November 23, 2017 / 7:21 PM / 22 days ago

Brazil's Nexa mulls Asia office to tap China zinc market: CEO

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Nexa Resources Inc will likely decide this year to open a sales office in Asia as it looks to grow its customer base in China and the region, its chief executive told Reuters on Thursday.

Nexa, a top-five global zinc producer, sees opportunities to sell more zinc and copper in China as the country rolls back its own production in a bid to reduce air pollution, Tito Martins said in an interview, less than a month after the company’s $496 million initial public offering.

“Entering the Asian market has been a challenge for us,” said Martins, former chief financial officer of mining giant Vale SA. “It is very likely that we will decide to open a commercial office in the region.”

Martins said there had been a lack of zinc concentrate in the market and expects global prices for the commodity to remain at or above their current levels for the next two years.

Zinc prices are currently around $3,200 per tonne, highs last seen in 2007.

Nexa’s capital spending next year is likely to be in line with 2017 at around $200 million, Martins said, although the company has yet to set official targets.

Its main focus is opening its Aripuana zinc mine in Brazil by 2020 and Shalipayco mine in Peru by 2021, he said, along with improving the capacity of existing Peruvian operations.

The company does not rule out growth through acquisitions, although it is not considering any deals at the moment, he said.

Earlier this month, Nexa posted its first financial results since the IPO, with third-quarter net income rising 67 percent from a year earlier to $81 million.

Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Jake Spring, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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