Saturday, November 19, 2005

UK-based company buys Kosovo nickel industrial complex

Text of report in English by independent internet news agency KosovaLive

Prishtina [Pristina], 18 November: The British company, IMR/Alferon, has become the owner of Ferronikel [Feronikl], one of Europe's largest nickel processing mines/plants, after signing the purchase agreement worth 30.5 million euros with UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] Pillar IV.

The contract was signed between the head of UNMIK Pillar IV, Joachim Ruecker, and IMR/Alferon Chairman Johannes Sittard.

Now, Alferon has sixteen days to obtain the required license, enter into contract for power supply, and reach some other agreements with the government.

Ruecker said at the signing ceremony that this is a good deal for the workers, surrounding community, and for the people of Kosova [Kosovo]. "Experience suggests that when Ferronikel is fully operational, it will not only employ at least 1,000 workers directly, but there will be an additional 2,000 to 3,000 jobs outside of the direct Ferronikel workforce in the regional/wider economy. The successful and harmonious conclusion of the privatization of Ferronikel will send a very strong signal to international investors that Kosova is a stable and mature society, which welcomes international investment and partnership," he said.

IMR's Chairman Sittard said that today's signing is a major step forward towards a long and successful partnership between Ferronikel, IMR/Alferon, workers, and the surrounding community. "Naturally, having spent 30.5 million euros to purchase Ferronikel and at least another 20 million euros to renovate it, IMR/Alferon will want to operate it for as long as possible. We have the financial means, long-term vision, and the management skills to deliver on our commitments. We have a proven track record in this business and intend to use all of our expertise in making Ferronikel a success," he said.

He also added that they are having discussions with the Kosova Energy Corporation [KEK] for regular supply of Ferronikel with power.

Alferon is an independent management company for international mineral resources headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. The IMR is part of the Eurasian Natural Resources Group, which is among the world's largest private mining and metals groups.

Source: KosovaLive website, Pristina, in English 18 Nov 05

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