hit 670,000 tonnes in 2007 from 515,000 tonnes the previous year.  

http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page504?oid=25358&sn=Detail

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It already has 2,500 employees in its construction phase. The Lumwana Project already houses the largest crane in Africa – the diesel powered Hitachi EX5500 excavator with at least 27 EH4500 diesel AC drive trucks to haul the needful. 

A 72 Km power line is taking shape with a substation carrying 330/33Kv capacity is expected to be fully functional this fall. Main housing units approximately 178 (houses) are ready for occupancy and water and sewerage systems are fully functional. 

Peter Tomsett with 25 years experience in the mining industry including his last 20 at Placer as CEO and President has been appointed as the Non-executive Chairman.

classy-daddy-3.gifLumwana is backed by secured $584 million contingent letters of credit from 12 international banks on four continents has a dual listing in Canada & Australia respectively. Lumwana has already paid as much as $3 million in direct taxes to the Zambian government.

With just as much copper, just as much cobalt, just as much gold and just as much uranium in one shove, Lumwana is the best thing to ever happen to the Zambian Enterprise since sliced bread by Supaloaf; to those old enough to reckon … thanks a trillion

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr. 

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle 

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