China’s Minmetals Resources Enters Africa

China’s Minmetals Resources Enters Africa
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China’s Minmetals Resources Enters Africa

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Minmetals Resources LTD. says it has secured ownership of African-focused base metals mining and exploration group, Anvil Mining Ltd, after acquiring 90 per cent of the company’s shares at eight-dollars each. The Hong Kong-listed Minmetals, which is majority, owned by state-run China Minmetals Nonferrous Co., said that it would now move to the compulsory acquisition of all remaining shares it did not already own. Upon the completion of the compulsory acquisition, Minmetals would delist Anvil from the Toronto Stock Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange.

Anvil owns the Kinsevere copper mine inCongo, and Minmetals said in a statement that the mine would increase its copper output by some 60%. The Kinsevere mine is expected to produce 36,000-38,000 tonnes of copper this year, and is in the middle of an expansion project that will increase output to 60,000 tonnes of copper cathode.

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The biggest hurdle to the Anvil takeover was cleared last week, when Minmetals secured an agreement with Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned mining body, Gecamines, confirming that Anvil’s title to the Kinsevere project and the Mutoshi copper and cobalt project were valid and in good standing.

Minmetals has been steadily trying to transform itself into an international upstream miner over the last few years, using the Hong Kong-listed unit as the vehicle for acquisitions, after Minmetals bought an unlisted Australian miner, Minerals & Metals Group, from its parent China Minmetals Non-Ferrous Metals Co. in October 2010. The Australian miner’s Chief Executive Andrew Michelmore subsequently became Minmetals’ chief executive, giving the Chinese company a Western executive with international mining experience to guide its outward strategy. In March last year, Minmetals made a C$6.3 billion bid for Equinox Minerals Ltd., which has copper assets in Zambia, but walked away from the deal because it was too expensive.

According to Andrew Michelmore, the company would continue looking for copper, zinc and nickel sulphide assets inAfrica, North andSouth America, parts ofAsiaandAustralia. He said the company would target assets in varying stages from exploration projects to mines near completion, with more multibillion dollar deals possible.

Anvil has effectively been up for sale since last August, when its biggest shareholder, commodities trader Trafigura, said it wanted to sell its 39 percent stake.

Chinaaccounts for nearly 40 percent of global copper consumption and its demand for the industrial metal, used in everything from power lines to plumbing, is expected to rise 6-7 percent this year.

Minmetal shares were trading up 1.2 percent in afternoon trade.

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