Zambia State firm says Zijin, Sibanye interested in copper mine

26th June 2023 By: Reuters

Zambia's State-owned ZCCM Investment Holdings confirmed on Monday that China's Zijin Mining and Sibanye-Stillwater are among investors shortlisted to buy Mopani Copper Mines.

The list includes those companies, China's Norinco Group and an investment vehicle owned by ex-Glencore officials, Reuters reported June 20, citing sources.

The search for a new investor for Mopani is likely to be concluded within the next two months, ZCCM-IH CEO Ndoba Vibetti told Reuters at a mining conference in London. The mine would require at least $1-billion in funding over the next five to six years, Vibetti said.

Attracting a new investor at Mopani is part of the government's plan to triple copper output in Africa's second-largest producer over the next decade.

The Mopani mine and smelter complex currently requires around $200-million to $300-million of short-term funding to make it sustainable, Vibetti said, adding that it has taken a long time to find a new investor because they needed a suitable company to takeover Mopani.

"Part of the reason that has taken so long is to get that packaging right," Vibetti said. "Somebody who can come, bring it out of water and then be able to invest for the long term."

Switzerland-based commodities giant Glencore sold a 73% stake in Mopani to ZCCM-IH in 2021 for $1.5-billion in a deal funded by debt, but it retained offtake rights to Mopani's copper production until the debt had been repaid in full.