Citi to arrange $200 mln loan for Vinacomin

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US lender Citi said Tuesday it has secured a mandate to arrange a loan of US$200 million for state-owned mining firm Vinacomin to finance its bauxite project in the Central Highlands.

The signing ceremony took place Monday in Washington DC in the presence of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the bank said in a statement.

The 13-year loan for the Lam Dong Bauxite Alumina Project will be supported by Japanese credit insurance agency Overseas United Loan Insurance of Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance of Vietnam, the bank said.

"We are very honored to have been selected by Vinacomin to bring this kind of innovative export agency financing solution to serve Vinacomin's business and development needs, Brett Krause, Managing Director and Citi Country Officer for Vietnam, said in the statement.

Vinacomin, also known as Vietnam National Coal Mineral Industries Group, is the largest coal producer in Vietnam with 90 percent production capacity in 2008 and is the world's largest exporter of anthracite coal accounting for over 90 percent of global sales, Citi said.

The firm said last year it expected its first bauxite mine in Lam Dong Province to start production as early as August this year and produce 650,000 tons of alumina annually by late 2011.

Vietnam has 5.4 billion tons of bauxite reserves, the world's largest after Guinea and Australia, according to a US Geological Survey report published last year.

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