Anglo American zinc assets garner strong Chinese interest
Reports out of China say China Minmetals is expected to buy a stake in Hunan Nonferrous Group and is also interested in acquiring Anglo American's zinc assets.
In June China Minmetals paid US$1.4 billion to acquire the world's second largest zinc producer, Australia's OZ Minerals.
Zhao Cuiqing, head of the lead and zinc department at the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, told a conference Saturday the provincial government of Hunan is strongly supporting Minmetals' proposed to buy a stake in the Hunan Nonferrous Group.
Zhao said she did not know the size of the stake under consideration or how long it would take to complete the acquisition.
China Daily reported today that several Chinese metal firms including Minmetals want to acquire Anglo American's zinc assets. Last month Anglo announced it will divest a number of its non-core assets including its portfolio of zinc properties.
The assets include the Skorpion mine in Namibia and Lisheen mine in Ireland, and the Black Mountain mine and Gamsberg Project in South Africa. Anglo's zinc operations mined 340,500 tons of zinc last year.
China Daily quoted a China Minmetals source who "admitted the company was keen on acquiring Anglo America's zinc assets," but refused to divulge any further details due to confidentiality concerns.
The newspaper quoted another unidentified source who said, "After Minmetals' takeover of OZ Minerals, its zinc business has started to grow. Seeking other zinc projects to meet its growing demand is in line with the company's business strategy."
Zhongjin Lingnan Nonfemet Co. and Teck Resources-in which sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. owns a 17% stake--are also in talks to acquire Anglo's zinc assets, according to the source.
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