Banpu plans to grow mining abroad

Banpu plans to grow mining abroad

Coal being processed at Banpu's Shanxi Lu Guang power plant in China.
Coal being processed at Banpu's Shanxi Lu Guang power plant in China.

SET-listed Banpu continues to expand its business overseas, planning to acquire more assets involving nickel, copper and gold mining in Indonesia and Australia to increase its revenue.

The company is familiar with the two countries as it operates coal mines and renewable power businesses there.

"We can apply our expertise in coal mining to provide technical and engineering support to our new mining business, with a focus on nickel, gold and copper," said newly appointed chief executive Sinon Vongkusolkit.

The 33-year-old businessman assumes the helm on April 2.

He said the plan to buy new assets in these mining categories depends on the prices of these minerals.

Banpu operates coal mines in Australia, Indonesia and China. The company's total coal production in 2024 is estimated to be on par with last year, which tallied 34.7 million tonnes.

The price of coal is expected to remain unchanged at US$125 per tonne on average this year, according to Banpu.

In the gas business, the company's gas production facility in the US is expected to produce 314 billion of cubic feet equivalent. The gas price should be similar to last year, which was $2.5 per million British thermal units.

Gas demand is expected to remain strong this year, said Mr Sinon.

In 2024, the company plans to allocate a capital spending budget worth almost $700 million to support its businesses, aiming to gain a stable profit in line with its greener and smarter energy strategy.

Half of the money will support gas exploration and production in the US, while the other half will fuel the growth of its energy technology business, he said.

Banpu Next, the energy technology arm of Banpu, will expand its smart energy solution service by partnering with companies to invest in battery and energy storage systems (ESS), he said.

He said he believes the planned investment in nickel mining, a key raw material for making electric vehicle (EV) batteries, will support the company's battery business.

Banpu joined with Svolt Energy Technology, a Chinese manufacturer of batteries and ESS, to co-develop a lithium-ion battery production plant, with production capacity of 2 gigawatt-hours, to serve EV market growth.

Svolt is a subsidiary of Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor, which opened a new EV factory in Rayong in January.

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