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Mon, Jan 25, 2010 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■MINING

States eye lithium deposit

Companies from Spain, Canada and Asia have expressed interest in investing in a giant deposit of lithium and potassium discovered in Mexico last year, the company that found the deposits said. “The Canadian company Potash Corps visited us last week and next week representatives from a Spanish company will be coming. Some Asian companies, [South] Korean and Japanese, are also interested,” Pietro Sutti director Martin Sutti said. Pietro Sutti uncovered the deposits in October between Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi in northern Mexico. The discovery could make Mexico one of the world’s top producers of lithium, which has become prized for use in the batteries that power electric cars, but is also used in medicine and other industries.

■OIL

PDVSA debt soars

State-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) saw its debt jump 42 percent last year, compared to a year earlier, climbing to US$21.4 billion, official figures showed. In 2008, PDVSA’s debt was US$15.09 billion, but in the early months of last year the energy crisis, along with falling oil prices, saw the state cut costs and delay service payments, leading to soaring debt. Oil represents some 90 percent of Venezuela’s export earnings, most of which goes to the US. Venezuela, a member of OPEC, produces 3.06 million barrels per day.

■ENERGY

Guyana drilling to begin

A Canadian company will soon begin drilling for oil and gas in Guyana’s southwestern savanna region that borders Brazil. Calgary-based Groundstar Resources is targeting the Takutu Basin where earlier explorations showed potential for resource-rich deposits, spokesman Dilorece South said late on Friday. Groundstar Resources is teaming up with Canacol Energy Ltd to pursue commercial oil production in the South American country. Late last year, Canacol paid Groundstar US$3.45 million to buy an additional 35 percent stake in the prospecting license.

■MINERALS

PRC No. 2 diamond market

China last year overtook Japan to become the world’s second-largest diamond market behind the US, with trade on the Shanghai diamond exchange rising 16.4 percent to more than US$1.5 billion, state media said. Xinhua news agency said yesterday the year-on-year rise, when much of the rest of the world was mired in deep recession, was because of China’s boisterous economic growth last year, which reached 8.7 percent. “As the economy continued to develop in a stable manner, consumer demand for jewelry continued to grow, especially for diamonds for the wedding market,” Xinhua said on its Web site.

■INFRASTRUCTURE

Dubai releases budget

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will spend 10.74 billion dirhams (US$2.9 billion) this year, of which almost half will be allocated to the metro. The Rail Agency will receive 46 percent of the budget, while 29 percent is allocated to roads, 13 percent to public transport and the remaining 12 percent to licensing and marine agencies, the RTA said in a statement on Saturday. The operational budget is 2.8 billion dirhams and 7.9 billion dirhams is for capital and project spending, the statement said. The agency expects revenue of 3.3 billion dirhams.

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