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Metallurgical Corp. of China to quit iron ore business

or MCC, will restrain investments in mining operations and plans to retreatfrom its iron ore business, vice president Xiao Xuewen told reporters at itsfull-year earningsbriefing in Hong Kong on March 31.

Thestate-backed giant has two iron ore projects, the mine in Argentinaand the Cape Lambertproject in Western Australia, according to Xiao.

Xiao maintained a negative outlook on iron ore prices due toweakening demand for the steelmaking ingredient in China, as well as abundantsupplies from iron ore majors across the globe.

"Therewas some blindness in thecompany's investments six or seven years ago when Chinese companies [were] in arush to invest in the resource sector," Xiao said.

"Thecompany will be very strict on new investments in the iron ore sector and willgradually exit," he added.

MCC'sremaining mining assets, however, are expected to be consolidated intoChina Minmetals Corp., parent of mining major MMGLtd., following the in December2015, Xiao said.

"Weare [in talks] with China Minmetals about an overall [plan] for the twocompanies' resource business. There will be some strategic adjustments and[restructuring] programs in the future," Xiao said.

Headded that the ultimate goal is to build up ChinaMinmetals as "the watchman for China's resource security," while MCCwill focus on the construction business.

Onthe back of China's One Belt, One Road initiative, the company expects itsmarket share in the global engineering construction market to rise in the nextthree years, the executive noted.

"Thecompany's growth will mainly be driven by overseas markets in the future,"Xiao said, adding that thefixed-asset investment of the smelting and rolling processing industry for ironore and nonferrous metals is dropping in China.