May 17, 2017 / 2:43 AM / a year ago

Hong Kong-listed IRC says could reopen Russia iron ore mine

BEIJING, May 17 (Reuters) - Commodity company IRC Ltd on Wednesday said it was considering restarting its 1.1-million tonnes per year iron ore mine in the far east of Russia, the latest sign of revival in a sector shaking a years-long downturn.

“Following the positive price movements in 2017 and the recent stabilisation in the bulk commodity market, the board is considering restarting Kuranakh, including options of potential cooperation with other parties,” the Hong Kong-listed company said in a statement.

The Kuranakh mine, in Russia’s Amur region, was producing about 1.1 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate each year before it was put under ‘care and maintenance’ in early 2016. It was also churning out about 200,000 tonnes a year of ilmenite, a titanium ore.

Iron ore prices have surged 30 percent and ilmenite by 150 percent since the mine was suspended, the company said.

However, the statement comes at a time when futures prices in China have toppled off record highs hit in recent months, dampened by concerns about a slowdown in demand in the world’s top importing nation and a growing glut as stockpiles have ballooned.

The most-active Chinese iron ore futures have fallen by about 30 percent since hitting record highs of 650.5 yuan ($94.49) per tonne in February.

Rocketing prices prompted some Chinese producers to reopen mines after suffering years of tepid demand. ($1 = 6.8843 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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