Three Chinese groups are among suitors still in the race to acquire a Botswana copper mine that could fetch about $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
(Bloomberg) — Three Chinese groups are among suitors still in the race to acquire a Botswana copper mine that could fetch about $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
Zijin Mining Group Co., MMG Ltd. and Aluminium Corp. of China, known as Chinalco, have progressed to the second round of bidding for the Khoemacau project, the people said.
MMG has been in talks to team up with Citic Metal Co., an arm of Chinese state-owned conglomerate Citic Group, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., known as Implats, and fellow South African miner Exxaro Resources Ltd. have also been shortlisted, the people said.
Khoemacau’s major shareholder, London-based private equity firm GNRI, could pick a winner as soon as the next few weeks, the people said. Deliberations are ongoing, and there’s no certainty they will lead to a transaction.
The world’s biggest miners, including BHP Group and Rio Tinto Group, are seeking to expand in copper, as consumption of the metal in electric vehicles and renewable energy is projected to soar.
Khoemacau, which has been ramping up annual output to 60,000 tons after starting operations in mid-2021, would add to the significant copper portfolios already held by Zijin and MMG. Production from the mine — in the Kalahari copper belt that stretches from northwest Botswana to western Namibia — can be expanded to around 130,000 tons a year, according to the company’s website.
Representatives for Citic Metal, Implats and Khoemacau declined to comment. Spokespeople for Chinalco, Exxaro, GNRI and MMG didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, while a representative for Zijin said they didn’t have knowledge of the matter.
GNRI was formed from a 2015 management buyout of Barclays Plc’s natural resources private equity business.
–With assistance from Jack Farchy, Paul Burkhardt, Thomas Biesheuvel, Winnie Zhu and Martin Ritchie.
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