Glencore is in advanced talks to buy out its partner in Argentina’s Mara copper project as the commodity trader and miner seeks increased exposure to the metal, according to people familiar with the matter.
Glencore is close to finalizing a deal to acquire Pan American Silver’s 56% stake that could be announced as soon as next week, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
The biggest miners are universally bullish on copper, expecting surging demand in the coming years as a greener world requires more of the metal in everything from electric vehicles to new power grids. That’s already led to a surge in dealmaking, with Rio Tinto Group and BHP Group securing their biggest deals in years, while Glencore itself tried to buy Teck Resources Ltd. to gain more copper.
Representatives for Glencore and Vancouver-based Pan American both declined to comment.
Glencore increased its holdings in Mara last year, agreeing to pay about $160-million for Newmont Corp.’s 19% stake. Located in Argentina’s Catamarca province, Mara holds copper and gold ores that could support a mine for about 30 years.
Argentina, with plenty of untapped copper resources, has several mines in development, including Glencore’s El Pachon and Lundin Mining’s Josemaria. The South American nation is also a hotbed for lithium, which also attracted Glencore to a deal disclosed earlier this week.