Economic Analytical Unit - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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China Embraces the World Market

Case Studies of Australian Businesses in China

MIM Holdings

State: Queensland
Sector: Minerals and Energy

MIM Holdings, the Australian based coal and base metal producer, is increasing its market presence supplying advanced mineral processing technology to China. Chinese mineral processing firms are under increasing pressure to improve profits and environmental outcomes and are looking to purchase world class, cost efficient mining, smelting and refining technologies. MIM, with strong expertise and advanced technologies, is a natural partner for many Chinese firms. For example, MIM's refining technology, ISAPROCESS, accounts for over one-third of total installed global copper refining capacity. In the late 1990s, responding to trade enquiries and some initial marketing efforts, MIM began to build relationships with Chinese mining and smelting state owned enterprises.

MIM currently is completing a contract to install its ISASMELT technology at Yunnan Copper. This contract involves supplying the technology licence, engineering and construction services and extensive training services in both China and Australia. MIM also advised Yunnan Copper on upgrading its raw materials storage, controls, electric furnace and oxygen plant technologies. MIM is in the earlier stages of a similar contract with Yunnan Metallurgical Group for a lead smelter; it also is installing its ISAPROCESS refining technology in Guixi and is negotiating with other minerals groups. This set of business relationships makes China one of MIM's most important technology markets.

MIM has learnt the importance of relationship building in China. They have developed successful partnerships based on their capacity as an integrated minerals company, able to assist in all areas including mining, processing, technology supply and exporting; this ‘sister company' image has been a key to their success. They have developed a sound understanding of the Chinese business and operating environment and continue to participate in numerous seminars and information sessions to gain profile. MIM also have found it important to start commercial relationships on a clearly understood and well-defined basis to avoid difficulties down the track.

Source: MIM Holdings, 2002.

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