Glencore has started the sale process for its wholly owned coper mines, Cobar in Australia and Lomas Bayas in Chile.

Cobar is an underground copper mine and a concentrate plant in central western New South Wales.

With a throughput of about 1.1 million tonnes of ore a year, the plant produces approximately 50,000t of copper in concentrate per annum.

The low-cost, open-pit copper mine Lomas Bayas is located in the Atacama desert, 120km north-east of the port of Antofagasta.

Heap leaching process is used to process the low grade copper ore mined at this facility and later on converted to copper cathode after processing through the SX-EW plant.

"The operation produces around 75,000t of copper cathode a year."

The operation produces around 75,000t of copper cathode a year.

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The company’s latest move comes in response to the receipt of various unsolicited expressions of interest from various potential buyers to acquire the mines.

According to Glencore, the process would allow potential buyers to bid to purchase one or both mines.

Glencore said it will issue an update only in the event of agreement or disclosure of a sale.

Recently, the company hinted at possible closures of more Hunter Valley coal mines and further cost cutting in Australia over weak prices.

In addition, the company proposed reductions in thermal coal production at various sites, by implementing underground roster changes, scaling back several open-pit operations as well as by revising its product portfolio.

Image: The Lomas Bayas copper mine is located in the Atacama desert, 120km north-east of the port of Antofagasta. Photo: © Glencore.