22 March 2007The long-term development of the Asia-Pacific region is being threatened by a lack of investment in infrastructure, according to a United Nations-sponsored meeting which ended today with a call to back a proposal to set up a new regional body to raise funds. Kim Hak-Su, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), described the meeting as “a crucial step” in finding the path forward to generating investment in infrastructure.“The region needs to find a way to utilize our large amount of savings and foreign exchange reserves,” he said after the two-day meeting in New Delhi, which attracted about 100 representatives of government, academia and the private sector from 20 countries.Welcoming India’s championing of the need for a regional solution, Mr. Kim noted that a series of recent studies indicate there is a shortfall of more than $200 billion every year in investment in transport, energy, water and telecommunications.Yet the Asia-Pacific region has foreign exchange reserves of about $3 trillion, with much of it invested outside the region.The meeting, which was jointly organized by UNESCAP and an Indian think-tank known as RIS, endorsed a proposal to examine the establishment of a regional intermediary to channel the savings into investment.This new mechanism could be an infrastructure investment bank or finance corporation in Asia, and it could either be independent or an affiliate of an existing financial institution in the region, such as the Asian Development Bank.The meeting also ended with a call for UNESCAP’s members to set up a high-level working group to consider all options and issue recommendations to the region’s governments.
ABB has recently been contracted to supply gearless mill drive (GMD) systems for two 38 ft SAG mills at the Serra Azul iron ore mine in Brazil. The Serra Azul mine unit, owned by MMX Mineração e Metálicos, an EBX Group company, is located in the iron quadrangle of Minas Gerais near Belo Horizonte. The Tico-Tico and Ipê mines form this unit with a current production capacity of 8.7 Mt/y of iron ore. ABB’s scope of supply includes two GMD systems for 38 ft 23 MW SAG mills comprising transformers, ring motors and complete containerised electrical houses (e-houses).The variable speed drive solution allows for optimisation of the grinding processes for ores with varying properties and different mill loads. The GMD eliminates the need of critical high maintenance mechanical equipment such as gearbox, ring gear and pinion. It enables operational optimisation, energy and costs savings, high system efficiency and availability while reducing maintenance needs at the same time. This order is ABB’s first GMD reference in iron ore processing. ABB believes that a ombination of its “strong presence in Latin America and its state-of-the-art grinding solutions” helped to secure the contract. TheSerra Azul order will be ABB’s 7th installed unit in Brazil and the 48th in Latin America. The order was part of a multi billion dollar mine expansion, projected to increase annual iron-ore processing capacity to over 24 Mt by 2015, allowing MMX to triple its output at Serra Azul. The expansion involves construction of an iron ore enriching plant and a railroad terminal. MMX Mineração e Metálicos, established in 2005 as part of the EBX Group, operates and owns high quality iron ore mines in Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. In addition, MMX plans to expand its operations to Chile, where it currently also holds mining rights.