By Joel Scanlon
Eramet, the world's 2nd-largest producer of manganese alloys for steelmaking and Mineral Deposits Limited, a Melbourne, Australia based mining company developing the world class Grande Côte Mineral Sands Project in Senegal, West Africa, are to sign up for a joint venture to develop their assets in Senegal and Norway.
The French mining group Eramet will form a 50/50 partnership with the Australian company to develop the Grande Côte project. The joint venture is likely to be formally established by September 2011.
Both companies will contribute $138 million in equity to create the joint venture and a $30 million equalization payment was to be made to Mineral Deposits from Eramet. The Tyseedal titanium salg and pig iron processing plant in Norway owned 100% by Eramet and the 90% share of Mineral Deposits held in Grande Côte would form the joint venture.
The remaining 10% of the mine is owned by the Government of Senegal. The funds will allow Mineral Deposits to develop the Grande Côte Mineral Sands project sooner than expected. The project is likely to cost $516 million. The mineral sands are ores for titanium and zircon. Prices for both titanium and zircon have peaked in recent months with global demand.
The limited supplies for the commodities ensure an instant profit for a company which can fulfil the global shortfall. The joint venture would expect to become a major player in the global market for minerals sands commodities.