Kosovo Trust Agency Close Nickel Plant Sale

Prishtinë, Apr 21, 2006 – The sale of Ferronikeli Complex L.L.C. (Ferronikeli) to International Mineral Resources (IMR)/Alferon was successfully completed yesterday. The contract was signed and € 29.5 million was transferred to the Kosovo Trust Agency (KTA). This amount, combined with a previous payment of € 1 million, completes the total required payment.

Ferronikeli, based in Gllogoc/Glogovac, consists of three open pit mines with substantial ferronickel ore reserves and a large metallurgical complex. This is the largest of the former socially owned enterprises currently being privatised, preserved and enhanced by the KTA. A formal handover ceremony will take place on Tuesday, 2 May. Details will follow. The buyers are IMR/Alferon. Alferon is an independent management company for International Mineral Resources, the latter headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. IMR is part of the Eurasian Natural Resources group, which is among the world’s largest private mining and metals groups. Other terms and conditions of the sale include an agreement by IMR/Alferon to a € 20 million investment commitment and a 1000-person employment guarantee. Twenty percent (20%) of the sale price, approximately € 6 million, will be paid by the KTA to the eligible workers of Ferronikeli, in accordance with KTA privatisation procedures.

The Head of the EU Pillar and KTA Board Chairman, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Joachim Ruecker, commented: “The successful and harmonious conclusion of Ferronikeli privatisation sends a very strong signal to international investors. Kosovo is a stable and mature society, which welcomes international investment and partnership.”

Dr. Johannes Sittard, Chairman, International Mineral Resources (IMR), said: “Today’s signing is the first stage in a long and successful relationship among Ferronikeli, IMR/Alferon, the workers and the surrounding community. We have a proven track record in this business and intend to use all of our expertise in making Ferronikeli a success.”

Minister Bujar Dugolli, Vice-chairman of the KTA Board and Minister of Trade and Industry, said that this is a good deal for the workers and for the people of Kosovo. He added that this privatisation will create thousands of jobs, and help put people back to work throughout the region.

Ferronikeli includes design capacity for 12,000 tons per annum nickel production, as well as 13.8 million tons of ore in reserves in 3 open pit nickel laterite mines – more than 10 years of mine life.