Four companies have been shortlisted to acquire the Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) in Zambia, reported Reuters, citing two sources.
The entities involved comprise China’s Zijin Mining, South Africa’s Sibanye Stillwater, China-based Norinco Group and an investment vehicle owned by ex-Glencore officials.
In February 2023, Zambian Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe said there were ten suitors competing for the acquisition of the mine and smelter complex, which is owned by state mining investment company Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investment Holdings.
According to the sources, investment bank Rothschild & Co has shortlisted the suitors for the MCM to four. The bank was hired last year to find potential investors for the MCM.
One of the sources said the investors completed due diligence and subsequently submitted non-binding offers in May 2023. These investors are now completing the work needed to make binding offers for the MCM.
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The final investor is set to be selected before the end of July 2023 for the copper mine.
Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman was cited by Reuters as saying in an interview that the company had submitted a proposal to acquire the MCM, as it looks to expand copper production.
Froneman added: “We are willing to invest, we are willing to be there for the long term. It is a wonderful ore body, and a good mine starts with a good ore body and good people.”
Last year, Reuters reported that Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema set a target to boost domestic copper production from around 850,000 tonnes per annum to three million tonnes by 2032.