Tue, Feb 27, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MINING

Newcrest ups Ecuador stake

Australia’s largest gold producer, Newcrest Mining Ltd, is to invest US$250 million for a stake in Lundin Gold Inc to boost its presence in Ecuador, which is attracting a slate of mining giants hunting for major untapped metals deposits. Newcrest would take 27.1 percent of Vancouver-based Lundin Gold, which expects to bring the Fruta del Norte gold and silver mine in southeastern Ecuador into production by the end of next year. The companies will explore eight other concessions to the north and south of the project under the deal, and Newcrest can earn up to a 50 percent interest in that joint venture by spending US$20 million over five years, the Melbourne-based producer said in a statement yesterday. The world’s biggest miner BHP Billiton Ltd and billionaire Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting Pty are among firms that have raced into Ecuador seeking major copper and gold deposits. Latin America saw the largest rise in exploration spending last year, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

OIL

Inpex wins Abu Dhabi stake

Japan’s Inpex Corp won development rights for a 10 percent stake in Abu Dhabi’s Lower Zakum offshore oil field for US$600 million. The contract is for 40 years and starts on March 9, Inpex said yesterday in a statement. The Japanese producer was also awarded a US$250 million, 25-year extension of the Satah and Umm Al Dalkh concession and through that agreement has been awarded an additional 28 percent interest in the Umm Al Dalkh Oil Field, according to statements from Inpex and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. The deal is the third in as many weeks for the government of the largest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates. Spanish refiner Cia Espanola de Petroleos SA paid US$1.5 billion for a 20 percent stake in the Sateh Al Razboot and Umm Lulu fields in a deal announced on Feb. 18, and a group of Indian companies paid US$600 million for rights to 10 percent of the Lower Zakum field on Feb. 10.

SAUDI ARABIA

Inflation up 3 percent

Inflation rates soared last month, after the government introduced a string of price hikes to boost non-oil revenues, authorities said on Sunday. Rates rose 3 percent compared to the same period the previous year, the General Statistics Authority said in a report on its Web site. The jump was even more stark in December last year, having jumped 3.9 percent since the previous year. Inflation rates remained in negative territory for almost all of last year, as the economy contracted due to persistent low oil prices, but Riyadh has been steadily imposing new fees and taxes in a quest for new sources of revenue. Over the past 12 months, transport costs have gone up 10.5 percent, while food and beverages surged 6.7 percent, the report said.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Anarchists protest Novartis

Greek self-proclaimed anarchists on Sunday threw paint and smashed windows at the entrance of the Athens headquarters of Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG, police said. About 30 people were involved in the attack at 5:15am, a police official said. In a statement published online, the Rouvikonas group said the attack was linked to a probe into allegations of bribery by the drugmaker to doctors and public officials. Greek parliament on Thursday last week voted to probe the role of 10 politicians in the case. Prosecutors are already investigating the role of non-politicians. The company was not immediately available for comment on Sunday’s incident.

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