Vale looks at building hydro plant, coal mine

Brazilian mining and metals group Vale (NYSE: RIO) is looking at investing in construction of a hydro power plant and coal mine in Colombia, Vale CEO Roger Agnelli told Brazilian magazine Época.

The executive met with Colombia's President Álvaro Uribe to discuss the benefits of investing in the country, such as security and fiscal incentives, Agnelli said in an interview.

"I am looking at the option of building a hydro plant and a coal mine in Colombia," he said.

However, reports did not specify in which area of Colombia the investment would be made or how much it would be.

In September Colombia's transport minister Andrés Uriel Gallego said Vale was looking at investing US$6bn in Antioquia department to build an aluminum smelter plus infrastructure including a port terminal and a hydroelectric plant.


Vale also plans to create a company dedicated to the energy sector, Agnelli told the magazine.

"Energy is strategic for us. Vale is Brazil's biggest energy consumer," he was quoted as saying.

The company aims to invest in new fuels such as biodiesel and recently acquired gas exploration blocks in an auction. It is also is keeping an eye on hydroelectric projects on the Madeira river in the Amazon, the CEO added.

Vale recently announced a plan to create a technological development center targeting clean energy initiatives along with federal development bank BNDES in São Paulo state's São José de Campos city.

"Beyond the São José project, in 2008 we want to create a technology center for the mining area and another dedicated to production processes, which would be built in Minas Gerais and Pará states," Agnelli said.

Rio de Janeiro-based Vale do Río Doce, which recently took the short name of Vale, is the world's largest iron ore producer and its assets include nickel, copper, aluminum, electric power and logistics.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: December 6, 2007


Chilean Gasco, Colombian Gazel To Open 25 VNG Stations

Chilean natural gas company Gasco, a subsidiary of Chilean electric power holding company CGE, and Colombian natural gas company Gazel will open 25 vehicular natural gas (VNG) stations under a recently signed association agreement, Colombian daily Portafolio reported on December 4, 2007.

The VNG stations will be located in Chile as Gazel wants to expand its presence in the Chilean gas market. The stations will be of the Gazel brand and are expected to be opened by the end of 2008.

The initiative is part of Gasco plans to expand its business in the administrative Region XII, in southern Chile, which was negatively affected by the decrease of the Argentinean energy exports.

Apart from Chile, Gasco (www.gasco.cl) also operates in Argentina. Through its subsidiary Gas Sur SA, it takes part in the natural gas distribution in central Chile by supplying gas from Argentina's Neuquen province through the pipeline Gasoducto del Pacifico SA.

Gazel plans to become one of the leading gas companies in Colombia over the next five years.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: December 5, 2007

Colinversiones closes Termoflores acquisition

Colombian holding company Compañía Colombiana de Inversiones (Colinversiones) has completed the acquisition of generator Termoeléctrica Termoflores, Colinversiones told financial regulator Superfinanciera.

The generator will be held by Colinversiones US subsidy Inversiones Energéticas, which was created with US$300mn in financing.

Inversiones Energéticas received the first US$32mn on October 26 and the remaining US$268mn on December 4.

The financing is guaranteed with 38.4mn shares Colinversiones holds in Colombian company Suramericana de Inversiones, according to the documents.

The 151MW natural gas-fired thermo plant in Barranquilla is the first generator in Colombia to have participated in energy regulator CREG's new plan for long-term power supply contracts, according to local press reports.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: December 5, 2007