Fresh from gorging itself in the bargain basement on MIM in 2003, Xstrata has clearly not been dissuaded from further investment in Australia by the cowboy antics of Senator Ross Lightfoot, Brian Burke and Julian Grill on behalf of Precious Metals Australia.

The Swiss-based company is simultaneously bidding $4.9 billion in cash for global nickel player Lion-ore and $391 million for Australian minnow Gloucester Coal in twin moves which will add more than $3 billion to the value of its Australian investments.

This will see Xstrata join the ranks of Rio Tinto, Shell, Chevron-Texaco, Mitsui and Mitsubishi with more than $15 billion invested in Australia.

These developments warrant a further expansion of Crikey’s list examining how foreign investors are the biggest winners from the resources boom. We’ve previously listed 23 Australian resource projects worth more than $1 billion which are majority foreign owned and here are another five for good measure:

Honeymoon: Canadian-Kazak company, SXR Uranium One/UrAsia, is behind the South Australian uranium mine which is expected to be producing 880,000 ounces a year in 2008.

Hunter Valley Operations: owned by Coal & Allied, which is in turn 76% owned by Rio Tinto, which is only 15% Australian owned. Produced 10.22 million tonnes of thermal coal and 1.8 million tonnes of semi-soft coking coal in 2006.

Mt Thorley: 20% owned by South Korean steel giant POSCO and 80% owned by Coal & Allied, which is 76% owned by Rio Tinto, which in turn has Australian ownership of 15%. Therefore, this Hunter Valley mine, which produced 2.9 million tonnes of thermal coal for export in 2006, has Australian ownership of less than 15%.

Wambo: last year’s $2 billion takeover of Excel Coal by American company Peabody Energy means that the Wambo thermal coal mine is 100% foreign because Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation is entitled to the other 25% of the profits. Mine production is scheduled to expand from 3 million to 8 million tonnes a year, all of which will be exported through Newcastle.

Black Swan: A tripling of production to more than two million tonnes a year has put this nickel mine 53km north of Kalgoorlie into the big league. Xstrata is currently bidding for 80% owner Lion-ore of Canada and the other 20% is held by Scandinavian company Outokumpu.

Peter Fray

72 hours only. 50% off a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

Our two-for-one offer with The Atlantic was so popular we decided to bring it back.

But only for 72 hours.

Use the promo code ATLANTIC2020 and you’ll get 50% off a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year of digital access to The Atlantic (usually $70). That’s BOTH for just $129.

Hurry. Ends midnight this Thursday.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

Claim Now