A consortium of five Chinese companies consisting of CITIC Group, Baosteel Group Corporation, Anshan Iron & Steel Group Corporation, Shougang Corporation and Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd. has acquired, through a special purpose vehicle named China Niobium investment holdings Limited, a 15% stake in Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM) for a consideration of US$1.95 billion. CITIC Metals, as the chief project implementer, has achieved a full complementation of the whole process of project investment in a short time with the strong support from leaders and relevant departments of its parent company and concerted efforts of all consortium members.
CBMM, a Brazilian company located in Araxá in the state of Minas Gerais, is the world’s leader in the development, industrialization and commercialization of niobium products. CBMM has over 50 years of successful operating history and has been a pioneer in developing niobium applications and related technology.
Niobium is used mainly as an alloying element in the manufacture of steel, increasing strength and toughness of steel simultaneously, and resulting in end-products with enhanced efficiency and greater environmental benefits. Key applications include uses in automotive industry, oil and gas transmission pipelines, large structures such as bridges, towers and skyscrapers, and aircraft engines.
Brazil holds the largest part of total known niobium reserves in the world according to data from official agencies, and CBMM owns the exploration rights to the largest and highest grade identified niobium reserves globally. This investment represents significant strategic value to the five Chinese investors and CBMM as well.
Worldwide demand for niobium recorded an annual growth rate of some 10% from 2002 through 2009, driven by the growing need for high-grade steel. Future niobium demand is forecast to continue to grow faster than overall steel production, driven by ongoing increases in niobium penetration and demand for value-added steel.