Coal miner Exxaro hunts for copper assets in Congo, Zambia and Botswana

By Felix Njini

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Exxaro Resources is searching for acquisitions in Africa’s key copper producing countries and may consider partnering with existing miners as it diversifies into metals needed for the green revolution.

The Johannesburg-based coal producer is looking for copper assets in Botswana, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the continent’s top producer of the metal, CEO Nombasa Tsengwa said. It is also looking for manganese assets in its home country, she added.

While the miner has yet to find any targets, premiums for copper assets may mean it makes sense to enter into partnerships, Tsengwa told Reuters. She declined to say when the company expects to conclude a deal.

“We are looking at different opportunities simultaneously,” she said. “Partnerships where it makes sense…There are different…tactics for acquiring these assets.”

Global mining companies are scrambling to secure supplies of the metals that the world needs for the clean energy transition and to accelerate growth in electric vehicles.

Exxaro joins other South African producers including Sibanye Stillwater and Impala Platinum in looking for opportunities beyond the nation’s borders.

“We do look in the DRC and there are some good assets where we can partner with others who are probably already there,” Tsengwa said. “In Zambia you can do it differently,” she added, pointing to the attractiveness of the country’s stability when it came to investment.

Exxaro, which is no longer prioritising a search for bauxite assets in Guinea, could use its own resources to finance acquisitions or consider options such as debt and equity, Tsengwa said, without saying how much the company plans to spend.

(Reporting by Felix Njini; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)