China Daily – Top execs weigh in on post-pandemic business prospects

Publication: China Daily

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group

A1: China has taken systematic measures to facilitate a gradual recovery, both to strengthen production and support consumption. This includes promoting the development of “new infrastructure” in relation to 5G and charging stations for New Energy Vehicles. Eurasian Resources Group is supporting China’s economic recovery and transition through its extensive, competitive portfolio, which includes ferrochrome, cobalt, copper, alumina, and aluminum. These products are crucial for China’s “new infrastructure” plan and we look forward to seeing more policy guidelines further enabling foreign enterprises to cooperate and invest in the country.

A2: As a long-term strategic partner of China, ERG focuses on strengthening its relationship with this key market, which accounts for 20-25 percent of total Group sales volumes, further developing cooperation with Chinese companies on business development projects and contributing its expertise to support the country’s development.

For shipments from Kazakhstan to China, the Group, starting from March this year, is using the additional railway station (Altynkol), close to the Khorgos International Center of Boundary Cooperation. ERG’s logistics company, TransCom, has steadily increased shipments of iron ore products to China this year, with April shipments almost double the same month in 2019.

A3: In April, the government extended its purchase subsidies on New Energy Vehicles for two years to 2022, while the sales of NEVs in China grew rapidly, by 9.7 percent month-on-month – a strong positive signal for the sector. ERG is growing as the world’s second-largest producer of cobalt, a key material for the batteries that power EVs, and the second-largest supplier of the metal to China.

The government measures are also important for our copper business and we have reached a significant milestone at Metalkol RTR flagship facility in the DRC, where we produced the first copper under Phase II.

A4: We have been impressed by China’s prompt and effective response to the outbreak. Our company, from the very beginning and in all countries of its presence, has been strictly adhering to relevant government and health expert guidance. Drawing on that initial experience, ERG has implemented a set of measures to ensure the health and safety of its employees at this challenging time and enable the continued running of its operations with minimal disruptions vs normal. ERG has undertaken a business continuity plan across its operations and is closely monitoring the situation as it evolves.

A5: At the outset of the outbreak, ERG took rapid measures in terms of medical supply preparation, as well as implementing internal information campaigns about the virus in China. In compliance with the government’s guidance, we quickly put in place relevant policies, including flexible work arrangements and the deep cleaning of facilities. Our absolute priority is the health and safety of all our employees, contractors, as well as their families and the communities in which we operate.

View the original interview here: China Daily