Temasek seeks mining investments in Africa, Mongolia

Netty Idayu Ismail

Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state-owned investment company, is “fairly bullish” about mining investments and is seeking opportunities in Africa, Mongolia and in the rest of the world.

The company, which manages about S$172 billion ($123 billion) worth of investments, will work with “strategic” partners, including companies and private equity investors, Nagi Hamiyeh, managing director of investments, said today in Singapore.

Temasek and China Investment Corp., the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, are both seeking commodity investments as demand is expected to soar from Asian countries. The Singapore company has bought stakes in coal producer SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd. and agricultural supplier Olam International Ltd.

“We’re fairly bullish about investing in mining,” Hamiyeh said while at a conference. “We are opportunistic and whenever we see opportunity, we will make sure we invest.”

Temasek isn’t alone in seeking opportunities in Africa. Aluminum Corp. of China, the nation’s largest producer of the metal, last week agreed to invest $1.35 billion in an iron ore mine in Guinea.

Asian mining companies may make acquisitions and investments in regions including Africa, Latin America and Central Asia as they seek to become some of the world’s largest producers, Hamiyeh also said.

“In a few short years, we should expect to see some of these Asian miners emerge to join the ranks of the majors and super majors” such as BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group, said Hamiyeh.

Chinese purchases

Chinese companies offered more than $30 billion to buy resources including oil reserves in Nigeria and gold deposits in the Philippines last year as they seek to reduce reliance on Western producers including BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company.

Temasek agreed to buy a $50 million stake in the January share sale in Hong Kong by SouthGobi Energy, a coal producer operating in Mongolia. Temasek manages a portfolio of S$172 billion as of July 31, 2009, according to its Web site.

“Mongolia is just starting its journey in the mining space,” Hamiyeh said. “Africa is increasingly becoming a key supplier of industrial minerals needed to fuel Asian growth.”

Africa offers “some good opportunities,” he said.

%d bloggers like this: